Gruppo Cimbali is a leader in the design and manufacture of professional machines for espresso and milk-based beverages, as well as equipment for cafés and catering. The group combines the LaCimbali, Faema, Slayer and Casadio brands and manufactures in four plants in Italy and one in the USA. Because of its passion and dedication to espresso culture and the “Made in Italy” label, in 2012 Gruppo Cimbali founded MUMAC (Museo della Macchina per Caffè), a first and extensive permanent exhibition on the history, world and culture of espresso machines. Located at Gruppo Cimbali’s headquarters in Binasco, near Milan, MUMAC also houses the MUMAC Academy, a training, dissemination and research center for Gruppo Cimbali coffee machines.
We spoke with Leopoldo De Luca, Managing Director of Gruppo Cimbali Deutschland GmbH, about the company’s milestones, its 110th anniversary, and its products, among other topics.
Please briefly introduce yourself to our readers. What is your job at Gruppo Cimbali?
Leopoldo De Luca: My name is Leopoldo De Luca and I am the General Manager of Gruppo Cimbali Deutschland GmbH. The Group’s German division, which has been present on the territory for 15 years, manages the German market together with commercial partners and specialized dealers. This way, we can guarantee the highest standards of sales and assistance and provide a fast, organic answer to our clients, both in the B2B and B2C area.
For 110 years now, Gruppo Cimbali has stood for coffee culture in action. As now the world’s largest and most renowned manufacturer of professional espresso and cappuccino machines – what milestones particularly distinguish your company?
Leopoldo De Luca: It all started in 1912, when Giuseppe Cimbali opened a small copper workshop in Via Caminadella, in the centre of Milan. In 1930, the business expanded its vision for the first time with the acquisition of a company specialising in the manufacturing of espresso machines and the consequent creation of Ditta Giuseppe Cimbali. Over the next twenty years the first and second generation of the Cimbali family worked non-stop to produce coffee machines that immediately stood out for their innovation and design.
The year 1984 saw a cultural change in the management philosophy: the involvement of an external management team of proven ability and experience which, with its strategic company decisions constantly overseen by the third generation of the family, was able to ensure the development of the company at a time of strong growth. Over the following decades the Group therefore continued to grow, also thanks to acquisitions.
In 1995 the Group acquired Faema, its main competitor at the time. The year 2005 saw the formation of the holding company and, at the same time, the acquisition of Casadio, a historic Bolognese company specialising in grinder-dosers. In 2017 the important acquisition of Slayer took place, a Seattle-based American company that makes espresso machines dedicated to speciality coffees, high-quality single-origins from plantations all over the world. In 2019 the Group finally acquired Keber, which has a production plant in Dolo, in the province of Venice. Keber has been on the coffee market for 30 years, designing and manufacturing grinders for leading Italian and international coffee brands.
Tell us something about the 110th anniversary of the company? How and where was it celebrated?
Leopoldo De Luca: On October 20th, 2022, the 110th anniversary of the company – and the 10th birthday of the MUMAC museum – was celebrated with a press conference in Binasco (Italy) during which president Maurizio Cimbali praised the success and history of the Group. The General Manager, Enrico Bracesco, on the other hand presented the main results with a focus on future projects.
What products are you focusing on right now?
Leopoldo De Luca: The products we are focusing right now are M200 (LaCimbali), the fully automatic machines (LaCimbali) and Faemina (Faema). With its wide offer, Gruppo Cimbali operates on the market with espresso machines for restaurants and bars as well as for business environments in which coffee is not the core business and, lastly, also for homes. One of the latest launches was the top-of-the-line espresso machine M200, a product of innovative design which, with its advanced technology and superior quality, provides an excellent cup of coffee.
