A National Icon

Regular visitors to TBTP know that I am very serious about coffee. I am so commited to drinking good coffee that I actually roast my own green coffee beans. When I travel, the first thing that I research after  accommodations is the location of coffee bars. So I fully understand why Italy is submitting a bid to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to add espresso to its Intangible Heritage List, claiming that “coffee is much more than a simple drink: it is an authentic ritual.”

According to Italy’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture, “It is an integral part of our national identity and an expression of our social relationships that distinguishes us around the world.”

It’s such a ubiquitous part of Italian culture that the Italian Espresso Institute reported more than 90% of the country’s citizens drink at least a cup of espresso a day. It’s not the first food item from Italy to seek UNESCO status. In 2017, the art of Neapolitan pizza-making was recognized as one of the country’s cultural symbols.

The Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry green-lighted the application for espresso last week, with the bid now seeking approval from the Italian National UNSECO Commission. If it’s given the go-ahead, the bid will then be officially submitted to the UNESCO headquarters.

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