When Francesco Calderaro came to the United States from Palermo, Sicily eight years ago to pursue a master’s degree, he was amazed at some of the things that passed for “authentic” Italian food, he said in an interview last week. The JP resident said he was particularly shocked at most of the coffee that was being passed off as genuine Italian espresso.
“Since I moved here, I’ve been trying all the brands of espresso coffee from Italy. I couldn’t believe the coffee was so different in taste from what I was used to in Italy,” said Calderaro. “I go there every year and have my coffee, and it’s always such an experience. The aftertaste is always great.”
Calderaro said the espresso coffees popular here in the United States are not what Italians get in Italy. “The coffees [in the US] are always expensive and bitter. When you spend more money to get something that’s bitter, that makes you bitter,” Calderaro joked.
Now the Moss Hill resident is looking to bring the coffee he has been drinking since he was a child here to Boston. He is working to import Al Moretto Coffee, an Italian brand that has been made for three generations by the same family, to gourmet food stores around New England with his new distribution company, Tutto Buono Inc.
“Being small, they can still focus on the quality. After the first [world] war, that is when the first generation started. Now the third generation… is keeping the tradition, focusing on quality,” said Calderaro. “The company’s owner is really happy that finally someone like me is giving them an opportunity to do business in this country.”
Calderaro said Al Moretto coffees are made with high-quality Brazilian Arabica beans, which are more expensive and more difficult to grow. He stressed that not all Arabica beans are the same and that the bean makes all the difference when it comes to taste.
“Whenever you see something that says Arabica coffee and it’s really cheap, it could be from that [bean] family, but not from a quality region,” said Calderaro. It’s just like wine. Pinot noir [grapes] can be grown in your backyard, but then the pinot noir grown in Burgundy is some of the best in the world because of the soil, temperature and who’s doing the growing,” said Calderaro.
Al Moretto coffees are now available in Jamaica Plain at the Harvest Cooperative Market as well as other locations around Boston and Providence.