The history of espresso machine

San Marco

The history of espresso machine began in 1901, when an engineer from Milan, Luigi Bezzera, patented the first monumental espresso machine, the basis for today’s machines, which sublimate the soluble part of the roasted grain into a strong, dark hot drink and the inner part into a short-lasting golden disc, called ‘cream’.
Desiderio Pavoni purchased the patent in 1906, starting to building in his garage, now a company, one machine per day. It was the superelegant ‘column’ machine with upright boiler, all encased in copper and brass.
The coffee was extracted by steam produced from water in the boiler connected to a gas cylinder.
In the forties the design was completed by creating ‘piston’ or ‘lever’ to allow the total exclusion of steam using only hot water powered by a spring to a pressure of 14 bar.
The drink it made was revolutionary: thicker and creamier and highly aromatic, the mother of the modern espresso.
It’s the famous ‘Coffee Cream’, from the patented design by Achille Gaggia and Rosetta Scorza (who inherited the patent rights from her Milanese engineer).
However, war once again halted development of this great invention; indeed, in Italy the state imposed high duties on imports of coffee, but also on the production of espresso machines, for which there was high market demand on the ‘enemy’ markets of Britain, France and the United States.
After this, during the greatest period of social and economic recovery in our country, came a model to change the way coffee is made, introducing the design standard design still in use today.
It came from the Faema factory in Milan an invention by Ernesto Valente, Gaggia engineer until 1950: the E-61 and E-61 Legend.
This was the first machine with a thermosyphon circuit with heat exchangers in the boiler, which took water directly from water mains through an electric motor pump set at 9 bar pressure.
A revolution… and one that is still ongoing!
A decade earlier Pavoni, inspired by the famous designer Gio Ponti, had put the boiler in a vertical position to allow the bartender to interact with the customer. The machines were placed
on the bar, as beautiful decorative icons.
To make coffee, the flow of water is softened to 2°, pumped at a pressure of 9 bar into the heat exchangers, where it is heated to 88/92° and – at this pressure and temperature – reaches the infusion units in contact with a dose of 7 g of coffee and then the cup. Infusion must last 20/25 seconds and deliver the coffee into a warm cup (but not more than 65°C).

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