I live in the US. During a recent trip to France, I was struck by the fact that espresso is the default coffee configuration there (i.e., if you order "coffee" in a restaurant without specifying further, espresso is what you get). And Nespresso-compatible coffee pods are sold in the supermarket for use in Nespresso-compatible machines, whereas in the US Nespresso hasn't licensed their system to any third parties, so it's still a specialty item. Presumably the same situation prevails in Italy, where espresso originally comes from.
In the US, meanwhile, you can get "espresso drinks," but that usually means espresso diluted in a large quantity of milk and syrup. Espresso per se is an esoteric beverage consumed mostly by a small number of enthusiasts.
Part of what motivates this question is that in some ways espresso seems tailor-made for the American market:
- Invented out of a desire for fast service
- Involves large, complex machinery
- Lends itself to quick consumption
And yet here we are. So the question is: are there specific factors, beyond "different countries do things differently," that kept espresso from catching on in the US?