Here's how to make espresso in outer space

lavazza ISS
Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti sips espresso on the International Space Station.

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is not only the first Italian woman in space, but she's the first astronaut to drink espresso in orbit.

She sipped espresso over the weekend made from the ISSpresso, a very special coffee machine that's the first of its kind and made just for astronauts. It landed at the International Space Station last week.

The ISSpresso took years to build and was a combined effort between Italian coffee company Lavazza and engineering firm Argotec.

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The thing with space is that it's not the best place for a high-pressure, steaming contraption like an espresso machine. Plus, there's no gravity, which is what makes that coffee land in your cup every morning.

The ISSpresso is thus a bit of an engineering marvel, and replaces the instant coffee that's historically been on the space station.

lavazza isspresso
The ISSpresso machine took years to develop.

To make coffee, astronauts use a regular coffee capsule, and the machine brews it using a special system of pipes. The coffee ends up in a pouch, and the astronaut drinks it through a straw. According to NASA, the machine isn't much larger than the typical espresso machine you'd find on Earth.

Lavazza would not comment on the cost of developing the ISSpresso.

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Astronauts often miss the little comforts of home, and Lavazza says the coffee tastes just like an espresso would if it was ordered at a cafe in Rome. (Minus the straw, of course.)

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