If you’ve taken any trips to Italy in the last five years and you’re a third wave coffee snob who insists on high end coffee and carefully curated beans, then you were probably surprised to find that third wave style high end coffee and espressos are barely available there at all, and mostly only cater to tourists!
Part of the problem is the Italian government itself. The government insists that espresso should be affordable to the average Italian, so it’s not possible to sell a lot of high end drinks at a price of around 1 euro. Low prices have left Italian coffee shops where they are almost frozen in time. Of course it’s great to enjoy a traditional experience when you visit Italy, and the coffee definitely isn’t terrible there! In fact, there plenty of people who would argue that a traditional Italian shot of espresso is simply the best tasting coffee you can get, period.
But the truth is that it hasn’t kept up with the amazing jump in quality you’ll find in big cities around the world at specialty coffee shops because they aren’t using the same level of beans for an espresso priced so low. Imagine how great they’d be if they upgraded the beans!
Here are some of our favorite articles that describe the situation in more detail and also list a few of the third wave shops that you can find in places like Rome.
Italy invented coffee culture. Now it’s a coffee time capsule.
Whose Espresso Is Better: Third-Wave Cafés or Traditional Italian Espresso Bars?