I was given a bag of coffee the other week by a friend, and was surprised not only by its quality, but by the fact that it was roasted, ground and packed by an Italian man living in Logatec. Always curious to learn more about other foreigners and their lives and businesses here, I sent Rodolfo Di Giamberardino, of Rudy’s Quality Coffee, some questions, which he was kind of enough to answer…
Where do you come from, and why did you move to Slovenia?
I come from Luco dei Marsi, a small town in the region of Abruzzo, about 90 km from Rome.
After I finished high school I moved to Rome to study Economics. I stayed in Rome for eight years and then found job in Parma. After that I was offered a job in Milan in a financial company.
While I was there I met my wife, who is Slovenian. We become a couple and had long distance relationship for two years. One weekend I came to Slovenia and other she went to Milan, but because that kind of relationship is very stressful and it takes a lot of energy we decided to make a step forward.
As I was already a “nomad”, used to living in different cities while she had lived in her hometown all her life. I asked my company to transfer me closer to the Slovenian border, aiming for Trieste, but they gave me opportunity to work in Castefranco Veneto, in the region of Veneto, which I took.
Our relationship became easier, but the distance was still too long. We lived like this for over two years, but then we ran out of energy and so I quit my job and moved to Logatec. That was four years ago now.
What’s your business, and how long have you been running it?
After a period of living here and deciding what to do, and knowing that I could not do the same work as in Italy, I came across a man who was importing a brand of Italian coffee in Slovenia. That gave the idea, and I started research everything about coffee.
I went to a coffee academy in Florence where I took courses in a traditional Italian roasting company, in order to learn the steps of coffee roasting and blending following the different roasting profiles, brewing, with different coffee types, different temperatures and different methods, the cupping technique used for professional of coffee tasting, especially in the world of specialty coffees, and with all that the world of coffee opened up for me.
On the way back to Slovenia I decided that I wanted to be in this business, so I bought my first roasting machine. I started to roast green coffee, and almost two years ago I opened my own micro roastery and online shop, called Rudy´s Quality Coffee.
I buy green coffee, just high quality specialty coffee and blends, then I roast it, pack it and finally sell it. Every Saturday you can also find me in local market in Logatec, as for me is very important to have contact with people so I can explain the different types and profiles of coffee. It gives me a great satisfaction when a person who their whole life has drunk industrial coffee changes to Rudy’s Quality Coffee.
What was your experience of starting a business here?
My experience of opening the business here is positive, for sure I had some problems, but I think that in Italy would be more difficult. Now my plans are to grow sales and have opportunity to let people wake up with my coffee.
What were your first impressions of Slovenia, and how do they compare with what you think now?
I first came here 10 years ago in winter time, when there was really a lot of snow. In fact it was snowing two days in a row so my wife gave me shovel and I had to clean the snow all around the house. Quite an experience. I had backache the whole week. So my first impression was not really nice, luckily the winter ended and the second impression was much nicer – I noticed how clean the country was.
I think Slovenia changed in the last 10 years and is becoming better known, so now I think there are already too many tourists. I hope it doesn’t lose its charm.
What has been your experience of culture shock in Slovenia?
Not so much culture shock. I would say the main difference is how the people take coffee. Here was the first time I drank Turkish coffee, which for me was a completely new thing. Also in bars in Italy we are used to drinking coffee quickly, and here people in bars take their time, they sit for a half an hour or more… Another thing that I noticed was that in pizzerias the waiter brings ketchup and sometimes also mayonnaise with the pizza, which for an Italian is incredible. And after pizza/ lunch/dinner they order also cappuccino.
Have you learned learn Slovenian?
I took classes in the Slovenian language but it’s really very difficult, and also I am not very talented at languages. The problem is that my wife speaks good Italian, so we continued to speak in Italian, and that was a big mistake. I still try to speak Slovenian with Slovenes, although I know I make a lot of mistakes, but I speak anyway.
Where are some of your favourite places to visit here?
Slovenia has a lot of beautiful places, but I really like Bohinj, Kranjska Gora, Posočje, Goriška brda, Kras, and the river of Nadiža. These are places that really impress you.
How do you feel about Slovenian food and drink?
Slovenian wines are very, very good, my favourite is Rebula. The beer is also excellent. As I come from Italy, where everything is all about food, I can also say that that Slovenian food is not bad, except kislo zelje and štruklji, but I like all sorts of soups, krvavice, žlikrofi, golaž.
What things frustrate you about life in Slovenia?
The people are not very welcoming. The relations are more impersonal and people are very serious. They don’t smile and are sometimes unfriendly.
What things delight you?
Nature, beautiful scenery, the tranquillity, and also the position of Slovenia is perfect for travelling around Europe.
Do you think you’ll stay in Slovenia for the rest of your life?
Well, I want to die in Italy. But as my wife is very static and doesn’t want to move from Slovenia, for now I see myself here.
Would you advise a friend to move to Slovenia?
You can learn more about Rudy’s coffee and order online. His coffee is also available every Saturday at the market in Logatec.