When word got out that Trek Factory Racing, Trek’s professional WorldTour road racing team, was to become Trek-Segafredo, the cycling industry collectively high-fived. Segafredo wasn’t another deep-pocketed mega-brand looking for instant credibility with a target demographic. This was a coffee company. Better yet, a great coffee company. Better still, an Italian coffee company. Trek is a company of highly caffeinated cyclists, and when it comes to coffee we’re admittedly a little snobbish. We couldn’t have been happier. In our initial meetings with our new partners-in-coffee, the name Davide [pronounced dah-vi-day] kept coming up. Whenever a question about the product was raised, people would respond the same way: “We should really have Davide walk you through it.”
But who was this all-knowing keeper of coffee secrets, and how did he know so much? It became clear that speaking with Davide was the key to a complete understanding of our new partners. We had to meet him, and we were prepared to travel to the far-reaches of the world to do so. “Where can the Maestro be found?” we asked. “Newark.” “Newark? Is that in Italy?” “No. New Jersey.” Davide Vidoz is one of only 150 people in the United States who have achieved the SCAA (Speciality Coffee Association of America) Barista Guild of America Level II certification—the closest thing the coffee world has to a Jedi Master. A native of the tiny northeast Italian village of San Lorenzo Isontino, near the Slovenian border, Davide had been a devotee of the Segafredo brand long before becoming their tenured Ambassador to the United States. With an easy smile and a welcoming gesture, he offers us a seat at the bar in Segafredo’s customer development center. It feels like the lights might dim at any moment and our phones will have to be silenced.
To watch Davide make a coffee is to witness the surprisingly complex range of skills required—theatricality, chemistry, physics, artistry. He moves about the machine as if he’s conducting an orchestra, calculating a delicate equation of pressure, time, and heat as water moves through hand- selected precision-ground coffee beans, all while monitoring and preparing countless other elements of the presentation. The result? Magnifico. Below, you’ll find the maestro’s recipes for the coffee staples that best accompany summer’s biggest races. Fair warning: in the videos below, Davide makes it look easy. So don’t get discouraged if your crema doesn’t look exactly like his on your first try. Going up against Davide in a coffee-making competition is like trying to outsprint Fabian in the Roubaix vélodrome. But just like cycling, the more time you put into coffee, the better you’ll become and the more rewarding it will be.
The French Press
Just like the people from whom the method borrows its name, the French press cup is bold and complex. This comes from the extraction method of using pressure to move water through a perfectly roasted blend after a perfectly timed bloom. Complexity can require maintenance, and this method should not be attempted without your full attention and an accurate kitchen timer. You’ll need: French press Segafredo’s Vivace (medium roast), Enzo (dark-bold), or Rainforest Alliance Montagna Timer Scale Grinder Water boiler Heat water to 195° to 205°. Warm the cup and press by filling with a few ounces of hot water and letting it sit for 30 seconds. Discard water. Grind 50 grams of Segafredo coffee. Pour grounds into press and settle the coffee bed so that it is level. Place press on scale and set it to zero. Slowly pour 130 grams of hot water into the press in a circular motion, ensuring that the entire coffee bed is submerged. Wait 30 seconds to allow the coffee to “bloom.” Pour hot water into press until scale reads 800 grams. Wait 4 minutes, stirring at the 2-minute mark for even extraction. Press plunger and serve immediately. Do not pull plunger up until press is empty of liquid coffee.
Though it’s only an ounce, it’s the foundation of all craft coffee. A great espresso starts with a great medium blend like Segafredo’s Extra Strong (medium-dark roast)—finely ground, and tightly packed into the filter to create a dense surface through which the hot water can easily extract flavor from the coffee. At a pressure of 9 ATM and a temperature of 195° to 205°, water should be run through the filter within a few seconds of it being locked into place to keep from being burned by the heat of the group head. Davide looks for a nice, smooth “mouse tail” (barista-speak for espresso falling into the cup) and insists that espresso be served immediately upon completion to ensure proper flavor. If it doesn’t have a little crema on the top, send it back. Espresso can be enjoyed any time of the day.
Two schools of thought persist on the macchiato, centered around whether to add steamed milk and a dollop of foam or just a dollop of foam. Davide subscribes to the former. A macchiato is served in an espresso cup, and the milk should always be organic whole milk, though Davide recommends a line of Barista-specific alternatives if your dietary needs require such (try Pacific Foods’ Barista Series). Milk should be steamed. If you’d like to practice your frothing without wasting your kids’ cereal companion, a drop of dish soap and water produces an almost identical effect. Just don’t serve it to your guests.
Only for breakfast, the most popular espresso-based drink in the world is also the one that holds the most potential for visual impact. The perfect cappuccino is a balance of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam. Aside from complimentary wi-fi and poorly grown beards, the West Coast’s most notable contribution to the coffee house is simply known as latte art. Only with properly steamed milk (and a masterful hand) can flowers, hearts, or as in Davide’s most ambitious piece, the bust of a Native American chief in full regalia, be created with the foam. Davide’s from the home of the Renaissance. It’s almost not fair.