Teaching Canadians what ‘real’ coffee tastes like for over 50 years.
It’s a classic tale of one man’s journey to a new country who, through hard work and determination, became a success building one of the most enduring and beloved brands around in the highly competitive and high stakes world of coffee brewing.
From Italy to Canada came the man behind FAEMA Canada, one of the most successful espresso and cappuccino machine distributors in Canada today. “FAEMA Canada was founded by my father, Mike Di Donato, in 1958 after emigrating here from Italy,” says Lorenzo Di Donato, FAEMA Canada’s Vice President, Marketing and New Business Development. “The truth is, one bad cup of coffee inspired my father to kick-start Toronto’s caffeine scene when he realized that this country lacked what Europeans had been enjoying for years – the finest espressos and cappuccinos. His passion for great coffee coupled with his vision of introducing espresso and cappuccino in a new world led my father to start his own business of importing machines to Canada. Needless to say, the early days were difficult as the only clients my father had were the immigrants that came to this country and opened small cafes, bakeries and restaurants that wanted to offer espresso and cappuccino in their establishments.”
“As my father’s new business began to flourish, his passion for Italian food and culture led him to expand his range of products to include pizza ovens, gelato machines, pasta machines and other specialty equipment used to produce typical Italian cuisine,” adds Di Donato. “When the demand of espresso and cappuccino grew cup by cup, as thickly drawn espressos were poured and sipped throughout the city, FAEMA Canada also began to import residential models so that people could enjoy the same quality at home as in their favourite café.”
Today, FAEMA Canada is the industry leader of importing and distributing quality espresso and cappuccino equipment for commercial and residential use. Their success is based heavily on family involvement. Mike Di Donato’s four sons, Pat, Rocco, Joe and Lorenzo, represent the four pillars to Faema’s espresso empire. Though each son coordinates a different aspect of the company, the four complement one another, forming a cohesive unit. The company operates two separate divisions (commercial and retail), currently employs over 150 staff and sells its range of products through six corporate owned stores and a network of over 220 dealers and retailers across the country. The company also embarked on opening its own upscale FAEMA Caffe Boutiques (Sherway Gardens and Tuscany Place in Vaughan) where customers can experience the finest espresso and an uncanny assortment of desserts and Italian –style flare while browsing the beautiful home models displayed.
Faema’s current headquarters are located at 672 Dupont Street (at the corner of Christie) in Toronto’s West End. The property, acquired by the Di Donato family in 1994, was originally constructed by Ford Motor Company of Canada in 1915 and was used to assemble the famous Model T. Possessing a rich history dating back to The First World War, the Di Donatos took on the arduous task of redeveloping the building and to meticulously restore it back to its glory days. Today, FAEMA Canada occupies one floor (approx. 30,000 sq. ft.) of the complex, while the remaining four floors are leased to office and retail tenants.
Faema’s flagship Toronto showroom and office is currently undergoing a redesign incorporating many of the original architectural features as well as some vintage Ford models. Plans to unveil the renovations are slated for the beginning of 2015 to coincide with the building’s 100-year anniversary. “We are incredibly excited by the renovations taking place in Toronto,” says Di Donato. “We are working with designers and architects on preserving many of the historic architectural details of the building, as well as creating a stunning display of old Ford models and FAEMA machines we’ve curated for our clients’ enjoyment.”
In addition to the FAEMA brand itself, FAEMA offers a variety of premium brands such as Jura, Capresso, Rocket, Ascaso and La Nuova Era that can be tested at any one of their retail stores. “Our selection of machines is complemented with a wide range of accessories and our assortment of locally roasted and imported espresso blends from Italy.,” says Di Donato, also adding, “Our wide selection of beans can also be brewed and sampled at all of our locations. In addition to our famous FAEMA house blend, our most popular blends include Segafredo, Trucillo, Mike Coffee, Incas and others.”
