Continuing the story on Italy’s (seemingly retroactive) efforts to standardize and certify the espresso, England’s Channel 4 reported yesterday that a member of the Italian parliament and head of Italy’s agricultural commission, Marco Lion, proposed a bill to set a espresso “gold standard”: Channel 4 – News – Coffee: A nation’s obsession.

According to the proposal, cafés would need to meet a series of tests before they could receive a certification of authenticity — as standardized by the Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano, or National Institute of Italian Espresso. Like Fair Trade, shade grown, organic, and other labels already proliferating the coffee bean supply market, this would be among the first certification labels that covers the preparation of the beverage — which is the downfall of many a roaster.

The bill, which also covers other Italian products subject to quality dilution in their worldwide replication, is scheduled for discussion in the Italian parliament in early 2008. Chances are that the baseline standards for certified Italian espresso would be quite achievable at many Bay Area cafés, but very few would qualify as they are rather blindly serving the stuff today.

UPDATE: Jan. 5, 2008
Chinese TV juggernaut, CCTV, published a version of this story on their Web site today, including a couple notable quotes: Italy promotes bill to guarantee coffee quality – CCTV International.