A noncommercial site for French (-built) espresso machines.

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(The remainder of this site is under construction; suggestions are solicited.)

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Is Conti really a French espresso machine company? The question really is, is Monaco part of France? Right now, the answer is "no". As for the long run, we prefer not to speculate on matters of royal fertility. This means that Conti is potentially a French machine, and it has been included in this site as honorarily French.
Is Krups really a French espresso machine company? Krups is now part of Group SEB, which makes it French.
If their machines are so good, why is French espresso so bad? Some possible reasons:
  1. 45% of the coffee consumed in France is Robusta (Pendergrast, Uncommon Grounds), and the French drink about 50% of the Robusta beans in Europe (Allen, The Devil's Cup)
  2. "[Procope] had realized that it was not coffee the drink that interested the French, but coffee the fashion statement." (Allen, The Devil's Cup)
  3. Advice from Astoine Alexis Cadet-de-Vaux (see Bersten for some quotations, for example: "Coffee must be reheated because it tastes better...")
Was espresso invented in France? The internet is full of claims that espresso was invented in France in 1822. In fact, Louis Bernard Rabaut did patent a machine in 1822 that looks a lot like a steam-type espresso maker (what we now call a 'moka pot'). Bersten suggests that this machine is just a slight modification of a machine patented 4 years earlier in Prussia, and speculates that this kind of machine was already well-known in France.

Speaking of prior art, the Rabaut machine used paper filters on the top of the ground coffee to promote coffee clarity. During the coffee/cholesterol scare a few years ago, the idea of a bit of paper atop the grounds in an espresso machine (dubbed a 'demipod' by some espresso enthusiasts) was patented in the US.

Since this site is devoted to French equipment, shouldn't you be writing `expresso' instead of 'espresso'? Yes. Now go away.

Last update: lundi 4 août 2003