Article 29: Coffee and the Italian Dream
The main source of Italian coffee materials were imported from other countries. However, with the creativity of the contemplative style and the philosophy of living in a cup of coffee, Italy rose to become a typical coffee civilization.
Defining the unique identity
Coming from their roots as a typical civilization, the center of human culture, Italians, even after thousands of years of separation, were constantly yearning to find the “extraordinary uniqueness of Italians”.
Coffee enjoyment is closely related to cultural history. And reality has also confirmed that, during the process of enlightenment of Italian identity and Italian dignity, coffee has always been a catalyst of consciousness and attitude for Italians to mark their will and promote national culture. In this dimension, Italian-style coffee also carries in it the connotation of “national spirit” as expressed in the aspiration to define the unique identity of Italians.
One of the manifestations of cultural identity is the establishment of the lifestyle, aesthetic ideals as well as the spiritual life of the nation. Espresso, an Italian style coffee icon, was born and developed in the 20th century, when coffee culture exploded across the globe. Countries from east to west shaped their own style of coffee enjoyment. America invented instant coffee (1901), Germany invented the coffee filter and Pour-Over Coffee drip method (1908), France invented the French Press coffee machine (1929). Born at the same time, Italians had continuously innovated and improved to make Espresso unique, different from the rest of the world’s coffee cultures.
Espresso is not simply a coffee brewing device, or the name of a coffee drink, but has evolved into a style of enjoyment, an art of living imbued with Italian identity. Starting as an invetion of “Innovation of machines to prepare and serve coffee instantly”, it then became the culture of standing and enjoying at the bar, corresponding to the life philosophy “Fare Meno e Farlo Meglio”, understood as discovering greatness in simple things.
A cup of Espresso coffee extracted in just 27 seconds is a complex brewing process with perfect association from the time of bean selection, roasting to the right temperature, water flow, pressure, extraction time duration… The best Espresso is served when the crema is still thick on the surface, if left in the air for a long time, the crema will oxidize and lose flavor. Right in the moment of enjoying a cup of coffee, the drinker simultaneously feels the magic in the interrelated operation of nature (coffee), people (barista) and technology (which arise from human thinking mastering natural). And that is also the time for you to live fully with yourself, to recognize the greatness hidden in each person and to look forward to beautiful dreams in life.
From the sublimation progress of the coffee enjoyment style, Espresso has thus brought a sense of the extraordinary of man. Going beyond product characteristics, Espresso reaches a cultural entity that conveys the value of the original Italian identity and at the same time corresponds to the deepest aspirations of people. Therefore, Espresso has become a symbol of a new lifestyle. This distinct designation has made Italian-style coffee a typical coffee civilization of mankind.
The “national spirit” in Italian coffee style is not only “Made in Italy” but the assigned mission of realizing “Dream Italia”, making Italy the center of world culture once again.
Since 1999, Italy established the University of Coffee “Università del Caffè” with the aim of training experts who are knowledgeable about coffee culture, science and economics. To date, “Università del Caffè” has 28 campuses around the world, pioneering the spread of Italian coffee culture globally.
In 2014, the Association for the Preservation of Traditional Italian Espresso Coffee (CTCEIT) was founded, officially implementing the roadmap to nominate Italian coffee styles as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity. This journey was considered one of the important components to promote Italian culture, along with the ambition to dominate the coffee market – one of the most profitable commodities in the world.
Most businesses and participants in the coffee supply chain throughout Italy have joined together in response to the national vision. Italians are proud and show their will to protect traditional coffee. The Espresso Conservancy organized workshops, seminars with the participation of many social groups including producers, sociologists, economists, culturalists and writers to spread the thorough story on the history of Italian coffee culture, catching the attention of the global media.
In addition, Italy built specialized coffee museums such as MUMAC Coffee Machine Museum, Lavazza Coffee Museum, Dersut Coffee Museum, Bontadi Coffee Museum, Omkafe Coffee Museum, etc. presented artifacts and documents in the history of coffee, including the art of making, presenting, and the philosophy of life that shaped the ritual of coffee enjoyment. Cities famous for coffee culture such as Rome, Milan, Torino, Venice … were voted as creative cities. In those cities, the historical coffee shops such as Antico Caffè Greco, Caffè Tommaseo, Caffè Mulassano … were honored as national monuments, included in the tour exploring the influence of coffee on the formation of modern Italian society.
Italians have also standardized coffee etiquette in Italian terms. For example, Galateo del Caffè is a set of rules that Italians follow when serving and drinking coffee, Caffè Sospeso (coffee for strangers) indicates a culture of social solidarity, Barista is a coffee-making expert …
The entire chain of activities from normative rules, cultural behaviors, spiritual messages … clearly affirms Italy’s long-term vision in the journey to bring the national coffee style into a permanent symbol, occupying the coffee culture space around the world, creating momentum for the country’s growing development in the field of culture and economy, fulfilling the Italian dream.
Given the success of Italy, thinking about Vietnam – a coffee powerhouse that has not yet achieved the status it deserves – this is clearly a paradox that we need to join hands to change. Since its inception, Trung Nguyen Legend has been dedicated to creating many initiatives to contribute to the promotion of the value of Vietnamese coffee beans, one of those efforts is to develop coffee models from space, products, culture, ideas… to the new philosophy of coffee. Trung Nguyen Legend coffee experts also researched and introduced three world coffee civilizations Italy – Turkey – Orient through the masterpieces of energy coffee Trung Nguyen Legend Capsule with 3 flavors Roman – Ottoman – Zen affirming the determination to establish a new coffee civilization, making Vietnam a prosperous country with comprehensive influence on the world.
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Source: “The Philosophical Way of Coffee” – copyright by Trung Nguyen Legend