Seventy million cups a day, or 2.92 million cups an hour, or 48,600 per minute, or 810 per second. No matter how you count it, Italians do love their espresso coffee.
And on Friday, Italy's first-ever national espresso day, they were reminded by no less an authority than the National Italian Espresso Institute what makes the perfect "caffe".
Advertisement"An espresso must have a light, finely textured, noisette-coloured foam, and its colour must be uniform," the institute's president Gianluigi Sora told AFP. "Its aroma must be that of grilled bread."
To explain as much, 350,000 pamphlets setting out the golden rules of espresso went out to 3,500 coffee bars, including one that stipulates that a barista must fill a 25-millilitre cup in 25 seconds - no more, no less.
Not overlooked was the cappuccino, an espresso topped with hot milk and a steamed-milk foam that must, according to the pamphlet, be freshly made for each and every cup.
Based in the northern city of Brescia, the National Italian Espresso Institute is an industry group founded in 1998 that is committed to "safeguarding the philosophy of espresso".
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