The espresso machine has a long and fascinating history dating back to the late 19th century and it all started in Italy, by an inventor names Angelo Moriondo.
We begin in Italy, where the first true espresso machine was invented in 1884 by Angelo Moriondo. He presented his steam-powered machine and was awarded bronze and a 6 year patent was designated to him.Angelo Moriondo was very protective of his patent, improving his design year after year and didn’t license them for anyone else, believing that they would be significant advertisements for his own establishments.Despite is passing hot water and steam through coffee grounds, the coffee was actually brewed in bulk, so not exactly what we think of these days.
Luigi Bezzera Builds on the Idea
It was not until 1901 that the first true espresso machine for commercial use was invented by Luigi Bezzera.Bezzera's machine used steam pressure to force hot water through finely ground coffee beans, producing a concentrated shot of espresso in just a few seconds. This revolutionary invention changed the way people consumed coffee and allowed for the creation of a wide range of espresso-based drinks such as cappuccinos and lattes.
He patented the ideas in 1901 with his many improvements and subsequently sold his patents on to Desiderio Pavoni, a man by which the name is still producing to quality espresso machines to this day under the name La Pavoni.
Over the years, the espresso machine has undergone numerous updates and improvements, ranging from the introduction of the piston-driven machine in the 1930s to the development of fully automated machines in the 1980s. Today, espresso machines are a staple in coffee shops and restaurants around the world, and they come in a variety of styles and sizes to suit different needs and preferences.Here are a few sources and articles for further reading on the history and evolution of the espresso machine:
One of the earliest updates to the espresso machine was the introduction of the piston-driven machine in the 1930s. This type of machine used a manual piston to force hot water through the coffee grounds, producing a shot of espresso with a thick crema (the creamy layer on top of the espresso). The lever-driven machine was a major improvement over earlier models, as it allowed for more control over the brewing process and produced a higher quality espresso, but this required a skill of the barista and required consistency.It then moved to a spring powered lever machine, pulling the lever would compress the spring and the spring would release providing a consistent pressure.We use a lever powered spring machine in our mobile espresso bar, somewhat for environmental reasons (less electric to power pumps), but that it produces a consistent and instant pressure which drops over time, whereas pumps increase the pressure through the puck gradually.In the 1960s and 1970s, the espresso machine began to be fully automated, in 1961 the E61 Grouphead was invented that would provide a consistent brewing pressure.In the 1980s and 1990s, the espresso machine underwent further developments, including the introduction of fully automated machines that could grind, tamp, and extract espresso at the touch of a button. These machines also featured programmable dosing and temperature control, allowing for even more precision and consistency in the brewing process.Baristas today find a balance of using artisan techniques of tamping, and specialised grinders that can provide a better end product than an all-in-one machine.These days espresso machines can provide digital displays and temperature stability systems, that allow for precise and consistent espresso extraction as well as more control over elements we’ve never had control over before such as infusion time
Technological Advancements of Espresso Machines
Technology has had a significant impact on the development of espresso machines, from the early steam-powered machines of the 19th century to the highly automated and sophisticated machines used today. Some of the key ways in which technology has impacted the development of espresso machines include:
Increased automation: As technology has advanced, espresso machines have become increasingly automated, with features such as programmable dosing and temperature control, as well as the ability to grind, tamp, and extract espresso at the touch of a button. This has made it easier for baristas to produce consistent, high-quality espresso shots and has allowed for the creation of a wide range of espresso-based drinks.
Improved temperature stability: One of the key factors in producing a high-quality espresso is maintaining a consistent water temperature during the brewing process. Early espresso machines had limited temperature control, which could result in inconsistent shots. With the introduction of thermostats and other temperature stability systems, modern espresso machines are able to maintain a consistent water temperature, resulting in more consistent and flavourful espresso.
Enhanced precision: The development of digital displays and other technology has allowed for increased precision in the brewing process, allowing baristas to fine-tune the various variables (such as grind size, water temperature, and extraction time) to produce the perfect shot of espresso.
Greater efficiency: The use of electric pumps and other technology has made modern espresso machines more efficient, allowing for faster brewing times and higher productivity in coffee shops.
Overall, technology has played a crucial role in the evolution of the espresso machine, making it easier and more efficient to produce high-quality espresso and a wide range of espresso-based drinks.
What does the future of espresso machines look like?
The future of espresso machines is likely to be shaped by a combination of technological advancements, sustainability concerns, and shifts in consumer preferences and behaviours.It is difficult to predict exactly what the future of espresso machines will look like, but it is likely that technology will continue to play a significant role in their development. Some possible trends and advancements that may shape the future of espresso machines include:
Increased automation and customization: As technology advances, it is likely that espresso machines will become even more automated and allow for greater customization of the brewing process. This could include the ability to program specific brewing parameters (such as grind size, water temperature, and extraction time) and to save and replicate favourite brewing profiles.
More sustainable and eco-friendly designs: There may be a greater focus on designing espresso machines that are more sustainable and eco-friendly. This could include the use of more energy-efficient designs, the incorporation of recycled materials, and the development of technology that reduces waste and water usage.
Greater connectivity and integration with other technologies: It is possible that espresso machines will become more integrated with other technologies, such as smart home systems and mobile apps. This could allow for remote control and monitoring of the brewing process, as well as the ability to track and analyse data related to coffee consumption and machine performance.
Increased focus on health and wellness: As people become more aware of the potential health benefits and drawbacks of coffee consumption, there may be a greater focus on designing espresso machines that produce healthier coffee. This could include the development of machines that are able to extract higher levels of beneficial compounds from coffee beans or that are able to remove certain unwanted compounds from the brewing process.
Overall, the future of espresso machines is likely to be shaped by a combination of technological advancements, sustainability concerns, and shifts in consumer preferences and behaviours.
The Decent Espresso Machine
Incredibly, there are espresso machines that are able to replicate every single type of machine that has ever been before, the Decent Espresso Machine allows you to adjust the pressure profiles manually as well as having a range of different profiles already set up for every type of machine. This essentially allows you to make any espresso at home.Where espresso goes from here is going to be one to watch, it is truly exciting and with the focus on the importance of sustainability and fairness in production has resulted in a huge shift in quality already. How the technology will improve on this fairly basic task of pushing hot water through coffee is anyone’s guess.
Meet Me, the webmaster for MakeEspresso.co.uk and the owner of AM Espresso. Passionate about coffee and the web, I ride the third wave of coffee at events, weddings and sometimes at the side of the road. When not busy working, I’m often found fixing up my HY van “Pascal”, being a family man or generally making myself busy.