Coffee Sapiens: Adrià and Lavazza, exploring the frontiers of coffee

The book was presented in Milan, the first step of the mighty upcoming Bullipedia. «We share the virus of innovation»


Ferran Adrià and Giuseppe Lavazza at the presentation of Coffee Sapiens, a few days ago in Milan

There are many projects and ideas in Ferran Adrià’s mind. We explained them in this article: The many things that Ferran Adrià told us on innovation, cuisine and the future. A few days ago, however, he was also in Milan to present Coffee Sapiens, Lavazza’s contribution to Adrià’s great Bullipedia project. Many Italian food reporters met at the Lavazza Flagship Store in Piazza San Fedele 6, in Milan, to listen to the Catalan genius.

            Understanding in order to innovate is the philosophy behind Coffee Sapiens, the contribution of Lavazza to Ferran Adrià’s great Bullipedia project, the encyclopaedia dedicated to western gourmet cuisine.

In Coffee Sapiens the broader universe of coffee takes a main role and becomes a place of knowledge and confrontation in a book that doesn’t just speak of coffee as a product, but considers the ecosystem in which it is born and elaborated, from its production to the moment it reaches the consumer. History, consumption, production, varieties as well as industry and entrepreneurship are all covered in Coffee Sapiens which thanks to a comprehensive vision analyses every aspect and gives the necessary information to understand the world of coffee in an both interconnected and ordered way.

With Coffee Sapiens, together with Ferran Adrià, Lavazza continues the explorative journey of coffee in all its shapes and expressions, and, through “Sapiens”, an inspiring method of multidisciplinary analysis, of categorization and taxonomic analysis of food within the coffee industry, it offers a chance to compare and share all the available knowledge on coffee, which opens the way to study the evolution of cultures around the world, the traditions and customs of different people and the continuous technological innovations.

«Lavazza and I have been married for almost twenty years [18 to be precise, since 2000] – Adrià said with a smile – Couples often separate earlier, in everyday life». This was not the case, because the company and the chef have shared a common vision over the years. Ferran speaks of a «positive virus, an attitude to innovation». This is what led him to close ElBulli in 2011, «to cut the tree while preserving its seeds and roots, so that something completely new can grow».

Ferran Adrià in the 2014 Calendario Lavazza (foto Martin Schoeller)

Ferran Adrià in the 2014 Calendario Lavazza (foto Martin Schoeller)

«Since our very first meeting, Ferran Adrià has given us new stimuli to move beyond and look at coffee with a constantly new approach, welcoming new influences and experiments – said Giuseppe Lavazza, vice president at Gruppo Lavazza – With him we have shared an attention to the hidden voices of coffee, the voices of all the people who grow, process, distribute coffee and make it available every day. The Sapiens method has shown new ways, allowing us to extend our knowledge across the board of coffee. We believe that Coffee Sapiens can become an accelerator of innovation for everyone who shares our love for coffee».

So what is Sapiens? «It is basically a software – Ferran replied, – capable of creating a connection between various knowledge items. By applyingSapiens to the information collected on cooking, Bullipedia is born, which is the Treccani [enciclopedia] of western gastronomy, the summa of the field’s knowledge. Coffee Sapiens is the first brick; there will be a total of 35 volumes, to be published (in print and digitally) by the end of 2021. A huge work that fills many gaps: «Did you know that there’s no such thing on wine either? Not even in France? And that the concept of fine dining has never been analysed in the previous centuries?». The multimedia platform will allow a much larger audience to access the contents and the Sapiensmethod, making it a truly open project, accessible to everyone, and potentially suitable for other fields of research. This is the philosophy shared by Lavazza and elBullifoundation: sharing knowledge using digital tools too, which make it possible for everyone to access it immediately.

We need knowledge, in other words, and Bullipedia is a first tool to offer it. We also need innovation, «the caffeine of creativity that Ferran can give. In the name of three principles: open mindedness, sharing, creating of a community»,Lavazza said. «The journey we have taken with the company from Torino has led me to broaden the experimentation. I was intrigued by the idea that we could beyond the beliefs that had been established for centuries around coffee, – Adrià added – It’s a philosophy shared by the team at elBulli and it finds a natural outcome in the Bullipediaproject, to prove that even coffee can be unusual and surprising, and can stimulate research towards boundaries we haven’t yet imagined». Lavazza said at the end: «Creativity is not a gift. It is a method, and as a method you can teach it. Ferran in this respect is very modern, and antique too. Because in this elaboration he reminds me of the sharing of knowledge between a master and his pupil in a Renaissance workshop. Except he also uses the Internet».

Coffee Sapiens is published by Giunti Editore and will be available from the Store of the Museo di Nuvola Lavazza in Torino, from the Lavazza Flagship Store in Milan and from Lavazza and Giunti Editore, as well as from bookshops. Price: 120,00 euros.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso