August 19, 2012

Charles Stephens & Salvatore Savarino

In this issue of Café Culture, we’ve decided to profile two well known coffee industry characters, Charles Stephens and Salvatore Savarino. Both men are from Espresso Company Australia (ECA).

I first met Charles over twelve years ago at a dinner during Fine Foods in Sydney, as he was preparing to launch his Famous ECM Giotto into the home market. It was a revolutionary move, being one of the first domestic boiler/heat exchange espresso coffee machines.

The price tag was extremely high at the time for this type of equipment, and I remember it was a big risk for Charles, who at that stage was a one-man band, and he had invested everything he owned into this project. One thing I still remember from our conversation was that Charles believed quality coffee equipment would drive the Australian marketplace, and he was 100% right in this forecast. The Giotto home coffee machine became the benchmark leader in the high end home barista space

Charles had a few other hidden talents; he was a professional ski instructor, skiing up to 320 days a year every year for ten years, and he was also the handsome face of the passenger safety demonstration video for Qantas. Those of you who flew Qantas would have experienced a few minutes of his acting skills during the inflight safety video prior to take off, which played, much to his horror, for years after his brief stint with the airline.

The next ten years of ECA was full of ups and downs, as it was for many independent coffee machine agents in a very shaky financial world. Charles had a stroke of luck in securing the very professional sales expertise of Salvatore, who had good technical knowledge, as well as a strong sales background. Salvatore, in his previous role with a large European home coffee machine agent, had a good grasp of where the market was heading.

ECA today continues to sell the new version of the Giotto, which is now manufactured by Rocket Espresso in Milan, Italy, and they are the exclusive agents for several other well-known traditional commercial espresso machines and grinders, which also include Vibiemme and their great Domobar range of domestic espresso machine models.

Sal and Charles are now working hard with ANFIM Grinders of Milan to create the perfect model for busy Australian espresso bars. The introduction of the new “Linea Professionale” commercial model from Rocket Espresso has also been very successful, and Charles and his team are pleased with the uptake of this big brother of the successful Giotto.

Outside of the office, Charles and Sal are both busy family men. Sal has a little boy, with another baby due, and Charles has three little girls. These two café people are well respected and are great networkers, always involved with this progressive industry. Café Culture wish the ECA team all the best in the future, and we look forward to working/socialising at future events.

Please visit the Espresso Company Australia website for their full range of products, services and video user guide demonstrations:

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