Vittoria Coffee – brewing new opportunities in the UK

17 December 2021

‘It’s safe to say Australian coffee is among the best in the world … and has been for some time.’
Pat Nourse, Chair of the Oceania voting panel for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards 

There has been an explosion of Australian-style coffees around the world. From Macao to Melbourne, Los Angeles to Lisbon, you’ll find flat whites on the menu. 

In the UK, it’s no different. 

Vittoria Coffee Managing Director and third-generation coffee maker, Rolando Schirato, is keen to pounce on the growing demand for an Australian brew. 

The UK has always been high on the company’s expansion list. Vittoria has supplied the Australian-UK expatriate market and high-end hotels and cafés since the company began in 1947. 

Now, with the signing of the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement, Vittoria is planning further expansions. 

‘Boots on the ground’ in the UK market and a flagship showroom

The expansion plans for Vittoria Coffee in the UK include having a flagship showroom. Here, it will create a unique Vittoria coffee experience. It is also planning to lock in the right ambassador to grow its brand.   

As Schirato points out, the coffee business never stands still. It is constantly evolving, with speciality coffees like Vittoria’s certified organic and Rainforest Alliance blend. The latter supports Australia’s OzHarvest charity. It also offers Nespresso capsules, newly developed instant blends, and its time-honoured special bar blends. 

The one thing that remains the same, however, is Vittoria’s flavour profile. This is the secret to creating a consistent flavour across large quantities of coffee. 

‘It doesn’t matter if you have that coffee in London or LA. You will have the same taste experience,’ says Schirato. 

To maintain this consistency and know-how, Vittoria plans to redeploy Australians into the UK market. It will also hire on the ground. 

It will also build out its Australian-based export division, creating more jobs back home. 

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Meeting the pent-up demand for Aussie flat whites 

Schirato is excited about Vittoria’s expansion plans. He credits Austrade with assisting the business along the way. 

‘We have a long and valued relationship with Austrade,’ Schirato says. ‘Austrade provides introductions and offers us on-the-ground support. Austrade ensures we connect with the right people. It helps us to navigate export requirements like tariffs, taxes, and quotas. 

‘When we launched into the US market, the Free Trade Agreement helped us connect with peer groups on the ground.’ 

It was also in the US that Schirato had the chutzpah to reach out to Al Pacino to become Vittoria’s brand ambassador. The Oscar-winning actor rose to the challenge, adding, ‘Vittoria Coffee brand ambassador’ to his title. It was Pacino’s first ever product endorsement, in 2010. 

Passing the baton – all in the family 

Schirato’s grandfather Orazio Cantarella started Vittoria Coffee in 1947. What began as a foray into Italian-style imports led to a longing for the taste of freshly roasted coffee. Orazio and his brother began roasting their own 100% Arabica coffee beans in 1958. 

Together, they pioneered the development of the Australian coffee industry. They created the precursor to what has become Australia’s No.1 pure coffee brand. 

Schirato’s father Les Schirato, Vittoria Coffee’s CEO, worked in the business as a young man. He fell for and then married the boss’s daughter, taking on the family challenge. 

‘We are proud of being a family business,’ says Schirato. ‘It means we approach the business differently to a huge multinational. 

‘We are here for the long term. We build things to stand the test of time. That goes for our selection of the highest-quality green beans and how they are picked and washed. It includes the intricacies of our roasting process, the temperatures, blends and quality controls. Our business is focused on maintaining consistency from the largest and most technologically advanced coffee roasting facility in the Southern Hemisphere.’ 

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