Angelo Moriondo: The Unsung Hero Of Your Morning Espresso

angelo moriondo

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Do you enjoy an espresso shot in the morning? That rich burst of flavor that kickstarts your day? Well, there’s a story behind that little cup of magic. A tale of invention, passion, and a bustling Italian city that changed how we enjoy espresso coffee forever.

So, before you take your next sip, let’s journey to 19th-century Turin and meet Angelo Moriondo, the unsung hero behind your favorite brew.

Trust me, after this story, your morning coffee will never taste the same again.

Background on Turin’s Coffee Culture

Imagine walking in Turin, a city in Italy, over a hundred years ago. Everywhere you go, you’d smell fresh coffee.

Turin was a busy city back then, with many factories and businesses. Because of this, coffee shops, or caffè, were really popular spots.

These weren’t just regular coffee shops with baristas. They were fancy places with big ceilings, shiny lights, and comfy seats. People didn’t just go there to drink coffee quickly and leave.

They stayed, talked with friends, did business, or just relaxed. It was a fun place to be.

Watercolor scene of a bustling Turin cafe in the late 19th century. The luxurious setting is evident from the tall windows draped with heavy curtains

Now, the coffee itself was special too. Turin had its own favorite drink called bicerin. It was a mix of coffee, chocolate, and milk. People loved it because it tasted great and looked cool with its layers.

What’s more, Turin was a bit different than other cities in Italy. 

In Turin, you’d often see groups of women at coffee shops, chatting and having fun. In other places, this wasn’t so common. This showed that people in Turin were open to new ideas and changes.

In this busy and fun coffee world, a man named Angelo Moriondo had a big idea. 

He saw how much people loved coffee and thought of a new way to make it better and faster.

Early Life of Angelo Moriondo

Angelo Moriondo was born In the heart of Turin. The son of a well-respected family, Angelo grew up witnessing the entrepreneurial spirit first-hand. His family ran a hotel, and as a young boy, Angelo would often observe the comings and goings of the diverse patrons.

The hotel was more than just a business to him; it was a window into the wider world. He would overhear travelers from distant lands sharing stories and local businesspeople discussing their newest ventures.

This exposure instilled in him a curiosity and a penchant for innovation.

But it wasn’t just about business.

Angelo’s love for coffee was personal. Whether it was the morning brew that greeted the hotel’s guests or the afternoon cup that signaled a brief respite from the day’s work, coffee was an integral part of his life.

These early experiences, coupled with his immersion in Turin’s lively coffee culture, set the stage for Angelo’s later endeavors.

He was not just an observer; he was a participant, absorbing the needs, desires, and preferences of the city’s coffee lovers.

This hands-on experience, rooted in his early years, would prove invaluable as he embarked on his journey to revolutionize the world of coffee.

The Grand Exhibition Connection

The Grand Exhibition of 1884 wasn’t just another event; it was THE event. Picture World Expos today, where cities pull out all the stops.

Now imagine that with the expo of Turin in 1884. With the influx of visitors, the city’s coffee demand skyrocketed. 

The pressure on cafes was real. 

Watercolor painting of the Grand Exhibition of 1884 in Turin showcasing a vast display of innovative machines and artistic exhibits. Throngs of visitors

It was this exact moment, this precise pressure (pun intended!) that pushed Moriondo to think innovatively. 

He saw an opportunity in the madness, a gap that needed filling – the need for a better and more efficient coffee machine.

The Need for a Better Coffee Machine

While we grumble if our coffee takes more than a few minutes today, back then, the wait was real. The brewing methods, though aromatic and traditional, were cumbersome and time-consuming.

Angelo, with his front-row seat to this daily theater, felt the pulse of the people’s impatience. He knew there had to be a way to get that deep, rich coffee taste without the long wait. And boy, did he find a way!

Invention of the First Espresso Machine

Angelo Moriondo looked around and saw a problem. In those days, making coffee took a long time. Imagine waiting in line for your favorite drink and feeling like it’s taking forever. That’s how people felt back then.

Every cup was made slowly, one by one, and the lines at coffee shops grew longer and longer, especially during busy events like the Grand Exhibition.

This got Angelo thinking. What if there was a faster way to make coffee? A way to give everyone their favorite drink without making them wait so long? With this idea in his head, Angelo started to work.

He came up with a machine, the first of its kind. Instead of making one cup at a time, his machine could make lots of cups quickly. Operating at 1.5 bars of steam pressure, it forced steam and boiling water through the ground coffee, delivering a quick, intense shot. 

This was not just evolution; it was a revolution in a cup. This method made a strong, flavorful drink in much less time. He called it “espresso” because, in Italian, that means “fast.”

Watercolor painting showcasing a late 19th-century European cafe. In the center, an ornate brass espresso machine with intricate designs stands proudly

When people first saw Moriondo’s steam machine, they were amazed. 

It looked different and worked differently than anything they had seen before. And the best part? Moriondos machine made great coffee, fast! 

Thanks to Angelo’s espresso coffee machine invention, people could get their coffee quickly and enjoy the rich taste they loved.

The Patent’s Significance

Now, inventions come and go. But those stamped with a patent? They’re here to stay.

When Moriondo secured his patent, he wasn’t just protecting his idea; he was laying down a marker in coffee history. Patents back in the day were elaborate affairs, signaling the importance and uniqueness of the invention. 

Moriondo’s invention and patent were a testament, a proclamation that coffee-making had changed forever, and the espresso machine was born.

Angelo Moriondo's Espresso Machine Patent
Angelo Moriondo’s Espresso Machine Patent

Why Isn’t Moriondo More Famous Today?

In the grand tapestry of history, some heroes shine bright while others, equally deserving, work from the shadows. Moriondo was the latter. While he set the ball rolling, he didn’t necessarily shout about it from the rooftops.

The spotlight often falls on those who take an idea and market it to the masses. And in the espresso world, those were folks like Luigi Bezzera and Desiderio Pavoni.

But for those in the know, Moriondo remains the original espresso maestro.


While Angelo Moriondo’s groundbreaking espresso machine never hit the big markets like some of today’s popular brands, its influence cannot be denied. Moriondo’s patented invention was the seed that started it all. 

When we look at our modern coffee gadgets like the Gaggia Classic Pro or whip out our handy Nanopressos, it’s clear we owe a nod to Angelo when we effortlessly make our coffee beverage. 

Thanks to his vision and entrepreneurial spirit, we’re not just sipping on coffee, but we’re indulging in a piece of history. 

Each rich and aromatic shot of espresso is a testament to Moriondo’s genius, reminding us of a man who wanted the world to enjoy their coffee, both deliciously and efficiently.


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