Early next year, a new Italian guest will arrive at the International Space Station — an Italian coffee maker designed to work in zero gravity, dubbed ISSpresso. The arrival of the machine will coincide with the visit of the first female Italian astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti.
The Associated Press report says that while they'll still have to consume the brew from plastic bags with straws, it will be a vast improvement over the bland, tepid, instant coffee that astronauts have complained about for decades. American astronaut and two-time ISS visitor Donald Pettit called ISSpresso "a welcome addition to space station life. The pre-measured bags of freeze-dried coffee served in orbit taste good - when you're up there on the frontier. On Earth, any coffee lover would go "Yeeck."
Italy's Lavazza coffee company worked with an engineering company called Argotech and the Italian Space Agency on the design of the machine. They replaced the plastic tubing inside with steel tubes, and packed it all into a compact 17x14 inch box, weighing 44 pounds.