Since 2021, we have also entered the prosumer (professional consumer) and high premium segments with Faemina, the latest addition to the Faema home, which was designed and developed by ItalDesign for homes and small businesses like boutiques and concept stores. For what concerns the fully automatic machines, we recently launched S15, intended for offices, hotels, and small businesses. The machine provides up to 150 cups a day and offers a diversified menu consisting of coffee – of course – but also of milk-based drinks and soluble chocolate. This makes S15 therefore the perfect solution not only for an Italian target, but for an international one as well.
LaCimbali S60, on the other hand, is designed to provide up to 600 cups a day, with the possibility to dispense both hot and cold foamed milk. This is essential for making an Italian cappuccino or latte macchiato, which are recipes that require different layers of milk and degrees of frothing.
How do you see the development of the market in Germany?
Leopoldo De Luca: The German market shows a very positive development. As a matter of fact, Germany was among the first countries to discover and appreciate the espresso. In addition, German culture is vastly different between the North and the South and these variations manifest also in the consumption of coffee, espresso, or cappuccino, with a particularly evident Italian influence in the South. Generally, the German coffee culture is particularly attentive towards technology, as every type of beverage is linked to a particular type of coffee and coffee grinder. For what concerns the future, we believe that these trends will remain crucial, therefore we want to meet all the needs of our German customers.
We are doing this for example with the Gt2 technology, a patented system that enables operators to set a different temperature for every coffee group. In this way, with M200, the latest LaCimbali top-of-the-line machine, we can set a higher temperature to make an traditional espresso in one group and a lower the other one to make a classic Kaffee. We also see in a particularly positive light the development and distribution of the fully automatic machines, a key product on the German market, particularly when it comes to offices and co-working spaces. The machines are equipped with a new integrated water tank, which allows them to operate without a connection to the water mains.
How and where can you buy Gruppo Cimbali products in Germany?
Leopoldo De Luca: Our dealer network provides Gruppo Cimbali products all around Germany. Alternatively, our machines can be directly purchased through Gruppo Cimbali Deutschland GmbH. For what concerns Faemina, it is available through the e-commerce channel which is accessible on www.faema.com/de-de/.
Which channels are used for communication?
Leopoldo De Luca: As in previous years, we will be present at 2023 Internorga Trade Fair in Hamburg (10-14th of March, 2023) with a large stand where we will present all of our business solutions and new products. Furthermore, it is possible to stay up-to-date on what is new by following our websites and official social channels:
The MUMAC you initiated, the largest permanent exhibition on the history and culture of professional espresso machines, celebrated its tenth anniversary last year. Tell us more about it.
Leopoldo De Luca: The event in Binasco on October 20th, 2022, was also an occasion devoted to the reopening of the MUMAC museum, which space was redesigned for the public to meet the increasing exacting requirements of today’s visitors. The 10th anniversary of the museum was additionally marked by numerous initiatives that took place during the entire year, notably the presentations – both in Italy and abroad – of the volume “SENSO ESPRESSO. Coffee. Style, Emotions.”. The book portrays and enhances the coffee culture but more in general, the Italian way of life.
What else can we expect from Gruppo Cimbali in the future?
Leopoldo De Luca: The core of all our innovations is and will continue to be the intelligent integration of digitalization and sustainable development. The ultimate objective is to improve the machines and services of the Group in order to simplify the use and maintenance of all our machines, while safeguarding the environment and the resources at the same time. A crucial example of the direction we are heading towards is the so-called Electronic Nose that, using an algorithm which employs AI, sniffs the coffee blends and determines their quality and freshness, allowing more quality and a more responsible consumption.
Espresso or cappuccino? What is the optimal start to the day for you?
Leopoldo De Luca: It depends. I would start with a cappuccino, and after the middle of the morning, continue with an espresso.
Gruppo Cimbali | www.gruppocimbali.com/en/
+++ We would like to thank Leopoldo De Luca for the open and very interesting interview and wish him continued success! If you also have an interesting brand, then we should talk. Just send us an email with the subject “about-drinks interview” to firstname.lastname@example.org – we look forward to hearing from you! +++