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Making an Italian coffee is considered an art. But what about having a real espresso and enjoying that moment as most Italians do?
While the ability of preparing a good coffee has been improving since Italians came to America, the Italian way of having away coffee has never become a real trend.
Let’s imagine of being in Rome: you walk in the cafe, say hello to the barista and first ask for an espresso. In the meantime, while the coffee is ready, you chat with the “barista” and other customers standing at the counter. Most times, if you are a regular customer, your coffee will be there for you, without even saying a word.
This is the Italian coffee experience a new cafe in North Beach, in San Francisco, is trying to offer to customers. Dimmi Tutto Cafe opened a few weeks ago on Broadway street and may become soon one of the main attractions in the Italian neighbourhood.
The day we met Francesco and Grace, they were getting ready for the Grand Opening. Lot of work for such a small place they like to call “a pop-up cafe”: while explaining how and when they came up with the idea, they barely talk about themselves. Focused on the unique experience they want to give to their customers, they first tell us how everything started.
“It was kind of a joke”, Francesco stated first. “I always thought of having a place where to make good coffee. By talking to my partner, we thought about something different: why don’t we have a caffè in a patio? We had the location, which turns into a club at night, to use to serve coffee during the day. And this is what we did.”
Dimmi tutto (tell me everything). Such an interesting name…
We were going crazy by finding a name. So, Grace said: can you please tell me something different than buongiorno or come stai? That was the moment when I thought: why don’t we welcome our customers as if we were in Italy? Dimmi tutto basically means “Let me know what I can do for you!” And that’s how we picked the name!
Which kind of experience will your customers have?
I would like people to walk in and talk to me. We don’t serve coffee in paper cup, the only way is to drink coffee in ceramics cups by standing at the counter or sitting on the little couch. It’s not a coffee-to-go place, we want them to enjoy their coffee without walking away. This is the real “bar all’italiana”.
What’s the difference compared to other cafes?
We have products coming from Italy. We don’t buy them by distributors, which means our products are made in Italy and delivered right to our door. We don’t have coffee or brioches with an Italian brand but made in the US or Canada. The coffee comes from my homeland, Puglia (Apulia), as well as cannoli, cornetti, and bomboloni. If you want an Italian breakfast, you can’t help but eat at least one of these pastries filled with crema or nutella!
Any specialty will you be serving?
The coffee itself is a specialty: Saicaf is the brand my mom has been using ever since. This coffee belongs to Puglia and Pugliesi and I can remember the same package since I was young. My idea is to make coffee but also to sell it to my customers who - I am sure - will love making it at home using their moka.
And what is the “Dimmi cremino”?
I cannot share the secrets of this special drink, but I can guarantee it has the best taste on earth. It’s neither a real coffee or an ice cream, it’s exactly in between. The machine we imported from Italy does not have metal palettes and the temperature is not the same for ice cream. This is the only way the ingredients can mix and create this smooth, creamy, and delicious coffee-based drink.
How will you be promoting the place?
We have not started a real promotion yet. Our main goal is to take care of customers and try to give them the best quality in coffee and food. The idea is to make changes in the menu on the way, ask people to experience our foods and drinks and tell us what they think. We would like to teach them something they don’t know, we want them to try new things and, if they like them, to come back!
While the opening took place at evening, with free coffee and homemade food, Dimmi tutto opens on daily time, serving not only coffee and breakfast pastries. The menu will come soon with “specials of the day”, giving customers the real Italian experience of having a coffee or a panino in a cozy place, without necessarily walk away.