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The Origin of Espresso

Espresso was born out of the need for speed. In the late 1800s, coffee was wildly popular among Europeans. As café culture spread across the continent, baristas sought a faster way to brew individual cups for customers, and inventors began toying with the idea of using steam to speed up the process.

Under Pressure

An Italian named Angelo Moriondo is generally credited with developing the machine that would lead to modern espresso-makers. In the 1880s, he submitted a patent for a device that used steam and boiling water to brew large batches of coffee, but the machine was never produced commercially and no physical examples of it survived.

Two other Italians later built upon Moriondo’s idea to develop a machine that brewed a single cup of coffee in seconds. In 1906, Luigi Bezzera and Desiderio Pavoni introduced their invention at a World’s Fair in Milan, calling the resulting beverage “caffe espresso.” It was the first time single cups of coffee were made expressly for individuals. Pavoni named their machine “Ideal”; it saw some success regionally after the fair but was never widely received.

It wasn’t until after World War II that a lever-driven machine was developed. This iteration of the espresso machine eliminated the need for massive boilers and standardized the size of the drink. The spring lever also increased the pressure used during the brewing process to create a foam on top that eventually became known as “coffee cream.” Later, in the 1960s, a motorized-pump machine was introduced by Carlo Ernesto Valente; it provided nine bars of atmospheric pressure to brew espresso.

The French Press Method

You don’t need a big, expensive machine to enjoy the rich, caramelized flavor of our Private Reserve® Espresso roast. It’s perfect as an everyday coffee, brewed in a standard drip coffee maker. Or, for a special preparation, try using the pour-over method or brew with a French press.

Here’s how to capture the robust flavor of this roast using a French press:

  1. Gather your supplies. You will need a French press, coarse ground coffee, fresh water, a tea kettle and a timer. 
  2. Heat enough water for the amount of coffee you want to make to between 195°F and 205°F.
  3. Add two level tablespoons of coffee for each six ounces of water. After this, pour the hot water to the band (fill line) of the French press.
  4. Place the plunger on top of the French press to keep the heat in, but do not press it down yet.
  5. Set the timer for four minutes; when the time is up, push the plunger down slowly. It is a good idea to hold the handle and the lid as you push down to stabilize the French press.
  6. Pour the coffee while holding the lid on the French press, and enjoy!