It was one man’s determined quest for the perfect espresso in 1930s Milan that gave birth to one of Italy’s most iconic brands. Gaggia. A name practically synonymous with espresso. For more than half a century since it was founded, Gaggia has been supplying both bars and homes with innovative, state-of-the-art coffee machines. Beautiful, timeless products inspired by the fashion, design and culture of the day –as well as the inherent Italian passion for la dolce vita.
It all began in Milan in 1930 when Giovanni Achille Gaggia (1895-1961), a humble Italian bartender with a passion for espresso, began a years-long quest to create the perfect shot. In doing so, he came up with what is probably the most revolutionary innovation in the history of coffee brewing.
He was working at his family’s coffee bar – Caffè Achille on 14 Viale Premuda – and business was slow.This was because espresso machines – a relatively recent Italian invention – were column-shaped remnants of the 19th-century industrial revolution and used steam to force hot water through the coffee grounds. This slow, high-temperature process burnt the coffee and gave it a bitter, over-extracted taste. Another drawback of steam was recalled years later by Gaggia himself: “When one has a coffee, it’s like entering a foggy Milan.”
As he served espressos to his customers, Gaggia wondered if there was a way he could improve both the process and the taste, and started exper imenting with the refined Victoria Arduino machine that reigned over the counter. However it wasn’t until he met Antonio Cremonese (1892-1936) who shared the same desire to improve coffee extraction in espresso machines.