The Curious Case Of Espresso And The Machine
Image Credit: A cup of espresso, Pexels

Enjoying a freshly made cup of strong espresso is a ritual for many. This strongest version of coffee doesn’t take much time to become an addiction (for good reasons). Many Italians already commonly consumed coffee because it was introduced to the country during the Renaissance. However, there has been some debate as to where the espresso originated. Its inventions take us to Venice, Italy, in the early twentieth century. Luigi Bezzera was experimenting with coffee to see how he might speed up the brewing process. Was it for personal use or driven by a larger cause? Scroll down while sipping a cup of espresso

Necessity is the mother of inventions

Luigi Bezzera used to be agitated by how long it took to brew a cup of coffee. Later, after some tinkering, he discovered that increasing the machine's steam pressure reduced the time required to make the brew. Meanwhile, this technique resulted in a substantially stronger beverage. The new method extracted all of the excellent properties from the coffee beans. Bezzera dubbed the contraption "Fast Coffee Machine" right away. Apparently, the name of the brew derived from the machine, as the Italian term 'espresso' translates to fast in English.

Twist in the glory 

But another version talks about a person who designed the machine much ahead of Luigi. It was Angelo Moriondo of Turin, Italy, invented and patented the first espresso machine. He obtained patent no. 33/256 on May 16, 1884. He received a certificate for his innovation, "New steam machinery for the economical and quick confection of coffee beverage, method." Luigi Bezzera of Milan developed improvements to the machine and patented some of them in 1901. The first of which was filed on December 19, 1901. 

Espresso machine, Image Source: Pexels

Bezzera was astute and ahead of his time. But he lacked marketing skills. In 1905, shortly after his creatoion, he met Desidero Pavoni, founder of La Pavoni. The latter was shrewd, purchasing a portion of the machine's rights from Bezzera. Pavoni did not take the time to patent it. Desiderio commenced commercial production of the machine. So, while Bezzera was the original developer of espresso, Pavoni's marketing expertise revolutionised the way we drink coffee.

Someone's loss, someone's gain

Bezzera and Pavoni collaborated to enhance the espresso machine. They spent two years developing the "Ideale," which debuted at the 1906 Milan Fair. Pavoni took over the company after this release. As advertised, the Espresso machine claimed to produce 1,000 coffees each hour. While the machine worked, it was far from ideal. It provided rivals with a chance to make improvements to it. 

Modern espresso machine, Image Source: Pexels

Illetta, the first automatic coffee machine that used pressured water instead of steam, was designed in 1933 by Hungarian-Italian Francesco Illy.  The next improvisations came from Achille Gaggia of Italy invented the lever-driven machine. It is the modern-day espresso drink's closest version. He devised a system capable of increasing steam pressure from 1.5-2 atmospheres to 8-10 atmospheres.

Gaggia continued to develop machines after this remarkable advancement in the creation of the espresso machine during World War II, which eventually led them to create a business. The espresso machine has seen tremendous improvement since Gaggia, thanks to numerous other people and companies.