Italian cafe fined £850 for charging £1.70 for an espresso

Italian cafe is fined £850 after furious customer called police because he was charged £1.70 for an espresso

  • Ditta Artigianale cafe in Florence charged €2 (£1.70) for decaffeinated espresso
  • Customer called the police, furious that the price had not been clearly displayed 
  • The owner argued the price list was available online and via a store QR code
  • But cops disagreed and slapped the owner of the cafe with a €1,000 (£850) fine 

A cafe in Florence was slapped with a £850 fine after a customer called the police and complained he had been charged £1.70.

The disbelieving customer argued the Ditta Artigianale cafe in the Tuscan city had charged him €2 after making his espresso, but had not displayed the price on a menu at the bar.

The owner of the award-winning cafe protested that all prices were displayed online, and that the unusually high charge, though roughly 70 per cent above the average for an espresso, was to cover the cost of sourcing the beans from a particular plantation in Mexico.

But the police refused to accept his reasoning and handed Francesco Sanapo a €1,000 fine.

‘They fined me because somebody got offended for paying €2 for a decaffeinated coffee. Can you believe it?’ a disgruntled Sanapo said in a video posted to Facebook. 

‘Even today, someone can get so irate that they get the police involved, who decided we were in the wrong due to an outdated law,’ he protested, brandishing the notice of his fine from the police.

‘This law must be changed because otherwise 99.9 per cent of bars and restaurants would easily fall foul of it.’

Francesco Sanapo, owner of the award-winning cafe, protested against the fine in a lengthy video posted to Facebook

He argued his award-winning coffee was sourced from a small plantation in Mexico and the cost of the espresso covered the sourcing and shipping costs and the filtration process for decaffeination

The disbelieving customer argued the Ditta Artigianale cafe in the Tuscan city had charged him €2 after making his espresso, but had not displayed the price on a menu at the bar

Sipping espressos is an integral part of Italian culture and cafes in Italy are reputed for serving good coffee at traditionally low prices.

Though supply chain issues and cafe closures due to Covid have seen many Italian business steadily increase their prices in recent months, the average price of an espresso still sits around €1 at most coffee shops.

Ditta Artigianale has always sold its coffee at a premium – the cost of an espresso when the cafe opened in 2013 began at €1.50.

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 metres in the Chiapas region, a decaf made exclusively with a water filtration process,’ Sanapo said in a four-minute video shared on social media.

‘Sorry, I am 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 make people understand that there are coffees that can cost over one euro. Coffees that are produced by people that work hard to create a coffee that will become a unique experience. It’s not just about producers, but there are also baristas who study to extract the best coffee possible, yet no, you get offended because you pay over one euro for it.

‘That’s why the Italian coffee industry is declining, it is dying.’

Though supply chain issues and cafe closures due to Covid have seen many Italian business steadily increase their prices in recent months, the average price of an espresso still sits around €1 at most coffee shops

‘Sorry, I am 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,’ Sanapo protested

Sanapo concluded by saying he was ‘heartbroken’ by the fine and railed against the aged Italian law that requires all prices are clearly displayed on a menu on the premises.

‘Today, I believe, no bars, coffee shop, restaurant in Italy is able to display all their prices behind their counter. Of course, we have a QR code, there you can display anything you want. But this is not enough for them.

‘It’s not possible to have a law from the 50s that tells us we must display all prices.

‘The espresso and the Italian coffee industry, must revive from quality. And quality has to be paid for.’ 

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