Java D'oro celebrates 20 years of coffee roasting

By Artis Henderson, Special to The News-Press

Java D'oro Gourmet Coffee has been roasting coffee beans in Cape Coral since 1998, serving its unique blends to restaurants and coffee fans alike.

The aroma of fresh-roasted coffee starts in the parking lot of Java D’oro in Cape Coral. It grows stronger inside the retail boutique and peaks inside the warehouse where the company has been roasting fresh coffee beans since 1998.

Tony Latassa owns the coffee roaster with his wife, Antonella. The two first came to Southwest Florida from Calabria, Italy. When Tony Latassa arrived in the area, he roasted coffee as a hobby. He was passionate about coffee but was only roasting beans part-time. Latassa worked full-time as a biologist in a lab at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers. Eventually, though, Latassa quit the hospital and dedicated his life to coffee.

“We always had a passion for coffee,” Latassa said.

“Obviously, with the years and years, we got better and better. You never want to stop learning. Now I consider myself a coffee encyclopedia. Ask me anything you want about coffee, and I probably have the answer.”

So, when’s the optimum time to drink coffee after roasting? 

“Twenty-four to 48 hours. After we roast it, we do not grind it for 24 hours because it will be flat. The chemical reactions are still developing inside the bean," Latassa said. "After that, at 48 hours, it’s at the peak of the flavor. Then slowly, slowly it starts going down.”

Which coffee beans are best for someone who has a sensitive stomach?

“Sumatra beans. They’re less acidic.”

And what’s the best blend for espresso?

“I drink 100 percent Arabica espresso. Arabica beans grow at high altitudes and are the ones that are used for gourmet coffee. I drink two as soon as I come in, back to back, and then sometimes an hour later I go drink two more," Latassa said. 

"I’ve been living here for 30 years, so a lot of friends come and visit me, and guess what? In Italian culture, we say, ‘OK, let’s go have an espresso.’ That’s the first thing we do, especially if we have it available like we do. Our espresso machine is on all the time. I’ll have one, they have one, that goes on all day.”Latassa has what he calls the Rolls Royce of espresso machines, a La Marzoccohand-built in Florence that retails for $20,000. He sources his fresh beans from coffee growers throughout the world, including Brazil, Guatemala and Ethiopia. 

ava D’oro sells its roasted coffees in batches ranging from 2-ounce samplers to 5-pound bags. The beans are available whole or ground, and people can buy them online or in the roaster’s onsite retail shop.

The company also sells wholesale to many of the hotels, restaurants, and businesses in the area. 

Latassa's knowledge and years of experience make him a hot commodity among chefs and restaurateurs seeking unique roasts for their diners. 

“We roast for just about everyone,” Latassa said. "Once they come and try our coffee, they don’t go to Wal-Mart anymore.”