The Story Of Espresso

wonderful coffee.


The Dish

It won’t take long:

The first espresso machines — rather steampunk-y brass fixtures — were built for turn-of-the-century hotel bars [in Italy] to accelerate the process of preparing coffee for clientele, mostly visitors from more prosperous European nations who were enjoying Belle Époque mercantilism and mobility. Acceleration was the watchword of early 20th-century Italy, only recently unified as a nation and rocked by a second industrial revolution. Like trains, automobiles, and the thrusting designs of Futurist artists (some of the recipes in the Futurist Cookbook even use espresso as an ingredient), the initial sex appeal of espresso was in speed and efficiency…. [I]n most Italian coffee bars, the small cups of caffé were sipped standing up at a counter, a posture that permitted conversation but no lingering. Customers had to drink up and move out, making room for more customers, and workers had to get back on the clock.

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