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Lavazza Celebrates its 120th Birthday in New York

R. C. (May 21, 2015)
Family-owned Italian coffee company Lavazza just turned 120. The event was celebrated with a gala held on May 14th in Manhattan’s hip Meatpacking district. Present were members of the Lavazza family including Giuseppe and Francesca Lavazza, great-grandchildren of company founder Luigi. We spoke with them as well as with Chief Executive Officer of Lavazza USA, Ennio Ranaboldo, as they told us about the great pride they all feel in the progress and the results that Lavazza has obtained and continues to strive for, maintaining the spirit of creativity that it was initially conceived in.

True to its founder Luigi Lavazza and his creativity and inventiveness, the famed Italian coffee company Lavazza held the celebration of its 120th Birthday at a photography studio in New

York’s Meatpacking district. This vast space belonging to “Industria Superstudio” proved perfectly fit for hosting the celebratory gala.

Its “repurposed warehouse” look spoke to the company’s focus on innovation as well as the attachment to its roots. 

It’s thanks to this very openness to innovation that Lavazza was able to become the world-renown company it is today. “My great grandfather would be proud to see that his dream continues to be something that a lot of people believe in” says Giuseppe Lavazza, vice president of the company. 

Over a century ago, Luigi Lavazza moved to Turin from the countryside. There he started the company relying solely on his passion for coffee and his willingness to work hard. His story is one of success found through hard work and commitment, an example that many people all around the world – but especially in America – can relate to. 

Coffee as we know it today owes a lot to Luigi Lavazza himself, who, after a trip to Brazil on which he discovered the essence of coffee, the different types that exist, their properties, had the idea to mix them together in order to produce new flavors, to create the perfect blend. And that’s how coffee is made to this day: by creating and producing distinctive blends.

The same spirit of openness and innovation needed to make good coffee, is also what makes for a successful company. Lavazza opened to America in the 1990’s, hoping to leave a mark.

This required a change in mindset, an adaptation to the American market, as Ennio Ranaboldo, chief executive officer of Lavazza USA, who has worked for the company for 25 years, explains.

Lavazza has been moving closer to America and America to Lavazza ever since. 

The main reason for Lavazza’s success certainly has to do with the quality and originality of what it has to offer, which is not just great tasting coffee, but rather the entire Italian experience of coffee.

Lavazza embodies the lifestyle and activities that go along with coffee preparation and consumption in Italy.

Christina Tosi, an American pastry chef of Italian origin at the popular Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC, as well as the creator of the gala’s wonderful coffee-based desserts, recalls her summers spent in Trentino with her family, where they would all share a cup of Lavazza every afternoon. 

Her experience speaks to how coffee is an extremely important part of Italian culture, how it represents Italian culture in many parts of the world.

Many Americans already associate coffee to Italian culture and it’s that idea that the company wants to build on. 

Francesca Lavazza, Director of corporate image for the company, revealed that they have been working on Lavazza’s first ever international campaign: in America it will consist of 60 minutes of air time telling the story of Luigi Lavazza and spanning over 4 generations, the “story of a pioneer who went from the countryside to Turin and started this company from the ground, following his passion for coffee”, as she describes it.

But Lavazza is not only opening up to America: with the Milan Expo taking place this year, the company promptly partnered up with the Italian pavilion, in order to reach out to the entire international community.

“We want to be good hosts, welcome the international community with coffee and a smile” Francesca comments.

Lavazza’s tireless dedication, fueled by the Luigi’s legacy of hard work and inventiveness explains why the company is quite literally reaching for the stars: one of its greatest endeavors was in fact to produce the first coffee in space by ideating a machine able to make coffee at an altitude of 400 km.

The idea is that everyone should be able to enjoy the pleasure of coffee “no matter where: at home or in a space station” as Giuseppe claims.

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