Understanding the Symbolism of Three Coffee Beans in Sambuca
The presence of three coffee beans in a glass of Sambuca is a classic symbol that conveys a special message. Whether you are enjoying a drink alone or in a social setting, the three coffee beans will impart a distinct meaning that is steeped in tradition and folklore.
Origins of the Tradition
The origin of the tradition of placing three coffee beans in a glass of Sambuca remains up for debate. Some claim that the ritual likely started in the 19th century when some Sambuca manufacturers began to garnish the drink with three beans in its unique triangular bottles.
Others suggest it is beneficial for the flavor, believing that the sweet bitterness of the beans counteracts the sweetness of the drink.
Significance of Three
Regardless of its origins, the three coffee beans in Sambuca have come to signify something special.
The number three holds deep symbolic meaning in many cultures, being associated with the Holy Trinity and a multitude of triplets in folklore.
The beans themselves suggest:
- Prosperity – the “Bean of Life” was believed to grant protection to its possessor
- Caffeine – to help guests stay awake and attentive during long toasts and conversations
- Good luck – a blessing to all who drink the Sambuca
Enjoying a Customary Toast
Whenever you get a glass of Sambuca with three coffee beans, you and your company can enjoy a traditional toast. Generally, the guest of honour will be asked to pick up the three beans with their fingers and say a short toast in the form of a wish. The other people in the group will drink the Sambuca in one gulp, signifying the wish’s acceptance, and celebrate with the person who made the toast.
The next time you order a shot of Sambuca, pay attention to the ritual of the three coffee beans in the glass and make sure to enjoy the traditional toast.