Love Your Latte? Learn the History of Coffee

Espresso machine pouring cups of coffee
Cultura/Nils Hendrik Mueller/ Riser/ Getty Images

Ever wonder when the first espresso was brewed? Or who invented the instant coffee powder that makes your morning so much easier? Explore the history of coffee in the timeline below. 

Espresso Machines

In 1822, the first espresso machine was made in France. In 1933, Dr. Ernest Illy invented the first automatic espresso machine. However, the modern-day espresso machine was created by Italian Achilles Gaggia in 1946. Gaggia invented a high pressure espresso machine by using a spring powered lever system. The first pump driven espresso machine was produced in 1960 by the Faema company.

Melitta Bentz

Melitta Bentz was a housewife from Dresden, Germany, who invented the first coffee filter. She was looking for a way to brew the perfect cup of coffee with none of the bitterness caused by overbrewing. Melitta Bentz decided to invent a way to make a filtered coffee, pouring boiling water over ground coffee and having the liquid be filtered, removing any grinds. Melitta Bentz experimented with different materials, until she found that her son's blotter paper used for school worked best. She cut a round piece of blotting paper and put it in a metal cup.

On June 20th, 1908, the coffee filter and filter paper were patented. On December 15th, 1908, Melitta Bentz and her husband Hugo started the Melitta Bentz Company. The next year they sold 1200 coffee filters at the Leipziger fair in Germany. The Mellitta Bentz Company also patented the filter bag in 1937 and vacuumpacking in 1962.

James Mason

James Mason invented the coffee percolator on December 26, 1865.

Instant Coffee

In 1901, just-add-hot water "instant" coffee was invented by Japanese American chemist Satori Kato of Chicago. In 1906, English chemist George Constant Washington, invented the first mass-produced instant coffee. Washington was living in Guatemala and at the time when he observed dried coffee on his coffee carafe, after experimenting he created "Red E Coffee" - the brand name for his instant coffee first marketed in 1909. In 1938, Nescafe or freeze-dried coffee was invented.

Other Trivia

On May 11, 1926, "Maxwell House Good to the last drop" was trademark registered.

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Your Citation
Bellis, Mary. "Love Your Latte? Learn the History of Coffee." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Bellis, Mary. (2020, August 26). Love Your Latte? Learn the History of Coffee. Retrieved from Bellis, Mary. "Love Your Latte? Learn the History of Coffee." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 10, 2023).