Moka Pot - The Iconic Italian Coffee Maker
Moka Pot is an espresso style coffee maker originally designed as a stovetop machine, though electrical models also can be found in the market. It was designed back in 1933 by an Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti. Bialetti Industries is still producing the same model under the trade name “Moka Express”. The machine is named after Mocha, a port-city in Yemen.
Moka Pot consists of 3 parts: the lower chamber, which is for water, the middle part, which is a funnel-shaped metal filter intended for coffee grounds, and the upper chamber, where the final prepared coffee is poured from below.
Recipe for a 3 cup Moka Pot
- 18-21g (depends on the coffee type, the roast degree, the grind size) of coffee ground for a Moka Pot (coarser than for espresso, finer than for an Aeropress)
- 150-180ml (depends on the particular moka pot model) of boiled water
Pour pre boiled water in the lower chamber up to the safety valve.
There are 2 important notes for this step. Though Italians don’t preheat water used for the preparation, we recommend you always use pre boiled water. We do so to decrease the time of coffee extraction, in other words the contact of the heating water vapor and the coffee grounds to avoid any over extracted and bitter tastes in your final cup. The ideal water temperature to be used in a Moka Pot is 70°C.
The second important thing is water level in the lower chamber. It should be right under the safety valve which is designed for air release in case a high pressure is built in the chamber. If we add more water than the measurement shows we won’t get more coffee prepared as a result because adding water reduces the volume of air whose expansion forces the water of the boiler up in the funnel. This means that the mentioned water fill level produces near-maximum yield as a result.
Put the metal filter in its place, fill it with ground coffee and shake to level.
We don’t need to tamp the coffee bed because in that case the pressure that is built in the lower chamber will not be enough to force water to pass properly through the coffee grounds. The reason for this is that compared to an espresso machine where the pressure reaches 9 bar, a moka pot works at a lower pressure of a 1 to 2 bar.
- Screw on the upper chamber and put the machine on a stove at a medium heat.
Take the pot from the heat as soon as you hear the hissing sound.
When the lower chamber is almost empty, bubbles of steam mix with the upstreaming water, producing a characteristic gurgling noise. At this stage the highly heated steam and water can produce over extracted and bitter tastes. That is why we need to stop the brewing process immediately.
- Let the coffee finish flowing into the upper chamber. Pour it and enjoy!
If you own a classical Moka Pot which is made out of aluminum, you need to rinse it with just hot water and a sponge without a cleaning detergent in order not to taint the metal.
For more tips on cleaning and care you can refer to the Bialetti official website.