Raise a cuppa to Italian heritage

by Deanna Maria R. & Emmy Hikins

Coffee, Cuppa, cup of Joe, dirt, mud; espresso? Why the question mark after espresso? The Italians have launched a bid for espresso officially to be named an intangible part of their culture by UNESCO World Heritage. UNESCO is a program where they record heritages around the world that deems that particular places item or piece of culture, theirs and theirs alone. It cannot, after, be claimed as cultural heritage by another. Although UNESCO believes the espresso qualifies for cultural recognition, Naples claims their espresso is unique and they should be given the honor.

Now in the run for recognition of their espresso, two years ago Naples’ art of pizza making was recognized as a cultural heritage by UNESCO. A UNESCO official talks about how espresso started in Italy, but, has since spread around the world and hopes that the Italians reclaim where the birth of espresso took place as their right by recognition through this program. Now it may seem silly to some, making such a fuss over coffee, but to the Italians, it is very serious business when it concerns claiming and being recognized for things they believe are their cultural heritage, that which made Italy, Italy.

Coffee bars are spread throughout Italy and baristas serve the Italians their beloved espresso when away from home. A thirty-eight-year barista veteran says the profession has two sides, ‘the experience you get and natural talent’. Whether you are in Italy for an espresso, the UK for a cuppa, or the US for a cup of Joe, remember that the Italians claimed it first.