Why Tom Hanks Buys the White House Press An Espresso Machine

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Actor Tom Hanks has long been known as the “Nicest Guy in Hollywood.” The stories of his sudden good deeds for total strangers are everywhere, and you don’t have to look too hard to find his latest one.

He stopped filming “Angels & Demons” in Rome to escort a bride and groom to the altar when their path was blocked by the production. He once offered selfies to entice passersby to purchase Girl Scout cookies. 

In 2004 — and about every six years since — he does one good deed that’s good for the country: keeping the White House Press Corps buzzing with a new coffee maker.

His latest gift in the line of Hanks-provided coffee machines is a luxe Pasquini Livia G4 that comes complete with all the bells and whistles you could want, and at least one I’ve never even thought about. 

The Italian-made espresso machine features a commercial portafilter and push-button operation for the perfect espresso, allows the user to brew coffee and steam milk at the same time, and even has a mug warmer so the beverage stays hot when transferred to the cup.

Tom Hanks thinks of everything. It even came with a typewriter-written note from the actor, who is also known for his penchant for typewriters: 

To the White House Press Corps – Keep up the good fight for truth, justice, and the American way. Especially for the truth part. – Tom Hanks

The note also included a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoon by famed World War II cartoonist Bill Maudlin.

A tweet from journalist Karen Travers also implies the actor sent along a supply of Illy espresso pods, because what good is a $1,740 Italian espresso maker without the grounds it needs to brew the espresso?

It’s a fine gift for the Fourth Estate, to keep them working without having to leave the secure building for a trip to Swings for a pick-me-up. Besides, you never know when the Press Pool is going to get called in for some breaking news. 

“I’ve done that for Democrats and Republican administrations because those poor bastards need coffee,” Hanks told “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert in 2017. “It’s as simple as that.”

This is the third coffee maker Hanks has provided the White House press since 2004. During a White House tour that same year, the actor’s first-ever visit, he noticed the press pool had only a “skaggy” coffee maker. 

“There were six staffers and technicians in the back of the White House press room, like this” he told Colbert as he mimicked the press staff sleeping on their hands. He asked them why they had to be in the press room when there’s no news. 

“In case of nuclear war,” was the reply. 

In the interest of “Truth, Justice and the American Way,” he sent them a Pony Espresso Model T. He upgraded the espresso machine again in 2010, after noticing the first one had become a little worn down in the years since. 

“You know, you are supposed to clean this after every use,” Hanks joked during his 2010 visit, laughing at the buildup accrued on the wand of the milk frother. “Let me see what I can do for the poor slobs in the Fourth Estate.”


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Blake Stilwell
Contributing Writer
Blake Stilwell is an Ohio-based writer, former combat photographer and erstwhile aid worker who works his travel plans around coffee. He has degrees in Graphic Design, Television & Film, Public Relations, International Relations, and more. His work has appeared in Business Insider, ABC News, NBC, HBO, and the White House but his real goal is his own local newspaper.

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