Italy's espresso coffee producers call for geographic protection
Aden-Jay Wood and Hermione Kitson

Espresso producers in Italy are calling for the product to be recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage item. 

A national consortium says its cultural and economic importance needs to be protected from foreign competition that they say is incorrectly using the espresso name. 

Espresso, the Italian coffee created in 1884 that is now embedded in the nation's everyday culture, creates $4 billion for the country's economy every year and creates 7,000 jobs nationwide. 

"The espresso belongs to Italy, as well as Italy belongs to the espresso. It is rich, not just in flavour and body but it is also a flavor of relationship and communication… " Luigi Morello, President of the Consortium Protecting Traditional Italian Espresso Coffee said. 

READ MORE: Geographical indications - Why protect regional food and drinks

After five generations, the Saquella family's espresso recipe remains a closely kept secret. 

"There are a lot of secrets, if I tell all there would not be any more secrets. But first of all obviously there would be a blend, roasting and also the correct use of all the machines and everything makes a good espresso at the end," said Arnaldo Saquella.

Saquella Espresso imports ingredients from 20 different countries and the company describes the perfect drink as a 'complex science'. 

Illaria Saquella from Saquella Espresso said: "Each single origin of coffee gives a different taste of coffee so you have to create a blend, like a perfume and mix in a way that you have a perfect well balanced coffee."

Espresso was one of the most in demand experiences during the COVID-19 lockdown. /VCG

Espresso was one of the most in demand experiences during the COVID-19 lockdown. /VCG

During the COVID-19 lockdown in Italy, espresso was one of the most sought after experiences.

"One of the most missed moments was being able to share an espresso in a bar together with friends," Morello said. 

The consortium has launched a website to collect signatures and personal views from across the country with the hope it will one day be protected. 

"This would be for us as a producer as a category and as an industry very important for us to keep and maintain this ownership of this kind of way to drink coffee," Arnaldo Saquella added.

Video editing: Sam Cordell