A cafe in Florence has been fined £850 after a customer called the police and complained that he had been charged £1.70.
The incredulous customer argued that the Tuscan town’s café Ditta Artigianale charged him €2 after making his espresso, but didn’t show the price on a menu at the bar.
The owner of the award-winning cafe objected that all prices were displayed online and that the unusually high fee – about 70 percent above the average for an espresso – was intended to cover the cost of sourcing the beans from a particular plantation in Mexico.
But the police refused to accept his reasoning and fined Francesco Sanapo 1,000 euros.
“They fined me because someone was offended for paying two euros for a decaffeinated coffee. Can you believe it?’ said an angry Sanapo in a video posted to Facebook.
“Even today, someone can get so angry that they call the police, who decided we were wrong based on an outdated law,” he protested, waving the police fine.
“This law needs to be changed because otherwise 99.9 percent of bars and restaurants would easily break it.”
Francesco Sanapo, owner of the award-winning cafe, protested the fine in a lengthy video posted to Facebook
He argued that his award-winning coffee came from a small plantation in Mexico, and the cost of the espresso covered sourcing and shipping costs, as well as the filtration process for decaffeination
The incredulous customer argued that the Tuscan town’s café Ditta Artigianale charged him €2 after making his espresso, but didn’t show the price on a menu at the bar
Drinking espresso is an integral part of Italian culture and cafes in Italy are known for serving good coffee at traditionally low prices.
Although supply chain issues and café closures due to Covid have meant many Italian companies have steadily increased their prices in recent months, the average price of an espresso in most cafés is still around €1.
Ditta Artigianale has always sold its coffee at a premium – the price of an espresso started at €1.50 when the café opened in 2013.
But Sanapo argues that an extra euro is a small price to pay for coffee lovers.
‘[A police report]simply because I hurt the nerves of someone who felt offended for paying two euros … for a decaffeinated coffee from a small plantation at 1600 meters in the Chiapas region, a decaffeinated coffee made exclusively with a water filtration process was made,” Sanapo said in a four-minute video shared on social media.
“Sorry, I’m angry. He felt offended because he paid two euros because the barista weighed the coffee, ground it, prepared it with the best machines on the market.
“It’s difficult to get people to understand that there are coffees that can cost over a euro. Coffees made by people who work hard to create a coffee that becomes a unique experience. It’s not just about producers, there are also baristas who study to extract the best possible coffee, but no, you get offended because you pay over a euro for it.
“That’s why the Italian coffee industry is declining, it’s dying.”
Although supply chain issues and café closures due to Covid have meant many Italian companies have steadily increased their prices in recent months, the average price of an espresso in most cafés is still around €1
“Sorry, I’m angry. He felt offended because he had paid two euros because the barista had weighed, ground and prepared the coffee with the best machines on the market,” Sanapo protested
Sanapo concluded by saying he was “heartbroken” by the fine and railed against outdated Italian law that requires all prices to be clearly displayed on an on-premises menu.
“I don’t think any bar, cafe, restaurant in Italy today is able to display all their prices behind the counter. Of course we have a QR code, there you can view anything you want. But that’s not enough for them.
“There can’t be a law from the 1950s telling us to display all prices.
“The espresso and Italian coffee industries need a quality recovery. And quality has to be paid for.”