Italy will seek Unesco status for espresso coffee, saying it is “much more than just a drink”.
This follows the addition of the art of the Neapolitan pizza maker to the UN agency’s World Intangible Heritage list in 2017, as Italy aims to achieve global status for another of its symbols at success.
“It is an authentic ritual and an expression of our sociality that sets us apart in the world,” said Gian Marco Centinaio, the undersecretary for agriculture, confirming that the candidacy had been submitted.
The espresso quickly became an integral part of the national identity after its creation in Turin at the end of the 19th century. Drinking an espresso creates an opportunity to meet, to discuss politics and football, to complain, to make peace or pay a debt, or simply an excuse to talk about this or that.
According to the Italian Espresso Institute, founded in 1998 with the specific aim of safeguarding and promoting the original espresso, the market is worth more than 4 billion euros (£3.3 billion) a year, more 90% of Italians drinking one cup each. day, usually served in a porcelain cup.
The institute’s strict regulations for the perfect espresso include using a certified coffee blend, certified equipment, and even licensed personnel.
It specifies that the crema, the lighter foam that sits on top of the dark caffeinated brew, “should be even and persistent for at least 120 seconds from the time the coffee has been dispensed without agitation.” He says his color should be “nutty brown to dark brown [and] characterized by tawny reflections”.
Centinaio said espresso’s bid was also a way to celebrate Italy’s social interaction, partially interrupted by Covid restrictions.
Previous attempts to put Italian espresso coffee on the Unesco list have been made but never officially finalized, allegedly because of the country’s turbulent politics.
The agriculture undersecretary said he was confident Italy’s national commission for Unesco would approve the bid, with a verdict expected in the spring.