Legend has it that an Ethiopian shepherd discovered the stimulating properties of coffee when he noticed his goats’ unusual state of excitement after they ate berries from a certain bush. Whatever the case may be, beginning in the 15th century, coffee spread throughout Arabia, Persia, Egypt and Turkey. In 1600, Venetian merchants introduced coffee to Italy. Starting in 1650, England, as well as Germany and France, began importing coffee. In the 18th century, all European cities had a coffeehouse, but it was in the 20th century that the way we prepare coffee would see its greatest changes.
1908: German Melitta Bentz patents the first paper filter.
1923: Decaffeinated coffee, patented in 1906 by German Ludwig Roselius, is introduced to the United States under the name Sanka.
1933: Italian Attilio Calimani invents the coffee press (also known as the French press) and Italian Alfonso Bialetti files a patent for his Moka coffee maker.
1938: In Switzerland, Nestlé begins selling Nescafé, a soluble coffee created by Swiss Max Morgenthaler. Nestlé also invented the lyophilization (freeze-drying) of coffee in 1965.
1946: Italian Giovanni Gaggia perfects his espresso machine.
1972: The first automatic drip coffee maker, Mr. Coffee, is invented in the United States by North American Systems.
1986: Capsule espresso machines are adapted for the consumer market with Nestlé’s Nespresso system.