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Carlo Di Ruocco

Carlo Di Ruocco | Mr. Espresso

Meet Carlo Di Ruocco, Mr. Espresso himself. Carlo has grown Mr. Espresso into a Bay Area institution - as a quality roaster and an established provider of espresso equipment, service and training to a sizable share of coffeehouses and restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Mr. Espresso continues to be family-owned and operated with two generations of Di Ruocco's working together in the Oakland showroom and roasting facility to ensure what began over thirty years ago will endure. 

What Inspired You To Start Your Company?

Passion for coffee, especially espresso. For everyone in Italy, espresso is a ritual in everyday life. My brother and I would always get a little taste of the sugar that remained at the bottom of our mother's espresso. It was our treat.


Tell us about your products.

Our company started roasting in 1981, and we have only used the Italian method of using roasters fueled by oak wood. We are the only major roasting company does it this way. The wood creates humidity in the heat. It allows us to roast our beans more slowly than if we used gas. This means the coffee comes out more flavorful and with less acidity.

We also are a representative for Faema, world leader for quality and design in espresso machines. Made in Italy. Faema also holds the patent for the first automatic espresso machine, the made in 1961. 


What Does Being A Small-Batch “Artisan” Mean To You? 

Family, art, intense labor to produce the best


What is your favorite small-batch treat?

Neapolitan Espresso


What Drew You To Food?

Survival after WWII. But my mother always had the freshest, best that she could buy even if it wasn't a large amount. 


Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?

My mother. She said, "Remember, eat small and eat quality."


What Products Are You Working On Now?

Single-origin coffees.


Do You Have a Favorite Product?

Good pasta.


Latest Ingredient Obsession?

Organic, virgin olive oil.


What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?

Spaghetti scapeci (spaghetti with salted anchovies).


What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?

My mother


What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other artisans?

Be honest, work hard, persevere, and constantly improve the quality.


What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?

All who serve simple foods with quality ingredients.


If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?

None! I wouldn't take a chance that it wasn't prepared as well as when I enjoyed it before.


Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?

Scallops with a light blood orange sauce - Many, many years ago in Nice, France. I still think of that meal.


What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?

Wallkng, reading, looking at San Francisco Bay. I feel very lucky to live in the Bay area with all of my family.


What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?

All '50s music, French, Italian, American.

Discover Mr. Espresso In The Box from Chef Dakota Weiss