"The Prince of Espresso" 1934 - 2020
For a man that I had only met once he left quite an impression on me, I heard a little about him from others previously but had thought nothing much of it. I met him in January 2020, the week after his birthday and he mentioned how he had a funny stomach and we made light of how he must have been celebrating too much... It was easy to see just from watching his attention to detail, he was fussy about the smallest of things and was not backward about letting people know his thoughts, yet he was welcoming and seemed to have time for everyone.
I found the following which helps describes him, written in 2018 by Comunicaffe...
SCARPERIA, Florence, Italy – When did Piero Bambi, La Marzocco Honorary President, start building espresso machines? “My first memories are about espresso machines. Coffee came later” says 84-year old Bambi.
“When I was a kid I just needed to go downstairs to be in the workshop. Getting to know mechanics was way easier than learning to recognize a good espresso. I used to join my father and uncle for machine installations around Tuscany and those are the first coffees I remember drinking.
That’s also because when you are a kid, you usually just drink caffe latte. When I was 14, I went with my uncle to install a lever machine at a cafè and two usual customers were there to assist the entire installation. Once we were done, my uncle offered them an espresso.
He asked them if they found the coffee tasty and they replied that they preferred the one brewed with the old machine. Then the cafè owner grabbed a portafilter with some old coffee grounds and added some new grounds. The two customers found it excellent.
Caffeine gives you addiction so when you get used to a certain blend, it is hard to change.
That episode taught me not to ask how the coffee tastes, but instead to say something like “It’s good. Isn’t it?” This way I express my thought on a certain blend and I tend to encourage a positive opinion.”
On our wall in Hollys we have a picture of Florence with a quote from Piero...
"You can learn the technique, but you can only develop passion through dedication, love, pride and respect in your work."