If you are a coffee lover, the word espresso is not new to you; you either have had a cup or heard someone order for a cup. Espresso in the coffee world is a strong, complex type of coffee that is delicious either alone or mixed with other drinks. Like the coffee beans, espresso has its origin and a story behind its name.
Let us take a closer look at the word espresso, what it means, where it originated from, the proper way to spell the word, and the meaning of modern-day espresso.
What is espresso?
Espresso is a full-flavored concentrated coffee usually served in shots for its good caffeine kick. It is a type of coffee brewed by forcing hot water through fine coffee grounds. The ground coffee beans are placed inside a portafilter, and the surface is compressed with a disc to tamp the coffee.
Tamping is done to extract the flavor in the ground effectively. You can make an espresso coffee without an espresso machine, but it requires you to put in the extra effort. Although you can make espresso without an espresso machine, it is not a good option if you’re considering long term.
Origin of espresso
The word “espresso” is Italian, and it translates to mean fast. In 1884, Angelo Moriondo, an Italian, registered a machine similar to the espresso machine for a patent. He made the machine to help people make quick, concentrated cups of coffee.
In 1901, Luigi Bezzara registered for patent a machine that will compress coffee and expressly serve customers; this machine was bought in 1905 by Desidero Pavoni, who made it the first commercial espresso machine available to the public.
In 1920, the word “Caffe espresso” was added to the Italian dictionary; it means a pressured filter machine. Coffee houses became a thing, and people frequented the place for that strong caffeine kick. The more people who frequented, the more the word “espresso” became associated with the coffee cup produced from espresso machines.
By the twentieth century, a café owner called Achille Gaggia registered for a patent the first modern espresso machine and also the first that produced ‘Crema’ – which we associate to espresso coffee today.
Espresso or expresso?
Espresso sounds like the English word ‘express’ – which means speed. Considering the speed required to get your coffee ready, it’s no wonder express is used by English speakers as against espresso – quite fitting.
Some people regard ‘Expresso’ as misspelled considering the Italian origin. Espresso, when used in Italian restaurants, means “quickly made to order.” ‘Exprimere’ is an ancient word meaning to force out or squeeze something by applying pressure – which describes what happens when espresso is made.
Which came first?
As surprising as this might sound, the drink was invented before the word. The word became known in 1884 after an Italian man named Angelo Morindo patented a fast steam-powered coffee maker. The term espresso was used more often after the machine’s subsequent investors improved on the original polarized design.
What espresso means to coffee aficionados?
To coffee enthusiasts, the word espresso means an excellently balanced coffee with a complex flavor profile. When you brew fresh espresso, the room or space where you brewed will have an intense aroma that smells like its taste; the expresso also has many variations to explore – con Panna or cortado, basic macchiato, and Americano.
To Italians, espresso could mean sipping a cup of coffee in a bar within a small neighborhood in late afternoons. The espresso is associated with localness which is distinct to the Italian culture.
Although it was an Italian that invented the first modern espresso machine and began the Italian coffee culture, espresso has gone beyond being just an Italian drink. Espresso has reached so many countries with many variations created – like the American cappuccino.
Why do people love espresso coffee?
The espresso coffee is known to give you a quick caffeine kick because it is more concentrated than regular coffee. It has enough caffeine in each sip you take to get you through a dull day or keep you active on a stressful morning.
You also get to enjoy a delicious crema or the brown froth on your cup of espresso. The method of making espresso (pressure from the espresso machine) extracts the aromatic oil in the coffee beans, which produces the rich and reddish-brown crema.
Modern-day espresso has its origin in Italian culture. The Italians influenced the west and other parts of the world by 1940 as people could go to their local café to request a flavorful espresso.
The drink became a kick-starter for people, something to have before an appointment, or a drink to take while at the local café having a chat with friends.
the word and the delicious drink ‘espresso’ was adopted by English speakers from Italians. The brewing method invented from Italy didn’t get the name ‘espresso’ until years later.