One of the brands getting behind the MAAP-Basso Team in 2016-17 is Rocket Espresso. Rocket was founded in 2007 by Kiwi Andrew Meo and Italian Daniele Berenbruch, focusing on creating the finest handmade espresso machines in its facility outside of Milan.
While the brand has won respect in a commercial sense and with the home connoisseur, It’s not just coffee aficionado's that love Rocket Espresso machines. The pro peloton have taken a strong liking to them, with riders such as Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel, Brad Wiggins, and Simon Gerrans among others owning a Rocket.
We had the chance to visit the Rocket Espresso headquarters in Crema, Italy earlier this year and sat down to speak with Andrew Meo about the Rocket connection to the pro peloton.
“In 2009 we built our first limited edition machine that celebrated 100 years of the Giro d’Italia. We limited the production to just 100 individually numbered machines. Denis Menchov crossed the line and we engraved his name on the machine along with the names of the previous winners and shipped the machine in a special box with a copy of the Gazzetta della Sport that reviewed the 100th edition of the race.
That really started the Rocket Espresso association with cycling which now includes a number of professional riders and numerous cycling brands.”
Surprisingly though it’s a Canadian pro who has caught Andrew’s eye as the most passionate about espresso “One rider we have had the greatest association with is Orica-BikeExchange rider Christian Meier who has set up both a cafe and now a roastery in Girona and is a big advocate of the brand. I think the (skill) level is probably pretty high amongst several riders and I know that the subject of coffee is often discussed when the peloton is not sitting at full gas”.
While at the MAAP office we can get particular about who makes the coffee, Andrew’s a bit more laid back, but says there must be care taken in the process. “I am happy to let other people make me coffee, although I am disappointed when I am served a coffee that's been prepared without any love or any real effort! It’s not so difficult to make great coffee but you need to want to make great coffee.”
While we're used to the conversations on the bike being all about where to stop for coffee after our ride, the scene around Milan is decidedly different.
“The culture here is predominately a ‘short’ espresso culture so it's difficult to sit around a cafe for 20 mins with an espresso in front of you rather than with a flat white or Latte. It’s not the antipodean post ride coffee experience of telling stories over latte’s after the ride, I do sometimes miss that.”
The MAAP-Basso Team were lucky to have a Rocket on-site at the recent team training camp, and post-ride it was the place to be...depending on who was behind the controls. “We’re looking forward to the association with MAAP-Basso. From a meeting here in Milan earlier this year, things fell into place very quickly. That’s the advantage of working with like minded brands, we can get some pretty cool stuff happening because we all share similar goals in our respective businesses.”
Finally, we posed a question on behalf of all the traditionalists out there. Milk in coffee, acceptable? “The Italian rule is no milk after 11am, from then on its espresso only. ‘Acceptable' does not come into it, it’s a rule!”