Over the last several years, the popularity and demand of high-end espresso and cappuccino machines for home has continued to grow and FAEMA Canada has become one of the top brands of choice with its Jura automatic bean-to-cup espresso machines. Since 1931, Jura, a Swiss brand, has been developing innovative high-end household appliances. As a pioneer in the field of automatic espresso/coffee machines, Jura has been a main contributor to the household appliance sector since the mid 1980’s. In fact, Jura has become FAEMA Canada’s most significant brand and now has its own facility in Mississauga.
“In 2011, we opened our Jura Service and Hospitality Centre at 115 Matheson Blvd. East (at Hurontario) in Mississauga. Our state-of-the art showroom, service centre and training facility is modelled after Jura’s Swiss headquarters in Niederbuchsiten, Switzerland,” explains Di Donato.
The facility is a glass masterpiece with the service area visible to the public through floor-to-ceiling glass panes. The facility also houses a showroom where customers can test drive all of the machines and get one-on-one help from a trained specialist, a training centre where FAEMA Canada’s retail partners come for intensive training on the machines, and the state-of-the-art service and diagnostic area. Jura machines all include incredibly sophisticated software that the technicians in Mississauga and at the home base in Switzerland can monitor and update when needed.
As in the U.S. and other parts of the world, the coffee culture in Canada is booming. This has led to an influx of inexpensive coffee machines, including the recent popularity of single cup or capsule brewers, and corner coffee shops offering quick cups of coffee for the masses. But for FAEMA, and for those who truly appreciate the importance of a good cup of coffee, nothing can compare to the exquisite bean-to-cup experience that only the Jura systems and the other premier brands FAEMA Canada carries can make for both commercial and residential use.
Understanding the technology behind the premier brands that FAEMA Canada represents goes a long way to explaining their popularity as coffee lovers consider two important things: quality and cost per serving.
“When you think about it from a cost-per-cup perspective, the investment in a bean-to-cup machine is the logical choice,” remarks Di Donato. “With a Jura machine, you are actually only paying pennies a cup compared to single cup/ capsule brewers. Although the upfront cost of a bean-to-cup machine may be more expensive, the benefits in terms of cost per serving, environmental concerns and most importantly quality is far greater. Plus, you can brew two cups at time, so when you are having say, a dinner party, you can literally brew two of the finest espressos or cappuccinos at a time for your guests quickly and affordably with absolutely no compromise in quality or taste.”
When it comes to appreciating the finest coffee, Di Donato says a Jura machine is like no other. “With a Jura, you can create a perfect, fresh cup of coffee at the touch of a button. From the precision aroma grinder to the modern styling to the sophisticate computerized technology, these machines are like the Ferrari of coffee machines.”
Even its design is a masterpiece of modern engineering. “Juras are designed to achieve the greatest efficiency and retain as much aroma as possible while also displaying little wear and great durability. They are not only beautiful but they are technological marvels.”
The enjoyment of any good cup of coffee starts with the freshest coffee beans. Every barista will tell you that coffee beans have to be ground gently to just the right fineness. Only then will they obtain the optimum taste and develop the full intensive aromas in the cup topped with a velvety soft, rich, delicate crema. “Homeowners get to become baristas at home when they choose a machine from FAEMA. Only then do they get to experience what real coffee really takes like. And once they’ve made the investment and experienced a bean-to-cup of coffee, they will never go back to cheaply brewed coffee again. They value their machines, take great pride in their place in their homes, and spend the time servicing them by bringing them to our Mississauga facility. We even offer trade ins as our clients are always looking to invest in new technologies and upgrade their machines.”
“We’re a 100% Canadian company who’ve been bringing the best of Italian espresso and cappuccino to people across the country for over 50 years,” Di Donato sums up about the family business. “Once you’ve experienced the quality coffee from one of our machines, I promise you, as my father knew would happen all those years ago, you’ll become a true believer in the bean-to-cup philosophy. Visit one of our showrooms and experience the quality of the bean-to-cup coffee difference for yourself.”