Francesco Sanapo, the owner of the Ditta Artiginale cafe in Florence and an award-winning barista and trainer, reportedly received the hefty fine after a customer reported him to the local police.
According to the local news website Firenze Today, the customer filed a complaint because they were upset that they were charged €2 for a decaffeinated espresso.
In Italy, single-shot espressos typically cost €1 or less. According to Ditta Artigianale, its coffee comes from a small plantation in Mexico, and decaffeinated coffee requires complex and costly extraction methods; thus, the two-euro price.
The fine, however, was not due to the high cost of the espresso, but rather to an Italian law requiring cafés to post their prices behind the counter or on a menu.
The owner of Ditta Artiginale is allegedly in violation of Italian law due to the fact that only some of the restaurant’s prices are printed on paper, while others are only accessible via an online menu accessed via QR code.
In a video posted to Facebook on Saturday, Sanapo appealed to his supporters for assistance in fighting the fine, calling the law “outdated.”
“I was fined because they purchased my espresso for two euros,” This cannot proceed; it cannot occur. Help me!!!” reads the message that accompanies the video.
“I’m not one to complain on social media, but this time they have struck a nerve with something that is too important to me, the hospitality industry, and the coffee/café world in particular.”
In a subsequent video published on Monday, Sanapo stated that he did not have a problem with the fine, which he said he would pay, but rather with Italy’s fixation on having access to inexpensive coffee at the expense of quality.