There are hundreds of thousands of people who couldn’t get through their day without a steamy hot cup of espresso. This caffeinated drink gives you a boost of energy that a traditional cup of coffee may not.
If you’re in love with espresso, you’re not alone. Coffee dates back to Ethiopia, but when did what we know as an espresso coffee machine come to be? Who can you thank your lucky stars for this wonderful kitchen appliance?
Who Invented the Espresso Coffee Machine?
While coffee dates back well before the 19th century, in 19th century Europe, the coffee industry was booming. Angelo Moriondo is the person the majority of people attribute this invention to due to him being granted the patent for the very first espresso coffee machine in 1884.
The 19th century in Europe was the age of steam; therefore, there were several people on a mission to find a way to brew coffee faster.
The idea behind using steam would be to cut the brewing time down. Even though a bunch of people were attempting this, one man made it happen.
There were several inventions that were used to create a cup of coffee or espresso at this time, but what Angelo invented was the first machine to use both steam and water to create a beverage from coffee beans.
The first espresso coffee machine is not exactly like what we have nowadays. Most espresso machines can make individual cups of espresso now, but Angelo Moriondo’s invention couldn’t make individual cups. It did make coffee brewing much faster, though.
Unfortunately, Moriondo never got to see the large-scale production of his specific invention. His focus was on enhancing his own business rather than necessarily sharing his invention with the world.
Meet Angelo Moriondo
Angelo Moriondo can be credited for inventing the first espresso coffee machine, but what else is there to know about this man?
Angelo was born in 1854 in Italy. Knowing that he is Italian makes sense as to why he set out to invent something that has changed the way we make espresso nowadays. This hotel and bar owner had hotels and bars in Turin, which is in Northern Italy.
Owning and operating a hotel and bar means that Angelo was constantly serving customers food, other drinks, and of course, coffee. With several visitors, he found that he needed a way to brew more coffee faster, so he didn’t need to keep his customers waiting.
In 1884, he was granted patents for the espresso coffee machine. Eventually, Angelo Moriondo passed away in Marentino in 1914, making him 62 years old when he left the world.
Why Was the Espresso Coffee Machine Invented?
As we mentioned, the coffee industry and a love for coffee were only growing in Europe in the 19th century. Brewing coffee took a rather long time back then, and while it was surely worth the wait, coffee shops, restaurants, and other places were seeking a way to brew it faster.
Angelo Moriondo wanted to get a leg up on his competition. The coffee industry was incredibly popular, especially in Italy, so he was looking for a way to serve his customers faster than the bar or restaurant down the street.
So, to sum up, why the espresso coffee machine was invented, it was invented so Angelo could get a leg up on his hotel and bar’s competition.
What Happened to Angelo’s Invention?
Even though Angelo Moriondo’s espresso coffee machine is considered to be the first since he received the patent for it in 1884, nothing major came of this.
Angelo was more concerned with using his invention to serve his customers coffee faster than the other bars than sharing it with the world. While Moriondo shared his invention with the world in the sense that he used it in his business, he kept it very protected.
He didn’t think any good could come from advertising the machine to the world. While there’s nothing wrong with the choice he made regarding his invention, his secrecy is what makes many people not know he was the original espresso coffee machine creator.
Since he did not commercialize his invention, there are no official espresso coffee machines that can be attributed to him. He only had a handful, and he kept them under a very tight lock and key at various houses and establishments he owned or trusted.
How Moriondo’s Espresso Coffee Machine Worked
One of the biggest differences from Angelo’s invention compared to what we now know as the espresso machine is that our espresso machines can now make individual cups, whereas his machine couldn’t.
His invention made use of a very large boiler. This boiler pushed hot water through the bed of coffee grounds. There was a second boiler that created steam. The steam would then flash the coffee grounds.
Once this process was completed, there was some freshly brewed coffee or espresso within five minutes.
Since Moridondo Didn’t Mass Produce His Invention, Who Did?
Angelo was much more concerned with increasing his own business rather than sharing his invention with the world. While many people knew about his invention, he never took it to production, and therefore, not many people actually attribute the espresso coffee machine to him.
The two people who commercialized Angelo Moriondo’s idea were Desiderio Pavoni and Luigi Bezzerra. These two Italians took the concept that Moriondo had developed and tweaked it. Tweaking the invention allowed them to make improvements and then commercialize the product so that others could make use of it.
Even though Moridono is the first inventor, since Pavoni and Bezzerra were the two to commercialize the product, these two are sometimes credited with the invention of the espresso coffee machine. Within a few years, the duo had invented an espresso coffee machine that could produce about 1,000 cups of espresso an hour.