Ah espresso! So very Italian. By itself, espresso is the very essence of coffee – the strong flavor and presentation in small cups transports you to a different time and place.
Espresso was invented in 1903 by Luigi Bezzera, the owner of a manufacturing business. Mr. Bezzera longed to find a way to brew coffee much faster. Wasting some time after work one day, he added pressure to the coffee brewing process, reducing brewing time. The machine that he later introduced was termed the “Fast Coffee Machine”, which is where the word “espresso” comes from…espresso means “fast” in Italian! Not only did his machine reduce brewing time, it made a better cup of coffee. The quick brewing time allowed the best qualities of the bean to be extracted, avoiding some of the unfavorable qualities associated with over-extraction. Luigi Bezzera was not at all successful in marketing the machine, and he had no money.
Desidero Pavoni bought the rights to the espresso machine patent in 1905 and successfully introduced espresso to the Italian market. Photographs from the turn of the century depict Italian Klosks serving “CAFE ESPRESSO – LA PAVONI”. This was a very common site in Italy. Desidero Pavoni changed the way Italians drink coffee.
Since 1905, there has been a constant expansion of the coffee market for espresso based drinks. Here in the United States, we are only just beginning the process that has been deliciously repeated throughout the world. And if you have never tried it, give it a whirl!