On World Friendship Day, which is celebrated on July 30 each year, let’s find out how the Italians’ most beloved drink plays a valuable role when it comes to creating and strengthening bonds.
No matter what time or what day it is, “let’s have coffee” is a phrase that can trigger a ritual of sociability like no other. Because coffee is a true icebreaker, revealing the desire to deepen an acquaintance, rediscover a bond, strengthen a friendship. Once again, this year, the Consorzio Promozione Caffè (Coffee Promotion Consortium) used the expertise of AstraRicerche to investigate the evolution of coffee consumption habits by Italians.
According to the most recent survey, conducted last June, nearly 80 % of our fellow citizens drink coffee every day, and about 33.7 % of respondents say they consume it at the bar precisely to savor its conviviality, for the pleasure of having a chat with the barista or other customers. The survey also shows us that there are many coffee lovers who prefer to drink coffee in social places rather than at home: out of 100 coffees, in fact, about 14 are drunk at the bar; but there are also many consumed precisely at the homes of friends or acquaintances (almost 10 out of 100) at the workplace (12.2 out of 100) of study (4 out of 100), but also at restaurants (6.5 out of 100) and entertainment venues (about 4 out of 100). A picture that shows how coffee is a real social catalyst, able to bring people together and encourage exchange. Indulging in coffee with a friend has always been one of life’s small but fundamental joys. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there are real traditions related to coffee and sharing, which have their roots in distant centuries and cross peoples, cultures, and continents of our world.
Speaking of Made in Italy, how can we not mention the suspended coffee, the custom of the cup of espresso left as a gift to the next customer. A simple, anonymous gesture of generosity born in the bars of Naples, which over the years has inspired many solidarity initiatives around the world. And born in the shadow of Vesuvius is the cuccumella, the coffee maker that represents the taste of waiting: unlike espresso, ready in a few minutes, with the cuccumella we rely on a slow preparation, able to give guests the pleasure of a chat. Going up to the Valle d’Aosta, on the other hand, there is a coffee that is a true seal of brotherhood, known as the “friendship coffee,” and which draws its origins from a custom that links Italian and Arab culture: drinking together from the same typical vessel, called grolla or friendship cup, a drink made with long coffee, grappa, and lemon. Going beyond our borders, we see how coffee can also take on a spiritual role when it comes to celebrating conviviality. In Turkey, serving coffee for friends and guests is considered an art, which involves preparing the drink in cezve, special brass cups. After an initial round, the coffee is put back on the stove and then filled into the cups, which are purposely left halfway full. Again, the slowness of the ceremony is transformed into the beauty of being together and socializing. In Ethiopia, coffee is even considered a sacred beverage, and the ceremony is a unique experience dedicated to friendship. Guests are shown the roasted beans so they can appreciate their full quality, after which the coffee is ground and then poured into the jebena, a traditional clay pot. Once ready, it is first poured to the older people and then given three more rounds. The third cup of coffee is called baraka and is used to bless friendship among those who are present. But the people of Jordan, particularly the Bedouin tribes, are also devotees of welcome: during the jaha ceremony, a friendship ritual is consumed in the desert that features coffee itself, drunk bitter in three sips that represent joy, hospitality and welcome.
“As we have long advocated, coffee represents not only a taste experience, but also a moment of sharing, a true social ritual. The traditions associated with its preparation and the familiarity of its aroma manage to make any atmosphere cozy and comfortable, encouraging conversation and exchange. It is when we drink it in the company of a friend, when we prepare it to give someone special attention, when it becomes an occasion to get together, that coffee takes on a truly unique flavor,” comments Michele Monzini, president of Consorzio Promozione Caffè. Coffee, in short, is a beverage capable of uniting and overcoming, with a sip, barriers and diversity. So what are you waiting for? Celebrate World Friendship Day by offering a good coffee to a friend.