Who invented the first Espresso Machine?

Espresso machine

In 1884, Angelo Moriondo of Turin, Italy, was the Italian inventor who patented the first espresso machine. It held a name of “New steam machinery for the economic and instantaneous confection of coffee beverage. The term espresso comes from “pressure” because you “express” or squeeze the flavor from the coffee using the pressure of the steam. Consists of a machine with a large boiler, heated up to 1.5 bars of pressure. Through which the ground coffee deposited in a filter holder circulated to obtain the traditional foam of the Italian espresso. In this way, his creation became the first coffee machine to use both water and steam. It was presented at the General Exposition of Turin in 1884, where it won the bronze medal.
Moriondo has been largely lost to history.

In those days, brewing a cup of coffee could take up to 5 minutes. Moriondo was not satisfied with this slow process. He had the vision of creating a machine that combined pressurized hot water with coffee beans in order to generate a more robust and concentrated flavor.

The successful start of this device opened the way for the perfection of this form of coffee preparation. But Moriondo, that first design that changed the way in which coffee is prepared, has only remained as a result of its success.

The new inventor

In 1901 the mecanic Luigi Bezerra  based on the previous invention, patented an improved espresso machine. Milanese manufacturer and “maker of liquors” Luigi Bezzera had the know-how. He invented single-shot espresso in the early years of the 20th century while looking for a method of quickly brewing coffee directly into the cup. He made several improvements to Moriondo’s machine, introduced the portafilter, multiple brewheads, and many other innovations still associated with espresso machines today. For the first time, a cup of coffee was ordered and served in a matter of seconds.

But Bezzera’s invention did not seem to be working well. It was difficult to control the pressure and temperature. It was impossible to control the flow of hot water. Bezzera designed and built only a few prototypes of this machine. However, the result was not a coffee of great value. He could not afford to expand his business. Than, he meet someone who would.

Desiderio Pavoni bought the patent from Bezerra in 1903 and improved some aspects of the design. Pavoni also created the steam lance, to directly access the steam generated in the boiler. He invented the first pressure release valve. In 1905 he was founding “La Pavoni” company.

The world of Espresso Coffee

Bezzera and Pavoni worked together to perfect their machine, which Pavoni christened the “Ideale”. At the 1906 Milan fair, the two men introduced the world to “espresso coffee.” Bezzera, though it might even have built early Pavoni machines, slowly faded from the scene (it had been bought out the patent, after all), while Pavoni continued to sell its brand of commercially produced “espresso” machines worldwide.

These early machines could produce 1.000 cups of coffee per hour. Forcing steam through the coffee had the undortunate side effect, which made a burnt and bitter taste to the coffee. A piston pump was developed by Cremonesi in 1938. It forced hot and not boiling water through the coffee which gave more natural taste and had a layer of foam which in time became one of the major characteristics of espresso coffee.

The first one was installed at Achille Gaggia’s coffee bar. Gaggia started producing commercial piston machines after the war in 1946.

With high pressure and golden crema, the Gaggia lever machine marks the birth of Gaggia’s piston machine.
Then came on the scene Faema E61 invented by Ernesto Valente in 1961. The E61 introduced many innovations and firsts in the espresso world.

Over more than a century, the espresso machine has been drastically improved, with electrical components, computerized measurements, and portable pneumatics.

It is said that a good espresso depends on the  Macchina, the espresso machine; Macinazione, the proper grinding of a beans. An uniform grind between fine and powdery, which is ideally done moments brewing the drink. And finally the quality of the beans!

Do you love a good espresso? So try Café Santa Helena Whole beans for espresso.

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