MUMAC Academy Talks, the format dedicated to the stories of Italian coffee professionals is back: the third episode devoted to ‘Coffee Mixology’ with LaCimbali M200.
This episode stars Fabiano Bucci, ambassador of the Gruppo Cimbali brands, a trainer and professional bartender who is now designing new drinks and innovative ‘coffee drinks’. An expert in latte art and Coffee in Good Spirits, Fabiano has been a MUMAC Academy trainer since 2017.
It was Fabiano Bucci who introduced the province of Rome to ‘Latte Art’, the sophisticated technique of transforming an ordinary cup of coffee into a small work of art using the colour effects produced by milk foam and coffee. Over the years he has gone on to win a number of prizes and awards, but his journey began with his studies to become an acrobatic bartender, quickly progressing from pupil to master. He gained experience with a long apprenticeship in the capital’s nightclubs, becoming one of the most popular barmen in Rome.
Today Fabiano is dedicated to designing new drinks and training professionals, but the challenges never end. One of Fabiano’s goals is to (increasingly) mix his two great passions: cocktails and coffee. This fusion has resulted in new innovative ‘coffee drinks’.
He is the star of the third episode of MUMAC Academy Talks, the first format dedicated to the stories of coffee professionals and their professional, technological and training experiences.
What is your experience of coffee mixology?
“I started out as a barman when, almost by chance, thanks to several events I attended during Sigep, I discovered the coffee world. At that point I decided to ‘study coffee’. After learning the right skills, I started to include coffee in the drinks in my bar and went on to take part in competitions such as the Gran Premio di Caffetteria Italiana and Coffee in Good Spirits, achieving excellent results. Today, coffee mixology is an integral part of my work and I have also created recipe books for very important companies.”
You teach at a hotel management school. How do young people today view our sector?
“Yes, I am a bar teacher at the Giovanni Falcone Institute in Colleferro (RM). In my opinion, young people still do not understand how beautiful and fascinating this world can be. Many are initially fascinated by cooking, which has much more exposure thanks to TV programmes. Young people think that ‘dining’ service is only about setting and clearing tables for 5 years; when they discover all the possibilities and facets that this world offers, they are fascinated and intrigued and many change their minds. I think there is nothing more rewarding for a teacher.”
How important is the combination of coffee and alcohol for younger generations?
“There is definitely a growing demand for cocktails with coffee. In the bar where I work we have included several drinks with coffee for this reason. We have created a menu of snacks/drinks and non-alcoholic and alcoholic aperitif cocktails. The response has been extremely positive – young customers are very curious and this makes them want to try new things.”
How has Coffee in Good Spirits evolved?
“Until a few years ago, the only way to put coffee in drinks was to make an espresso and blend it. Today, an increasing number of baristas are experimenting with filtered coffees, searching for the best roasting profile and creating infusions. There is certainly more research.”
What impressed you most about the M200?
“The first thing that struck me was the ability to make excellent filter coffee using the espresso machine. I liked the ergonomics, its meticulous design, the very convenient steam knobs in an ideal position to guarantee the barista total comfort, the tilted displays always facing the barista to make reading them as natural as possible, and finally the steam wand, ideal for making ‘Latte Art’ cappuccinos”.
How can automation facilitate a bartender’s work?
“You certainly need to know the rules of the game first and then, through automation, be faster and have consistent quality. The ability to automatically extract filter coffee allows us to offer this drink to our customers, including in mixology, without worrying about the ‘slowness’ of extraction.”
How important was it to be properly trained in order to make optimal use of the product?
“Essential – without the right training I would not have been able to exploit the full potential of this fantastic espresso machine.”
What type of business would you advise to use this product?
“It is a machine that can fulfil all the needs of even the most meticulous barista. It handles high volumes very well, allowing us to work at speed without losing quality. We can work with several types of coffee and create the most suitable recipe to achieve the best sensory profile.”
Would you like to suggest some espresso and filter coffee recipes?
A first very interesting espresso-based recipe is the “Blueberry Tonic”, an excellent non-alcoholic drink. The combination of coffee and blueberry juice leaves customers pleasantly surprised.
- 10 cl San Pellegrino dry (white bitter)
- 6 cl blueberry juice
- single espresso coffee
- ice as required
We use a tall tumbler. We thoroughly chill the glass, add ice, first pour in the white bitter, then the blueberry juice and finally the espresso. Choosing the right juice and pouring gently with the help of a barspoon will create a layer that enthrals customers as they watch their non-alcoholic drink.
The second recipe is “Viaggio tra Milano e Torino” (Journey between Milan and Turin), a simple twist on Classic that allows us to fascinate customers, while “playing” with the choice of coffee and using filter coffee as a base. For this recipe I chose to use a lightly roasted Ethiopian coffee extracted using a V60, placing frozen food-grade steel balls inside the server to immediately tone down the coffee without further dilution.
- 3 cl filter coffee
- 3 cl Vermouth Gancia
- 3 cl Bitter Campari
- Hemp smoking
For the filter coffee:
- 18 g coffee
- 250 l water
Temperature 95⁰ C
30 sec of blooming
4 pouring steps
Total percolation time: approximately 3 min 20 sec.
Preparation technique: throwing
I used this recipe to make filter coffee with the M200 to make the coffee more dominant in the drink so that it is not overpowered by the bitter and vermouth.
This drink appeals to all our senses, from the visual stage with the ‘play’ of smoke to the scent of hemp and the explosion of flavours with the first sip – a true sensory ‘journey’.