Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg
Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

The King of Little Italian Coffees Prepares a Big Push for American Connoisseurs

Lavazza, Italy's biggest coffeemaker, is trying to tap growth in the U.S., the world's largest coffee-consuming country. But can a company inextricably linked to the little espresso convince American consumers to give up their Grande? Luigi Lavazza is targeting "tens of millions of dollars" in U.S. distribution and marketing in 2015, more than a third of its investment budget. Take a tour of the company's Turin, Italy home. Photographs by Alessia Pierdomenico for Bloomberg
Beans
Beans

Lavazza entered the U.S. in 1990 but has barely scratched the surface of the $12.8 billion market. The company seeks to double sales there to $200 million by 2018, with a final goal of creating a $300 million business.

Roasters
Roasters

Lavazza will continue to seek strategic partnerships with restaurants, hotels and coffee shops, but won’t yet introduce its own machines for U.S. household sales.

Blend
Blend

The company started out as a small grocery shop in Via San Tommaso in Turin in 1895. Now, the founder's great-grandson, Giuseppe Lavazza, is vice chairman.

Stack Them High
Stack Them High

Packets of coffee move along the production line at the company's Turin, Italy, facility.

Filling Up
Filling Up

Packets of coffee are filled as they pass along the production line.

New Markets
New Markets

Lavazza entered Florida this year when it started selling its coffee at grocer Publix Super Markets, and will become available in Texas next year. The U.S. coffee market is dominated by giants such as Keurig Green Mountain, which it provides with coffee for its K-Cup system, and Starbucks.

Distribution
Distribution

Machinery moves packaged coffee at the facility.

Automation
Automation

An automated forklift moves packaged coffee in the plant.

Home
Home

Via San Tommaso 10 is where Luigi Lavazza opened his first grocery shop.

Taste Test
Taste Test

Bar owners are trained to test coffee inside a center in Turin, Italy. Lavazza operate more than 50 such centers around the world, in which 30,000 people are trained every year.

Generation Game
Generation Game

Lavazza's vice chairman, Giuseppe Lavazza, has ruled out the prospect of an initial public offering for the company.

Espresso
Espresso

Latte-loving Americans prefer big cups of coffee and grabbing their caffeine on the go at chains like Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts. At home, coffee machines that deliver bigger servings dominate. Nespresso, owned by Nestle, introduced its 8-ounce-serving Vertuoline coffee machine in North America last year.

Billions
Billions

According to the company, 17 billion cups of Lavazza coffee consumed yearly worldwide.