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OTHER ITA SITES:
A Guide to Espresso Machines
Early in the nineteen hundreds, an Italian manufacturer was looking for ways to brew coffee faster. He figured that by adding pressure to the brewing process, the process would speed up. His name was Luigi Bezzera, and he invented a fast brewing coffee machine. His process turned out much better than he expected because it produced not only a fast process, but a better tasting, full bodied, strong coffee. Hence, was born Espresso, an Italian word meaning fast.
Bezzera filed a patent for his coffee machine which contained a boiler. The boiler caused water to boil creating steam and the resulting pressure forced the boiling water through the coffee which was finely ground and out into a small cup.
The patent was sold to Desiderio Pavoni who began manufacturing and marketing the machines. He was very successful in his marketing efforts and was credited with changing the way people drank coffee in much of Europe.
In the middle nineteen hundreds, a piston pump espresso machine was designed, manufactured and marketed. The purpose of the piston was to force the hot water through the coffee, and it did so much more efficiently. This machine also had the capability of foaming cream that was placed on top of the brewed coffee.
It wasn't until 1927 that the first espresso machine was installed in the United States, but it really didn't catch on in the United States until 1987 when the Starbucks chain of coffee houses were starting to be built.
To make a great cup of espresso several factors are involved. First the beans need to be freshly roasted to bring out the truly gourmet coffee flavor that you expect. Grinding of the beans is very important and must be done right in order that the grind is fine. The next important step is the maintaining the proper temperature of the filtered water that must be passed through the coffee at a specific pressure. As you can see from the following recipe, the brewing process is very specific.
Recipe directions: 1 ½ oz (45 ml) filtered water at the temperature of 195 degrees F passes through ¼ - 1/3 ounces of finely ground quality Espresso coffee. This water is forced through the fine coffee grounds by the espresso machine at high pressure with the water being in direct contact with the coffee for approximately 25 seconds.
The topping on the espresso is known as "Crema", which floats on top of the coffee. The Crema is formed when the emulsified oils from the coffee are released (because of the high pressure that is put on the ground coffee beans) and mixed with the oxygen in the air.
So, that is the history of espresso and some of the important facts about it. Now go out and enjoy a great cup of espresso.
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