Espresso, a concentrated form of coffee that’s brewed by forcing pressurized water through finely ground coffee beans, has become a staple in coffee culture around the world. However, the history of espresso is a rich and complex one, spanning centuries and continents.
The earliest versions of espresso can be traced back to the Arabian Peninsula in the 16th century. It’s believed that the first coffee houses, which served a concentrated coffee beverage known as qahwa, were established in Mecca and then spread throughout the region. However, these early versions of espresso were made by simply boiling ground coffee beans in water, rather than by using pressurized water.
BIGGIN COFFEE POT
It wasn’t until the 19th century that the modern espresso machine was developed. In 1822, a Frenchman named Louis Bernard Rabaut invented the first known device for brewing coffee under pressure. This device, called the “biggin,” was a two-level pot that used steam pressure to force hot water through ground coffee beans.
MODERN ESPRESSO MACHINE
The next major breakthrough in the development of the espresso machine came in 1884, when Angelo Moriondo, an Italian inventor, patented a steam-driven machine that could brew coffee quickly and efficiently. This machine used a combination of steam and pressure to force hot water through the coffee grounds, producing a strong and flavorful beverage.
However, it wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that the modern espresso machine as we know it today was developed. In 1901, an Italian named Luigi Bezzera patented a machine that used a piston to force pressurized water through a compacted puck of coffee grounds. This machine, called the “espresso machine,” produced a thick, concentrated coffee beverage that was unlike anything that had been seen before.
The early espresso machines were large, cumbersome, and difficult to use. However, they quickly gained popularity among coffee lovers in Italy and other parts of Europe. In 1935, the first electric pump-driven espresso machine was developed, which made it much easier to produce high-quality espresso on a consistent basis.
During World War II, espresso machines became even more popular, as soldiers stationed in Italy were introduced to the beverage and brought their love of espresso back to their home countries. In the years that followed, espresso bars began to spring up in cities all over Europe and the United States, catering to a growing demand for this unique and flavorful beverage.
Today, espresso is enjoyed by millions of people around the world. It’s a staple in coffee shops, restaurants, and cafes, and it’s also available in convenient single-serve capsules for home use. The development of the espresso machine was a major milestone in the history of coffee, and it’s a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the many inventors who contributed to its evolution over the centuries.