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Kimbo

The story of Café do Brasil, producers of Kimbo Coffee, is like a story straight out of a Hollywood movie all about success, willpower and entrepreneurship. It is actually an all-Italian or, rather, Neapolitan tale unfolding over the last 50 years; a history of daring choices made with a classic, text book example of prodigious entrepreneurial flair. Created as a small roasting plant in the years after the Second World War, Café do Brasil grew exponentially to become a nationally renowned coffee roasting company.

In a city like Naples where practically everyone cultivates and hands down the art of coffee, the talent and intuition of some stand out. This is the case of the Rubino Brothers who founded the company Cafè do Brasil. They did not start out as industrialists. They were coffee shop owners. They helped their father in the management of the family bar/bakery. The popularity of their espresso was soon extended beyond their neighborhood and there are those who take a long walk to come and drink it. Their popularity increased very slowly, like sipping a cup of good coffee. And, they got new ideas, such as bringing the pleasure of Neapolitan coffee in all of the bars and in all of the homes all over the world.

In the 1960’s, the Rubino Brothers took advantage of the opportunity offered by the new packaging techniques. With the revolutionary vacuum-packed can, the Neapolitan tradition of real coffee could be taken anywhere. With this purpose in mind, in 1963 Cafè do Brasil spa was founded and soon became one of the most important coffee roasting shops in Europe. Their coffee became famous all over Italy and then all over the world with the Kimbo trademark. This is how we discovered a resemblance in taste with the Neapolitans, and so we find the traditional Neapolitan coffee to be real coffee, good coffee. Also thanks to Kimbo and the Rubino family.

By the 1970's, Kimbo Coffee was the undisputed market leader in Campania, thanks to the unfaltering superior quality and the adherence to the typical Neapolitan tradition in coffee. From a distribution limited to the Campania region, Café do Brasil implemented a bold expansion policy and by 1994 had gained a prominent second place on the Italian packaged-coffee market with their brands Kimbo and Kosé.

Kimbo is the company founded by the Rubino Brothers in 1963 and from which the Kimbo trademark was created, a name that evokes exotic lands where coffee beans are cultivated. Some years later the Kosè trademark was also created, a good and convenient product. In 2012 it conquered the coffee shops in Sardinia, thanks to the take-over of the historical coffee company from Cagliari, La Tazza d’Oro. In 1994 Cafè do Brasil ranked second in the retail sector of the Italian market for packaged coffee, a position that it still holds today.

Café do Brasil has continued to expand and currently delights millions of consumers world-wide with the unique aroma of their coffee. The unflagging grit and determination of the three founding Rubino brothers can still be seen today in the efforts of their children and grandchildren. Their team manages a network of 300 agents and a 40,000 square meters plant in Naples.

The growing success is definitely due to the money invested in advertising and corporate infrastructures, but, more importantly, because of the strict loyalty given to tradition and excellent quality. The mission and vision of the Kimbo company evidence their ongoing commitment to tradition and quality. Their goal is to spread Italian coffee throughout the world and make a quality product inspired by the Neapolitan tradition and authentically made in Italy, and that is created with the most advanced technology while respecting the people and the environment. Their ambitions are to be a reference point for all coffee lovers, to interpret the culture and the trends, to express the uniqueness and the tradition of Neapolitan espresso coffee, and to create a coffee for everyone but not like anyone, dedicated to those who appreciate the rich flavor, the differences and the details. For Kimbo, this all begins with coffee selection and roasting.

In order to make a good coffee you must go very far because the quality depends above all on the quality of the raw materials. This is the reason why Kimbo S.p.A. has dedicated a lot of attention to the selection of green coffee from those countries that actually produce it. All the cultivation phases of the coffee are watched carefully and subject to multiple checks. Those beans that pass these meticulous quality checks are then dried by the sun, decorticated, and shipped to Italy. The experts at Cafè do Brasil select the best raw coffees of Arabica and Robusta varieties on site and immediately provide samples to the factory in Naples, where a team of experts carry out product and chemical tests. Then the tasters come to give their approval of the raw material by using the most sophisticated machine that exists: their noses and their taste buds.

