Elevating Espresso Blends with Carraro Coffee

by Ben Coleman Updated: February 23, 2024 5 min read
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Gaetano Carraro first started roasting coffee in Schio, Italy way back in 1927. Since then, this family-owned company has grown into a commercial roastery that distributes their coffee to 60 different countries across the world. 

Carraro in the 1920s

Despite their success, Carraro 1927 is still a family-owned business focused on fulfilling their passion for producing excellent, full-bodied coffee. 

We were lucky enough to have the chance to sit down with Giovanni Lanza, Carraro’s head of US and Canadian operations, for a conversation about the history of the company, what makes them unique, and what we should be getting excited about in the years ahead. 


Passion Over Profit

Though Guisepope Zanandrea bought Carraro from its eponymous founders in 1986, Carraro 1927 remains to this day a company owned by people who have a serious love for coffee—both Guiseppe and his two sons are heavily involved in the business. 

“This is more than a job for them,” Giovanni tells me. “It’s a passion and a hobby.” The septuagenarian CEO still shows up at the factory at 8:00 am each day to sample green coffee from their distributors in order to ensure the beans they buy are of the highest quality. 

Why choose to do this when you could easily retire? The answer turns out to be rather simple: he just loves coffee that much. 

Giovanni chuckles at the thought of the old CEO coming in to taste beans every day: “I say to my boss, ‘you’re going to die here’…but it’s hard for him to leave his baby.” 

Guiseppe has passed his passion for coffee to his two sons—one is stepping up as CEO of the company, and the other is the green coffee buyer for Carraro. Every year he travels the globe visiting the farms that produce the green coffee that will one day become one of Carraro’s specialty coffee blends. 

Their goal is to develop strong, lasting relationships with growers and distributors—and they have. Over time, “they become like family and friends.” This is important beyond simply maintaining your business’ supply chain.. “We know the way they work as well as how they treat their employees and the environment.” 

And Carraro cares about sustainable business practices, from both an environmental and humanitarian lens. 

Sustainable Sourcing

“We’re doing our best to be environmentally friendly,” Giovanni assures me. From what we can tell, Carraro is putting their proverbial (and literal) money where their mouth is. 

In addition to planting trees to offset their carbon emissions, many of Carraro’s coffees have Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance certification (as well as certifications from OK COMPOST, ISO, Organic Agriculture, and more). Even those that aren’t, however, are produced with environmental friendliness in mind. 

Despite needing to source their beans from larger growers (small farms simply cannot guarantee the consistency they need), Carraro makes a point to only work with growers who treat the environment right. 

Veloso, for example, is a large-scale Brazilian coffee farm that employs regenerative farming techniques (such as using materials from coffee production as fertilizer) to ensure their environmental impact is as low as possible. 

Carraro is also in the process of transitioning away from using plastic in the capsule coffee they produce, instead they use capsules made from recyclable aluminum or compostable materials. 

They’ve already ceased production of plastic capsules for US distribution, and are on their way to making the same shift in other markets. 

It’s also important to Carraro that the distributors they work with are having a positive impact on their communities as well. Giovanni insists Carraro “only works with farms that treat people the right way and pay them well.” 

That’s part of the reason the Zanandrea brothers spend so much time traveling around the world visiting coffee farms—they want to see first-hand the experience workers on the farms are having. 

“Many of the farms we work with give lots of jobs to local communities,” Giovanni tells me. Not only are they not mistreating their workers, “they’re helping communities to thrive.” 

Roasting Right

Environmental and humanitarian moral victories aside, at the end of the day what really matters is how good the coffee Carraro makes tastes. 

Carraro goes above and beyond to ensure the coffee they produce is consistently excellent, resulting in full-flavored espresso shots every time. 

Carraro roasting the right way

Their blend recipes include coffees from up to eight or even nine different origins. Of course this is not particularly groundbreaking—with the exception of single origin coffees, most of the coffee available is a blend of beans from various growers.

Carraro’s roasting process, however, is rather special, sacrificing operational efficiency in the name of quality. They begin by roasting their beans much more slowly than they could technically get away with. 

While it’s possible to roast coffee in as little as seven minutes, Carraro roasts each batch for a full 17 minutes in order to ensure flavors are fully developed.

“Our way takes more time,” Giovanni says, “but it’s the right way to do it.”

Speaking of the “right way to do” something, Carraro also roasts their beans by origin, rather than by blend. Roasting beans of various origins at the same time is like “cooking chicken, steak, and burgers all at the same time.” Some will be over-roasted; some will be underdone. 

“This isn’t just about the business and the money,” Giovanni tells me. The quality of the product they produce is what’s paramount. 

When it comes time to pack their carefully-roasted coffee, Carraro doesn’t skimp. They use double-film bags, each of which has a two-way valve to promote proper degassing, and they fill the bags with Nitrogen before sealing them. 

This ensures your coffee stays fresh. In fact, Giovanni tells me the best time to enjoy Carraro coffee beans is actually a few months after the roasting date. 

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

It’s entirely possible that you’ve never tried Carraro coffee beans—you may not have even heard of them before now. Despite being one of the first-ever Italian commercial coffee roasters, they’re just now dipping their toes into the US and Canadian markets. 

But you should absolutely keep your eyes peeled

While they’re mainly working with food service distributors at the moment, they have designs to reach your kitchen as well.

Trust us—you’ll be glad they did.