As an avid espresso lover, I started to wonder who invented the espresso machine. So let’s see what I found.
A prototype espresso machine was introduced in 1822 in France by Louis Bernard Babaut. In 1843, Edouard Loysel de la Lantais, in 1855, acquired it, and installed it at the great Paris Exhibition where this espresso machine produced 1000 coffee per hour! However, it was too large, and it was not produced widely.
Engineer Luigi Bezzera built the first espresso machine in 1901 in Milan. It was an impressive pillar-shaped machine, which for a long time inspired the next Italian manufacturers. It had two group heads, a large steam boiler, it used hot water mixing with high pressure and was called Tipo Gigante. It is said that Bezzera built it to reduce the break of his employees and to increase production at his factory. Its method was pioneering for the time and achieved its purpose. However, the coffee was bitter and burned.
In 1905, Desiderio Pavoni began the construction of espresso machines based on the Bezzera patent, which he had bought two years ago. His first concern was to look for what was the reason for bitterness and burned sense in taste. After many experiments with temperature and pressure, he came to the conclusion that is still valid today. That the best extraction becomes from 90.5 degrees temperature (Celsius) and at 9 bar of water pressure. La Pavoni will be the brand that dominates the cafes of that time.
In the same year, Victoria Arduino is founded, which, apart from the production of espresso machines, it will spread the coffee culture more than anyone else.
The current structure of the espresso machines is due to Achile Gaggia, who in 1947 presented the Crema Coffee Machine. A coffee maker that was able to provide water pressure of 8 bar and above consistently. So, it was giving a creamy body to the coffee. While at the same time it was offered at an attractive price and all coffee shop owners afforded to buy it. It was the first espresso machine with a wand and the one that created the espresso crema we know today. This espresso machine was based on the invention of M. Cremonesi from 1938. Until then, the espresso machines pushed steam through the coffee layer. But Cremonesi found the way to run warm and not hot water, resulting in excellent flavor and rich espresso crema on the surface. The refinement came a year later with Classica in 1948.
History of the Espresso Machine
But let’s take a look at espresso machines through time:
1912: La Cimbali was founded (Website)
1919: La Carimali was founded (Website)
1927: La Marzocco was founded (Website)
1927: First La Pavoni espresso machine arrived at Regio, New York (this legendary espresso machine is still there).
1929: Rancilio is founded (Website)
1932: La San Marco is founded (Website)
1935: Francesco Illy manufactures the first automatic espresso machine, illeta. It was an innovative espresso machine for that time and inspired future manufacturers.
1936: Simonelli was founded (Website)
1946: Faema was founded (Website)
1948: La Pavoni collaborates with the famous industrial designer Gio Ponti and presents La Cornuta. It was the first espresso machine with a horizontal boiler and real aerodynamic design. It was a real masterpiece.
1950: Elektra is founded which follows La Tarvisium from 1947 (Website)
1956: Conti is founded (Website)
1961: Faema creates the E61, an espresso machine with a pump that delivers a continuous flow of water through a tube that is heated by the boiler. This system allows temperature stabilization at 90-92 degrees Celsius. Most espresso machines use this system up to now. The name came from the solar eclipse of February 15, 1961.
1962: La Cimbali Pitagora was awarded a gold medal for design. Designers are Achile and Piergiacomo Castiglioni.
1969: C.M.A. is founded
1969: La Spaziale is founded (Website)
1970: Vibiemme is founded (Website)
1972: Faema launches a superautomatic espresso machine for the US market.
1980: Brasilia is founded
1981: Saeco is founded
1985: Wega is founded (Website)
1995: ECM is founded
2001: Dalla Conte is founded at Milan
2004: Synesso is founded (Website)
Over the years, several styles have been created, and many innovations have been introduced. As well as different techniques for managing temperature. A problem that has always troubled technicians, along with the durability and steam pressure. But also the resistance to the biggest enemy of coffee makers, which is … the salts of water.
The journey is not over, it continues…
Who Invented the Coffee Filter
Let’s see now who invented the coffee filter. The history of the paper filter for coffee is as simple as our everyday life, except that it was fortunate to be recorded in history.
We are back in 1908 in Dresden, Germany, when a 35-year-old woman, neither a scientist nor an inventor, but a simple housewife, made coffee by using a filter. At that time, the ground coffee brewed and passed through filters made of cloth. But it had an undesirable bitter taste, which made this woman looking for a way to eliminate it. Having used a lot of materials, she thought of using blotter, that paper that people were using to dry up the writing ink at that time. And still, this sort of paper is being used nowadays to remove stains from clothing. That woman just got it from her son’s notebook. She made it like a funnel and passed the coffee through it. The result was so good that the next thought of this genius woman was to commerce this idea, and earn a lot of money.
On July 8, 1908, she registered her patent in Germany and then started a coffee paper filter manufacturing business with her husband. She used her own name for the brand title: Melitta Bentz Company. Melitta today is a leading player in the global market for coffee machines and consumables.
In 1957, George Bunn founded in Springfield, Illinois, the first American company (Bunn) to manufacture and market paper coffee filters. He even claimed the invention as his own. The difference in the quality of the paper material is evident over the years, but there is no doubt about the first application of a paper coffee filter. The important achievement that Bunn can boast is the invention of the automatic drip coffee maker in 1963. This type of coffee maker is used up to now (with various improvements). Indeed without these drip coffee makers, we will hardly have good coffee at cafes and hotels.