We know the stretch of Italy’s eastern coastline between Ancona and Fano pretty well. It was Danilo’s stomping ground as a boy. He was born and brought up in the village of Montemarciano, in the hills a short distance from the sea. The colour of the Adriatic changes according to the time of year, from grey and green to a deep azure blue in the summer, but at all times it’s beautiful, against the white shail of the long, straight beach. The railway line runs within sight of the sea here, parallel to the lungomare. The train from Ancona trundles through sleepy stations until it reaches Senigallia, where the brisk smell of the sea mingles with another, enticing aroma: roasting coffee. Because here are the unassuming headquarters and production facilities of Caffe Saccaria, one of Italy’s oldest established coffee businesses.
We were invited there on a grey day in January to tour their small factory and, of course, taste a cup or two. We’ve been stocking their wonderful coffee for a few years now, with great feedback from our customers. Like most of our producers, Saccaria have a great and well documented story of how their business began: on 17th August 1806, a barchetto loaded with coffee and pepper dropped anchor in the then free-trade port of Senigallia. The men in the boat were the forefathers of the families that, in 1882, started the Saccaria coffee importing and roasting business. Even in Italy, 130 years is plenty of time to become expert at your trade.
The factory is filled with the delicious smell of fresh coffee, from the store filled with hessian sacks of fresh beans from South America, India and Africa, to the roasting rooms where the beans are gently toasted at 200ºC for 15 minutes, to the blending and packing room, where the coffee is snuggled into its distinctive Saccaria branded packs. In the tasting room, export director Rafaele prepared us cups of espresso with a care verging on reverence. It was impossible to taste them without closing our eyes.
We left with the clear understanding that quality is Saccaria’s overriding priority. Which is just fine by us.