Torrefazione Cannaregio: a dream for those who love coffee
Often, walking through Venice, I emerge from the Ghetto in Fondamenta degli Ormesini when, suddenly, the scent of coffee envelops me, sweet and velvety, like a cloud full of chocolate, tobacco, fresh hazelnuts and fruit.
And the nose takes me straight to Torrefazione Cannaregio, a historic Venetian shop, born in 1930 and the only coffee roaster with direct sale in the historic centre of the lagoon city.
Until two years ago it was in Rio Terà San Leonardo: a small shop with a toaster inside and service only at the counter. Then, in 2018, the transfer to one of the most beautiful areas of Venice, with beautiful seating, coffee tastings and also various types of tea and chocolate on offer, in addition to the counter service.
A couple of days before lockdown, I was sent by 2night Venezia to try out their delicious coffees – you can read the original post in Italian here.
Torrefazione Cannaregio: history of coffee in Venice
A historic place, frequented by both the Venetians and tourists, with the exposed bricks of the bar and the typical Venetian wooden beams: a relaxing space, ideal for a good breakfast with an excellent espresso and artisanal pastry, but also suitable for recharging after a day around Venice: this is Torrefazione Cannaregio. Here the idea of socializing, born from the old Venetian cafes, is resumed, but without the costs of Piazza San Marco.
The coffee is now roasted in the factory in Marghera, allowing to maintain a reasonable price, while still offering raw materials of the highest quality. All coffee follows the control against child exploitation.
Torrefazione Cannaregio boasts not only its own roasting facility, but also a well-stocked shop to buy coffee, both in grains and ground, for mocha and for espresso machines.
Well placed on the mahogany shelves, behind the counter, you are spoiled for choice for coffee blends, which are just waiting to be tried.
Whether you are a coffee expert or a novice, the staff here is extremely prepared and always ready to help finding the perfect blend, according to the tastes of the customer, who is taken, figuratively, by the hand and guided in the choice and tasting, helping him find the ideal combination.
As with the dish of a great chef, coffee follows its own recipe. Everything found here, from the blend to the mono-origin, follows a specific quantity of grams of coffee for a specific quantity of grams of water. It is the fruit of a deep research by Maela Galli, the company administrator and manager, and her staff.
Each grinder offers a number equivalent to the seconds that it takes to grind the necessary dose based on the type of coffee; seconds that are studied by the barista to obtain the perfect cup.
And this makes Torrefazione Cannaregio different from other bars or cafes in Venice.
Torrefazione Cannaregio: the tasting
I had proof of this a few months ago, before the lockdown. I participated in a tasting and learned so much about coffee, as well as trying so many different types!
The tasting was based on 100% Arabica only.
We started with the House Mix, the “Remer”, which is used to prepare all the coffees at the bar.
A blend of eight mono-origins, with well-balanced acidity, suitable for all phases of the day. You can taste, and buy, the mixture for both espresso and mocha.
I discovered that the coffee in the extraction phase stratifies creating the classic cream, which, however, must be broken, mixing well, to bring the aromas back into balance. “Remer” is a mixture with a very thin cream, given by 100% Arabica, with a medium light roasting and a finish of tobacco notes. A harmonious, elegant taste with warm tones.
I tried a Guatemala: Arabica 100% but this time in mono-origin that is a single origin. Coffee with a stronger acidity, but at the same time sweeter, suitable for milk-based drinks. Rounder notes, spicy and herbaceous finish, with hints of vanilla.
I concluded with a Monsoon Indian: 100% Arabica.
A very particular taste given by its history. In ancient times, coffee crossed the sea in vessels and during the journey, although wrapped in bags; it suffered from the action of the wind, humidity and salt, creating a bean with a different taste and colour. Less acidity, much denser and persistent cream. The hazelnut stands out, a typically Asian aroma.
During the tasting I also tasted the various pastry products and chocolate. Simply delicious and perfect combinations!
This is a great place to meet friends or have a coffee break. Come sit along the Fondamenta and while you savour a great Italian coffee, enjoy the beautiful view of Venice and its canals!
And maybe read something of Carlo Goldoni, who loved so much coffee he even wrote about it in his plays!
Ecco il caffè, signore, caffè in Arabia nato, e dalle carovane in Ispaan portato.
L’arabo certamente sempre è il caffè migliore; mentre spunta da un lato, mette dall’altro il fiore.
Nasce in pingue terreno, vuol ombra, o poco sole. Piantare ogni tre anni l’arboscel si suole.
Il frutto non è vero, ch’esser debba piccino, anzi dev’esser grosso, basta sia verdolino, usarlo indi conviene di fresco macinato, in luogo caldo e asciutto, con gelosia guardato.
A farlo vi vuol poco; mettervi la sua dose, e non versarlo al fuoco.
Far sollevar la spuma, poi abbassarla a un tratto sei, sette volte almeno, il caffè presto è fatto.
Here is the coffee, sir, coffee in Arabia was born, and in caravans carried to Spain. Arabica is certainly always the best coffee, while it pops out from one side, from the other the flower.
Born in fat soil, needs shade or will not grow. Plant every three years a sapling as it is commonly used. The fruit is not real, small it is, but big should be, as long as it is green therefore use it freshly grinded, in a warm and dry place guard it with jealousy.
To make it, does not take much, put the dose and do not pour it while on the flame. Make the coffee rise, then lower it six, seven at least, coffee is done.
(Carlo Goldoni) The Persian bride