9 Lesser-Known Facts about the First Espresso Machine

The first espresso machine was invented in 1884 by Angelo Moriondo, a Turin-based engineer, who initially designed it as a simple beverage dispenser for his own cafe.

White Lightning
White Lightning

Unlike today's sleek machines, the original espresso machine relied on steam power to force water through the coffee grounds, paving the way for the rich and intense flavor we associate with espresso today.

A surprising twist to history reveals that the first espresso machines were mobile, mounted on carts, and used to serve coffee at public events and fairs. 

Espresso was initially frowned upon in Italy, and it wasn't until the early 20th century that it gained popularity, marking the beginning of the coffee culture we know today. 

Luigi Bezzera, another inventor, patented improvements to the espresso machine in 1901, but his contributions are often overshadowed by Moriondo's initial invention. 

The Antico Caffè Greco in Rome claims to be the first espresso bar, opening its doors in 1760, long before the espresso machine's invention. It initially served coffee brewed in a primitive manner. 

Espresso was initially served in small cups to preserve the intense flavor. It wasn't until later that larger cups became popular, diluting the strength but catering to different preferences. 

The iconic crema, the golden layer atop espresso, was initially considered a flaw by early baristas. It wasn't until the mid-20th century that it gained recognition as a sign of a well-brewed shot. 

In 2015, the International Space Station received an espresso machine named "ISSpresso," allowing astronauts to enjoy their favorite brew even in the microgravity of space. 

Espresso machines have inspired musical compositions. In 2007, composer Jonathan Kane created "The Little Engine That Could," a musical piece performed on a modified espresso machine.