Zero-G Cup: How It Made The First Espresso In Space Possible

Not everyone has the talents of a Starbucks barista, so making the perfect espresso can be difficult enough when attempting to do so on Earth. Knowing that, any astronaut who dares to challenge the microgravity conditions of space to make a decent espresso deserves praise. Italian astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti, recently demonstrated just how to brew the perfect cup of space coffee, as mentioned in a previous article.

“Fresh espresso in the new Zero-G cup! To boldly brew …, ” Samantha Cristoforetti posted to social media on Sunday after she became the first to brew and also drink the first espresso in space. Cristoforetti, who is the seventh Italian and the first Italian female astronaut to venture into orbit, has been at the International Space Station since November, so this was her first drink of espresso in five months. How was she able to brew the coffee and how does the Zero-G Cup actually work?

A Closer Examination of the Zero-G Cup And The First Espresso in Space
She didn’t use just any ordinary espresso machine when brewing this special cup. Argotec actually designed a machine, called the ISSpresso, specifically for this task. The 44-pound machine has a dripless system, complete with a microgravity coffee cup, and has the ability to make tea and consomme as well. The cup allows liquids to be sipped by the astronauts almost similar to the way they drink from a cup on Earth. As the astronaut drinks, the cup records data about the movement of complex fluids in space. The two small flaps on the side of the cup allow the astronaut to hold it without being burned. The machine was initially designed in 2013 after Luca Parmitano, an Italian astronaut, mentioned that he missed espresso while in space. It is now two years later, and if Parmitano were to return to space, he won’t have to miss the taste of espresso during his next trip thanks to Argotec and Samantha Cristoforetti.

There have been many of firsts in space: someone to walk on the moon, someone to eat and someone to tweet, but an astronaut has not been able to drink a complex liquid. This may seem like a small feat to some, but for those studying the movement of liquids in space, this is a huge accomplishment. Who knows what astronauts will be doing come this time next year.