The tale of a designer coffee

“The coffee on everyone’s lips, a coffee born from our partnership with kimbo.”

42-27693650_0.jpgThey say that in the past in Naples, anyone having a coffee at the bar who was particularly happy would pay for two coffees, not one, the second one being for the next client. Every now and then someone would put their head around the door and enquire as to whether there was a “coffee up for the taking”. A coffee offered to humanity, in other words. In this same city, in the fifties, there was one coffee that was the talk of the town, a coffee that became a legend.

Some waxed lyrical about its inebriating aroma, others praised its firm long-lasting foam or crema, and yet others were bewitched by its persistent, velvety flavour. There were even those who came from the other side of the city to try it at least once.

It was served at the bar-cum-pastry-shop belonging to the Rubino family in Naples. Nobody then imagined just how many stories would be told about that particular coffee.

The one about a coffee at night, with friends going on holiday. That rather bitter tale of coffee, one morning at the station, before saying goodbye to her. The unforgettable coffee when you met Him.

The partnership with Kimbo: a coffee story

Perhaps not everyone knows that the story between Autogrill and Kimbo started with listening.
A story that started when we realised that something was changing.
When we became aware that the coffee break – enjoyed as a complete, gratifying sensorial experience – was no longer a prerogative limited to Naples or a restricted number of experts.
When we perceived that a growing number of people were drinking “coffee” as an experience.

From idea to action

The sense and the ideal blend
  • VistaSight: thick foam, hazelnut to dark brown in colour
  • OlfattoSmell: aromatic richness, character
  • Canale tattileTouch: full-bodied, syrupy coffee.
  • GustoTaste: complex, persistent "mouth-aroma
(Survey by Centro Studi Assaggiatori del Caffè)

In 2012, in collaboration with the Centro Studi Assaggiatori del Caffè, the Coffee Tasters’ Study Centre, sensorial mapping was made of the “ideal” blend. This was followed by a quality survey that optimised that special blend to meet the needs of consumers on the move.

The arrival of Kimbo

It was then that Kimbo came into play, called on to step up to the plate, to present our customers with a new blend specially created for the occasion. Five other major Italian companies also competed in this challenge. 

And Kimbo won. After more than 1,800 interviews and 2,500 taste trials carried out all over Italy, both blind and branded, the Kimbo blend was judged the best by our customers.

Nothing was left to chance, with plenty of attention also given to the equipment for preparing the espressos and the management and maintenance procedures, which included a specific training that led to the birth of the Coffee Ambassador, the reference expert for customers and colleagues at sales point Autogrill.

Logo Storie di Caffè

By April 2012 we were ready: “Coffee Stories”, the range developed using high-quality blends studied specifically by Kimbo for Autogrill, began to be served in the over 500 Autogrill bars in Italy.

And in the summer of 2012, Coffee Stories started to expand into Europe, initially in 270 locations.

Two years later, there are around 2,000 sales points in 10 European countries, with more than 200 million cups served since the launch.

Stories told by travellers. Stories in Autogrill.


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The tale of a designer coffee