The »espresso« name comes from Italy, so it is quite normal, that the process of brewing »espresso coffee« is also originating there.
The »inventor« of Espresso was Luigi Bezzera and it happened at the turn of the century, in 1901.
He didn’t have in mind making a very sophisticated coffee, just to find a way to brew coffee faster. He figured if he could just add pressure to the process this would speed things up. His simple idea of a fast cup of coffee turned out much better. He got a better tasting cup of strong coffee and much faster process.
But it was not Luigi Bezzera who made it popular, but Desidero Pavoni who purchased the rights from Mr. Bezzera in 1903. Pavoni was extremely successful marketing man and he probably changed the way people drink coffee from then on. In 1905 the Pavoni company begins manufacturing the espresso machines soley based on Bezzera’s patent. Another big breakthrough was in 1946 when Gaggia begins manufacturing the commercial piston machine, which helped making foam or cream layered coffee or cafe’.