In 1894 25-year-old Luigi Lavazza left his family’s farm to move to Turin, Italy, where he attended business school and purchased a rundown grocery store in the historic district of that city. Over the next ten years this young man, who was described as “energetic and resourceful”, decided to switch from selling a wide variety of products to specializing in roasted coffee in a variety of blends. This fateful decision resulted in the establishment of a coffee company that is respected today throughout the world for its quality and innovation.
The Smell of Success
By 1923 Lavazza was already recognized as the leading Italian coffee importer and roaster. He had the foresight to take advantage of a couple of new inventions. He purchased a gas roaster, which enabled him to produce a larger amount of roasted coffee, and he started using parchment packaging. These new bags allowed Lavazza to further expand the market for his coffees because they preserved the aroma and fragrance of freshly roasted coffee for several days. Therefore Lavazza salesmen could travel outside Turin and collect orders that could be filled later and then shipped.
Coffee sales continued to increase, and in 1926 Lavazza became a joint-stock company. Six years later, in 1933, Luigi transferred all of his shares of the company to his children. He also handed the reins of this lucrative business over to his three sons, Mario, Giuseppe and Pericle.
WWII: A Turn of the Tides
Lavazza’s sons had to overcome many obstacles, just as their father had. In 1939, as Italy was on the brink of getting involved in the war, Mussolini blocked all coffee imports. The Lavazza family continued to keep working, but they had to temporarily switch to selling other grocery products. When the war ended the coffee company started up again in a reconstructed factory that had been damaged by bombing.
The Lavazza brothers were as determined as their father to take advantage of new opportunities in order to expand their family’s growing coffee business. In 1946 the company developed its first logo and imprinted it on bags that held a new brand of coffee known as Miscela Lavazza. A new slogan was also developed—“Heaven in a cup”.
A New Era for Lavazza
With the purchase of a new plant in Turin, which opened in 1957, the Lavazza coffee-roasting business rose to a new level. Lavazza also captured the consumers’ attention by being the first to use vacuum-packed aluminum foil bags, which preserved the aroma and fragrance of freshly roasted coffee for weeks rather than just a few days. The company’s special coffee blends were shipped in these bags across northern Italy.
Today Lavazza’s popularity with coffee lovers has not only grown throughout Italy, but in over 70 countries on five continents. It is the number one coffee in Italy and 36 million cups of Lavazza coffee are brewed per day.
Lavazza continues to build on Luigi Lavazza’s concept of blending, which is the art of combining coffee from different countries of origin to produce a tantalizing taste and aroma.
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