In this episode of Nosh’s video series, Meet Your Maker, we spoke with John and Luigi Di Ruocco, the brothers who currently run the 40-year-old Mr. Espresso in Oakland.
The company has been owned and operated by the Di Ruocco family since 1978. While working as an elevator technician in San Francisco, Carlo Di Ruocco started his own business on the side, importing Italian espresso machines to the United States to sell to restaurants and cafés. The importing business eventually took off, and Di Ruocco decided to expand his venture by roasting his own coffee beans. He used oak wood to roast his coffee beans, and today Mr. Espresso is still the only roaster in the United States to use this method.
Watch the video to learn more about Mr. Espresso’s history and its place in Oakland’s current coffee culture.