According to the web site Country Facts, there are 20 million coffee purchasing families in Italy and 16 million of them drink Lavazza including most of my Italian family. But what about the other 4 million?
Other Italian top coffee brands like Illy and Segafredo Zanetti (noted to be the leading espresso producer in Italy) always seem to show up in or on my cup. Illy from Trieste, the Adriatic port town where coffee first entered Europe, is certainly favored with stylish coffee bars that serve everything from a cappuccino to a caprese. Illy’s efforts in transforming the simple porcelain coffee cup into a work of art (more than 70 contemporary masters have contributed designs to a series of collections) is branding genius.
With coffee drinking in Italy taking on the status of a national past time, espresso preferences border on sentiments that may be as strong as the Pazzi-Medici rivalry of the Renaissance which I think in retrospect could have been more reasonably settled over a cup of coffee.