In November 2023, a few of our UK team were invited to Florence, Italy, by our mates at La Marzocco to tour the La Marzocco Museum and experience Accademia firsthand.
Nestled amongst the hills surrounding Florence, the Accademia del Caffè Espresso is a visionary project born from the old La Marzocco factory. Inside the walls, the team at La Marzocco changed the world's understanding of espresso machine mechanics through industry-leading innovation.
Fast-forward to today and Accademia is an open space attracting passionate espresso lovers, allowing them to engage with interactive displays and workshops exploring the LM journey. LM pull back the curtain on decades of research and development, showing everything goes into their world-class technology.
After an early start in London and a lovely nap on the plane, our team was greeted by the beautiful Florentine sunshine – a great start to the trip.
Our Head Barista Al, along with members of our Tech and Training teams, immediately set out hunting down one of Florence's famous sandwiches, the perfect way to fuel up for a marathon of exploring the beautiful city.
A walking tour was an ideal start to a whirlwind 36 hours in Florence. It gave the team an amazing feel for the history the city holds, as well as the surroundings and environment that eventually inspired La Marzocco. A city beautiful craftsmanship, Florence is full of stone carvings, leather-making, and of course, some serious Italian espresso.
The walk around the city wrapped up with a stroll across the Ponte Vecchio bridge and finished at the very impressive Piazza della Signoria.
All the walking built up an appetite (and thirst!) so next on the agenda was an aperitivo by Santa Maria Novella Church, taking in the stunning views of Florence. After a couple of wines, the team headed over to dinner where they were treated to, unanimously, the best steak any of them had ever had! Day one concluded, filled up with pasta, fried artichokes, and cheese – the lot!
The next morning started a little slow before Al and the team headed to the main event – the beautiful La Marzocco Accademia.
Nestled in the foothills of Florence, Accademia was surrounded by mist and sunshine. Walking into the original converted factory building, the geeking out began.
Heading straight over to a customised six-group espresso machine, the team put their skills to the test and had a crack at brewing espresso. On this monster, it felt a bit like making coffee from a Frankenstein espresso machine.
After pulling a few decent shots, the team enjoyed their brews with a view of the internal greenhouse. Surrounded by two-metre-tall banana trees, the cute little coffee plants sit in temperature-controlled conditions at the centre of the building. It was a prime spot to sit and enjoy the first of many coffees for the day.
Starting in the Bambi bar, the tech team's jaws dropped sighting an original GS2 in the cutest 1950s styled bar, fully equipped with original trimmings.
Moving on through the history of the company and the Bambi family, the tour included the first-ever model of an espresso machine, as well as the first-ever Lever machine, and on it went.
After a quick lunch stop provided by the Accademia kitchen team, the tour headed into the workshop beneath the building. This space creates hand-made parts and components for customised machines all over the world. On this particular day, the manufacturers were hard at work forging metal to be used for custom portafilters weighing in at 1KG each, and so many other weird and wonderful things.
During the tour, the team were introduced to a gentleman who has worked in the workshop since 1970, as well as a plethora of others whose families have been working in the space for generations. The widespread familial feeling was unmatched, as was the display of expert craftsmanship.
Brewing beautiful coffee in our Dalston Roastery revolves around these beautiful machines. The tour had our team inspired to get back to London and put their inspiration to good use in their various roles across tech and training.
The trip came to an end that afternoon, which wrapped up with sampling some (very strange) anaerobic-processed robusta, roasted right there in Accademia… which is where it should stay.
'Til next time La Marzocco!