Coffee Cluster

The Engine of Ideas


A journey through the world of coffee, from the plantation to the cup: a visit to the Coffee Cluster offered a chance to discover where this aromatic beverage comes from, who is behind its production and the places where it originates.

Plantations before your eyes, in greenhouses and in photographs
The wonderful photographic documentation of Sebastião Salgado, a Brazilian photographer who lived close to coffee plantations in the state of Minas Gerais, greeted visitors. The atmosphere of the plantations, the actions and the pictures of the farmers brought visitors immediately into the world of coffee. What does a coffee plant look like? To see one, all a visitor had to do was go to the botanical area, where there were two greenhouses, one inside and one outside, of Arabica coffee plants. Arabica coffee plants are quite delicate: they can grow up to 12 metres, but they are pruned to 2-3 metres, as is the practice on plantations. With a little luck, visitors to the cluster could see the plants dotted with splendid, small white flowers – as a display by Salgado with a flourishing plantation. Once the flowers had wilted, the fruits were formed, and visitors could see here among the greenhouse plants the green fruits that ripen to red and become drupes.

Coffee roasting: touching and tasting the coffee from each country
Every day, in the area dedicated to coffee roasting, coffees from the ten countries in the cluster were roasted. The green coffee beans were roasted and took on the appearance we are used to seeing. In this area, visitors could also have a sensory experience: they could put their hands into the sack containing the raw beans and smell their aroma of herbs, and then put their hands in a sack of toasted coffee.

Guided tours in the Cluster and courses from the Trieste Coffee University: discovering coffee
Every weekend in the common area of the cluster, there were courses held by the Coffee University of Trieste. The instructors presented recipes for coffee and told stories about the people behind this cherished beverage. Every day, lllycaffè offered cluster visitors learning about the world of coffee some special little “Epson Moverio™ BT-200” eyeglasses that allowed an “augmented” view.

Tailored coffee: coffee made to order for you
At the end of the course, visitors could get custom-blended coffee chosen from among 9 Arabica coffees. A personal blender greeted visitors, preparing a coffee based on everyone’s preferences.

The countries and journeys of coffee: faces, traditions and cultures
In the central area of the cluster, there was a large globe showing the trade routes for coffee. By continuing, visitors could watch coffee machines, from the oldest to the most modern: Cimbali, Faema, E61 (named in honour of the solar eclipse of 1961), Cimbali Pitagora (which won the Gold Compass prize), Gaggia, and more modern machines up to the 2012 Cimbali. Also on display was the “Illetta”, a machine made in 1933 that still works and is the first machine to make espressos. One can tell from an espresso mousse whether it has been made well or not. How? If the mousse is walnut coloured with dark brown streaks, it has been made perfectly.
By exploring the individual pavilions of the ten countries, visitors could discover how each one grew coffee, what the cultural rites around coffee were and the vivid colours of the areas that grew this precious resource. It was possible to taste different kinds of coffee preparations, by infusion or by drip, and be transported to far-off lands full of colours and flavours.

Discover the countries of the Coffee Cluster in the records of Expo Milano 2015

Burundi: “A Discovery of the Five Senses: Burundi”
El Salvador: “Quality and Diversity of Coffee. Sustainable and Competitive Production”
Kenya: “The Land of Unlimited Possibilities”
Rwanda:“World in the Pocket”
Uganda: “Strengthening food security with coffee”
Yemen: “Mocha coffee and Sidr honey, gifts from Yemen to the world”
Ethiopia: “Ethiopia: the roots of coffee and much more”
Republic of Guatemala: “The Heart of the Mayan World”
Dominican Republic: “More power to small family farmers so they can feed themselves, their communities and the world “
Timor Leste“The Tale of the Timorese Coffee Farmer”