When the tests have been passed, the batches of coffee are stocked and then sent to the coffee roasting plant. The coffee is then brought to temperature from 160° to 250°C for a time that varies from 8 to 12 minutes. The roasting is done in three phases: dehydration which eliminates the humidity, then the roasting, and finally the cooling process that is done at room temperature. This is the phase in which coffee acquires all of its aroma. A more or less strong roasting gives a more or less strong color and taste. This is where the experience of the people at Kimbo becomes fundamental to determine the ideal temperature and duration from time to time, checking every instant of the process in real time.

The blending is a very important moment. Each batch of coffee is selected and qualified according to its sensory profile. Each blend must combine the various prestigious qualities of various origins in order to obtain the ideal result, a perfect balance of taste and constant quality. Our technology can only help to a certain point. The human element is determinant. The packaging phase is fundamental in order to keep the quality. There are two procedures. For whole beans, the packaging is done in a protected atmosphere. Instead the ground coffee is vacuum-packed. It is as if time were still: so when the package is opened, you can enjoy the aroma and taste of coffee that has just been roasted.

Naples, Coffee, and Kimbo

There are many beautiful Italian cities with traditions such as Rome, Venice, Milan and Turin. Yet, further South there is a city on the slopes of Vesuvius where time apparently stood still, i.e. Naples. People of Naples love coffee or, even better, espresso. Coffee culture and their daily espresso are as much part of Neapolitan culture as being jolly, laid-back and passionate.

Neapolitans are very critical when it comes to this classic hot beverage, for espresso is not just espresso. There are many kinds and many ways of preparing and drinking it. Traditionally Espresso Corto with little water and much coffee and Espresso Lungo with a little more water are the favorites of the Neapolitans. This does not mean that they do not fancy Caffè Latte or Caffè Macchiato; they just prefer espresso. In addition, Neapolitans who really enjoy life swear by their Caffè Kimbo, a coffee roaster based in Naples. Caffè Kimbo is the company that represents the Neapolitan coffee culture.

Owing to the fact that in Naples almost everyone has their own regular bar where they feel welcome and, of course, have the best espresso, there are about 500 to 600 coffee bars in the city. It is really conspicuous that coffee bars in the South are clearly distinct from those in the North of the country. While in the North people sit down, you stand up in the South (mainly in Naples). Going to a coffee bar is a regular ritual: you enter a bar, have a coffee and a glass of water (you always order a coffee and a glass of water) and go back to your work. This way Neapolitans easily have 3 or 4 espressos a day. They simply take that time and enjoy their coffee. And at prices between 70 and 90 cents per cup this is also an affordable pleasure.

Those who have no time or think espresso does not taste that well in a bar make their coffee at home. Each household in Naples has their own small espresso machine, cafetière or Bialetti Moka Express. This little stainless steel machine makes a heavenly espresso in no time. The cafetière is used every morning because the first thing that comes to a Neapolitan’s mind is a freshly brewed espresso which they mostly have with milk. You do not leave house before you have had some coffee! There is a saying in Naples about how an espresso should taste: it should be the three Cs, ‘comme cazzo coce’ which in English means “It’s darn hot”.

The typical Naples coffee bar layout is rather simple if not even old-fashioned, without any knickknacks. A small bar, a few snacks, two to three employees and that is about it. If you prefer larger and more modern, you have to go to a Bar Pasticceria. What should not be missing, of course, is a Barista. A Barista in a suit hurrying from office to office with a tray in his hand is simply there to serve coffee to those who cannot leave office. They are not to be mistaken with what we know today as a Barista, namely the person working behind the bar making drinks. This coffee is our recommendation for optimum coffee pleasure.