Espresso is simply part of a holiday in Italy and also in everyday life around the world. The Italians think so too and want to have coffee declared a UNESCO cultural heritage. The corresponding application has already been submitted.
Drinking a good espresso in the sun while watching the hustle and bustle on the streets: This is how you imagine a holiday in Italy. The Italians find the particularly strong type of coffee so authentically Italian that they now want to make espresso a UNESCO cultural heritage.
Actually, Italy is already teeming with Unesco sites. There is the Roman Forum in Rome, Venice and its Lagoon, the historical centers of Florence and Urbino, the Piazza del Doumo in Pisa, the Amalfi Coast, the arcades of Bologna and much more. There are already 58 World Heritage sites in Italy, and now another one is to be added.
Espresso would not be the first culinary heritage from Italy
Because the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Unesco for short, now has a new application on the table: the Italian espresso should be recognized as an official symbol of Italy’s heritage. At least that’s what Italy wants. The organization usually honors landmarks that are culturally significant. In recent years, however, intangible cultural heritage has also been chosen to honor “cultural and culinary traditions”. Neapolitan pizza, also from Italy, is already on this list. Now it’s the espresso’s turn.
It was actually made in Italy. But the Italians are not only particularly proud of this, they also pay attention to a very special preparation. Above all, it is the quality of the coffee beans that makes Italian espresso unique. The beans are often roasted locally in small batches and brewed in specially certified coffee machines. These should give off the taste of thousands of espresso cups that have already been prepared in them.
Strict rules for the “Espresso Italiano”
If espresso were actually to become a Unesco cultural heritage, the country would have to commit to preserving the authenticity of the drink. Strict rules apply to this. One of them, as stipulated by the Italian Espresso National Institute, is that the espresso is ground by a trained barista. Clear requirements also apply to the foam that lies on top of the espresso, the crema. This must be even and sustained for at least 120 seconds from the point at which the coffee was dispensed without stirring, as the Guardian writes. Only cups that meet these criteria are considered “Espresso Italiano”.
Espresso is an integral part of Italian culture. This was emphasized by the Italian Secretary of State for Agriculture, Gian Marco Centinaio, to the Italian public broadcaster RAI News . It goes on to say of him: “It is an authentic ritual and an expression of our sociality, which distinguishes us all over the world.” That is why the application has already been submitted to UNESCO. It will be announced in the spring whether this will go through and whether the espresso will actually be considered a cultural heritage in the future.