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Luigi Bezzerra and Desiderio Pavoni were the Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs of espresso

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  • Luigi Bezzerra and Desiderio Pavoni were the Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs of espresso

    Just found this piece by Jimmy Stamp of Smithsonian.com, a great read for those of us interested in the history of espresso.

    Seems that Luigi Bezzerra and Desiderio Pavoni were to espresso what the Wright brothers were to flying.

    I'm chuffed as I have both a Bezzera and LaPavoni machine on my bench, I realise the there may be no connection in lineage, however its nice to be able to use them and feel a direct connection to the beginning, even if only through the name.

    History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Smithsonian

    Here's a quote from the opening, along with some pics.

    "For many coffee drinkers, espresso is coffee. It is the purest distillation of the coffee bean, the literal essence of a bean. In another sense, it is also the first instant coffee. Before espresso, it could take up to five minutes –five minutes!– for a cup of coffee to brew. But what exactly is espresso and how did it come to dominate our morning routines? Although many people are familiar with espresso these days thanks to the Starbucksification of the world, there is often still some confusion over what it actually is – largely due to “espresso roasts” available on supermarket shelves everywhere. First, and most importantly, espresso is not a roasting method. It is neither a bean nor a blend. It is a method of preparation. More specifically, it is a preparation method in which highly-pressurized hot water is forced over coffee grounds to produce a very concentrated coffee drink with a deep, robust flavor. While there is no standardized process for pulling a shot of espresso, Italian coffeemaker Illy’s definition of the authentic espresso seems as good a measure as any:

    A jet of hot water at 88°-93°
    C (190°-200°F) passes under a pressure of nine or more atmospheres through a seven-gram (.25 oz) cake-like layer of ground and tamped coffee. Done right, the result is a concentrate of not more than 30 ml (one oz) of pure sensorial pleasure."

    Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    sounds like an interesting read! i've sent it to my kindle for the bus ride home.

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    • #3
      Just did a bit of research, seems Bezzera is still in the hands of the Bezzera family (4th generation) unsure about LaPavoni.

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      • #4
        I read somewhere that all boilers were vertical until La Marzocco designed a horizontal one. The vertical boiler leaves a lot of counter space but maybe it was too difficult for two baristi to work side by side?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by sprezzatura View Post
          I read somewhere that all boilers were vertical until La Marzocco designed a horizontal one. The vertical boiler leaves a lot of counter space but maybe it was too difficult for two baristi to work side by side?

          "In 1939, La Marzocco patented the first espresso machine with a horizontal boiler, which, in comparison to the previous vertical structure, organized the brew groups in a horizontal fashion, which provided efficiency for the barista and an opportunity to engage with customers."
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Marzocco

          Interesting information.

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          • #6
            Nice find - I guess the workflow was better. I like the vertical boilers though.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by sprezzatura View Post
              Nice find - I guess the workflow was better. I like the vertical boilers though.
              You gave me the clue Sprezz.

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              • #8
                Thanks for posting that. Great to read.

                As a past LP owner, and a current Gaggia owner, I must have been swayed by the "marketing".

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by shortblackman View Post
                  Thanks for posting that. Great to read.

                  As a past LP owner, and a current Gaggia owner, I must have been swayed by the "marketing".
                  Morning SBM, perhaps you were, wasn't a conscious decision on my part to own one from each of the companies, it just happened.

                  As I sit here typing this I'm enjoying a very good shot from the Pav, 17 grams, 30 mls, near enough to 30 seconds, I'm liking this little machine more and more.

                  Hows it going with the new Alex Leva?

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