The original coffee dispenser. It’s called the Bialetti moka express; This is the story of the original coffee dispenser. You don’t have to be a coffee lover to have seen these around, since the moment of its birth in 1933 its been a original classic. To say it is iconic would be an understatement. With its classic design and simple functionality, it has inspired many a knock-off, and at some point or another, as a coffee lover you’ve probably owned one this article is all about coffee in the home and how it got there.
Lets take a dive in to history and get our insights as to how the the original coffee dispenser machine has manufactured and sold over 200 million coffee makers and 9 out of 10 Italians have a Moka Express in their homes.
Alfonso Bialetti manufactured a design by Luigi di Ponti for the first aluminum stovetop espresso maker. At the time, both coffee and aluminum were symbols of modernity. They hoped to combine these two things to create an enduring design classic. The design made drinking at home easy, switching a custom that predominantly took place outside of the home — at cafes — and making it a part of the domestic routine.
The reason we wanted to publish this blog is the interesting and surprising inspiration as to how Alfonso Bialetti came up with the invention for the Moka express. Believe it or not it was nowhere near the kitchen in fact. The idea was actually spawned from the laundry, as Bialetti watched women, as well as his wife, wash their clothes with a primitive machine.
According to “Deconstructing Product Design,” by William Lidwell and Gerry Manacsa: “Alfonso Bialetti observed the workings of their primitive washing machine: a fire, a bucket, and a lid with a tube coming out of it. The bucket was filled with soapy water, sealed with the lid, and then brought to a boil over the fire, at which point the vaporized soapy water was pushed up through the tube and expelled on to the laundry.”
He figured he could do something similar with coffee. What resulted was a stovetop espresso machine that pushes water up through coffee grounds, and out through a tube, ending up in the top part of the coffee maker.
This is the beauty of conceptual ideas; they can derive from a single simple thought and can have the potential to spawn in to cementing their place in history. Having made its way into many homes around the world, the Moka Express has been exhibited everywhere from the Museum of Modern Art to the London Design Museum.
I cannot assume everyone loves the taste of Bialetti coffee, but there’s no denying that it has a definite place in our coffee history.
In other news Congratulations to Richard Pellow, Manpower UK on winning a brand new tablet from our survey prize draw!