According to statistics, an estimated 3.5 billion cups of coffee are made, consumed, and enjoyed on a daily basis. Taking these numbers into account, it's not hard to assume that coffee is probably the most popular beverage on the planet, second to water, of course. There are an endless number of ways in which coffee can be made - from luscious, creamy, and sweet cappuccinos, to cool, frothy, and icy frappes, to rich, dark, and potent espressos.
And with all of these endless coffee-cream-milk-sugar combinations, you should expect that there are also an endless number of ways in which they are prepared. While some coffee concoctions require nothing more than a packet of instant mix and hot water, there are some others that require much more elaborate processes.
A espresso or coffee machine is one of the most popular coffee creating contraptions in the world today, and even exists in many household kitchens. Lots of espresso and coffee machines today are fully automatic, able to come up with multiple cups of our favorite caffeinated brews with nothing more than the push of a button, but that's not always how they started out. There is a colorful history behind the coffee and espresso machine, and these common household appliances have changed vastly throughout the years to become the easy, convenient, and contemporary kitchen additions we know today.
Origins of the Coffee Machine
Back in the early 1700s, creating a cup of coffee was as simple as pouring hot water into a flat pan or pot and adding roasted coffee beans into the water. The beans and water were then left to infuse, and then the resulting coffee was poured out. But because the coffee was never free from particles of the beans, innovators thought to create specific coffee making pots which featured wide bases where beans would collect and narrow spouts that would resist the exit of particles.
The first real attempt at creating a coffee machine was the vacuum brewer. The contraption made use of a vacuum principle which caused heated water to be pulled back down after infusing with coffee beans in an upper compartment.
Percolators were the next innovation to be invented in the mid nineteenth century. The basic mechanism of a percolator is that it passes heated water through a narrow tube and into a compartment with coffee beans or grounds. The coffee is then transported back into the pot where it is reheated to repeat the previous procedure. This goes on until the desired coffee strength is achieved.
Moka pots were the next innovation in coffee machine creation, and this was developed by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933. The moka pots were designed to be placed on a stove top which would turn contained water into steam. The steam was then passed through coffee grounds or beans to create a coffee drink.
Drip coffee makers became popular soon after, which featured the same heating process similar to percolators, but didn't require quite as much repetition of the steps to achieve the ideal brew. Later on, the drip coffee machine would be replaced by single-serve coffee machines which we know, love, and probably own today.
Origins of the Espresso Machine
The first espresso machine ever was presented at the Turin General Exposition of 1884. The inventor, Angelo Moriondo, was granted a patent for his design, which was further developed and improved by Luigi Bezzera. The first versions of the espresso machine was steam driven, which worked by heating water to boiling point. The steam created would be pushed through by built-up pressure, and would be sent through coffee beans and the release nozzle where the coffee would be collected.
Updated versions of the steam version espresso machine include the piston driven machine - which was operated manually to send pressurized water through coffee beans, and pump driven - an automated version of the prior.
These days, there are several different kinds of espresso machines, and they all feature differing levels of automation. The semi-automatic version uses a pump to drive hot water through grounds or beans to come up with a coffee concentrate. This features the same mechanism as the pump driven machines that were created many years ago.
Automatic espresso machines are able to create the ideal brew and concentration based on a preset in-line flowmeter. What this does is that it stops water from being pumped through the coffee grounds or beans once the desired amount of water is already expelled. This makes it possible for users to come up with the right concentration of coffee every time, without having to guess how much water they need or lack. The super-automatic version of the espresso machine requires no user interaction at all, unlike the automatic variants which still need users to grind and tamp coffee. Super-automatic espresso machines simply require an operator to load the coffee and, if it doesn't connect to a water source, fill up the reservoir.
Reading through the history of coffee and espresso machines, it's not hard to see that coffee has had a significant place in the world, not only in present times, but way back as early as the 1700s. This is because aside from the fact that it is a delicious and enjoyable treat, coffee also packs several health benefits that have been tried, tested, and proven by scientific research.
- Rich in Antioxidants - Free radicals are cell destroying particles that can be found in the environment and in the food we eat. These aggressive contaminants can damage cells and make us feel and look tired and weak. One of the best ways to fight them off is to load up on antioxidants which stops the processes of free radicals and protects our body from further damage. Coffee is jam packed with these fighters, giving us the ability to protect ourselves from the many harsh and destructive components in the environment.
- Good for the Heart - According to recent studies, those who consume at least 1 cup of brewed coffee every day are less likely to suffer from heart disease. Coffee has been proven to normalize blood pressure, as well as to strengthen the heart. It also works to fight against heart disease, lowering the risk of infections and other common illnesses.
- Strengthens the Liver - Everything you consume passes through your liver to be filtered. That said, you can expect that your lived is probably one of the dirtiest organs in your body. Because of this, the liver is also susceptible to disease and illness, especially if you're the kind of person who doesn't watch their diet. But recent studies have shown that coffee intake just might help your liver along the path to a healthier disposition. Coffee works to help the liver filter foods and drinks, and prevents many common liver problems like cirrhosis. Frequent and consistent consumption of coffee on a daily basis can help improve and even reverse the side effects of a lifetime's worth of poor eating habits.
- Improves Energy Levels - There's a perfectly good reason why people like to have coffee in the morning other than the fact that it's just a really great way to start the day. Coffee has been proven to help increase and improve energy levels, thanks to its high levels of caffeine, which can help people increase their productivity throughout the day. Consuming a cup of coffee in the morning just might be what you need to help you muscle through that mile high stack of papers on your desk.
- Helps Burn Fat - This has to be the biggest take-away from drinking coffee, especially for those who want to lose a few extra pounds. According to research, coffee is an effective fat burner, taking its place among some of the most popular fat burning supplements on the market today. The formulation of brewed coffee resists the storage of fat cells and encourages the body to use up stored fat instead. This means that when you drink coffee, you're less likely to absorb fat from food and more likely to burn up stored fat in your body to go about your daily tasks.
- Enhances Physical Performance - Aside from the fact that coffee helps to burn fat, it also improves physical performance. When we drink coffee, we effectively increase our levels of epinephrine, a hormone in the body that temporarily increases our ability to perform certain tasks. So be sure the next time you're planning on going for a run or hitting the gym, drink a cup of coffee to bring up your levels of epinephrine and to make lifting those heavy weights just that much more bearable.
There's no denying that coffee is a wonderful treat not only for mornings, but for any time of the day. Get your daily dose of coffee and reap the benefits of this amazing caffeinated beverage by equipping yourself with a state-of-the-art coffee machine. Create delicious brews, and enjoy a healthier lifestyle - have a cup of coffee today!