Americans have been enjoying Medaglia d'Oro® coffee since 1924, and today we proudly continue the tradition of Italian style espresso. Ever wonder where this delicious treat came from? Dive into the rich history and explore the heritage of Italian espresso.

Rich Roots and
Delicious Results

Espresso has only been around for a century, but its roots date back hundreds of thousands of years to the origins of the Arabica coffee bean. Botanists believe it originally grew high above sea level on the plateaus of central Ethiopia.

By the late 13th century, Arabian men roasted and ground coffee before brewing it for medicinal purposes for their wives. In the 15th and 16th centuries, extensive coffee cultivation began in the Yemen region of Arabia and soon throughout the Arabian Peninsula into Turkey. There, the world's first coffee shop opened in 1475.


Evolving the
Espresso Machine

More than four centuries later, in 1901, a gentleman from Naples complained that his coffee was taking too long to brew. In response, Luigi Bezzera, an engineer from Milan, patented a machine that forced boiling water through ground coffee beans. With that, "espresso" was born, named for the speed with which it was brewed.

Many craftsmen had a hand in modifying the modern espresso machine. Desiderio Pavoni purchased Luigi Bezzera's patent in 1903. Two years later, Pavoni began manufacturing machines based on it. The first La Pavoni espresso machine in the United States was installed at Reggio's in New York in 1927.

In 1938, Cremonesi developed a piston pump that forced hot, not boiling, water through the coffee. The piston pump eliminated the burnt taste that occurred in the hotter-boiling Pavoni machine. In 1946, Achille Gaggia began manufacturing a commercial piston machine that created a layer of foam or "schiuma." Today, most restaurants use pump-based machines.

Under ideal conditions, the water is heated to a temperature of 194 to 203 degrees Fahrenheit, and forced at nine bars of pressure (approximately 135 pounds per square inch) through a quarter-ounce of finely ground coffee for 25 to 30 seconds.

Early Espresso Machine

Italian Espresso Finds
a Home in America

Americans enjoy their espresso many ways, from demitasse presto to cappuccino adagio to Caffè Sambuca. Medaglia d'Oro Italian Roast Espresso Coffee, a traditional favorite for nearly 80 years, debuted in the United States in 1924. It quickly became a favorite of Italian-American families who brought their passion for espresso with them to their new country.

Today, Medaglia d'Oro products are produced by Rowland Coffee Roasters, Inc., and can be found on the shelves of leading supermarkets and gourmet shops.

When Assunta and Carlo Maucione married on July 1, 1939, in Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Orange, NJ, the guests enjoyed wrapped Italian sandwiches, grandma's homemade cannolis, Italian cookies, and Medaglia d’Oro espresso coffee.
Lena and Leo DeLuca enjoyed Sunday dinners in Clifton, NJ, in 1935 with Aunt Polonia, Aunt Nora, Uncle Tonin, Uncle Joey, daughter Helen, and her friend, Lorraine. The meal always ended with ciambella and Medaglia d’Oro coffee.
At the first birthday of their son, William, on August 19, 1953, Angelo and Concetta DeCorso served her sister's rum cake and Medaglia d’Oro coffee to the guests.

Some Traditions Stay Fresh For Generations

A message to our coffee family about the coronavirus.

Learn More