After Unesco recognised the cultural importance of Neapolitan pizza-making in 2017, Italy now says its coffee too deserves a spot on the list – or at least the traditional way of making and drinking it.
Standing at the bar to drink an espresso coffee has long been seen as part of the fabric of society and a social “leveller” in Italy – something enjoyed by and affordable to almost all.
But some critics of the plan say Italian coffee culture must be allowed to evolve – and that quality must improve.
The Unesco application was finalised this month for the government's nomination of “traditional Italian espresso” for Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The initiative came from the Consortium for the Protection of Traditional Italian Espresso Coffee, “whose originality and peculiarity must be preserved”, according to MP Maria Chiara Gadda,of the Italia Viva party, who spoke as the application was presented in the Italian Chamber of Deputies.
“We know very well how important coffee is to Italians, to Italians living abroad and to people around the world who have learned to appreciate something that is also a ritual and an occasion for meeting,” she stated.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte enjoys an espresso in the Chamber of Deputies. Photo: AFP
Today Italians are drinking more coffee than ever – the annual per capita consumption of coffee in Italy went up by 5.3 percent in 2018 to 5.9 kilograms, according to the Ansa news agency. 95 percent of Italians drink it habitually.
However, Finland, not Italy, is the country that holds the European record for coffee consumption.