|Died||May 31, 1914
|Known for||Inventor of the espresso coffee machine|
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Angelo Moriondo came from an entrepreneurial family (his grandfather founded a liqueur producing company which was continued by his father Giacomo, and who later, in company with his brother Ettore and his cousin Gariglio, founded the well-known chocolate company “Moriondo and Gariglio"). He later expanded his business activities, buying the Grand-Hotel Ligure in the city-centre Piazza Carlo Felice and the American Bar in the Galleria Nazionale of Via Roma. It was really this hotel and food business which triggered the impulse and then the idea of designing a machine to produce “instant coffee” in order to satisfy his demanding and ever-in-a-hurry customers.
First Espresso machine
The occasion was the General Expo of Turin in 1884, and for the event, Angelo Moriondo presented his invention on his stand, receiving the bronze medal from the organizers. The patent was awarded for a period of six years on the 16th of May 1884 under the title of “New steam machinery for the economic and instantaneous confection of coffee beverage, method ‘A. Moriondo’. The machine was actually built by a mechanic called Martina, working under the direct supervision of the inventor. (see the article "Chiosco del caffè Ligure" (the Café Ligure's display stand) in the newspaper "La Stampa" n.203 of the 24th July 1884 page 3).
It was successively updated with a patent of 20 November 1884, Vol 34, No, 381. The invention was then covered by International Patent after being registered in Paris on the 23rd of October 1885. In the following years, Moriondo continued to improve critically his invention, each improvement being patented.
Angelo Moriondo never went into industrial-scale production of his invention, but limited himself to the constructions of a few hand-built machines which he jealously conserved in his establishments, convinced that this was a significant advertisement for them.
Coffee historian Ian Bersten claims to have been the first to discover Moriondo’s patent. Bersten describes the device as “… almost certainly the first Italian bar machine that controlled the supply of steam and water separately through the coffee” and Moriondo as “... certainly one of the earliest discoverers of the expresso [sic] machine, if not the earliest.”  Unlike true espresso machines, it was a bulk brewer, and did not brew coffee “expressly” for the individual customer.
- Bersten, p. 105