A Brief History of Espresso

A Brief History of Espresso

Coffee is probably one of the most popular beverages consumed by adults, yet many do not know coffee history very well. Tackling the history of just espresso leaves out a lot of the interesting history behind coffee itself. Understanding coffee history will make you appreciate that rich aroma you love so much more!

According to Arabic legend an Arabian goat herder was going about his daily activities when all of a sudden his flock of goats began dancing around a green leafy plant. The plant appeared to have cherries growing from it, the goat herder decided to give this fruitful plant a try. He noticed that he was experiencing a stimulating effect that allowed him to stay awake for hours. Once he let others in on his secret, they began using coffee for the same reason. It is said that once introduced to a priest, he began promoting coffee and its effects throughout the monastery for continued prayer sessions. Low and behold, we had an eye opening beverage that would soon become a frequent pick me up favorite.

 

Coffee History Begins in Ethiopia

 

Although many believe the goat herding legend as to be true in discovering coffees history, others need a more evidence than this to believe in when it came to discussing the history of coffee. Scientists have discovered botanical evidence that proves that coffee Arabica began in Ethiopia and then was somehow taken to Yemen, where it was then served up in the Mecca in one of the very first coffee houses in history. Since the 6th century, it became more of a personal favorite used for enjoyment, rather than putting it to use for its stimulating effects.

Comiso Coffee - Coffee Bean

 

What about Espresso?

 

There is a lot of debate on the true origins of espresso. Some say it was Turin, Italy based inventor Angelo Moriondo; Who in 1884 patented a steam-driven coffee beverage making device. Although primitive in nature, the device allowed the user to extract coffee in bulk via a low-power supply of water and steam. 

Based on similar technology Luigi Bezzera, the owner of a manufacturing business, invented "true" espresso at the turn of the century. Luigi Bezzera was simply trying to figure out a way to brew coffee faster. He figured if he could just add pressure to the brewing process it would speed things up. Thus the "Fast Coffee Machine" was created. His idea of a fast cup of coffee turned out much better than he had planned, what he ended up with is a better, fuller tasting cup of strong coffee, as well as a much faster process. He found that the quicker more efficient brewing method allowed for the quality of the beans to be extracted as opposed to over extracting he had previously experienced. The term "Espresso" means fast in Italian, hence the term.

It wasn't until later when Desidero Pavoni purchased the rights from Mr. Bezzera for the espresso machine that it became popular. Pavoni was extremely successful in marketing the product and probably changed the way people drink coffee from then on. Just look around! Coffee and espresso shops are popping up everywhere, even in the U.S. it has become not only popular for the delicious beans, but has given us a new place to socialize.

 

Espresso Timeline

 

In 1901 Luigi Bezzera filed a patent for the espresso machine that contained a boiler and four "groups". Each group could take different size filters that contained the coffee. Boiling water was forced through the coffee and into a cup. Ambrogio Fumagelli says that this was the birth of (fast) espresso coffee.

In 1903 Luigi Bezzera's patent was then purchased by Desiderio Pavoni and put to market in a big way.

In 1905 The Pavoni company begins manufacturing the espresso machines soley based on Bezzera's patent.

In 1927 First espresso machine was installed in the United States. It was a La Pavoni Espresso Machine installed at Regio's in New York.

In 1938 Cremonesi designed a piston pump that forced hot water through the coffee. It was installed at Achille Gaggia's coffee bar.

In 1946 Gaggia begins manufacturing the commercial piston machine. Resulting foam or cream layered coffee or café.

 

America Loves It

 

Wherever it originated, coffee is a popular choice of hot beverages. The number of coffee houses open for business now is amazing. There is one on just about every corner in America and is served in a variety of different ways. You can know get coffee drinks hot or cold, with or with out flavoring and it is made to order. Some prefer instant coffee when serving coffee in their homes. This shows just how far coffee has come since its history began.

 

Coffee, Coffee, and More Coffee

 

Now it seems as though we are obsessed with coffee, you can find it everywhere. Coffee candy, coffee ice cream, coffee syrup, coffee creamers and the list will continue to grow. With coffee being such a favorite, did you ever stop to think that we had an Arabian goat herder to thank for this rich tasting drink we all enjoy so much?

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