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Tour the Cultural Heritage of Italian Espresso

The Italian Cultural Institute of Copenhagen, Denmark will be showcasing an extensive exhibition of one of Italy's greatest passions and achievements, the espresso machine. From the stovetop Moka Pot, the Neapolitan flip-pot to the majestic mechanical innovations Gaggia and FAEMA that ushered in modern day creama capped espresso. The exhibit starts March 7th and continues through the 31st. Here is a sneak peak of what you would find if you made the journey to Copenhagen next month.

Espresso Coffee Maker Moka

Alfonso Bialetti


Enrico Maltoni Collection

An absolute icon among home coffee machines, the Bialetti Moka is the symbol of Italian coffee par excellence. With its Art Déco style, including the unusual octagonal base, it is made of aluminium and consists of three components: a bottom chamber or boiler, a filter and a collector. The name “Moka” is inspired by “Mokha”, a city in Yemen, famous for growing the best variety of Arabica. In the ‘50s, Cartoonist Paul Campani designs the logo featuring a “little guy with mustache” that made the Moka world-famous. Found in the collections of major design museums all over the world, over 150 million units have been sold, establishing it as a familiar presence in every Italian home.

Espresso Coffee Maker 9090

Richard Sapper



The first espresso coffee maker produced by Alessi, its creator, Richard Sapper, defined it as a “little steam engine”. The 9090 epitomizes formal and technical innovations: the broader base maximizes the heat input and protects the handle from the stove flame; the snap lock allows for a single-hand movement to open the pot and prevents the accumulation of potentially-dangerous excessive pressure; the lid grants excellent pouring. Winner of the 1979 Compasso d’Oro award, it is exhibited in the collection of the main design museums in the world.

Oggetto Banale: Caffettiera (Banal Object: Coffee Maker)

Alessandro Mendini, designed with Paola Navone, Daniela Puppa, Franco Raggi


Alessandro Mendini Archive

Showcased at Venice Biennale in 1980 as part of the Oggetto Banale (Banal Object) exhibition (curated by Alessandro Mendini himself, along with Paola Navone, Daniela Puppa and Franco Raggi), this coffee maker overturns the typical proportions of an Italian moka pot by elongating the height of the boiler and introducing a coloured insert on each side. The ornamental addition aims to redeem the serial aspect of the object, creating new meaning by means of a stroke of imagination.

Caffettiera Napoletana 90018 e Prototipo di latta (Neapolitan Coffeepot 90018 and Tin Prototype)

Riccardo Dalisi

1987 - 2018


During his collaboration with Alessi, Riccardo Dalisi, Neapolitan Architect and Artist, tackled the archetype of the Neapolitan coffee maker. An in-depth historical and anthropological analysis on the ritual of coffee led the artist to collaborate with the last tin craftsmen in Naples to animate the coffee machine by unleashing its imaginative power, and to produce over 200 functioning tin prototypes over time. This long research work, honored with the Compasso d’Oro award in 1981, is encapsulated in his Neapolitan coffee maker.

Espresso Coffee Maker, La Conica (The Conic/Laconic)

Aldo Rossi



It is the first espresso coffee maker designed by the great Italian Architect, Aldo Rossi. With its essential yet defined traits, La Conica presents a dry architectural structure, committed to elegance and balance, resulting from the perfect combination of the thin lines of the handle and the cylindrical, conical and spherical shape of the coffee-pot body.

Espresso Coffe Maker Pulcina (Hatchling)

Michele De Lucchi



Pulcina (Hatchling), designed by Michele de Lucchi, is a revolutionary moka pot blending the technology developed by illycaffe and Alessi’s design experience. The shape of its boiler was purposefully studied to interrupt the pouring of the beverage at exactly the right time, in order to avoid a sour aftertaste. Made in aluminium, it sets itself apart because of its unusual, stepped aesthetic. The spout is well pronounced, and its typical V-shape, recalling the beak of a hatchling, is outlined so as to guarantee perfect pouring.

Modello America

Gaggia, Milano, 1958

Restored Model – MUMAC Collection

The Machine

Created in 1957, the Gaggia Modello America is a traditional lever machine, assembled, for the first time, through a continuous roller system. This model will be further perfected by Gaggia himself, with the introduction of an efficient lever system, a method that will lead to the creation of espresso as we know it. The design of this machine is characterized by an elegant, tasteful style, the result of a company strategy aimed at reducing the cost of materials and speeding up the mounting/dismantling time needed for maintenance. This type of machine was produced in large quantities and became popular among the public. Despite the simplicity of the design, an original addition consists of a colored, customizable-upon-request Plexiglas, and the brand logo highlighted on the front side of the body.

Modello E-61

Faema, Milano, 1961

Restored Model – MUMAC Collection

The Machine

Produced in 1961, the famous E61 model takes its name - ‘E’ - from the solar eclipse of 1961. This machine was the final outcome of various patents, and the result of the evolution of a series of models previously produced by Faema. E61 marks the introduction of a new element: an electric displacement pump. The water needed to make coffee no longer came from the boiler, like it did in the past, but rather directly from the water supply; it went through a resin water softener that removed limestone; the displacement pump propelled the water, pressurized it to 9 bar, through an heat-exchanger located inside the steam boiler, which heated it up to reach the optimal temperature. Following this process, the water entered the brewing unit passing through the ground coffee in about 25 seconds. The new brewing unit, detached from the boiler, was constantly kept hot, at the right temperature, by the circulating water, radiator-style. Another innovation introduced in this model was the “infusion” system, bringing forward a minimum quantity of low-pressure hot water to the brewing unit, in order to imbibe the coffee powder before this was fully traversed by water in the next phase, allowing for maximum extraction of the aromatic substances involved.

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