Angelo Moriondo: Why Coffee Lovers Should Thank Him


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Have you ever heard of Angelo Moriondo? I certainly hadn’t until a few months ago.

Well, you owe a moment of gratitude to the lesser-known, but highly significant figure in the world of coffee – Angelo Moriondo.

Who is he, you ask?

To find out, we venture back to 19th-century Italy to unravel the life, innovation, and enduring legacy of Moriondo, the unsung hero of your daily grind.

Get ready to pour yourself a cup of rich history, as you discover why every coffee lover should be whispering a ‘thank you’ to Angelo Moriondo.

The Life of Angelo Moriondo

angelo moriondo espresso machine

Angelo Moriondo, born on June 6th, 1851, in Turin, Italy, was a 19th-century inventor with a significant contribution to today’s coffee culture. Moriondo invented the first mechanical espresso machine, that changed the way people consumed coffee and paved the way for modern coffee shops.

His family had a strong entrepreneurial spirit, giving him the perfect environment to nurture his inventive genius. He was married but little is known of Angelo Moriondo wife.

Living in a city like Turin, Angelo couldn’t help but notice the popularity of coffee among the population. The challenge of providing hot, freshly brewed coffee to customers in a timely manner urged him to search for a better method.

In 1884, Angelo Moriondo designed a machine that combined steam and boiling water to efficiently brew coffee. The goal was to speed up the process and bulk brew coffee for numerous patrons without compromising the quality.

Little did he know that his creation would ultimately become the cornerstone of modern espresso machines.

Moriondo presented his invention at the 1884 General Exhibition in Turin and his machine not only captured the attention of many but was also awarded a prestigious bronze medal too.

His innovation not only solved the prevalent problem of slow coffee service at the time, but it also allowed for new coffee variations that used espresso as a base, like lattes and cappuccinos.

The Invention of the Espresso Machine

Angelo Moriondo was keen to provide a faster and more convenient way to serve quality coffee to customers at his café in Turin, Italy.

His first espresso machine used steam and boiling water to quickly brew the coffee, ensuring that each cup was served promptly and with a consistent taste. Moriondo’s espresso machine was unlike later models, as it was designed to brew coffee in bulk for multiple customers at once.

His machine received its patent on 16 May 1884 and it was initially called “New steam machinery for the economic and instantaneous confection of coffee beverage, method ‘A. Moriondo’.”

angelo moriondo espresso machine patent
Angelo Moriondo’s Patent

This remarkable invention set the foundation for the modern espresso machines we use today.

Your favorite cup of espresso wouldn’t be the same without Moriondo’s innovative ideas, as he ingeniously integrated a boiler that produced steam to force water through the coffee grounds at high pressure. This process extracted the rich flavors and aromas from the coffee beans, resulting in a concentrated and smooth cup of espresso.

The Impact on the Coffee Industry

Moriondo’s invention laid the groundwork for the espresso culture we know and appreciate today.

This invention changed the way coffee was brewed and consumed, which significantly impacted the people involved with coffee – from customers to entrepreneurs.

Before Moriondo’s invention, preparing espresso was a time-consuming process. With his innovative machine that combined steam and boiling water, the espresso-making process became much more efficient.

This allowed coffee shops and cafes to serve freshly brewed espresso to their patrons much more quickly. As a result of this improved process, customers were able to enjoy a stronger, more concentrated coffee beverage known as espresso in a smaller cup.

But how did Moriondo’s breakthrough invention impact entrepreneurs? Well, it created a new market for espresso machines and paved the way for future innovations in the coffee industry. As an entrepreneur himself, Moriondo helped expand the possibilities of coffee enjoyment not only in his own Grand-Hotel Ligure but also for countless other businesses across the globe.

Moreover, the use of espresso machines significantly reduced the amount of coffee grounds required to make a cup of coffee. This invention allowed for a more efficient use of coffee resources, while still providing the rich flavor and aroma that customers craved.

Evolutions and Advancements in Espresso Machines

traditional espresso machine

Moriondo’s prototype was a large machine that required considerable space.

Over the years, other inventors and coffee enthusiasts, like Desiderio Pavoni, contributed to refining and improving the technology. Pavoni played a crucial role in modifying Moriondo’s espresso machine and introduced the portafilter – a device that holds the coffee grounds during the brewing process.

As the technology advanced, the size and appearance of espresso machines evolved too. Today, you can find various designs and sizes, from large professional-grade machines to compact countertop models for your home.

The efficiency and speed of espresso machines have also improved since Moriondo’s time. Modern machines utilize heated water at the right temperature and pressure to extract the perfect espresso shot within seconds.

Thanks to these innovations, you can enjoy your favorite espresso-based beverages at your local coffee shop or in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Contributions to the Modern Coffee Experience

Moriondo’s steam-powered innovation allowed baristas to make multiple cups of coffee in a shorter amount of time, a significant advantage over the previous coffee-making methods that were time-consuming.

Thanks to his inventive spirit, today’s coffee shops can serve the long lines of customers craving their daily caffeine fix in a timely manner.

But the impact of Moriondo’s invention goes beyond merely speeding up the coffee preparation process.

The high-pressure brewing method introduced by his espresso machine extracts the rich and intense flavors of coffee beans, creating the strong and bold taste that distinguishes espresso from other types of coffee.

The Legacy of Angelo Moriondo

It is perhaps surprising that Google recognized his 171st birthday with a doodle on June 6, 2022, honoring his engineering prowess and impact on the coffee world.

Without Moriondo’s inventive spirit, your daily coffee routine might have been a completely different experience.

In addition to Moriondo’s invention, his legacy is celebrated in Turin, Italy. The Galleria Nazionale of Via Roma displays a plaque commemorating his genius and contribution to the world of coffee, which reminds coffee lovers like you of the enduring impact of his work.

From his inventive mind to the technology that is now a staple in millions of homes and cafes worldwide, Angelo Moriondo’s legacy is one to be remembered and cherished by coffee enthusiasts like yourself.

Next time you sip your espresso, take a brief moment to appreciate the man who made it all possible.

Angelo Moriondo FAQs

Who was Angelo Moriondo?

Angelo Moriondo was an Italian inventor and businessman, primarily known for his invention of the first espresso machine in 1884. He operated a hotel and coffee bar in Turin, Italy.

What was Angelo Moriondo’s contribution to the coffee industry?

Moriondo’s significant contribution to the coffee industry was the invention of the espresso machine. He designed a machine that used steam to force water through coffee grounds, significantly reducing the brewing time and providing a more robust flavor. This method formed the basis for modern espresso brewing.

Did Angelo Moriondo commercialize his espresso machine?

No, Moriondo didn’t commercially produce or distribute his espresso machine. He patented his invention, intending to use it primarily in his coffee bar at the Grand Hotel Europa in Turin. It wasn’t until later that other inventors improved and commercialized the design.

Why isn’t Angelo Moriondo as famous as other inventors who improved the espresso machine?

While Moriondo was the first to patent an espresso machine, he didn’t widely produce or market his invention. In contrast, inventors like Luigi Bezzera and Desiderio Pavoni, who made significant improvements to the espresso machine, manufactured and marketed their machines, gaining more recognition.

Did Angelo Moriondo receive any awards or honors for his invention?

Moriondo received a bronze medal at the General Italian Exhibition in Turin in 1884, the same year he patented his invention. Despite this early recognition, his contribution to the coffee industry often gets overshadowed by the commercial success of subsequent inventors.

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