glass of sambuca with coffee beans
Why Sambuca Is Dressed With 3 Coffee Beans In Italy
In Italy, the clear anise-flavored liquor called sambuca is often served straight up with 3 coffee beans floating on top. These beans actually have a few potential meanings.
In Christianity, the number 3 represents the Trinity between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Italy has a long history with Christianity, so the 3 beans may represent religion.
Others posit that the three coffee beans represent individual well-wishes for the drinker: one bean is for happiness, one is for health, and one is for prosperity.
The coffee beans also compliment the flavor of the sambuca. It is customary to chew the soaked coffee beans after drinking the liquor to enhance the anise flavors.
The drink can also be lit on fire to toast the coffee beans for a few seconds. This gives them extra crispiness and additional flavor, not to mention plenty of dramatic flare.
In Italy, sambuca is also used as a replacement for sugar in espresso. The anise flavor compliments and sweetens the espresso while also giving it an alcoholic kick.