What are the political implications of my favorite coffee?
March 26, 2007 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Which Italian coffee matches my political leanings?

In the comments on Ezra Klein's blog, someone seemed to be claiming that Italian bars often have particular political associations and that bars with different leanings would serve different brands of coffee. Can anyone else confirm this, and if so, which is the Lavazza party and which is the Illy?
posted by bonecrusher to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Perhaps not particularly relevant to Italy's niche culture, but 'liberal' US coffee shops will often sell coffee that is certified fair-trade, organic, shade-grown, or any number of other environmentally and socially conscious certifications coffee might aspire to. Though the flipside, pro-free-market-slash-and-burn coffee, doesn't sound like something anyone would advertise about their niche.
posted by cowbellemoo at 5:56 PM on March 26, 2007

This is preposterous.

I've lived in Italy. There are more political parties than there are football teams. When you are handed a ballot on election day, it's larger than the menu at a Denny's.

There's no "A or B", like in the U.S. (which is really just "A" now).
posted by wfc123 at 6:07 PM on March 26, 2007

It sounds to me as if it's more like being a Ford man or a Chevy man was 40-50 years ago in America -- not so much that "all DC drink Illy, and all PCI drink Lavazza", as the individual groups (in that very small town) happen to have chosen those symbols to represent their differences. And certainly not that there's anything specific about the corporations that causes the affiliation.
That's just my reading based on the comment, not on any extra information about Italian coffee drinking or tifosi.
posted by katemonster at 6:29 PM on March 26, 2007

Riccardo Illy appears to have centre-left affiliations, though anonymous people on the internets think the Illys are Communists.
posted by zamboni at 6:32 PM on March 26, 2007

Response by poster: It didn't sounds very likely to me either, and I suspect that katemonster's take is the right one. It's too bad - I found it very amusing to think that I was expressing some PCI sympathies when I picked up a can of Illy at Williams-Sonoma.
posted by bonecrusher at 7:22 PM on March 26, 2007

zamboni nails it. Riccardo Illy is an active politician (twice elected mayor of Trieste and now the president of the Regione which the city is the capital of); politically, he is broadly of the left, although as is often the case in Italy, this is more a case of being loosely aligned with either one of the two blocks (Berlusconi of the right [Casa delle Libertà], Prodi of the left [L'Unione]). The accusation of communism baffles me, as Italy is a country that has a number of active working 'real' communist parties (yes, still) in the parliament, and he ain't in any of them. There are occasions when businessmen make their political views known, and the companies they own or run become linked in popular imagination with one or other political viewpoint. As for Lavazza, I don't know (maybe we can get someone from Torino to weigh in).
I just realised that all of this may actually have been answered in that Ezra Klein blog link you posted, but I'm afraid I couldn't finish reading it: the political snark made my head hurt.
posted by hydatius at 11:24 PM on March 26, 2007

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