Article 20: Italian-style coffee from a Moka pot to a cup of Espresso
Along with the Industrial Revolution, the coffee enjoyment style also established a new coffee civilization.
Coffee was introduced to Europe in the middle of the 17th century and has become an important drink, participating in creating one of the great turning points of world history – the great industrial revolution. At the same time, coffee catalyzes the enlightenment movement, bringing Europe through the “Dark Middle Ages” to build a new civilized lifestyle, associated with the creative, dynamic and modern spirit. In particular, Italy was the first nation to use coffee in Europe and was also the pioneer innovator for this drink, especially in the invention and improvement of coffee making tools.
From the time coffee appeared in Venice in the 1600s until the end of the 19th century, Italians enjoyed Ottoman-style boiled coffee or filtered coffee like the Germans, British, and French. However, Italians inherently carry the mind of a people, the country that was once the center of typical civilizations of humanity. From that nostalgia and pride, Italians strived to create their own new coffee making tools and coffee enjoyment methods.
The world’s first industrial revolution began with the application of steam power to the mechanization of production. Italian scientists had researched and invented a machine that used steam pressure to extract the essence and pure, original aroma of coffee beans in the fastest time. From this feature, the term Espresso was born and entered into the Italian dictionary with the meaning “Coffee can be served instantly and just for you”.
Coffee in early Europe was mainly served to the elite, middle class and men in public shops. Until 1933, when engineer Luigi di Ponti (1904 – 1993) invented the Moka Express (Moka Pot), the culture of enjoying coffee continued to create a new “revolution”, making it possible for many people to enjoy Espresso coffee at home and women have easier access to coffee.
Moka pot with a relatively compact design and also applied the principle of using steam pressure to penetrate the coffee powder to get a strong, foamy Espresso. Because of this advantage, Moka pots were widely used in every Italian family. Moreover, the Moka pot has brought the Italian style of Espresso enjoyment to the whole continent of Europe, Latin America and now the whole world.
The Moka pot design was not only an important part of the Italian coffee style, but also honored as an icon of the industry. Because before 1933, no kitchen utensils had been made from aluminum. After the Moka pot was born, the era of aluminum kitchen products was opened. In addition, aesthetically, the Moka pot had an octagonal design featuring geometrical symmetry motifs that were popular in the 1930s. Therefore, up to now, Moka pot designs have been displayed in museums. Museums of art and industrial design around the globe such as Wolfsonian-FIU Museum (USA), MoMA Museum of Modern Art (USA), Cooper Hewitt Museum (USA), Design Museum London, Science Museum London…
From the style of brewing hot coffee of the Ottoman Empire, the Italians – a people who made important contributions to the development of mankind during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, created a culture of new coffee invention, associated with technological elements and scientific progress. Since then, coffee has created a new wave of enjoyment culture across Europe, spreading globally. The iconic terms for Italian-style coffee such as Espresso, Cappuccino, Macchiato, Latte… became popular and loved by all genders and countries.
Moreover, with continuous creativity, starting from Espresso, Moka pot… Italian coffee style has been perfected from preparation methods, tools, performance art to enjoyment style. Italians have always carried a deep pride in their history, culture and traditions, and they also consider Italian-style coffee an important part of Italian social customs and rituals. Because of their creative thinking, they have contributed to erase the boundaries of enjoying coffee in shops and in each family, and at the same time bring gender equality in access to coffee.
Coming up: Coffee shops – the pride of Italy