Espresso in Space?

Because Tang and Nescafe are so Apollo 13

Jun 18, 2014
Outside Magazine

The ISSpresso makes the best coffee off earth.    Lavazza/Google

Everest climbers insist on bringing espresso up the mountain. Why should astronauts be any different? Problem is, pulling a quality shot of 'spro isn't that easy in zero gravity. Until now. Italian coffee company Lavazza has created an espresso machine built specifically for such conditions. Named for the International Space Station, where it will reside, the ISSpresso is expected to launch (sorry!) in November.

Due to espresso's hot water and high-pressure nature—along with the close quarters of the space station—a safe way to brew zero-gravity grounds was top priority for engineers. According to a Lavazza news release, the 44-pound ISSpresso uses a special steel tube that can withstand pressure of up to 5,800 psi to carry water that can be used for espresso, coffee, caffe lungo, tea, infusions, and broth.

  Photo: Wired/Google

Argotec, an engineering firm that has partnered with the Italian Space Agency and Lavazza, is currently testing a prototype to ensure it will meet all function and safety standards, according to a Gizmag report. When the machine is certified, it will be part of this fall's ESA Futura Mission. Don't picture astronauts nursing cappuccinos from bone china; the brew is pumped into a plastic bag and then sipped from there. Still, it beats Nescafe.

"Italian coffee is a beverage without borders," said Giuseppe Lavazza, vice president of Lavazza, in an NPR article. "We are in a position to overcome the limits of weightlessness and enjoy a good espresso."

We’ll raise a demitasse to that.

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