Are Italian Cafes facing a crisis? The coffee machine is threatening not only cafes, but a coffee culture, in Italy.

Here is the news from the Observer:

Thanks to aggressive marketing by manufacturers, who are practically giving them away free in offices, factories, universities and even train stations, self-service coffee is invading Italy and putting in peril the livelihood of many baristas.

New figures show half a million automatic coffee machines have been installed in the past year in public places, serving an estimated two million ‘portions’ of coffee. As more Italians become accustomed to the machines, a new language is being learnt. ‘I’ll have a number 64 or a 32′ is replacing time-honoured descriptions of coffee such as con schiuma, macchiato, doppio, tiepido, lungo or corretto.

With a culture shift from relaxed enjoyment to a “clock based” rush, more prevalent in North America but creeping into Italy, the 4 minutes to get a coffee from a machine is preferable to some than the 8 minutes in a cafe. While cost and time are factors in the shift, optimists hope that the culture of watching life, taking a break, and enjoying a crafted coffee will not completely disappear… at least not yet:

Mario Spinnato, general manager of the Spinnato Antico Caffé in Palermo, agrees. ‘For Italians having a coffee at a bar is a pause in the day. It’s irreplaceable.’

Via Slashfood