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Wake up & smell the coffee: Italy wants UNESCO protection for espresso

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Wake up & smell the coffee: Italy wants UNESCO protection for espresso
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Two years ago, Italy was successful in having Naples’ very own iconic food recognised as part of the UNESCO World’s intangible cultural heritage. Today the country wants to do the same with one of its best-kept traditions: the espresso coffee.

Coffee is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water. The birth of the first espresso machine, invented in Italy at the end of the 19th century, has contributed to its global popularity.

Drinking espresso in Italy is a way of life, but for those who are behind the UNESCO application, there is more to it than that.

Ilaria Danesi, member of the Consortium for the Safeguarding of Traditional Italian Espresso Coffee told Euronews that the UNESCO application for Italian espresso aims to "claim back the espresso’s Italian identity".

"That’s because the espresso originates from the creativity of Italians", she said.

When they are not at home, Italians have their espresso in coffee bars. It’s a quick ritual. You order at the counter and you down it - in just a few seconds.

Standing at the bar and drinking an espresso coffee is something Italians would never give up. It’s a break from daily life, and it’s often an excuse to meet up to discuss business or talk to a friend. And most of all: it’s cheap, so regardless of your background, it can be enjoyed and affordable to everyone.

But how to spot a quality espresso?

"The espresso coffee differs from other types of beverages that are available around the world, as it’s the only one to have the typical “crema” on the surface", Danesi explained to Euronews.

Back in December, a group representing the Neapolitan espresso coffee also submitted an application that will run alongside with the one from the Consortium for the Safeguarding of Traditional Italian Espresso Coffee.

But we’ll have to wait a few more months to find out if either is successful.

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