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BH Unlimited Update, June 20th 2021.
The First Espresso Machine with a Pump
You’ll often hear it said that the E61 from FAEMA (E for eclipse and 61 for 1961) had the first pump on an espresso machine — but that is simply not correct. It didn’t even have the first electric pump. That was on the TRR by FAEMA from two years earlier. We’ll get to the E61 in a few weeks' time and it is undeniably an incredible design, however pumps were being used on coffee makers as early as 1909.
A machine very similar to Angelo Moriondo’s 1884 design, also with a huge group head able to brew a litre of espresso at a time, was fitted with a hand pump (number 10 and 11 in the diagram above), and believe it or not, a kind of bike pump too, which was an air pump designed to dry out the puck after the extraction was finished (number 22). The machine was designed and patented by Luigi Giarlotto from Turin. And how ahead of its time it was! It’s likely that baristas may not have particularly enjoyed having to spin the heavy crank at the back of this machine to get water moving but this was virtually modern espresso 50 years earlier than the E61.
The only problem was the massive group head. Plus, as our new friend Ian Bersten (the 82-year-old coffee sleuth who discovered Moriondo’s long lost patent) has explained to us, the brew baskets had much larger holes than today's filter baskets. He estimated the holes were >300µm back then. Had that tiny innovation been settled, we’re pretty sure they would have been able to produce espresso with crema with that design.
Homework suggestion: Actually, baristas, if any of you happen to have access to a machine made before 1930, please pop one of the filter baskets on an ipad with a white screen, then place a ruler next to the basket. Grab a DSLR camera or equivalent (ideally on a tripod) and take a snap shot for us if you wouldn’t mind :D. In the next couple of weeks, we will be using images like that to work out the exact open area and the average diameter of the holes. That will give us a much clearer picture of what espresso was like back in the '10s and '20s. We’ve actually tracked down a Snider machine in Melbourne and will be endeavouring to photograph it ourselves once the recent lockdowns come to an end, but any assistance would be appreciated in the meantime.
The Myth of the Selfish Barista
by Sebastien Delprat PhD
As you may recall, over the last couple of BH Unlimited updates we have been making references to the recent discoveries of physicist-barista Sebastien Delprat. He has continued the important work of Bersten and has made some really fascinating discoveries over the last couple of months that are rewriting coffee machine history. Among these interesting discoveries is the first known photograph of a barista. But most important of all is that Sebastien has firmly debunked the myth that Moriondo guarded his technology jealously, and wouldn’t allow others to purchase or distribute it. To find out what really happened, we asked Sebastien to put together a paper that explains all the recent developments and lays out all the clues in the Mystery of Moriondo .
We have re-designed and re-imagined one of our classic apps — the Cowculator . This handy tool will help you work out the concentration and nutritional content of your cappuccino. The new version includes two modes that can help you decide what size of cups to buy and what size of baskets you should use when you’re planning a new coffee setup. While we were focussed on the milky drinks, we came across a news item that highlights how fragile our milk supply can be. It all started when COVID lockdowns drove Canada into a frenzy of home baking… To find out what happened next, follow this link to our blog.
The Espresso Machine
History, Form, and Function
EM 2.00 • What’s in Chapter 2?
EM 2.01 • The ‘Bike Pump’ Approach
EM 2.02 • Line Pressure and the Snider Machine
The Coffee Buyer’s Guide to Brazil
CBGB 1.00 • What’s in Chapter 1?
CBGB 1.01 • Brazil’s Coffee Growing Regions
CBGB 1.02 • Introduction to Minas Gerais
CBGB 1.03 • Sul de Minas
CBGB 1.04 • Mantiqueira de Minas
CBGB 1.05 • Chapada de Minas
CBGB 1.06 • Matas de Minas
CBGB 1.07 • Montanhas de Minas, Cerrado Mineiro, and Campo das Vertentes
As always, we're just an email away if you have any queries! Have great weekends and we look forward to seeing you next time.
To the Boundaries of Coffee,