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The Evolution Of Coffee Machines

Coffee is the world’s most popular beverage, and more than 500 billion cups of the stuff are consumed each year. This means there’s loads of interesting history behind making a tasty brew – especially the machines themselves. In the last 100 years, the development of commercial coffee machines has changed the way we make our coffee and has cemented its status as the world’s 2nd most traded commodity.

Vittoria Alata coffee machine

1905: Luigi Bezzera | Vittoria Alata

The year is 1905, the man is Luigi Bezzera and the machine is the first commercial espresso machine in the world. Eventually being awarded patent and being manufactured in Italy, Bezzera’s machine successfully brewed coffee by forcing a small amount of nearly boiled water pressure through the finely ground coffee beans. And voila, the espresso was born!

Melitta Original coffee machine

1906: Melitta Benz | Melitta Original

One year later in 1906, Melitta Bentz, a German housewife attempted to brew a cleaner cup of coffee without all the bitterness and acidity, regularly found with early coffee varietals. After several failed efforts, she finally invented the world’s first drip filter coffee machine using a page of her son’s homework book and a brass pot with hand-made puncture holes in the side. Finally, proof homework pays off!

Illeta coffee machine

1933: Francesco Illy | Illeta

Following the First World War, and moving from Austria-Hungary to Italy, Francesco Illy set up his own Cocoa and coffee business in 1933. Inspired by the espresso machine Bezzera had created, he took it one step further to design the first automatic commercial espresso machine – substituting compressed air for steam and becoming the predecessor for today’s models.

Gaggia Classica coffee machine

1945: Giovanni Achille Gaggia | The Classic

Milan, Italy 1945. A man named Giovanni Achille Gaggia created a machine with an innovative piston mechanism that forces water through the coffee at high pressure – resulting in a single espresso in under 15 seconds. It’s still regarded by the world’s top baristas as the best coffee machine and is a widely recognised brand.

Faema E61 coffee machine

1961: Carlo Erneste Valente | Faema E61

1961 – The year of a total sun eclipse in Italy and the birth of the Faema. Carlo Ernesto Valente produced the world’s first pump operated espresso machine. It was so impressive, many coffee experts still regard it as the most stylish and beautiful coffee machine in the world. The perfect combination of technical innovation and aesthetics, Valente changed the way commercial coffee machines are designed and built, many of which are still going strong today.

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The Present

Coffee machines have come a long way from the simple metal container brewing ground coffee beans in hot water to produce the energising drink that astonished the world for centuries. The world changed and coffee slowly spread from Ethiopia around the world, and with it the ways in which people brewed it and drank it. Even now that it's become one of the most common drinks on the planet, coffee continues to change and evolve and the making of coffee has initiated technological advancements way beyond the imagination of the first ever coffee drinkers.