Coffee has a fascinating history that dumbfounds even the coffee drinkers. You will be excited to know how people discovered coffee and the coffeemakers.
Quick coffee facts
- Coffee is traced to Ethiopian plateau and was discovered by Kaldi, a goat-herder.
- Coffee is today grown in most parts of the world including Asia, Africa, Australia, South and Central America.
- On July 8, 1908, Melitta Bentz invented the first paper filter.
- Dr. Ernest Illy developed the 1st automatic espresso machine.
- Alfonso Bialetti invented the world’s 1st stovetop espresso maker.
- In 1884, Angelo Moriondo of Turin, Italy invented the espresso machine.
What is a coffee maker?
A coffee maker is a small kitchen appliance that is used to brew coffee. The machine can either manual or electric, and it can make hot or iced coffee. In the simplest design, a coffee maker consists of a jar and a filter or permanent paper that traps ground from the drink. In all coffee makers, the coffee, and hot water should come into contact either directly or indirectly.
However, various coffee makers use different brewing mechanisms. Modern coffee makers consist of various components including a hot plate, filter basket, a glass coffee pot or carafe, and water reservoir.
Discovery of coffee in the 9th century
Reportedly, Kaldi a goat-herder discovered that his goats behaved erratically after chewing red berries from a certain tree. He tried some of the berries and felt the effect just like his goats. Kaldi brought some of the berries to a monastery. After the monk had tested the berries, they didn’t approve them for use.
The berries were thrown onto a fire to destroy them. However, the berries produced an appealing aroma, and the monks decided to investigate. Hence, coffee was given a second chance. Just like tea, the religious leaders ground the roasted beans and put them into the warm water making the first cup of coffee.
Despite this tale of coffee discovery, it’s alleged that people used to chew coffee berries as a stimulant. People used to grind coffee beans to blend with animal fat and butter to preserve and consume on long journeys. Also, it’s thought that Sudanese slaves used to chew coffee beans in a bid to survive the difficult voyages on trade routes.
In the 14th century, coffee cultivation and trade began in Arabic countries and spread to Egypt, Turkey, and Syria. Allegedly, until the 1600s, coffee only existed in Africa and Arabic countries. It was later introduced in India and spread to America and Brazil.
Today coffee is grown in most parts of the world and yields up to 100 billion dollars a year, supporting about 25 million people worldwide. Hence, it’s a very vital plant to most people worldwide.
Invention of coffee filters
What is a coffee filter? It’s a brewing appliance that is either made of a permanent material or disposable paper. A coffee filter helps to trap coffee grounds to ensure the drink is fine and smooth.
Melitta Bentz conceived coffee filter on July 6. 1908. Bentz wanted to remove coffee grounds from coffee in a bid to control the bitterness. After using different methods, she used blotting paper from Willi’s (son) exercise book. She was able to achieve grounds-free, less bitter coffee.
Bentz got a patent and decided to set up a business to sell her innovation. On 15th Dec 1908, Bentz registered her company and sold 1,200 coffee filters during the 1909 Leipzig fair. Bentz employed her husband Hugo and son Horst as the first employees of her company.
Today, Stephen and Thomas Bentz, Melitta Bentz’s grandsons still run the company started by company “Melitta Group KG.” The company has headquarters in North Rhine-Westphalia and has about 3,300 workers and 50 companies.
Popularity of coffee
Coffee is cultivated and consumed in most parts of the world. The popularity of the drink is comparable to oil. About two billion cups of coffee are drunk daily worldwide. The huge market for coffee makers is a clear show that coffee popularity is growing steadily.
In the 1990s, there was a revolution in coffee brewing; advanced and appealing coffee machines were introduced into the market to meet the need of coffee drinkers. Evidently, more advanced and innovative coffee makers are being introduced into the market daily.
History of coffee makers
Before the introduction of coffeemakers, people used manual methods to grind and brew coffee. The process was usually tiring, and people used to brew a small amount of coffee for a long time. However, the introduction of coffee makers made the process simple. Coffee machines allow you to make custom coffee within a short time to suit busy schedules and specific needs. Below are the types of coffee machines that are used in modern kitchens.
Drip coffee makers
Overview: Drip coffee maker was launched in America in 1972. It’s estimated that 73% of Americans were using an automatic drip machine in 1996. These coffee makers come in different sizes, styles and colors. They mainly brew between 4-12 cups of coffee.
Brewing mechanism: Drip coffee makers brew by distributing hot water over coffee grounds in a paper or paper filter through the shower head. The water then drips through the grounds, absorbing its flavor, oils and essences and then passes to the bottom of the glass pot or carafe. The coffee grounds remains on the filter paper.
Uniqueness: Drip coffee makers have different chambers/reservoirs, for water and coffee. These machines brew coffee fast, and they use ground coffee only.
Single serve coffee machines
Overview: Single coffee makers are new to the market and are meant for those who love single serving. These brewers use coffee pods, are simple to clean and allow you to brew specialty coffees. You can make a variety of beverages using this machine including tea, hot chocolate, and other milk based drinks.
Brewing mechanism: Hot water passes through the coffee pod and delivers a perfect cup of coffee into an external cup or mug.
Uniqueness: They are meant to brew coffee for a single serving. Also, they deliver coffee into an external cup or mug, unlike automatic machines that have a coffee reservoir.
Overview: James Nason patented the first design of percolator in 1865. However, the modern percolator is linked to Hanson Goodrich, who patented the design in 1889. If you use a percolator, you should judge when the coffee is ready by observing it through the knob on its lid. Early, percolator used stovetop burners while the current ones rely on electricity.
Brewing mechanism: These machines brew coffee heating water in a pot and then pushing the water through a metallic tube into the brew basket that has the coffee. Finally, the brewed coffee drips into the coffee pot.
Uniqueness: Percolators come with a transparent knob on the lid that lets the user observe the brewing and decide when the coffee is ready. They don’t have automatic setting or strength selector.
Overview: French presses are manual coffee makers that use coarse ground coffee to produce a perfectly brewed coffee. A French press consists of a jar/beaker, plunger, and filters. However, modern French presses may be more complicated. But they all require pressing to extract flavor, essence, and oils from the ground coffee.
Brewing mechanism: You have to put hot water and ground coffee into the brewer. Stir the ingredients, leave it for some minutes and then press the plunger to trap the grounds at the bottom of the beaker.
Uniqueness: French presses require you to press the plunger to extract oils and essences from the ground coffee.
Overview: Angelo Moriondo invented Espresso machine in 1884. Luifi Bezzera patented an improved design of the espresso machine in 1901. The first commercial coffee maker was made available by Pavoni, the founder of La Pavoni. Most espresso machine relies on pressure to extract flavor from hot coffee, and they have a wand that froths and steams milk for latte and cappuccino.
Brewing mechanism: Espresso machines forces hot water through coffee grounds and then through a filter to create espresso which is a highly concentrated coffee.
Uniqueness: Most espresso machines have a steaming wand to steam and froth milk for latte and cappuccino.