Tag Archives: coffee

Made in Hamburg

21 Jun

Sono stata assente per qualche giorno, ma era per una giusta causa, lo giuro! Ho fatto un salto ad Amburgo, Germania, per scoprire se la tradizione gastronomica tedesca è solida quanto i loro bund! D’accordo, la verità è che sono partita con un pregiudizio da fratello minore sfigato, con la prospettiva di assaggiare qualche misero salsicciotto abbrustolito con senape e crauti e poter dire con orgoglio “almeno in questo siamo i numeri 1, tiè!”

E invece… sì, i salsicciotti abbrustoliti ci sono (e non sono neanche così male come credevo!), ma la cucina tedesca mi ha sorpreso per la qualità delle carni e la varietà delle salse che le accompagnano. Per non parlare di sua maestà Kartoffel, regina degli ortaggi, preparata in ogni forma contemplata dalla geometria euclidea e tipo di cottura.

Vabbè, ma vuoi mettere i vini italiani? Il limoncello di Sorrento? Il Passito di Pantelleria? Cavolo, almeno nelle bevande saremo i numeri 1, no?


Non dico che non siano tutti prodotti unici e dal gusto inconfondibile, ma c’è tanta gente curiosa e creativa lì fuori, come Mirco e Lorenz, i due giovani inventori della fritz-cola, la risposta tutta amburghese alla celebre bibita americana. Ad Amburgo la servono in tutti i bar e ha riscosso così tanto successo da superare in pochi anni i confini nazionali ed affermarsi come degna bevanda da servire nei pub accanto alle storiche Weissbier. Giovani, con capitali limitati, ma tanta determinazione e un’idea forte: questa è la vera ricetta da copiare, altro che Coca-Cola®.

Mirco and Lorenz met each other when they were both boy scouts. They decided to work for themselves during an InterRail tour in 1999 and jotted down their ideas in a notebook containing possible business models that ranged from opening their own bar to managing a cleaning company. It had to be something that could offer a fun lifestyle and allow them to spend a lot of time in comfy cafés. One day, sitting at their kitchen table over frozen pizza and cola, they came up with the idea of creating a cola drink that was better than the leading brand on the market. A cola with lots of caffeine, a little less sweetness and a twist of lemon.

Step two was emptying out their saving accounts to get an initial capital investment of around €7,000 to start their project. After extensive research into a new cola recipe, the two managed to obtain the necessary ingredients from pharmacies around Hamburg. There were a few minor drawbacks, but with a little help, they finally created the ultimate recipe for their new drink.

The logo and name of fritz-kola was the result of very pragmatic considerations. There wasn’t enough cash to design a logo and make sure that it met legal requirements, so the two friends used their own faces as a logo instead. As regards the name of the cola – which of course had to be catchy and positive – they simply thought to ask people. A survey was carried out in front of a shopping centre and the friendly North German name ‘Fritz won the race.

In January 2003 the first order was placed and 170 crates of fritz-kola were produced. At first, the crates were stored in their parents’ cellars, in their backyards and in the laundry room, until in 2004 a major milestone was reached: the bottles were moved into a warehouse in Ellerbek, near Hamburg.

Two years later, fritz-cola launched two new products (sugar-free and coffee-flavoured colas) and the drink made its debut in Holland, Austria, Switzerland and Spain, this paving the way to the Fast Climber Prize which was awarded to the Hamburg company in 2010.


In Praise of Coffee

13 Jun

7.00 a.m.: your dog chewed your brand new shoes… again!

11.00 a.m.: meeting with Country Manager to discuss your project… hold on, wasn’t it tomorrow?!?

5.00 p.m.: your boyfriend is stuck at work: bye bye to the Argentinian restaurant…

With a day like this ahead of you, may the exquisite force of chocolate and coffee be with you!

use the force

What comes to your mind when you hear “Italian excellence”? Fashion? Art? Fine cuisine? Poetry? All of this and much more! Maybe it’s because I’m sipping one while writing this, but I’d say right away COFFEE! I bet we’re all more than familiar with that feeling of disappointment and frustration when ordering a coffee abroad. That watery coffee flavoured drink is just a distant relative of the original Italian espresso and the worst part comes when, with a glimpse of satisfaction in their eyes, the foreign hosts ask you: “So, what do you think of my coffee?”

That’s the moment when you realise that lying is sometimes the best option and you let your naïve smile disguise what actually crosses your mind: Nice try. Better luck next time.

As a coffee buff, I always appreciate new coffee-based beverages and desserts, especially when created to be practical, portable and ready to use when you most need a rush of blood to the head.

With 80 years’ experience in coffee making, illy seems to get what I mean by launching a full range of premium coffee beverages to satisfy every need: pure coffee for a mental boost; with frothy milk for that creamy taste; mochaccino for indulgence.

Mmmm… I’ll go for a mochaccino, thanks.