To Taste: New Notes at Ditta Artigianale

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While the age-old art of standing up at a coffee bar sipping strong espresso still stands in Florence, a new kind of coffee shop is starting to spring up in the city. Ditta Artigianale is at the centre of this new twist in Florence’s café culture. It has taken inspiration from the dedicated third-wave coffee shops found in Scandinavia and Western Europe, challenging Italy’s tradition of short, sharp espressos in timeworn coffee bars. In here, each cup is to be savoured. Time is not important, and locals pore over their drinks reading the paper or waiting languidly for a friend to join them. It is a strangely unfamiliar sight.

Found on the corner of Via dei Neri, a mix of young students and gossiping old ladies gather at the benches outside. Step inside, and you are met with the scent of roasting coffee. The wood-clad café was opened two years ago by Francesco Sanapo, a multi award-winning barista. Hearty, high-quality brunches of granola, pastries and poached eggs on toast are on offer here, and loved by young locals. But make no mistake; Ditta Artigianale is all about the coffee. Each cup is prepared slowly and steadily by proud baristas, made with a selection of specialty, single-origin beans. Far from the hardy coffee drunk elsewhere, which is typically made using cheaper, bitter beans, locals are rejoicing in Ditta Artigianale’s bright and naturally sweet cups. It is a welcome change for a city so rooted in culinary tradition. As much as we adore the sheer Italian-ness of perching at a traditional coffee bar, slamming back a tiny glass of dark espresso before the barista snatches it away seconds later – Ditta Artigianale offers a breezier alternative. Perhaps it is a sign of what is to come.