Origins of Cafe Espresso
Espresso was born in the beginning of the 20th century when Luigi Bezzera, a born native of Italy, tinkered with the idea of a faster brewing process. Since he was a manufacturer knowledgeable in mechanics, the end product was a machine with 4 compartments and a boiler. This enabled boiling water and steam to pass through coffee grounds into a waiting cup.
The resulting brew had a unique concentrated flavor and is considered the very first espresso. The machine grew in popularity among his patrons for its ability to make a cup of coffee upon demand at a time when a cup usually took 4-8 minutes to brew. In the following article you will learn more about the history of espresso.
Europe Catches on the Espresso Trend
Desiderio Pavoni purchased the patent for the espresso machine from Luigi Bezerra in 1903 and commercialized it with his own enterprise called La Pavoni. He is responsible for the mass production and distribution of the espresso machines throughout Europe. Pavoni’s machines were still popular even if the process extracted negative components from the bean because of the speed by which it delivered a cup of coffee.
In 1938, M. Cremonesi developed a piston pump that enabled the use of hot (not boiling) water. This eliminated the problem of the burnt and bitter tasting espresso which the former machines had produced. Cremonesi’s machines were used in Achille Gaggia’s coffee bar but further developments were hindered by World War II.
Historic Coffee Milestone After World War II
Right after the war, Gaggia started manufacturing espresso machines that had a piston pump and a spring lever. This separated the heat source from the pressurization of water and the process produced a sweet foam which coffee lovers later refer to as crema, the trademark of a quality cup of espresso. His innovation has led the world to dub him as the Father of modern espresso machines. In 1961, Faema created a similar machine that used electric pumps to force water through ground coffee. This has become the basic blueprint for all modern espresso machines we see today.
Coffee Enthusiasts Nurtures Search for Ideas In and Out of Espresso World
The developments in the brewing process for espresso caused people who dedicated much time and effort to the pursuit of the perfect cup. Considerations to roast, grind, origin of the beans, Coda ti topo, brew group, extraction time, froth, pre-infusion and many other terms found a new meaning in relation to espresso and the musical language of coffee was born.
Coffee bars throughout Europe had become the ideal meeting place for intellectuals and academics. They had become the venue for political debates and the free exchange of ideas. They were also the common place for rendezvous where socialites gossiped and discussed.
Espresso in the United States
Espresso was introduces to the United States in1927 by La Pavoni machines. It grew in popularity for the jolt of alertness it invoked. Blends that utilized espresso’s concentrated flavor as a base was more attuned to American tastes. In fact Caffe Americano as was developed for the palette of United States is basically a shot of espresso diluted with hot water.
In 1971 the first Starbucks branch opened in Seattle, Washington DC. Starbucks has often been credited for introducing espresso to the general American public.