A report that the price of a modest espresso in Italy could reach €1.50 this year has sparked outrage among caffeine-loving Italians.
“We receive many complaints denouncing the rise in coffee prices,” Furio Truzzi, head of Italian consumer rights group Assoutenti, said of the price hike.
At the start of last year, Assoutenti reports, an espresso typically cost €1 but has risen to €1.10 in many cafes, around 75% of which have raised their prices.
Projections by the consumer body show that it could rise further in 2022 to €1.50.
Inflation is ‘turning a daily ritual into a luxury for the wealthy,’ Truzzi told local media VeronaSera.
Espressos are traditionally drunk quickly, standing up in a local ‘bar’, before heading to work – sometimes accompanied by a horn (crescent-shaped pastry).
“Every day, 5.5 million Italians have breakfast in bars across the country, an unmissable event whether it’s a quick coffee at the counter or a pastry consumed sitting down table. A habit that, unfortunately, is becoming more and more expensive,” Truzzi said of the price hikes.
“With soaring commodity prices, the classic cup of coffee consumed at the bar could reach a record €1.50 over the year, after a 37.6% increase compared to 2021, while a small -full breakfast [coffee and cornetto] might even cost 41.6% more.
General day-to-day price inflation has hit Italy since October, affecting both household utility bills and daily shopping.
Retail prices surged 3.9% in December alone, according to Assoutenti, and the trend is expected to continue through 2022.
“We cannot let coffee become a luxury in Italy. It’s not a luxury, it’s a right. Should be free,” local Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande said on Twitter, in response to the headlines.
“A few weeks ago I had breakfast for €2 (coffee and croissant) in the same town. I consider myself lucky,” added Twitter user Mirko di Natale.