Italy has applied for Unesco status for espresso coffee, arguing that it's “much more than a simple drink”.
It follows the art of the Neapolitan pizza-maker being added to the UN agency’s list of the world’s intangible heritage in 2017 and, more recently, the fine art of searching for truffles was awarded recognition by Unesco too, joining a long list of traditions and practices called Intangible Cultural Heritage, a compendium of customs, ceremonies and traditions from around the globe ranging from competitive grass mowing in the Balkans to the sauna culture of Finland.
Now, Italy wants to secure the worldwide status for one of its iconic daily institutions: espresso coffee. It is said to have become an integral part of the country's identity after its creation in Turin at the end of the 19th century.
“It is an authentic ritual and an expression of our sociality that distinguishes us around the world,” said Gian Marco Centinaio, the agriculture undersecretary, confirming that the application had been submitted.
According to the Italian Espresso Institute, founded in 1998 with the specific goal of safeguarding and promoting the original espresso, the market is worth more than €4bn (£3.3bn) annually, with more than 90 percent of Italians drinking a cup of it each day, usually served in a porcelain cup.
The institute’s strict regulations for the perfect espresso include the use of a certified coffee blend, certified equipment and even licensed personnel.