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What Country Does the Word Espresso Come From? History & FAQ

delicious shots of espresso

If you’re a coffee-lover, you have probably heard of espresso. This strong, complex form of coffee is delicious by itself or mixed into an amazing array of drinks. But have you ever wondered where the word (and the drink) comes from?

We’re taking a closer look at the word espresso to learn more about this tasty drink’s origins. What is the right way to spell espresso and which came first, the drink or the name? Scroll down to find out!

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What country does espresso come from?

Italian cafes
Image Credit: David Tip, Unsplash

Italy! Espresso is an Italian word and an Italian coffee preparation method. Italians call this coffee espresso or caffè espresso. To make it, baristas use high pressure, hot water, and very little brewing time. Espresso machines send a pressurized stream of hot water (between 195 and 205° Fahrenheit) through a tamped puck of finely ground coffee. The whole process takes only a few seconds, and the result is a concentrated cup of rich coffee.

Which came first, the drink or the word?

portafilter espresso machine
Image Credit: David Lundgren, Unsplash

You may be surprised to learn that the drink was invented well before the word! In 1884, an Italian man named Angelo Moriondo patented his invention, a fast, steam-powered coffee maker. The word espresso appeared later after subsequent inventors improved on and popularized the original design.

Is it espresso or expresso?

What is espresso?
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Espresso looks a lot like the English word “express” — and given the speed of this method of coffee preparation, that feels pretty fitting. This may be why many English speakers say “expresso” instead of “espresso.”

Many consider that a typo, though the Merriam-Webster dictionary disagrees. According to these word experts, “expresso” may be an acceptable variant. It expresses (see what we did there?) the fact that espresso is pressed and made expressly to order. The bottom line? Espresso is closer to the original Italian, but expresso works too.

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The Word Espresso: Final Thoughts

English speakers adopted the word espresso – and the delicious, rich coffee it stands for – from Italy. Surprisingly, the speedy brewing method was invented years before the word. And if you want to say “expresso” instead of “espresso,” go ahead! We are in favor of anything that gets you to your coffee faster.

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Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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