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Angelo Moriondo: The Unsung Hero of Espresso

Angelo Moriondo, an Italian inventor, is often overlooked in the history of coffee, despite being the creator of the first known espresso machine. His invention paved the way for the modern espresso machine, which is now enjoyed by millions of people around the world.

Early Life and Entrepreneurial Spirit

Born in Turin, Italy, in 1851, Moriondo came from a family of entrepreneurs. His grandfather founded a liqueur company, and his father, Giacomo, continued the business. Angelo followed in his father’s footsteps, showing an early interest in business and innovation.

In 1884, Moriondo purchased the Grand-Hotel Ligure in Turin’s city center and the American Bar in the Galleria Nazionale. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to seek ways to improve the efficiency of coffee service in his establishments.

The Invention of the Espresso Machine

Moriondo’s frustration with the slow and inefficient methods of brewing coffee at the time inspired him to develop a new machine. He envisioned a device that could produce coffee quickly and efficiently, without compromising on taste or quality.

In 1884, Moriondo filed a patent for his invention, a machine that used a combination of steam and boiling water to force hot water through finely-ground coffee. This process resulted in a rich, concentrated brew that became known as espresso.

Moriondo’s machine was presented at the Turin General Exhibition in 1884, where it received a bronze medal. The machine was praised for its speed and efficiency, and it quickly gained popularity among coffee enthusiasts.

Lack of Commercialization and Legacy

Despite the success of his invention, Moriondo never fully commercialized his espresso machine. He continued to produce the machines by hand, primarily for use in his own establishments. As a result, his name is not as well-known as other inventors who came later, such as Desiderio Pavoni and Luigi Bezzera.

However, Moriondo’s invention laid the foundation for the modern espresso machine. His work paved the way for others to refine and improve upon his design, ultimately leading to the widespread adoption of espresso machines around the world.


Angelo Moriondo’s contribution to the world of coffee is undeniable. His invention of the espresso machine revolutionized the way coffee is brewed and consumed, and his legacy continues to be felt today. While his name may not be as well-known as some of his contemporaries, Moriondo deserves recognition as a pioneer in the history of coffee.

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