Coffee with Lorenzo Antonelli of Sant Ambroeus

I discovered Sant Ambroeus during my first solo (adulthood) visit to New York in 2014.

I was recommended by the concierge at the Mark Hotel. I loved everything about it. The understatedness yet quintessential Italian hospitality, the coffee, and ambiance.

I met with the Head of Operations, Lorenzo Antonelli, who has worked with the group for many years. Lorenzo is managing operations for the group which means he is constantly whizzing between locations. Right after our meeting, he was going to the location at Sotheby’s. Every Sant Ambroeus has its own personality and personal touch.

How has the coffee industry in New York changed?

The concept of drip coffee was the only type of coffee you used to get in New York. Cappuccinos were not a standard drink. People were only consuming coffee to get through the day and the Italian culture of consuming coffee by the counter was unknown. Believe it or not, cappuccinos were a drink waiters used to consume. Hence, once Italian coffee and styled cafes arrived in New York the attitude towards coffee changed and was revolutionary. Now the coffee industry is inspired from all over the world in New York, be it Italy, Australia or Africa.

How has the story of Sant Ambroeus evolved?

Sant Ambroeus which opened its first location in 1982 on Madison Avenue, now have 5 locations across Manhattan as well as the Fine Dining concept of Casa Lever. The origin of Sant Ambreous is Milan when it was founded in 1936. Sant Ambreous is one of the most authentic Italian experience you will have.

What is your favorite cafe in New York (of course other than your own):

Fortunato Brothers in Brooklyn and Cafe Vergnano.

How would you describe the coffee at Sant Ambroeus?

Every coffee machine has its own soul and our baristas go through intensive training however we aren’t obsessed with technicalities but the art of creating coffee and consistently creating the same experience is a fine balance. Baristas are artists and creating something new every time as opposed to obsessing over the details. Overthinking will ruin the cup and experience!

Sant Ambroeus has a wonderful and detailed coffee menu – I could spend my life there if I didn’t have work and other commitments. I will look forward to being back!


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