History of Espresso Coffee and Espresso Machines

A Short Journey Through History and the 4 Ms and the contribution of Luigi Bezera and Angelo Moriondo in creating the perfect coffee brewing machine!
August 16, 2023 by
Gladys Kyule
| 1 Comment

For coffee enthusiasts around the globe, expresso is instant coffee. Many coffee lovers use the terms coffee and espresso interchangeably, thanks to the "Starbucksification '' of the words. However, the availability of various coffee roasts in shopping centers calls for clarification. 

The term expresso holds its distinct meaning as the purest essence of coffee beans. Espresso is a word used to describe coffee brewed under high pressure and controlled temperatures.

An image showcasing roasted coffee beans spilled from a sack with a Solai Coffee Kenya specialty AA coffee pack.  ​Coffee Beans ready for espresso making

How do you make an espresso? 

Baristas make espressos by creating the purest distillation of your favorite blend of coffee beans. To make an espresso, hot water is run on finely ground coffee beans to create a concentrated cup.

 Espresso shots are quickly dominating our tables and work routines, warranting a deep dive into the history and origin of our favorite form of instant coffee! Learn the essentials (4Ms) that define the ideal espresso-making formula.

First time making espresso shots? We are here for you! Contact Solai Coffee today and enjoy the perfect blend of coffee beans for a rewarding espresso cup!

Birth of Espresso

The history of espresso begins in the bustling streets of Italy, where the demand for a faster and more efficient coffee brewing method was on the rise. 

In a world where time was of the essence, especially in the vibrant Italian cafes and eateries, the need for a quicker and more efficient way to deliver the beloved beverage to eager patrons became increasingly apparent, leading to the invention of the first espresso machine. 

Angelo Moriondo, an inventive mind whose visionary approach to coffee-making would forever transform the way we enjoy this cherished brew, patented an early version of a coffee brewing machine capable of making multiple cups at once in 1884 and, as a result, laid the foundation for future innovations in coffee technology. 

Moriondo's creation addressed the need for speed and laid a solid foundation upon which future generations of coffee enthusiasts, inventors, and baristas would build and refine. With his pioneering machine, Angelo Moriondo planted the seed of innovation that would eventually blossom into the diverse array of espresso machines we have today. 

This early invention ignited curiosity among coffee aficionados and inventors alike, propelling them to explore further the possibilities hidden within coffee beans and water. This espresso revolution would captivate the world's taste buds and caffeinate its culture.

Portrait of Angelo Moriondo with signature on the left and his first espresso machine invention on the right, highlighting his pivotal role in coffee innovation. Angelo Moriondo espresso machine

Luigi Bezzera and the Modern Espresso

The evolution of espresso continued to surge forward with the visionary contributions of  Luigi Bezzera , an Italian inventor whose ingenious design forever transformed the landscape of coffee-making. 

In 1901, Luigi Bezzera, an Italian inventor, took espresso machines to the next level with his patented design. Bezerra's invention also allowed precise control of water temperature and pressure during the coffee brewing process, inspiring the creation of the modern espresso as we know it today. The revolutionary invention produced a richer and more concentrated coffee shot than traditional coffee brewing methods.

The legacy of Luigi Bezzera's contribution to espresso culture endures in the heart of every espresso machine and in the soul of every barista who crafts the perfect shot. His innovation became the cornerstone upon which espresso-making evolved, giving rise to a global community of coffee lovers who revel in the joys of a well-brewed cup.

An image showcasing a man using an espresso coffee machine invented by Luigi Bezzera to brew espresso coffee in the early invention of espresso machine Luigi Bezzera  Espresso Machine

The 4 Ms of Espresso

 Baristas follow a set of principles known as the 4 Ms to achieve the perfect espresso shot: Miscela (Blend), Macinazione (Grind), Macchina (Machine), and Mano (Hand).

  • Miscela (Blend): The foundation of any great espresso is the blend of coffee beans used. A skilled roaster carefully selects and combines beans from different regions and varieties to create a harmonious flavor profile. Blending ensures that the espresso shot boasts a balance of acidity, bitterness, sweetness, and body.
  • Macinazione (Grind): The grind size of the coffee beans is crucial to a successful espresso shot. Therefore, coffee beans must be ground to a fine consistency, similar to granulated sugar, to optimize the extraction process. A finer grind increases the surface area of the coffee particles, allowing for more efficient extraction of flavors during brewing.
  • Macchina (Machine): The espresso machine is the heart of the brewing process. Modern machines use a pump system to generate high pressure and force hot water through the finely ground coffee. The espresso machine heats water to the optimal temperature of around 195-205°F (90-96°C) to extract the best flavors from the coffee beans.
  • Mano (Hand): The final element in crafting the perfect espresso lies in the hands of the skilled barista. Hands control the extraction time, ensuring the espresso shot flows evenly and consistently, producing a balanced taste. The ideal extraction time is typically 25-30 seconds, resulting in a 1-ounce (30 ml) shot of rich, aromatic espresso with a layer of golden crema.

An image showing a modern Espresso machine brewing espresso coffee

Modern Espresso machine

The Global Espresso Culture

Over the years, espresso has transcended its Italian origins and become a global icon of coffee culture. With many espresso bars and cafes in every corner of the world, more people from different cultures are embracing the art of making espresso shots. The love for espresso has led to various espresso-based beverages, each offering a unique twist to the classic espresso shot.

The history of espresso is a testament to human ingenuity and passion for coffee. From its humble beginnings in Italy to its widespread popularity worldwide, espresso holds a special place in the hearts of coffee lovers everywhere. The 4 Ms form the backbone of espresso preparation, emphasizing the importance of craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Experience the true essence of quality and richness with Solai coffee sourced from our amazing farmers worldwide. 

Brew the perfect homemade espresso shot today with Solai Coffee Beans!

Gladys Kyule August 16, 2023
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