Cimbali Group: “Technology heart, Human mind”. Over 100 years of innovation, technology and quality
“Shall we get a coffee?”
This simple sentence opens up a multitude of different worlds, both stated and implied. New journeys begin over a cup of coffee, business deals are made, friendships blossom and love is revealed.
Coffee demonstrates that we belong to a world that evokes different emotions and experiences for each of us.
We rarely ask what lies behind coffee and above all whether it is good: rather than asking questions, we simply drink it. If something bothers us, we ask “Why?”.
But usually we are distracted by something else and we do not ask for further details.
Within a cup of coffee, there lies a universe of people, technologies, machines, care, innovation, patents and culture.
You can begin to understand this universe by occasionally looking beyond the cup, raising your eyes and starting to observe what comes before: from the person that has made and presented the coffee to the maintenance and importance of the equipment, to the grinder that has expertly crushed the beans, to the blend (or single-origin coffee) that took over nine months to mature before reaching us and, obviously, to the coffee machine that skilfully mixed the raw material with water and then applied pressure and heat to preserve the best essence of this alchemical process. A good coffee is truly magical.
Indeed, MUMAC presents a story that extends from early history to the present day, going beyond machines to explain to us how this invention accompanied the social changes and the evolving lifestyles experienced first by Italians and later by consumers worldwide.
MUMAC not only retraces the evolution of over a century of company history, but above all explores the evolution of the technology and design of an entire “Made in Italy” sector, exhibiting machines by every brand.
Visiting Mumac means retracing a hundred years of history of Italian customs and society.
It starts with the first steam machines, beautiful with their liberty friezes, sought after for the refined and exclusive premises of the early twentieth century where coffee was rigorously prepared by the licensed stoker and served at the table by the accomplished waiter.
A visit to MUMAC gives you an insight into a hundred years of the history of Italian customs and society. It starts with the first steam machines, which feature beautiful Art Deco decorations and were highly sought-after by the sophisticated and exclusive cafés of the early twentieth century, where coffee was meticulously prepared by the licensed stoker and served at your table by a courteous waiter.
You will be enchanted by the machines that were positioned on the counter in the ’50s when coffee cream appeared alongside the first televisions and transformed cafés into bars, places for socializing, discussion and entertainment.
You then come to electronic machines and to the machine’s confinement to the back counter in the following decades, which was a way of freeing up space and growing the business to accommodate more frenetic consumption by standing customers (coffee “on the move”).
Finally, the museum focuses on the return to more conscious, well-informed coffee consumption: coffee is increasingly important to us and coffee machines are now returning to the counter, in front of customers, enabling coffee specialists to give us a new interpretation of an ancient story.
The coffee of those years was different from what we mean today for espresso: steam extraction with pressure at 1-2 bar and "fast" delivery (in a few minutes!) meant to have more in the cup than today, of a black, burnt, bitter and boiling product.
We must wait for a patent of 1938 and ten years later with the Milanese barman Achille Gaggia the production of the first lever espresso machine with which to obtain a pressure of 9 bars.
Along with Gioiello, another name was devised to promote coffee with cream: “Cimbalino”.
A name that soon became, thanks to a marketing strategy that was well ahead of its time, the way to ask for an espresso coffee at the bar: a hot, intense, rich, creamy coffee with a hue somewhere between hazelnut and dark brown and reddish reflections decorated with light stripes that create a uniform tiger-stripe effect.
A coffee with a fine texture, without air bubbles or white spots, or the tendency to open up to give you a glimpse of the underlying liquid.
“At the start of the ‘50s,” recalls Maurizio Cimbali, the grandson of the founder and current president of Gruppo Cimbali, coffee was a long, dark drink that was slightly burned and lacked aroma.”
With the invention of lever machines, which used water pressure rather than steam, it became possible to produce coffee cream, a rich, aromatic espresso that literally travelled and spread throughout Italy.
“For us,” explains Maurizio Cimbali, “espresso became the Cimbalino, a creamy coffee served in the most prestigious bars in the big cities, as well as in the squares.
"My father and his brothers had, in fact, customized a series of vans that travelled the length of Italy offer to offer the new Cimbalino espresso for free to passers-by.”
Cars in the ‘50s were showy, irreverent and dynamic, such as the “dream of dreams”, the Fiat 1900, a two-door sedan that stood out aesthetically due to its expanse of glassy surfaces.
The Granluce coffee machine took inspiration from this car, dominating the café scene thanks to a beam of light that defined the contours of its body.
At the centre of the large metal surface, a luxurious plaque displayed its logo and name, while the large transparent strip with its double curved extension, which overhung the top to protect the cup warmer, bore the “un Cimbalino” logo.
Beginning in the ‘50s, foreign tourists, who were becoming increasingly numerous, began to appreciate the quality of Italian espresso coffee.
The process of internationalization that began in those years saw La Cimbali Granluce conquering the most sought-after bars with prestigious presence: from the castle of Versailles to the glass UN building in New York, from Algiers to Johannesburg, from Lisbon to Melbourne, testifying to "Made in Italy excellence”.
The process continued in the ‘70s with Pitagora and was consolidated in the following decades thanks to the advent of electronics, allowing the company to quickly expand exports to every corner of the world, becoming a launch pad for the growth of the Group.
Today, international sales account for 80% of the Group’s sales and it encompasses brands recognized all over the world: La Cimbali, Faema, a historic company bought in 1995, and Slayer, an American company acquired in 2017 to consolidate the Group’s position in the specialty coffee sector, which is one of the main coffee consumption trends.
But technology would be nothing without the human component: this is why the “Technology heart, Human mind” exhibition was set up in Hangar 100, a large multi-functional space in MUMAC.
The exhibition is a tribute to the history of a brand and above all to people put their mind and heart into their work every day.
The extraordinary harmony between technological innovations and people who have worked and created the history of Cimbali for more than one hundred years can be experienced today in the exhibition, where experiences become memories, evoking many feelings and triggering deep emotions.
At Cimbali, sharing and spreading coffee culture in the world means cultural, philanthropic, local and international commitment that is tangible every day.
This growth is the result of people, passion and daily challenges.
This is not just expressed by a large company but also by a place, Mumac, which is enlivened by a permanent museum, by an Academy devoted to the promotion of coffee culture, by highly impactful temporary exhibitions, by a library recognized as a historical coffee library, by international loans and by an awareness of being the content and container of culture and beauty, a bridge between past and future.
This exhibit was created by the MUMAC MUSEUM (www.mumac.it) of Cimbali Group (www.cimbali.it).
Cimbali family and team, first of all
Exhibition Curator: Team MUMAC - Barbara Foglia, Cinzia Cona (www.mumac.it)
Storyteller, writer and content curator: Margherita Pogliani (www.storifai.com)
Technical contents supervisor: Enrico Maltoni (www.espressomadeinitaly.com/)
MUMAC Archive (www.mumac.it)
Matteo Valle (http://www.matteovalle.com
Massimo Fazio (www.massimofazio.com)