Bialetti Moka Pot, the real Italian coffee

You would be surprised by the number of people that only drink instant or filter coffee at home, although it is decreasing year by year.

Personally, I don’t have any coffee machine, and I normally use the Moka Express. It has two key benefits: it does need electricity nor pods or capsules, and I can use my own coffee beans or ground coffee. Moreover, your pot will last forever. And if it doesn’t, you can still buy the parts individually.

What’s the Moka Pot?

The Moka Pot is a stove-top coffee maker that brews coffee by passing boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee. Named after the Yemeni city of Mocha, it was invented by an Italian engineer named Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 and quickly became one of the staples of Italian culture. Bialetti Industries continues to produce the same model under the name “Moka Express“. [Wikipedia]

Bialetti also now manufactures all kind of coffee products, including cups, milk frothers, espresso machines and capsules, and even some kitchen cookware and accessories. And there are also many other brands such as Vinekraft, and even some supermarkets sell their own.

What’s the difference with the Espresso Machine?

Photo by Kevin Butz on Unsplash

Some history first: The espresso machine was invented in Turin, Italy, in 1884 by Angelo Moriondo. But although he patented the machine, it was two other men who made it popular: Luigi Bezzerra and Desiderio Pavoni. They took the original machine and made many innovations that are used even today. They created the single-shot espresso in the early 20th century.

A typical Moka coffee is extracted at relatively low pressures of 1 to 2 bar (100 to 200 kPa), while standards for espresso coffee specify a pressure of 9 bar (900 kPa). Therefore, Moka coffee is not considered to be an espresso and has different flavour characteristics.

Essentially, the Moka coffee is not as intense nor strong as the espresso. On the other hand, is has much more flavour than filter coffee, so it sort of seats in the middle of the two.

How to make great coffee with the Moka Pot?

This can be done is 6 super easy steps.

Prepare your coffee

If you are going to use beans, grind around 20-25 grams (3 full spoons). This should be enough for a 6 cups Moka pot (you will need to adjust the quantity according to the size). If you need a grinder, I can recommend the Duronic Electric.

If you are using ground coffee, try to find a fine one. It should be slightly coarser than espresso but finer than that for a French press.

Pre-heat and pour water

It is best if you boil the water in advance, preventing the Moka to overheat. So fill the bottom half of the pot, always up to the safety valve.

Fill the filter basket with coffee

Fill the pot filter basket with ground coffee. You can use a spoon or just shake it to settle the grounds evenly. There is no need to press the coffee.

Place basket and screw the Moka pot

Using an oven glove or tea towel (This is very important! The bottom chamber will be hot), screw on the Moka pot’s upper chamber. Make sure it is properly closed.

Place pot on the stove

Place the pot on the stove set to medium heat. The water will continue to heat up and the pressure will push a stream of coffee slowly through the upper chamber.

You can leave the lid open throughout the process if you want to see it. It may be fun the first time.

In the picture above there is a tiny cap on top of the upper chamber pipe. This was a gift from an Italian host in Noto, and make the coffee moves smoother from one part to the other. But this is optional and you don’t actually need it.

Remove the pot from the stove, and enjoy

You know it’s done when you hear a bubbling sound, and the water fills most of the upper chamber.

At this point, it’s ready to take it out and serve your coffee. If you like strong coffee such as a flat white or double espresso with milk, a 6 cups Moka Pot will give you two of those. For a lighter and smaller coffee, you can have 4 to 6.

If you like it with milk, I strongly recommend buying an electric milk frother.


Moka Pot

As we mentioned above, there are many brands and even supermarkets have their own. I recommend the authentic Bialetti Moka Express, as it is not expensive at all.

Milk Frother

There are both manual (with batteries) or electric. The latter are better and they also heat up the milk, so it’s ready to pour on top of your coffee.

Coffee Grinder

There are also manual and electric grinders, and I also recommend the latter. The main advantage of the Moka Pot over a machine with capsules is that you can buy your own beans and grind them.

These are some of the best coffee grinders you can easily buy online.

More Bialetti stuff

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