It has a very strong cultural dimension and is the second most consumed drink in the world: we are talking about espresso coffee, now a candidate to become part of the Unesco Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Since 2003, UNESCO has been collecting practices and traditions from every country in the world to safeguard them and keep them alive.
In recent years, the Chinese Acupuncture, the Polyphonic Chant of the Pygmies, Turkish Coffee which has the characteristic of being boiled three times and the Irish Hurling have become part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
In 2017, another symbol of the Bel Paese was also awarded the prestigious recognition because, without any doubt, it is one of the most representative of Italian spirit throughout the world: the Neapolitan pizza.
From 1 October 2020, the date of World Coffee Day, a campaign has been launched to support the candidacy of Italian espresso coffee as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The famous drink, in fact, is recognised worldwide as a synonym of Made in Italy.
The campaign is managed by the “Comunità del Rito del Caffè Espresso“, which was created to promote the candidacy of the beloved drink and its social, cultural and traditional functions.
The idea of the candidacy of Italian espresso coffee as a heritage of humanity started a few years ago and was presented in March 2016 at the Chamber of Deputies. The promoter of the initiative was the Consortium for the Protection of Traditional Italian Espresso Coffee with the aim of supporting and protecting the drink that is a symbol of Italianness.
The Consortium for the protection of traditional Italian espresso coffee was formed by 15 companies in the sector in Italy and the Italian Coffee Roasters Group. Since its foundation, the Consortium has gradually expanded, and has also adopted a set of rules for perfect traditional espresso coffee.
The cultural value of espresso coffee
In Italy, coffee has a great social and cultural value. Drinking coffee with someone or offering a cup of coffee as a sign of hospitality are among the most widespread customs in our country.
This drink, therefore, not only represents a link with tradition but is also a moment of encounter, a sort of social ritual.
Historically, the public sphere of Italians was born in historic cafés such as the Florian in Venice, Al Bichierin in Turin and the ancient Caffè Greco in Rome. In front of a good coffee, any kind of social difference was cancelled out, and enjoying coffee in company became a convivial moment of pleasure, as well as a moment of cultural growth.
If you take a look at the statistics and numbers, you will realise how important coffee still is in the Italian day.
In Italy there are about 800 coffee roasters and the per capita consumption is 5.9 kilograms of coffee per year. So, although the biggest coffee consumers in the world are the Finns, the Italians are not outdone.
In fact, 95% of Italians consume coffee on a regular basis.
This means that almost everyone in Italy drinks coffee! Of these, 92% like to drink coffee at home, while 72% prefer coffee from the bar.
What characteristics does Italian espresso coffee have?
Italian espresso coffee has unique characteristics that must be preserved and handed down to posterity.
Many coffee variants have spread around the world and in each country the black drink is served differently. The best known versions are: American long coffee, short coffee, Irish coffee, cappuccino, iced coffee, as well as many variations served as a dessert.
However, there is only one true espresso coffee and its peculiarity lies in the cream.
The Consortium itself has indicated some characteristics that our espresso with the enviable coffee cream cannot lack:
- it remains at least two minutes on the surface of the coffee from the moment it is brewed;
- it is uniform and consistent;
- it must be dark hazelnut in colour with light streaks;
- the beans must be freshly ground;
- the grinder must be operated for no more than twenty-seven seconds to prevent the powder from becoming too fine and overheating;
- to enjoy a good espresso, the right cup is made of porcelain with a narrow bottom;
- each cup should not contain more than 26 grams of coffee;
- the drink should be served hot, but not boiling. Its temperature should be between 90 and 96 degrees Celsius.
Therefore, to become a UNESCO heritage of humanity, Italian espresso coffee must comply with precise rules that date back to the beginning of the last century.
The perfect extraction method: the coffee machine
Despite the spread of pods and capsules and the presence of the Moka coffee machine in every home, real espresso coffee, which is a candidate for UNESCO heritage of humanity status, has nothing to do with these two extraction systems.
According to the Consortium for the Protection of Traditional Italian Espresso Coffee, the only methods to obtain an excellent espresso are the bar coffee machine or the professional lever coffee machine.
If you want to drink an espresso coffee destined to become a UNESCO heritage of humanity every day at home, discover the models on our website.