Being of Italian lineage comes with its perks, particularly when residing in a country that tends to show an appreciation towards the luxuries and lifestyle synonymous with Italy. There are of course the stereotypical connotations regarding any Italian’s expected conduct and preferences. These include an excessive use of communicative hand gestures, a palate for good food, an undeniable appreciation for fast cars and an appetite for a perfectly-brewed cup of espresso. Most Italian expats will tick at least three of these boxes, as their heritage subliminally asserts itself.
We recently had the privilege to spend time with one such individual - an Italian South African who certainly ticks all boxes and has an unwavering love for his country of heritage. His name is Paolo Mastrogiuseppe, the founder and CEO of Super Veloce and Aeronautica Business Lounge in Mossel Bay, South Africa. We were offered an exclusive opportunity to conduct a factory tour, and subsequently document the first-hand story of how Paolo came to manufacture the world's most beautiful coffee machines.
Now, most people who know a thing or two about South Africa will probably be wondering why the premises of a global exporter of luxury coffee machines is located in a small coastal town and not one of the conventional industrial manufacturing hubs. And the reason is simple; Mossel bay is a quaint, warm town, largely devoid of urban sprawl and nefarious undertakings. Located along the picturesque Garden Route in the Western Cape, this locale hosts Paolo’s unique manufacturing facility and business lounge, which attract visitors and tourists alike. It has a more relaxed pace, which is convenient in creating a pleasant lifestyle while still being conducive to efficient business operation. The establishment houses a spacious business lounge and bar area, with strong inspiration drawn from the aeronautical and mechanical industries. Motorcycles are decoratively laid across the floor, engineering blueprints plastered across the walls and reclaimed aeronautical fuselage repurposed into modern furniture pieces.
The most interesting part of the facility, however, is the glass door looking onto a well-stocked and immaculate production line of partially-manufactured functional artworks. Formula 1 engines inspire the design behind these masterfully-assembled coffee machines. It’s quite simply not something you see every day, if ever. So, it was with a child-like eagerness that we were allowed to proceed into the airtight chamber to enjoy a closer look. Prior to our entry we were given exclusive insight into the story of how Super Veloce was conceived. Paolo’s idea for his espresso machines dates back to 2011, shortly after he had purchased a bespoke watch from Mechanica Veloce, fashioned from a motorcycle piston.
While brewing himself a cup of espresso on an ageing Mocha and coincidentally wearing his newly acquired timepiece, the thought of producing an engine-inspired coffee machine first dashed across his mind. And with that spark of inspiration, it was immediately to the drawing board, where Paolo studied blueprints of the legendary Mauro Forghieri V12. He hand-drew his Formula 1 inspired coffee machine to half scale, and from scratch, over the period of 3 months. His goal was simple; to make the best coffee money could buy, using the most premium materials available.
Paolo's unique outlook on manufacture and functional art draws significant inspiration from inventors and creators such as Horacio Pagani; yes that Pagani. His unique view on the relationship between the designer, the maker and the product sets his bespoke machines apart from any competitor. He is directly involved with the manufacture of each hand-made Espresso Veloce and has an unparalleled attention to detail. As Paolo grew his vision, he started developing a wider range of products on offer. These include a V10 and V8 variation, in quick succession to the Forghieri inspired masterpiece. In doing so Paolo has successfully paid homage to the spectrum of fire-breathing Formula 1 engines of the 90’s era. His most recent projects include the development of an air-cooled, Porsche-inspired Flat Six, as well as an extremely limited-edition Rolls Royce Aviatore Turbojet aircraft engine.
Once we had shared a cup of espresso over a conversation about the history of Super Veloce, we were invited into the production facility to hear more about the existing projects. We entered a large open area where most of the fully assembled machines are completed and packaged into branded wooden crates for global export. Atop the assembly tables, lay multiple, neatly-arranged iterations of the Espresso Veloce V8, V10 and V12’s adorned by different colour combinations to range spec. All designs are limited to a set number in production before the design is discontinued, making the few hundred of each model produced extremely desirable. Iterations of the 90s era Formula 1 engine series include the Nero Carbonio, a lightweight carbon-fibre-clad bodywork, adroitly encasing all the intricacies of the coffee machine within.
The crowning glory of the range is the super-limited-edition Royale, which is aptly named, since it boasts 18 ct gold plating, and other components manufactured from diamonds, royal purple amethyst and thermoset gold-lead carbon fibre. The range on offer has grown significantly from the original hand-drawn blueprint, but there are certain overarching characteristics that make all offerings iconically Espresso Veloce.
As we continued through the facility we noticed that beyond the aesthetic traits of each machine, there is a considerable amount of design and fabrication required for the production of one of these masterpieces. Specific components are machined using state of the art CNC apparatus, from solid surgical billets of aerospace approved alloys. Of the hundreds of components, 90 machined elements are set to a strict criteria of tolerances before they are fettled and prepared for assembly. An upstairs area of the facility contains surface treatment baths that polish and prepare the materials for final inspection. The unmistakable intake trumpets are hand polished to resemble a pristine surgical surface, and the components slowly begin to merge together to create the striking semblance of an engine. The inner workings of the coffee machine rely on an internal water tank to transfer boiling hot water into the head, creating over 20 bars of pressure. The result is that each switch of the button releases a perfectly brewed dose of coffee that filters downwards through the head, out of one of the exhaust manifolds, and into a coffee cup perched beneath.
The passion and attention to detail that Paolo has manifested in his designs, and subsequently his glorious coffee machines, lends to these masterpieces being exclusively reserved for high-end automotive dealerships and meticulously maintained private collections. Espresso Veloce has become globally synonymous with prestige and quality, and considering all design, manufacture and production are done locally, they are proudly South African too.
For those who desire to witness the intricacies of these machines in person, a Super Veloce showroom has recently been fitted within the official Maserati dealership in Johannesburg. We highly recommend sharing a cup of espresso in the company of these masterpieces if you have the opportunity to do so. All variations can, of course, be viewed at the website link below and any news on existing projects is available on their social media handles.
Website - www.superveloce.co
Instagram - @SuperVeloceCo
Facebook - /SuperVeloceCo
Aeronautica Business Lounge
Maserati Dealership Showroom - Maserati Johannesburg: Building No. 3, Bryanston Boulevard, 2985 William Nicol Drive, Bryanston 2102, European Automotive Imports, Gauteng, 2102
Slipstream Visuals is a proud member of the Italian South African Chamber of Trade and Industries - ITALCHAM