Botanic physician Albino Prospero, who brought some beans with him while turning back from his trip to Egypt in 1570, and introduced the strong flavour of the dark drink to his Venetian fellow citizens after roasting it, launched the diffusion of the coffee cup ritual in the Western world. Indeed, Venice was the first Italian town with a coffee shop, the “bar” of those days. Inauguration day is uncertain: the year 1683 is indicated, but others date it back to 1640 or even 1615. However, location of the bar forerunner is certain: a prestigious position in St. Mark’s Square, beneath the Arches of the Procuratie.
The pleasure of tasting the beloved dark drink in a café was already popular abroad: the first one opened in 1554 in Constantinople. Within few decades, coffee shops spread in all main cities in Italy as well as abroad, becoming meeting point to conclude deals or cultural centres, where writers, artists and politicians used to meet.
Legend has it that the preparation method of espresso comes from a Neapolitan, who thought the dispense time of his coffee maker would be too high. To solve this dilemma, he committed an engineer from Milan to build a personal coffee machine.
The espresso machine prototype appeared for the first time in 1855 at the Universal Exhibition of Paris, and in 1901 the first model for commercial purpose became finally available. However, the espresso machine was created in 1946 by means of Achille Gaggia.
This is how the diffusion of espresso coffee started, being different compared to other coffees, because very concentrated and featuring more intense taste and aroma.