STAFF at a Basingstoke-based firm are enjoying the sweet smell of success after landing a prestigious contract.

Coffee experts Qualitasse has secured a deal to become the UK distributors of fiamma espresso equipment.

The firm, based in Davy Close, on West Ham Industrial Estate, already supplies a range of coffee machines as well as freshly roasted beans throughout the UK.

Now it is the UK distributor of a range of quality commercial coffee machine made by the Portuguese manufacturer which sells its products in 72 countries.

Qualitasse general manager Martin Perry said: “They had been looking for a UK distributor, and we were in competition with many other coffee machine distributors.

“Initially, they said that as we were a small regional company, they would be happy to supply machines to us to sell locally. But then they asked us if we would represent them nationally.

“They had seen that we understand coffee and coffee equipment. We feel that after 32 years of being in the business, we certainly understand coffee machines better than most.”

Keen to spread the word about fiamma, Martin said Qualitasse will work in partnership with other regional UK coffee firms to sell and maintain its range of machines across the country.

The task of spreading the word has certainly got off to a good start as the fiamma range of espresso machines was recently warmly welcomed at a private trade viewing held at Dayer’s Restaurant, on Chineham Park.

Qualitasse will also be featuring the fiamma machines at Caffe Culture – the UK’s leading coffee trade fair in London – in May.

“These machines allow professional baristas to deliver the best coffee,” said Martin, who like a wine expert takes making coffee seriously.

In fact, Qualitasse has a City & Guilds accredited barista training school.

Martin said: “We have gone through years of developing training programmes which means that all of us here understand coffee. Even the people in credit control and the people who produce invoices are all able to produce a very good coffee.”

This, of course, includes Martin, who earned a distinction and was in fact the first person in the UK to earn 100 per cent in his City & Guilds exam three years ago.