Italy was known for its great hole-in-the-wall shops with character and good quality eats and drinks. In every shop or cafè in every town, you never knew exactly what you would get but you were always pleasantly surprised with what you found, in quality and taste.
In this post I want to talk about how coffee is being taken over by Caffé Dersut chain versions of a slightly Starbucks-esque style shop. The famous Veneto brand of coffee is not just sponsoring the coffee of its faithful Italian bar owners, but it also is encouraging them to open shops that all look the same, from Padua to Agordo and maybe even Milano. (I have personally seen the Paduan and Agordino versions.) The coffee may be good, but I am worried about the consequences: coffee shops becoming uniform across the bel paese.
The shops have fake hand-written signage announcing all the wonderful versions of coffees and "frappucino-style" coffee cocktails you can drink there. (Hence the Starbucks connection.) The environment is bright and friendly. It looks good, if you don't think about how it's all the SAME.
I wanted to leave that stuff behind in America, but after a decade, it's caught up with me.
Starbucks never was able to break into the Italian coffee market by opening up its own stores, but Caffè Dersut is copying the US company's style and successful marketing graphics and aesthetics.
Will this just be a fad or is Italy on the path to become a land of coffee chain shops, too?