Espresso is the daily ritual of Italian life.
Downing down a quick espresso in a crowded bar before heading off to your day’s commitments is a reality all too known in the old country. It is an integral part of Italy’s cultural identity, an identity nowadays transmitted throughout the world.
The first Italian Caffè was opened in the 1700s in Venice and immortalized by Goldoni’s work, “La Bottega del Caffè”.
More establishments of the sort opened throughout Italy during the 18th and 19th century, but it wasn't until 1898 that entrepreneur Alessandro Manaresi opened the first “bar” in Florence. BAR is an acronym for “Banco A Ristoro” (refreshment counter). The term “bar” quickly caught on and became an emblem of Italian coffee culture.
By the 1950’s and 60’s, post-war growth changed Italy from an agrarian country to an exploding urban and industrial economy. With this economic boom, the rhythm of Italian life changed.
Suddenly, the coffee bar was no longer a place for high-society. People of all walks of life entered the bar for a “caffè al volo” (espresso on the fly). Life in Italy was becoming faster, and the pressure was on to speed up the brewing process.
In comes the Faema E61.
The E61 was the first machine to use an electrical volumetric pump to give the water the ideal and constant pressure during the whole extraction process. While other machines used boilers to heat the water, the E61 was connected directly to the public water system and included a heat exchanger, so there was no need for the barista to constantly refill the boiler.
In other words, it was the first espresso machine that was capable of continuously delivering coffees, all the while freeing the barista from manually operating the lever and refilling the boiler.
The story of the E61 reflects the evolution of Italian society, capturing its post-war changing reality and technological innovations. The beautifully sleek and over stylized pop-art piece of machinery far outperformed the former oversized machines of the past. The Faema E61 made a nod at the past, but, like the fast cars its design represented, it was revving for the modern future ahead.
The Faema E61 changed the way commercial machinery functioned in the hospitality industry. Its cutting edge technology of the time created the opportunity for fast, yet quality beverage preparation never before seen in the industry.
In time, other brands adopted the E61 technology, enabling the coffee bar industry to grow worldwide and eventually giving rise to international coffee shop models à la Starbucks.
Nowadays, especially in urban centers around the world, getting a coffee on the way to work has become a fundamental part of our daily routine, a moment of escape from our everyday stressors: a treasured ritual made possible by that little machine that made history and gave us all a chance to have a daily glimpse ofla vita all'italiana.
The history of the E61 echoes in us, still today.
The electric, post-war energy found in Italian society was personified by our parents, Graziano and Luigina Angeli, who, in the midst of a transforming world, were filled with the dream and the desire to actively work toward a better future.
Likewise, as we near the end of 2021, with our own realities of being transformed by this pandemic era, we invite you to join us in paying homage to the efforts of the past and to look forward, with hopeful hearts, to the positive outcomes that our own efforts will bring in the future.
The Faema Montreal Family