The Rich History of Italian Espresso
With 95 million cups of coffee being consumed in the UK each day, the beverage is an essential part of the day for many. After all, there’s a coffee for everyone - whether you prefer a latte, cappuccino, or macchiato. While coffee itself was discovered in Ethiopia, we ultimately have Italy to thank for more complex variations of the drink that we all know and love - especially when it comes to espresso.
A faster way of brewing
Coffee was introduced to Europe in the 17th century, however, it wasn’t until the 19th century that espresso came in to play. The name of the drink as well as the brewing method, espresso refers to a pure and rich form of coffee made by forcing almost-boiling water through finely-ground coffee beans while under pressure. Espresso, which translates to “express”, was initially invented for the purpose of brewing and serving coffee in a faster and more efficient way - as opposed to the standard cup of coffee, which took several minutes. Nowadays, it’s often viewed as a shot of coffee with a strong kick of caffeine, and can easily be made at home with any kind of bean (yes, even decaf). However, the inventors of the liquid gold got far more than what they bargained for as it eventually became popular all over the world.
Angelo Moriondo of Turin, Italy, is ultimately responsible for the patented invention of the very first steam-driven coffee maker back in 1884, though several alterations were made to the initial machinery. One of these people being Luigi Bezzera from Milan, who came up with several improvements of Morindo’s invention, later patenting them in 1903. Over time, several versions of the machine were made, such as pump-driven machines and Moka pots. Today’s espresso machines are either semi or fully automatic, which are modern innovations derived from those early days.
The rise of popularity
While espresso rose to popularity due to it’s quick brew time and pure, rich taste, it was also part of social modernization - specifically due to the popularity of espresso bars in Italy. From there, espresso took off and became popular around the world. It became popular in the form of cappuccinos and lattes, a creamy and sweet take on the strong espresso in places like the United States and throughout Europe. As for the UK, espresso gained popularity in the 1950s by the younger generation at the time - mainly due to the fact that the coffee shop culture was far more inviting than bars and pubs. Now, espresso is an everpresent staple in nearly every coffee shop worldwide - proving to be a success with every cup.
Thanks to its Italian origins, espresso is now a popular variation of coffee that is enjoyed all over the world. With its rich history, culture, and taste, it’s no question as to why it’s so popular in coffee shops no matter where you go.