Espresso: Symbol of Italian style, loved worldwide


Italy is one of the most renowned countries in terms of coffee. It all started in the 16th century when coffee plants were imported for the first time by Venetian merchants. Italy is where espresso was invented in the 19th century, representing an undisputed icon of unity for the country; from the Alps to the southern tip of Sicily, espresso coffee has always been the most common hot beverage for all generations.

According to statistics, around 96% of the Italian population drink espresso on a daily basis. Almost 30% of them drink at least three cups a day; 90% of these consume at least one espresso at home, and around 80% also drink espresso at cafés.

With over 800 companies producing coffee in Italy, local consumers can buy espresso for all tastes and budgets. The Italian coffee industry represents a business of over 5 billion euros and it includes roasted beans, black powder, bags, capsules, machines and the traditional moka pots, first built by engineer Alfonso Bialetti in 1933.

Italian producers from each region add to the raw material a distinctive trait that makes every blend a unique coffee of its kind in terms of authenticity, quality, tradition and lifestyle. With such a remarkable number of companies attempting the domestic market share, there is still great unexpressed potential across national borders. All signs are positive though as coffee supply outside the country is now growing in double figures, both in terms of coffee (+11%) and machinery (+10%).

Worldwide coffee consumption grows at an average of 2.5% per year, although consuming coffee outside home is a relatively recent trend. Trendy cafés are growing in popularity, especially amongst Generation Y (those born between 1977 and 1994) and Generation Z (born after 1995), who are more educated and curious about new flavours and are more willing to experiment new types of beverages, especially if they are instragrammable .

Italian coffee companies are therefore likely to expand their sales around the globe, although “companies must start moving abroad with the systemic logics of an integrated supply chain, focusing mainly on services”, admit Italian coffee operators.

At the Bellavita Italian pavilion inside Horecava 2019, professionals from Benelux will discover a selection of premium high-quality coffee brands ready to enter the Dutch market – even more so now that coffee demand in the Netherlands grows every year. Dutch consumers are indeed amongst the world’s biggest coffee drinkers as the Netherlands now ranks fifth with 8.4 kilos consumed per person per year. Specifically, coffee pods are the area that has seen a bigger growth with around 12% of Dutch families owning a coffee machine for hard pods today.

Amongst the coffee producers who visitors can meet at the Bellavita pavilion, Filicori Zecchini from Bologna will celebrate their 100 years of successful history during the event, whereas Universal Caffé will launch the new Camiscia line that includes three blends expressing Italianity not only for their taste, but also names: Amalfi, Taormina and Portofino.

However, Italian companies clearly not only use organic and traditional coffee as a drink but also as an ingredient to create new products out of traditional food. Antica Dolceria Rizza , for example, will present a traditional dark chocolate bar from Modica – a Sicilian town famous for chocolate – flavoured with coffee. Bellavita visitors will also discover innovative products related to coffee consumption, such as Chocup®, an edible wafer cup lined with extra fine dark chocolate, produced by Foodrinks and suitable to hold espresso coffee (up to 90° C) without breaking as well as accompany ice-creams and liqueurs.