The History of Coffee Part 4: 1900 - Present
1900’s - Now
So much has happened in this period mainly due to the inventions created by some very innovative coffee lovers, from espresso machines to instant coffee, it all happened!
The First Espresso Machine
Italian Luigi Bezzera patents the first commercial “espresso” machine in 1901. The Tipo Gigante, was just that, a large steam driven machine that used a water and steam combination, forced under high pressure to brew the coffee at a rapid pace. His invention became known as the “espresso” machine. Legend has it; the initial reason for Luigi creating the espresso machine was to reduce the amount of time that his employees spent on their coffee break. Quite a taskmaster! Luigi needed them to work faster. So he thought that having a much quicker coffee maker would be the key to making employees spend less time on coffee breaks and more time working. Productivity leads to money!
Decaffeinated coffee was first invented in 1903 when a German coffee importer, Ludwig Roselius, turned a batch of ruined coffee beans over to researchers. Although not the first to remove caffeine, they perfected the process of removing caffeine from the beans without destroying any flavour. He marketed the coffee under the brand name "Sanka" (a contraction of "sans caffeine"). Sanka was eventually introduced into the US in 1923.
The world’s first commercial espresso machine is produced and manufactured in Italy in 1905. The company of Desiderio Pavoni starts manufacturing espresso machines based on the design filed in Luigi Bezzera’s patent which was purchased by Pavoni. Realizing that using steam released too much bitterness from the ground coffee, Pavoni’s machine brewed the espresso at 195 degrees Fahrenheit and at nine BAR of pressure, creating a much higher quality espresso.
American Jabez Burns invents a new style of coffee roasting machine in 1906 that begins the era of modern coffee roaster using motors as well as electric fans.
English chemist George Constant Washington, an English chemist who resides in Guatemala, notices a powdery condensation forming on his silver coffee carafe spout. Washington begins to experiment and soon creates a process that is used to create the first mass-produced soluble coffee (instant coffee). Washington calls the new coffee Red-E Coffee and begins selling it in 1909. By the 1970s annual sales of instant coffee in the United States would exceed 200 million pounds!
The first drip coffee maker is produced in 1908 by Melitta Bentz by using a filter of blotting paper. A housewife in Germany, Bentz wanted to prevent the bitterness in the coffee that results from over-brewing the coffee so she decided to pour the hot water over the ground coffee through a filter, thus removing the ground coffee. As Bentz searched to find a proper filter she noticed that her son had some blotting paper and so she cut out a round piece of the blotting paper and then placed in in a metal cup. Bentz’s filter paper and coffee filter received a patent in 1908, and later the same year she founded the Melitta Bentz company along with her husband Hugo. The following year at the Leipziger Fair in Germany the sold about 12,000 of their coffee filters.
Due to the enactment of Prohibition in America in 1920, coffee consumption increases exponentially – I wonder why..?? =)
Cafe Reggio in Greenwich Village, New York installs a La Pavoni espresso machine in 1927. First built in 1901, this La Pavoni was the first to be used in the United States. The Italian La Pavoni espresso machine remains there today on display and is a marvel of history blending design and engineering with an ornate bronze and chrome exterior. Italian style espresso was served to many notable people over the years at Cafe Reggio including the poet Joseph Brodsky and Bob Dylan.
The world’s first automatic espresso machine came about in 1933, invented by Italian Dr. Ernest Illy. The machine is called the Illetta and uses compressed air to push the steam through the ground coffee. Previous espresso machines only used steam to create pressure and this sometimes resulted in explosions.
Melitta are back on the scene in 1937 with the invention of the coffee filter bag.
In 1938 the Nestle Company develops the freeze-dried Nescafe instant coffee (how dare they!) at the request of the Brazilian government, which was looking for ways to deal with its coffee surplus. This coffee is first introduced to the public in Switzerland – those lucky guys.
One of the first ever Gaggia espresso machines
Italian Achilles Gaggia creates a commercial piston espresso machine in 1946 that uses a piston to generate high pressure. With the pressure applied to the coffee by a spring lever independent of the boiler pressure, and the water temperature also independent of the boiler, it was possible to achieve a faster and stronger as well as a more controlled filtration. The piston along with a spring-powered lever system result in a better extraction producing an espresso with a rich layer of crema, which is the thin, foamy layer atop the espresso shot which contains its finest aromas properties and flavours. Gaggia installs his newly improved espresso machine in Gaggia’s Coffee Bar. The cappuccino drink gets its name from the resemblance of the colour of the espresso crema to the robes of Capuchin monks.
The pump-based espresso machine developed by Ernest Valente (in 1950) is marketed by M. Faema in 1961. Rather than using a manually-operated piston to force the hot water through the coffee grounds, an electric pump is used. The water supply passes through a tube that goes through the boiler before being forced through the ground coffee. This basic pump-driven espresso machine design has persisted to the present day – buy that man a beer!!
Again, Melitta come on the scene in 1962 by inventing the vacuum package method. Some clever people!!
An automatic drip coffee maker is introduced by the Bunn corporation in 1963 for use in restaurants. The machine heats the water, brews the coffee and keeps it warm on a heated plate.
The First Starbucks
Alfred Peet shared and taught his style of roasting beans to three buddies in 1971, Jerry aldwin, an English teacher, Zev Siegl a history teacher and Gordon Bowker, a writer. They worked over Christmas at the first Peet’s store in Berkeley to learn the ropes. With Alfred’s blessing, and his roasted beans, not only did they copy his store design, they took his technique of roasting and Starbucks is Born, with their first shop in Seattle. Within a year they acquired their own roaster and started roasting their own. This store simply sold one thing: Fresh roasted coffee beans!
The Mr. Coffee automatic drip coffee maker is introduced in 1972 by Ohio entrepreneur Vincent Marotta. This is the first automatic drip coffee maker designed for home use. The machine percolates water through coffee grounds at about two hundred degrees Fahrenheit rather than roiling the water and grounds as occurs in a traditional percolator. Baseball star Joe DiMaggio pitches the new coffee maker on television. By the end of the decade the machines would be selling at a rate of about 40,000 per day!
With more than 400 billion cups consumed annually in 1995, coffee is the most popular drink on the planet.
World coffee production is about 115 million bags per year in 2010. Americans are the largest consumers, with the U.S. drinking about 400 million cups of coffee each day (146 billion per year). About 40 percent of all coffee sold in the United States is specialty coffee, and about twenty-seven percent of all coffee beans grown in the world are imported into the United States. The country with the highest consumption per capita is Finland where the average person consumes about 12 kilograms annually, which is three times the amount of the average U.S. coffee consumer. Coffee is the second most traded commodity behind oil.
Samantha Cristoforetti samples the espresso in space
In 2015, the first ever espresso was brewed in space. Lavazza, the Italian coffee manufacturer, and the engineering firm Argotec, which teamed up on the space espresso project with the Italian Space Agency, were thrilled to see their 250-mile-high results. “Today the International Space Station feels a little more like home,” Lavazza tweeted. The espresso maker uses capsules of espresso coffee. Fifteen were flown up with the machine in a SpaceX cargo carrier, as well as five capsules for flushing out the system. More coffee capsules are available for launch if requested by the six-person crew.