Earlier this Spring, on Monday 22nd of March, the La Marzocco team welcomed the first foreign visitor since the outbreak of Covid-19 and, together, they spent two full days at the factory and at the Accademia Del Caffè Espresso to chat about life, business, good old memories, and great new stuff for the future. For the company’s special guest, Henk Langkemper from ESW (Espresso Service West, The Hague, Netherlands), this was a particular and emotional moment, both personal and professional, and an opportunity to discuss an adventurous project that lies ahead – Scuderia La Marzocco – also as a homage to the exemplary decade-long partnership and friendship with the Florentine brand.
Here is what has emerged from the vis-à-vis interview between the LM team and Henk Langkemper on the inception of “Scuderia La Marzocco” and its future launch, all while reminiscing on teenage and college years, on the very first experiences of work, leisure, socialization, friendship, and business.
The idea came to life in summer 2020 while I was riding a bike. Back in the days, when I was younger, I was very fond of bike rides and was a huge fan of globally renowned competitions such as “Tour de France” or “Giro d’Italia”. At the time, once a year, I’d simply pick on a mountaintop to reach up to, on wheels, with my close group of friends.
From the age of 15 up until I was about 23 years old, I used to work in a bike shop in my spare time and Saturdays, after following my daily attendance and routines as an alumnus of an entrepreneurship school.
This is the period I got into bikes and especially in Campagnolo parts since a gentleman has always told me open-heartedly “this is the kind of gear you want”. That’s when I realized that was the thing I would aim for next when I would have saved some money in the future.
Fast-forwarding ourselves to the contemporary Covid-19 chapter, it has become clear that it can be tougher nowadays for my company to sell commercial-grade espresso machines and so what apparently seemed to be an adverse moment did in fact trigger my team and myself to brainstorm on new creative ideas and on innovative ways to sell our products and services, to further interact with our customers and engage with the community.
We had to think about something “out of the box”. And with this in our minds, alongside a rich historical coffee machine collection I hold, we reasoned on the many intertwining aspects between bikes and coffee machines.
During Coronavirus, one could still go out and ride bikes and that’s how we had a flash about vehicles, the idea of something on the road, fun and itinerant that would give back to the individual that sense of thrill and liberty.
From that instance, in a full stream of consciousness, the iconic Alfa Romeo Van by La Marzocco popped into my imagination… so at a time in which business was running at a slighter pace, I found and made time to go out on bikes, try and purchase new ones, fix frames and parts, to enjoy this revived hobby in person and simultaneously share the love on social media.
Riding a bike allows you to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, to explore new grounds, to connect with people and to cultivate shared vocations and hobbies. Being a member of the Facebook group Vintage vans and while flipping through my album of pictures and souvenirs, I stumbled upon some Maserati content and thought about the meaning and term “Scuderia” which was used by racing teams.
I was truly inspired by the way the word “Scuderia” sounded and the things it evoked so I began lots of research around its connotation and nuances.
So, my idea of a Van + the Linea Mini + the App integration + the collective imagination and iconography around bicycles + the sense of community … all this came together as a spontaneous formula. It seemed only fitting that the next natural step would be that of planning a dedicated project and a website of its own; designing an ongoing, open, and inclusive project and platform where ESW’s and Alleborgh’s partners and circle of local resellers and roasters would also be involved.
Here was a window for shaping and offering something fresh, different, and interactive too… and so did a network of around 15 new resellers come onboard, seizing the opportunity to be exposed through the van – as a means of communication & promotion – and take part in a comprehensive cycling project where the Scuderia La Marzocco content would revolve around the history of coffee, of cycling, of espresso.
The idea to create an event calendar for cyclers on the internet in a website and our new partners / / resellers for the Home machines to join in and promote the Linea Mini, their story and enthusiasm for wheels and coffee
It has always been a common ritual to indulge in pitstops and “pausa caffè” during bike rides, to grab a coffee and go… now it’s time to relaunch and reinvent new competitions, marketing initiatives, set up an events calendar and be ready again to safely gather with friends and fellow caffeinated enthusiasts.
The priority goes to long-time resellers who will be able to schedule their slot to use the van, invite their customers to chat all things LM (Home) and connect people from different generations with a shared enthusiasm for outdoor activities, sports, caffeination. A strong cycling culture does indeed exist here in the Netherlands.
Our aim is that at the end of every specific Scuderia La Marzocco event, people go home galvanized – savvier and more passionate about the world of quality espresso, equipment, La Marzocco and the social dimension that revolves around the brand, its philosophy and related coffee experiences – with a goodie bag to remember about the day. Biking is safe and the idea of the Scuderia is great because the structure and format is in place…
it shall be up to the resellers and partners to invite people over, deliver the content and talk about brighter times and positive experiences… no need no more to keep talking about the pandemic!
It was during the wintertime (2020-2021) that the idea transformed into something more concrete, and the investment for the Scuderia branding and website came into play.
Speaking instead of the small van La Moka (fiat 900e), it was found by Michel in Brussels, Belgium (love at first sight!), where it was, ironically, actually transferred to from Bergamo, Italy… original place of purchase.
The story goes about how the van went from a wineshop to a car showroom to eventually enter into the Netherlands (finally) under the care and refurbishment and of ESW & Alleborgh who plan on organizing a ride every weekend from this springtime onward (the first event and biking tour will most likely be held on the 23rd of May).
On the Public & Media Relations side, an ad hoc Instagram account would serve as an appealing social media handle for the audience to follow the cycling groups along their full-weekend journeys and, in parallel, a specific website would illustrate in detail the Scuderia coffee & cycling project, the LM Home range of products and accessories, their customization options as well as La Marzocco’s history and milestones.
I am grateful for this new happening and have promised myself – and my sister Fleur – that we shall take a couple-weeks trip from our hometown all the way until the final destination – the beautiful Duomo cathedral in Milan – and, why not, even the La Marzocco factory amidst the Tuscan hills and medieval villages of Scarperia e San Piero. This I am confident will be an unforgettable personal experience and holiday, covid-permitting, travelling on a bike in the company of family and friends, old and new… and maybe with Lorenzo Carboni & Enrico Wurm to join, too!
For more info and updates, tune in https://lineamini.nl/en_us/scuderia-la-marzocco/