Another coffee link, thanks to Steve Barth. The cappuccino conquests is a research program from Jonathan Morris and Claudia Baldoli at the U of Hertfordshire in the UK. It's about the spread of Italian coffee, particularly espresso drinks, in the last 50 years. Their photo gallery of machines is impressive, primarily because the main component (the handle and cup that holds the coffee grounds) hasn't changed in 100 year.
Having read Coffee: A Dark History a while back, I recall the statement that espresso is a "wonderful system for making good coffee, but not a good system for making wonderful coffee." I wonder what the researchers would say to that?
Here's a snippet from the project description:
The project studies the spread of espresso-based drinks such as cappuccino from their Italian origins to their current global prominence. It analyses the reasons for Italian coffee’s increasing popularity, the variations in cultures of consumption across different markets, and the extent that these drinks are still seen as ‘Italian’ despite their appropriation by American multi-national coffee chains. Britain forms the key case study of a market in which both Italian and American influences operate to create a ‘glocal’ culture of consumption.
Their aims are
- To evaluate the impact of Gaggia’s invention on coffee consumption in Italy.
- To identify the mechanisms by which espresso was exported beyond Italy.
- To decode the changing ‘meanings’ and ‘uses’ of cappuccino amongst consumers.
- To analyse the social and spatial patterns of its diffusion within the UK.
- To explain the UK consumption explosion since the mid-1990s.
- To deconstruct the drink’s ‘nationality’ and the ‘qualities’ with which this endows it.