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Lavazza is a popular, Italian brand in the coffee industry, adding to the prestige that Italian coffee enjoys worldwide. Today they are amongst the top coffee importers, blenders and distributers in Italy that also profit from strong international sales.

A brief history

In 1855, 26-year old Luigi Lavazza moved to Turin to seek an easier lifestyle than that offered on his father's farm in Murisengo with the grand total of 50 Italian Lire. In 1895 the name Lavazza was given to his 'drogheria' or drugstore, and by 1915 Lavazza was recognised as the leading importer and blender of coffee in the country. In 1933 Mr Luigi passed the business on to his three sons, Mario, Beppe and Pericle who were to face Mussolini's infamous 1939 measures that included prohibiting the importation of coffee. This lasted until 1945 and nearly resulted in the end of the Lavazza brand, which struggled to survive by re-focussing their business to other drugstore items.

1946 marked the first time the Lavazza brand was used on pre-packed coffee to be distributed directly to consumers. The 50's saw the entry of the third generation Lavazza family and the expansion into new offices still in use today. The enterprising new generation sought expansion overseas resulting in the following moves : 1982 Lavazza France, 1987 Lavazza Deutschland, 1988 Lavazza New York and Switzerland and in 1990 Lavazza Coffees UK Ltd.

The product history is even more tortuous than the Lavazza family history, so I shall mention a few landmarks. Lavazza coffee was packed in metal tins between 1959 and 1971. 1971 saw the introduction of the aluminium-foil vacuum-packs that are still in use today. A historical landmark of personal and commercial note is 1986 and the introduction of the Crema e Gusto brand, an instant commercial success and still amongst my personal favourtites. In 1989 Lavazza succeeded in competitively penetrating the "foodservice" market as the Italians refer to the commercial catering industry with blends and packaging destined at the high-end catering industry. The 'Top Class' Blend launched this era for Lavazza.

Another commercial breakthrough was the 1998 launch of the 'EspressoPoint', an espresso machine that uses pre-packed unit-doses of Lavazza coffee, supplied in small foil-wrapped two-packs. The pininfarina-designed silver and black machine was marketed aggressively for office use, with Lavazza supplying the machine free of charge if the office buys a certain amount of coffee every month.

Some Lavazza coffee-varieties

Consumer brands:

  • Club
  • Qualità Oro
  • Qualità Rossa
  • Crema e Gusto
  • Crema e Gusto Espresso and several other flavours.
  • Paulista - A dedication to the 1959 Paulista metal-tins and the associated advertising campaign. Vintage packaging used indicates Lavazza's fondness for this variety.
  • Lavazza Espresso
  • Lavazza Decaffeinato

Coffee varieties for catering use

  • Lavazza Dek
  • Lavazza Pienaroma
  • Gold Selection
  • Super Gusto
  • Super Crema
  • Grand'Espresso
  • Grande Ristorazione

EspressoPoint varieties:

  • Aroma Club
  • caffè espresso Aroma Club
  • gran espresso Aroma Point
  • caffè espresso Aroma Point
  • gran caffè Aroma Point
  • gran espresso Crema & Aroma
  • Crema & Aroma gran caffè
  • Crema & Aroma gran espresso
  • Espresso decaffeinato
  • Top Selection
I didn't mention the EspressoPoint range of chamomile, tea and novelty flavours since they are nowhere near as popular as the good old coffee blends.

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