In Italian, “tazza d’oro” means “cup of gold.” Lucky for Carnegie Mellon University, Tazza D’Oro, located in Rohr Café in the Gates and Hillman Centers, has been serving up cups of gold to campus customers since 2010.
Amy Enrico is the owner and operator of Tazza D’Oro, which first opened in Pittsburgh in 1999 and is recognized as one of the best espresso bars in Pittsburgh. Amy attributes Tazza’s success to four key elements:
- Intense coffee and espresso training for Tazza’s baristi
- Purchasing and carefully preparing the finest coffee, roasted by Counter Culture Coffee
- Sourcing over 80% of food and milk purchases from local, independent vendors and farms
- Tazza’s amazing community of customers and community partners
Each cup of gold served by Tazza D’Oro’s highly trained and talented baristi is a testament to sustainable coffee farming. Counter Culture Coffee, headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, and one of the leading coffee roasters in the country, has set the standard for direct trade relationships with farmers and co-ops around the world to ensure responsible farming practices and the highest quality green coffee that, when roasted, highlights the unique characteristics of the region from which it originates.
The ingredients used in Tazza’s coffee drinks, from-scratch pastries (baked by Amy’s brother), and Italian paninis are also organic and locally-sourced whenever possible. Amy recently visited a local farm and had this to say after her walk through the farm’s pastures: “All animals are 100% pasture-raised, supplemented with non-GMO feed, and completely grass fed. It was a fascinating day and I learned so much about pasture farming. What an amazing, sensitive ecosystem!”
Without further ado, let’s learn more about Amy Enrico, the woman behind the liquid gold!
How did you get started in the coffee/food industry?
I grew up in our family’s Italian bakery. One of my brothers is an amazing baker, and he just happens to be Tazza D’Oro’s baker. My other brother is an exquisite Italian cook and restauranteur. I fell in love with espresso/coffee bars while working in the corporate world in Seattle in the 1990s. After a change of heart, I decided to completely change my career. With my Pacific Northwest experience as inspiration, I sought to create my own high quality, specialty espresso bar in Pittsburgh.
Why are you passionate about coffee and food?
I guess because I’m Italian and from a family of foodies. But my true passion is coffee, espresso, and fine teas.
How do you develop your menu?
We develop different types of Italian panini based on the local farms we work with for seasonal ingredients. Our menu changes with the seasons.
Which local farms do you work with and what types of food do you get from them?
Over the last 10 years, Tazza D’Oro has been committed to purchasing our ingredients, food and milk, from local, independent businesses and western Pennsylvania farmers. Here is a list of our local farmers and partners:
- Kistaco Farms for fruit and fresh-pressed apple cider
- Greenawalt Farms for seasonal produce and veggies
- Brunton Dairy for all milk products for our coffees and espresso bar
- Garfield Community Farm for produce (veggies and fruit)
- Lamppost Farm for ham
- East Liberty Farmer’s Co-op for bacon, cheese, beef, and poultry
What do you like most about Carnegie Mellon University?
The sense of community, as well as the University’s high values. At Tazza, we have high standards for the coffees and food we serve and I know that Carnegie Mellon shares in those expectations.
Personally speaking, what’s your preference – cook in or dine out?
Absolutely to cook! It’s truly one of my favorite pastimes.
What is your favorite meal to prepare/cook/serve?
Homemade, fresh pasta. Fresh tomato sauce if it’s the summer, or another seasonal sauce. Or roasted chicken. Or a risotto. No matter what I make, all ingredients either come from my garden or from our local farming partners.
All-time favorite food or meal: Linguini with clam sauce or risotto with kale, sausage, and saffron
Outside of coffee, food, and work, what are some of your hobbies/interests?
Learning! I am always striving to be a better leader and to seek out different business models. I also love cycling and gardening.
Tell us about something exciting taking place at Tazza right now.
The Brew Bar and pour-overs are back in the Gates Building! Don’t know what pour-over coffee is? Let our partner Counter Culture Coffee explain …
Visit Amy and her awesome Tazza baristi soon to get your own delicious cup of pour-over coffee!