Moka Pot

Moka Pot Express

The moka pot is in a class by itself. Invented by Alfonso Bialetti in Italy in 1933 it quickly became a popular fixture in Italian kitchens and has since spread around the world and is easily found in just about any local Italian or Mediterranean grocery store. This brewer is named after the famed historic coffee marketplace city of Al-Makha (Mocha), Yemen. The moka pot is sometimes referred to as the stovetop espresso and is still made virtually unchanged from original design by Bialleti Industries under the trade name Moka Express. While the stovetop part is true (unless you have an electric moka pot), the espresso part is a misnomer in terms of what is considered to be an espresso. The moka pot and espresso makers both use pressurized water to extract coffee. However, the moka pot process generates 100 kPa to 200 kPa of pressure whereas espresso standards specify extraction at 900 kPa. All other things being equal, the moka pot simply produces a close but different flavor profile relative to an espresso, a flavor loved by its legion of devotees.

Serving size of a typical moka pot coffee is around 50 ml to 60 ml served in a demi-tasse.

For this recipe we’re using a stove top Bialeti 6 cup maker – by six cup they do mean 6 demi-tasse serving. So, about 12 fl oz or approx. 360 ml or gm of water required.

What you’ll need

Coffee - 22 gm of Lou’s beans. If you’re kickin’ it old-school, the choice might be dark roast but we’ve had great flavour success with medium roasts too.

Scale – a digital scale.

Grinder – burr grinders are best for their consistency of grind. As we’ve said before, the Barzata Encore is a fantastic entry level burr grinder.

Bialeti Moka Pot Express – we’re using the 6-cup model.

Kettle – You don’t have to have to use a kettle but for the smoothest flavors to come out of the moka, conventional wisdom suggests using water pre-heated to 70 C provides best results. The alternative is to pre-heat the water in the open base but if you do that, wear oven mitts and be extra careful when assembling the pot.

Water. Clean drinking water. Water tastes different form place to place all over the world and will affect the taste of what you’re brewing. How aware of that you’ll be depends on your individual taste sensitivity. Filtered or non-filtered, guide yourself accordingly.

Time To Brew

  1. Grind 22 mg of Lou’s beans to a medium fine grind. Granulated white sugar consistency.
  2. Fill the bottom chamber with water just under level with the valve, as mentioned, using water pre-heated to 70 C gives best results but if needs be use whatever you have on hand.
  3. Place the funnel, the thing that holds the coffee, into the pot. Don’t let any water enter the funnel. If some does, pour it out and replace the funnel.
  4. Fill the funnel with the freshly ground coffee. Keep the rim clear of any grounds and do not tamp the coffee down in the funnel.
  5. Screw the moka pot top on tightly.
  6. Put the moka pot on the stove over medium heat.
  7. The water in the bottom chambers starts to close in on boil, the increased pressure will force a stream of coffee into the upper chamber. When you hear a bubbling/hissing sound, known to some as the strombolian effect, carefully remove the moka pot from the heat (do so carefully, the handle may have heated up too).
  8. The coffee will finish flowing into the upper chamber shortly after removal from the heat. Once done, pour the coffee and serve.
  9. Enjoy this classic preparation with friends, family and colleagues after a meal or as part of a snack.