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Crisis-hit Italians cut down on coffee

Monday, October 08, 2012 - 02:16

Oct.08 - Drinking coffee is an intrinsic part of Italian life. But the euro zone crisis has seen Italy and Spain reduce their coffee imports, according to the International Coffee Organisation. Could recession and austerity see Italians learn to control their coffee cravings? Joanna Partridge reports

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From a morning cappuccino to an after-dinner espresso. Italians have shared their love of coffee and their words for it with the world. But in the crisis-hit euro zone, some caffeine consumers are cutting back. Europeans still drink the most coffee per person in the world, but sales to Italy and Spain have slipped. Roberio Silva is from the International Coffee Organisation. SOUNDBITE: Roberio Silva, Executive Director, International Coffee Organisation, saying (English): "They are importing 2 to 3 percent less. Germany is a strong market for us and also Paris continues to be very important. So the crisis is mainly oriented towards Spain and Italy." The biggest coffee drinkers in Europe aren't the Italians, but the Finns, who consumed 8.4 kilograms each last year, according to figures from Euromonitor. Germans also enjoy 4.7 kilograms of caffeine a year. Italians consume far less - 2.7 kilograms per person. While Spaniards get through a mere 1.5 kilograms each. The ICO says coffee lovers are also changing the way they drink. Some are grabbing a coffee at home, often made from cheaper blends, rather than buying drinks in cafes. Despite this, the ICO is optimistic about long term prices. SOUNDBITE: Roberio Silva, Executive Director, International Coffee Organisation, saying (English): "I cannot see a permanent drop in consumption in Italy and Spain because it's part of their culture." That view is shared by those getting their caffeine fix at one of the more upmarket cafes in Rome. SOUNDBITE: Irene Amedeo, Cafe customer, saying (Italian): "These are strange times due to the economic crisis, but I don't think bars have had problems. I think people can always spare an euro." SOUNDBITE: Enzo Serrani, Cafe customer, saying (Italian): "It would be impossible. I'd give up other things but never coffee." But the ICO's figures suggests that's not the case everywhere in Italy. Italians may love their coffee but austerity is making some think twice about that double espresso. Joanna Partridge, Reuters

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Crisis-hit Italians cut down on coffee

Monday, October 08, 2012 - 02:16