• The Southern European specialty market


    The Southern European specialty market, mainly Italy, is entirely different from that of most other European countries.

    Italy is a gateway into a number of Eastern European markets and many Italian importers and roasters traditionally supply ready-made specialty blends (green or roasted, for roast and ground or for espresso) to nearby countries in Eastern Europe as well as the many small roasters that operate in Italy itself.

    The Italian market counts over 1,500 individual roasters: there is a substantial mainstream segment but many small specialty roasters exist and flourish. Many of these buy ready-made, ready-to-roast green coffee blends from the specialty importers, especially for the strong espresso segment.

    Larger specialty roasters such as Lavazza and Illy export substantial quantities of Italian espresso blends all over Europe and the United States, so the sales opportunities for specialty type coffee that meets the quality requirements for the espresso trade are quite substantial.

    For a review of those requirements and how they differ from traditional specialty coffee see 12.09.04 and 12.09.05, Coffee tasting 'Traditional versus espresso'.

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