In 1903, Luigi Bezzera, a manufacturer from Milan, in what I guess must have been one of the first ever "time and labor" studies, experimented with forcing water under pressure through the coffee grounds, as a way to speed up the brewing process so that his workers could "save time" on their breaks, and presumably get back to work faster!
While not lacking in imagination, Bezzera did lack sufficient capital to market his invention, and in 1905 sold his idea to Desidero Pavoni. Pavoni was not lacking in innovation either, and added a pressure relief valve to prevent too much pressure in the brewing process which would result in a bitter taste. To this day, Pavoni's pressure relief valves are found in all high-quality espresso machines.
Before long in the early 1900s there were kiosks all over Italy advertising "CAFE ESPRESSO - LA PAVONI" meaning "Fast coffee - La Pavoni" and the way Italians, and eventually the world prepared and consumed coffee, was forever changed.
Did you know that the sock I mentioned above spawned the paper coffee filter? You can read here about the history of the paper coffee filter.
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