"Let's go for a coffee" is one of the most common invitations in Ticino. According to statistics from the International Coffee Organization, Switzerland is one of the world's largest coffee consuming countries, with an average of 3 coffees per person per day. It is also known that coffee in Ticino has that certain "something”. The secret? We asked our local roasting company.
The secret of an excellent coffee lies not only in its preparation. The quality of the beans, the roasting method and the blend are crucial for success. One of the well-known Ticino roasting houses is located in our region. The house coffee brand of Ascona-Locarno has been around since 1965 and is available in 13 different blends using beans from all over the world.
The roasting plant Caffè Carlito was founded in 1965 by Carlo Schilling. Today, this artisan coffee brand is exported throughout Switzerland, but it is still a family run business based in the Locarno area. The first blend "Brasil" is still produced according to the original recipe. Brazil is one of the countries where the beans for the blends come from, but not only: further countries of origin are Cameroon, Colombia, Guatemala, India, Tanzania, Mexico and Panama, to name just a few. The way the coffee is harvested also plays an important part for the quality that ends up in our cup: Picking by hand is the only method that guarantees the health of the plant – avoiding any damage - and the quality of the coffee, as only the ripe beans are picked.
The next step is the roasting of the coffee. The trademark of this coffee is its slow roasting: an artisan method of gas roasting that guarantees the unmistakable aroma. Each blend is roasted for about 20 minutes at 200°C. It is the roasting of the coffee that releases its aromas and makes each blend unique.
In this phase the human element is vital: in the final seconds of the process it is indeed the roaster's job to check the degree of roasting with his eyes and to judge whether it is appropriate to extend or shorten the time. These seconds can make the difference between a burnt, stale or perfect coffee. This distinguishes each roast from the other and makes it unique. Once the beans are roasted, their colour is compared with samples that represent the standard of the blend. Carlito coffee is characterized by a medium dark roast, and it is precisely this that gives the coffee we drink in Ascona-Locarno the Mediterranean and strong flavour that is so popular. In Ticino coffee is a ritual, a break during the day and last but not least a chance to share time with other people. And like any ritual, it has its own rules. Discover how coffee is enjoyed in Ticino.
And now... shall we go for coffee?