Blue Bottle Coffee showcase the legacy of 1950s espresso with first espresso launch

Blue Bottle Coffee showcase the legacy of 1950s espresso with first espresso launch

March 13 - 2024

Coffee Geography Magazine

Blue Bottle Coffee is releasing a new, limited-edition espresso blend and set - First Espresso - created to pay homage to the iconic espresso culture of the 1950s. With First Espresso, Blue Bottle invites coffee drinkers on a nostalgic journey back in time to experience the essence of the first modern espresso, which fueled the freethinkers and creative tastemakers of the era. 

The 1950s marked a significant period for the popularization of espresso, setting the stage for the global coffee culture we enjoy today. The widespread adoption of modern espresso machines, developed by Giovanni Achille Gaggia, revolutionized brewing by utilizing nine bars of pressure to extract coffee, resulting in espresso with a rich crema. This innovation improved the taste of espresso, making it more appealing to the public, and establishing crema as a symbol of quality during that time. The rise in popularity of espresso fueled the growth of coffeehouse culture, attracting young avant-garde individuals and igniting a counterculture movement.


Inspired by the vibrant coffeehouse culture of the espresso revolution, First Espresso artfully blends modern flavors with traditional texture to reimagine the profile of the first modern espressos. Drawing inspiration from the traditional Italian ristrettos, First Espresso blends Arabica and Robusta beans, reminiscent of those used decades ago. The inclusion of Ethiopian and Kenyan elements adds complexity, bringing forth vibrant strawberry and earthy sandalwood undertones that complement the classically nutty flavor and crema found in Robusta-focused espresso of the past.

"As we developed First Espresso, we wanted to resurrect a bygone era by weaving together the essence of the past with our contemporary understanding of coffee," said Benjamin Brewer, Head of Global Innovation at Blue Bottle. "To create this blend, we paid particular attention to the crema which was so important to 1950s espresso and blended coffees from Ethiopia and Kenya to create complexity that wouldn't have been in style during this time to offer a taste of espresso as it was enjoyed during this iconic period, with a modern twist."

Blue Bottle's First Espresso Set brings together two blends to showcase espresso's evolution throughout time. First Espresso Blend pays homage to espresso's history, while Hayes Valley Espresso embodies the essence of modern espresso. Originally crafted for Blue Bottle's first brick-and-mortar location in 2012, Hayes Valley Espresso remains the base of espresso drinks across all cafes and continues to be a guest favorite. Roasted in small batches on Loring machines around the world, Hayes Valley is a marker of Blue Bottle's ongoing dedication to consistent and reliable espresso taste profiles across all cafes. 

In addition to Hayes Valley, Blue Bottle continues to offer a range of espresso blends, each showcasing a distinct flavor profile. Demonstrating commitment to innovation and widening the accessibility of specialty coffee, Blue Bottle launched Craft Instant Espresso in 2022. The introduction of espresso in instant form provides an opportunity to enjoy the rich flavors of espresso at home without the need for expensive equipment or brewing skills. Both Hayes Valley Espresso and Craft Instant Espresso stand as top-sellers, reflecting the enduring appeal of espresso.

Blue Bottle Coffee was founded by James Freeman in Oakland, California, in 2002 with a simple yet revolutionary idea: to serve coffee, roasted fresh and brewed to order, sourced from sustainable coffee farms. Today, Blue Bottle is a global network of cafes in the US and Asia.