Italian Espresso Has Conquered The World

Espresso coffee is a much cherished aspect of Italian culture which has conquered the world much like pizza. Cafes all over Europe now are fitted with espresso machines which make exquisite coffee. Recently the espresso machine has taken America by storm with its shiny stylish casing and accessories.

Its techniques, rituals, styles of drinking, attendant ideologies, menu lists and jargon - they talk of ristretto and dopio, latte macchiatto and crema.

Most of all, it is the rediscovered appeal of the splendid aromatic, syrupy concentrated taste and creamy heaviness of espresso and the delicate clouds of milk foam on top of cappuccinos that have caused its renaissance.

Espresso's place is in the cafe world of public drinking, and you can find out a whole lot more about it at (see profile for link). You can also find out more about the history of coffee and some comprehensive reviews of some of the top brands.

The First Espresso Machine

The original espresso machine was invented in the mid-nineteenth century in France and was exhibited at the exposition de Paris in 1855. It was a monster of a machine designed for commercial use, and to brew coffee instantaneously under the pressure of steam.

It was adopted by various Italian makers who developed th idea. After World War II, Gaggia brought out a model in which spring-powered piston pumped by a handle pushed the hot water through the coffee.

Later, button operated coffee machines worked with simple hydraulic pumps. These days the process is entirely automated and includes milk-frothing equipment by which compressed steam is forced through cold milk from a nozzle, heating and producing light foam. The operation however, is still enveloped by ritual mystique.

Many people want to reproduce the appealing tastes and aroma's of the cafe in their own homes but if often remains and unattainable goal. There is a great number of different home espresso makers that you can buy at a wide range of prices.

How Do Espresso Machines Work?

The principal is the same in all espresso machines. Hot water is forced rapidly with great pressure through ground coffee directly into coffee cups so that there is minimum extraction of the flavor components in the shortest possible time, but with none of the unpleasant elements.

They work by different processes. By the action of the trapped steam, by means of a pump or with a lever controlled position. These last two are found on the more expensive coffee makers, but they do produce a richer, smoother drink of near cafe quality.

So when choosing a new model, be mindful that you get what you pay for. And it is important to find out the merits and weaknesses of each coffee machine before investing in one.

All machines nowadays need to be properly handled to produce the much loved rich and aromatic coffee with syrupy body and most desirable light brown foam called crema. They require patience and practice until you get the feel for how they operate.

Remember, your espresso or cappuccino has to be made with love! It may take sixty seconds, it may take a lot longer. But with care and love, you are guaranteed of a wonderful cup of coffee.

Here are some recommendations for best results. coffee must be finely ground. You may like to use the traditional Italian dark roast which produces a distinctive bitter kick or you may prefer a medium roast used by northern Italians. The grounds must not be packed too tightly in the filter cup that holds them, or the water will not get through properly.

Neither must they be packed too lightly or the result with be watered down and insipid. And don't try to get more coffee out of the grounds because over extracted coffee is thin and tastes bitter.

Do you love your espresso? Tell us about it. 4 comments

SidKemp profile image

SidKemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

Thanks - I'm not a coffee drinker, but it's still cool to know how an espresso machine works.

fiftyish profile image

fiftyish 4 years ago from UK & Southeast Asian Region

Many years ago I worked in a beautiful Dutch restaurant in Rotterdam, Holland. One of the perks of the job was to help myself to as much coffee as I wanted. I can’t believe I averaged aboutn18 cups a day back then and still slept like a baby at nights. I certainly got used to using 'industrial' coffee making machines.

I'd typically drink 5 espressos before 10 AM (not sure what the beans were), and oddly enough, I've never touched the stuff since leaving the Netherlands.

I guess the tiny amount of coffee poured into a tiny espresso cup doesn’t justify the cost for me now that I'd have to pay for it ;-)

Andy Aitch

coffeealera profile image

coffeealera 4 years ago Author

@fiftyish, 18 cups a day - I wouldn't sleep for a week! Thanks for the comment.

coffeealera profile image

coffeealera 4 years ago Author

@sidkemp, thank you for your comment.


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