Ditta Artigianale (Florence)
A note about third wave coffee in Italy-- it doesn't really exist. That is, until Francesco Sanapo has opened Ditta Artigianale in Firenze. My friends and I happened upon this shop while visiting Florence from a recommendation of someone who had spent a lot of time there, and it was suggested for us if we wanted some good coffee with some "hot older men baristas". Honestly, I was expecting a variation of the typical Italian coffee bar. The kind of standing-only bar where you pay one euro--that's the price basically everywhere, thankfully--for a "caffe espresso" (I got so many confused or irked looks when I tried to pronounce that with a correct Italian accent, considering they always thought I wanted a caffe americano) and then push your way through to wave your ticket at the other side of the bar where they throw an espresso with perfect crema, steaming hot, right in front of you. Whether its at an Autogrill on the side of the road or at a nice cafe, you can expect the same quality and same price espresso. But their perfect version of espresso has a very different, dirtier taste, and is put together from start to finish in about thirty seconds. Francesco Sanapo wanted to change the game in Italy and bring the flourishing third-wave trend around other parts of Europe to the stubborn Italians. I'm not saying that this traditional caffe espresso is ready to change anytime soon, but if there is anyone who could successfully bring third wave coffee to Italy, Francesco Sanapo is the man to do it. First off, Ditta Artigianale roasts their own beans. The espresso when I visited Ditta Artigianale was a blend of Brazil, Guatemala and El Salvador beans called "Jump". They also had an option of a single origin Colombian, and I tried both the two times that I went back (and on the second time that I went back Ditta Artigianale was hosting a press conference for La Marzocco in their back room-- I was celeb crushing so hard). "Jump" had a very balanced flavor, while the Colombian had a honey sweetness with good acidity. In all honesty, Ditta Artigianale was the best espresso that I found in Italy. I hope the Italians listen to the wisdom of Francesco Sanapo and follow his start of the "Italian Coffee Renaissance".
Recommend: This is conveniently close to the Uffizi Gallery where you can see some of the best paintings in the world by Botticelli or Titian. Eat breakfast or brunch here as well, and look for Francesco because he will be sure to chat you up.
Note: If you don't know anything about Italian espresso, know that this place is quite unique. Try an espresso somewhere else for just one euro and understand the price difference.
Price: $$ (1.5-2 euros for an espresso)
Vibe: Friendly Italian
Espresso Rating: 9/10
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
Address: Via dei Neri, 32 50122 Firenze, Italy
Hours: No idea