Italians all steamed up over rising cost of espresso

Price rise ‘transforming a daily ritual into a luxury for the rich’ says consumer rights champion

Lucy Thackray
Thursday 20 January 2022 10:39 GMT
<p>Espressos are traditionally drunk fast, standing at a cafe’s bar</p>

Espressos are traditionally drunk fast, standing at a cafe’s bar

A report that the cost of a humble espresso in Italy could rise to €1.50 this year has sparked outrage among caffeine-loving Italians.

“We are receiving numerous complaints denouncing the rise in prices of coffee,” said Furio Truzzi, head of the Italian consumer rights group Assoutenti, of the price hike.

At the beginning of last year, Assoutenti reports, an espresso typically cost €1 but has risen to €1.10 in many cafes, around 75 per cent of which have raised their prices.

The consumer body’s projections show that it could rise again in 2022 to hit €1.50.

Inflation is “transforming a daily ritual into a luxury for the rich,” Truzzi told local news outlet VeronaSera.

Espressos are traditionally drunk quickly, standing up at a local “bar”, before heading to work - sometimes paired with a cornetto (croissant-like pastry).

“Every day 5.5 million Italians have breakfast in bars throughout the territory, an essential appointment whether it is a quick coffee at the counter or a pastry consumed sitting at the table. A habit that, unfortunately, is becoming more and more expensive,” said Truzzi of the price hikes.

“With the prices of raw materials skyrocketing, the classic cup of coffee consumed at the bar could reach a record of €1.50 during the year, following an increase of 37.6 per cent over 2021, while a full breakfast [coffee and cornetto] could even cost 41.6 per cent more.”

A general inflation in day to day prices has hit Italy since October, with both household utility bills and daily groceries affected.

Retail prices saw a sharp 3.9 per cent rise in December alone, according to Assoutenti, with the trend set to continue into 2022.

“We cannot allow coffee to become a luxury in Italy. It’s not a luxury, it’s a right. Should be free,” said local Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande on Twitter, in response to the headlines.

“A couple of weeks I had breakfast for €2 (coffee and croissant) in the same town. I consider myself lucky,” added Twitter user Mirko di Natale.

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