Tazza Caffe: Don’t look for love, look for coffee.
When I got Pietro Del Sante Blok’s first whatsapp in the middle of the night I was a bit confused. Here was a stranger who contacted me to ask me if I would be so kind as to visit his coffee shop when I would visit Lima again. After a couple of messages it became clear that Pietro is a friend of Alejandro Chu, and that he was just as a coffee-lover as me. So we set up a coffee-date for me to visit Tazza Caffe.
Meet the Del Sante Blok family.
The date was set up for last week. His mom, who happened to be Dutch/Indonesian, picked me up from the hotel and brought me to the cafe. Pietro’s mom is absolutely adorable and before long we were chatting about the family history, Pietro and their visits to Amsterdam. This family crossed the world, and after living in Surinam and The Dutch Antilles they finally ended up in Peru. Pietro works for a company that represents several major car brands in Peru and his job demands of him to travel all around the globe. Pietro is married to Maria Camino who is a successful Barista and graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Lima. To make it all ‘picture perfect’ they run this successful speciality coffee shop in San Isidro, called ‘Tazza Caffe’.
The idea of starting Tazza Caffe originated at The Coffee Road. Often times Pietro and Maria would visit the place to meet up with their friend Alejandro and talk about coffee amongst other things. The passion grew and a tiny seed was planted inside their minds. Maria always had a dream to be her own boss. To have a place of her own which she could run as she saw fit. It did not take long for Pietro and Maria to decide that they wanted to pursue their passion for coffee. The passion grew into an idea and the idea turned into a coffeeshop of their own: Tazza Caffe. They found a spot in the business-district of Lima which could cater to their needs, but it was not an instant hit.
It was a slow start at first; the hasty people in the area did not have the time to get to know the place at first. The people would rather stand in line to get a quick cup of coffee at one of the big coffee companies in the area. Maria decided to do some catering for the offices located in the area; it turned out to be a golden move. The companies not only got to taste Maria’s excellent catering, but also Tazza Caffe’s coffee. Before long the word was out and people started to skip the big coffee companies in favour of Tazza Caffe. More and more the people turned to Pietro and Maria for their daily or hourly shot of cafeine. First the employee’s of Samsung started coming over, and later other company employee’s followed. After only one and a half year they ousted the competition and became the number one spot in the business district of San Isidro.
Aside from being a Barista, Maria studied in the USA as a sort of indoor architect and that shows when you enter Tazza Caffe. The colour-scheme, the interior design and even the shelves of memorabilia are spot on and all her doing. The place offers a hasty retreat for all those deadline-ridden businessmen (and women) in need of a caffeine-shot between working hours. Tazza Caffe, however, is not just catering the busy on-the-go-coffee-grabber, it is also a place where you can sit down and chat. You can also finish up work while having lunch or enjoy a little snack with one of your clients. Pietro and Maria would not be where they are today if they did not have the minds of progressive businesspeople. Tazza Caffe launched a customer loyalty program where customers van pay for their coffee using their phone’s and there is more to come.
Dedication and Love
Since Pietro is travelling the world or spending his hours at the office, it comes down to Maria (and her staff) to run the place. She does it with so much passion that every now and chipped in when the place got busy during our meet. You could see Pietro’s hands itching as well when the place got crowded, but he knew Maria had it all covered. It was nice to see the passion oozing from this couple. Maria would apologize for chipping in, but can you blame her? Every espresso or cappuccino that was put on the counter was made with all the dedication and love she could muster.
On one of the walls in Tazza Caffe hangs a big chalkboard saying: ‘Dont look for love, look for coffee’. It funny how this sentence really fits in when you come to think of it. When you are looking for coffee and enter Tazza Caffe, you will find good quality coffee. But you will not just find coffee here, you will also find the love that this place ozzes: the love for coffee.