Every coffee connoisseur has his or her opinion on what a perfect coffee should be like: Montesquieu liked it “as sweet as love”; Bakunin preferred it “as black as the night”; in a famous poem of his, Carlo Goldoni stated that “l’arabo certamente sempre è il caffè migliore; / Mentre spunta da un lato, mette dall’altro il fiore” (“Arabic is certainly always the best coffee; / It sprouts on one side, and blooms on the other”); Voltaire drank forty cups a day just to be ready to “fight against tyrants and imbeciles”.
While we all have our ideal coffee, in Palermo the people at Ideal Caffè Stagnitta started studying the subject in 1928. They selected beans from various species of Coffea – arabica, excelsa, robusta, liberica and many more – and noted seasonal changes to pinpoint the best crops; they implemented traditional methods of toasting, refusing to use excessively modern machinery; they blended and ground to perfection.
They finally achieved an “ideal” coffee, so delicious that Jean-Jacques Rousseau – who lived near the coffee roasting plant – often opened his front door to let the wonderful aroma flood every room in his home.
To this day, in this corner of Palermo there are countless wide-open doors – and it’s easy to understand why.