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Rise and Grind

Filicori Zecchini Café in Park Potomac Creates Coffee and Espresso with Beans from One of the World’s Most Celebrated Roasters

Article by Lauri Gross

Photography by Jack Hartzman

Originally published in Potomac Lifestyle

Plenty has been said about what makes the perfect coffee or espresso. Is it the water? The beans? The coffee machine? Those elements are important, but when Aldo Filicori and Luigi Zecchini set out to establish their version of perfection, they focused on the roasting. That was 1919.

Today, the company remains one of only six in the world that roasts beans the way Aldo and Luigi did.

The trick, says Elhussien Ahmed, owner of the Filicori Zecchini café in Park Potomac, is to “roast each type of bean separately and then blend after roasting. Others blend and then roast together so it is burned and the acidity comes out. Beans from each origin need a different type of heat and roasting.” He adds that doing it this way, “takes a lot of work and experience.”

The process protects each bean’s unique flavor and aroma. The result has been described as sweet velvet on the palette.

The beans come from Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Columbia and India. They travel to Italy for the crucial step of roasting. Next, the roasted beans are vacuum-sealed and preserved in air-tight bags or containers en route to Filicori Zecchini locations around the world, including the Park Potomac location, the only authentic Italian coffee roaster in Maryland.

Their careful attention to the technical specifications of the Italian Espresso Institute has earned Filicori Zecchini’s espresso the prestigious title of Certified Italian Espresso.

The Filicori Zecchini café in Park Potomac is open for breakfast and lunch with a menu featuring salads, sandwiches, muffins, pastries, smoothies, and desserts including tiramisu. Visitors can purchase whole or ground beans, pods and capsules for Nespresso and other machines, cold brew and of course a tantalizing selection of espresso and coffee drinks.

Choose from classic or specialty coffee drinks. Elhussien mentions the customer favorite affogato, which is a scoop of gelato with a shot of espresso. Others incorporate cocoa powder, frothed milk, whipped cream, and thick Italian hot chocolate cream.

Everyone can raise a mug to that.

  • An assortment of coffee and pastries
  • General Manager, Elhussien Ahmed and employee