Introducing La Marzocco’s Academia Project

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One of the coolest things I saw at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo in Australia last week was the design for La Marzocco’s Academia Project.

Tom Beaumont, who is the general manager of La Marzocco Australia, was excited to show it to me when I stopped by the booth. As there always is, no matter the trade show, there was a thick crowd of people gathered at the La Marzocco booth checking out the exploding espresso machine, the electric blue Linea, and also the plans for the Academia Project.

The Academia Project plans.

The Academia Project plans.

Tom told me the project is in the works right now: It is a companion building to the company’s gorgeous Scarperia factory in Italy, almost exactly the same size, and joined to the original building via a skybridge. Marta Kokosar, who is a marketing project manager for La Marzocco in Italy, came up with this fascinating model of all that the Academia will include.

The new Academia is being build directly behind the factory. The new building will link to the factory via skybridge.

The new Academia is being build directly behind the factory. The new building will link to the factory via skybridge.

I went back to La Marzocco’s stand at MICE on Saturday to talk to La Marzocco’s managing director, Guido Bernardinelli, about the project. He excitedly pointed out the area where Kent Bakke’s famous collection of vintage espresso machines will be showcased, as well as the rest of the La Marzocco museum space. Classrooms and workshop spaces are dotted throughout the building, which Guido told me will be used for classes and technical trainings for coffee professionals from all over the world.

Guido with the plans for the Academia, at La Marzocco's stand at MICE.

Guido with the plans for the Academia, at La Marzocco’s stand at MICE.

Another focus of the Academia will be on Songwa, the coffee estate that has been operated by La Marzocco, Mahlkönig, and Probat since 2008 in Tanzania. The Songwa project was developed as an educational resource to connect the dots for coffee professionals from the farm and the coffee producer all the way to the espresso machine and the barista. At the Academia, a room will be devoted to Songwa and will include a screen displaying a live feed from the Tanzanian farm 24/7. (To read more about Songwa, go HERE)

Thomas Plattner, operations director of Songwa, checking out the seedlings at the farm in Tanzania.

Thomas Plattner, operations director of Songwa, checking out the seedlings at the farm in Tanzania.

Another really cool thing about the Academia space will be the Café of the Future and the Café of the Past. The Café of the Future—a concept that was introduced at the La Marzocco Out of the Box event in October—will be constantly changing according to input from leaders in creative fields. The Café of the Past, however, will be an amazing time capsule. Did you know that La Marzocco used to manufacture actual espresso bars, i.e. furniture? Well, Guido, Marta, and the team have found some of these relics and are refurbishing them to be on display as part of the Café of the Past.

Of course, the spectacular La Marzocco van will be on display at the Academia. That thing’s so cool it wouldn’t surprise me if the whole idea for the Academia came about as a way to showcase the van. Read all about it HERE.

An exact replica of La Marzocco's original Alfa Romeo showroom van took two years to create. It was presented to La Marzocco's Piero Bambi during the Out of the Box event in Milan last October. The van will be on permanent display at the Academia.

An exact replica of La Marzocco’s original Alfa Romeo showroom van took two years to create. It was presented to La Marzocco’s Piero Bambi during the Out of the Box event in Milan last October. The van will be on permanent display at the Academia.

The Academia Project is a natural extension for a company as creative and liberal about education as La Marzocco. It feels like the concept behind Out of the Box brought to life. I couldn’t get a firm answer on when the building of the Academia Project will be complete, but Guido says it will definitely be finished in time for Out of the Box and HOST Milan in the fall of 2015.

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.