Blue Bottle Coffee reimagines 1950s Espresso

Blue Bottle Coffee is releasing a new, limited-edition espresso blend and set – First Espresso – created to pay homage to the espresso culture of the 1950s.

The 1950s marked a significant period for the popularisation 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, revolutionised brewing by utilising 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 fuelled 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 blends modern flavours 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 flavour 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.”

First Espresso Blend (USD $25) and the First Espresso Set (USD $40) whole bean are now available online at and at Blue Bottle cafes.

A look at espresso through the ages

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 favourite. 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 flavour 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 flavours 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 launches online espresso mastery courses

To further celebrate the legacy of espresso, Blue Bottle is offering two online courses to help guests master the art and craft of brewing espresso: The Art of Espresso and The Art of Milk. Led by Blue Bottle coffee team members, the courses cover the fundamentals of espresso brewing to achieve the perfect shot and the science behind milk and its preparation. Participants will learn the proper techniques for steaming milk and the basics of creating latte art. Each course will be available on-demand beginning 19 March, priced at USD $10 per class with complimentary access for Blue Bottle subscribers.

For more information on the First Espresso suite of products or the virtual espresso classes, visit

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