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close-up of making mocha coffee

Moka coffee: instructions for its easy preparation

For many of us, it is part of our children’s memories. It was used at home, in a cottage or with grandparents. However, it does not belong to the scrap! Moka pot.

Moka Pot: popular at home and in cafes

Making coffee at home takes many forms. Behind the popular French press it is the world-famous moka pot, also called Caffettiera. It is a small mechanical coffee machine that is used primarily in households. These days, however, the so-called retro tweaks are highly supported, thanks to which moka coffee again gets the attention it deserves, not only in kitchens but also in many cafés.

How was the moka pot actually created?

Experts agree that the inventor of this handy coffee machine was the Italian Alfonso Bialetti, whose name today bears the best-selling brand of moka coffee machines in the world. However, the truth is that Luigi di Ponti came up with the idea to create moka pot in 1933, and he sold his patent to Bialetti.

Did you know that…? Today, the world-famous logo of the Bialetti brand – a cute cartoon of a bearded gentleman asking for espresso with a raised index finger – was created in 1958, allegedly based on the appearance of Alfonso’s son Renato.

After Alfonso came back from France to the Italian country, he opened a small metal shop. As he learned the technique of cast aluminium in France, he continued to work with it at home. He began developing a coffee machine that used hot water pressure to extract caffeine.

historical photograph by Alfonso Bialetti

While other manufacturers developed similar but large and expensive coffee machines made of brass, copper or steel, Bialetti sought to use a simpler design and a cheaper aluminium alloy. His main goal was to help even ordinary people so that they were able to fully prepare and enjoy espresso at home. Perhaps thanks to that, he managed to make this home coffee machine famous all over the world.

Did you know that…? When Alfonso Bialetti’s son, Renato Bialetti, died in 2016, he was buried in a special urn, which had the shape of a moka pot.

Although Bialetti’s decision to use aluminium was based purely on his knowledge and experience with the alloy, the socio-political context in which his invention was born ultimately meant that aluminium was not just an ordinary metal for the poor. As dictator Benito Mussolini was in power in Italy of that time, aluminium became the national metal overnight.

red moka pot on an induction hob

For Mussolini, who promoted economic self-sufficiency, the rich Italian deposits of bauxite and leucite – ores used in aluminium processing – were a national treasure. Therefore, he raised a ban on the import of any other metals from abroad, which inadvertently affected the appearance of the first kotogo coffee machines.

You might also be interested in: French press: how was it created and how to prepare it properly?

Today, however, we can prepare moka coffee in pots of various sizes, designs, shapes, colours and, of course, materials. In addition to the so-called food-grade Aluminium (which, unlike the original, is absolutely harmless), moka kettles made of ceramic or stainless steel are also available. Thanks to the steel bottoms, the kotogo can also be used on induction hobs.

ground coffee in a moka pot

Moka pot: instructions for making coffee

This handy home coffee machine consists of three parts: a lower container with a valve, a strainer and an upper container with a piston.

1. Making coffee at home through a moka kettle begins by pouring water into the bottom container, ideally below the level of the pressure valve. If we want to speed up the whole process of making coffee, we can pour warm or hot water into the tank.

2. Then insert a sieve with freshly ground coffee into the lower container. Although the preparation of moka coffee does not require precise grinding, it is recommended that the coffee is ground to a degree coarser than that of espresso. There should be enough coffee so that, after alignment, it is flush with the top edge of the sieve, without the need to press the coffee.

3. The container with the sieve is then screwed on with the upper part of the moka pot and kettle prepared in this way is placed on a stove with a medium degree of heating. In the case of a gas stove, make sure that the flame does not cross the edges of the kettle, otherwise coffee may be quickly extracted and burned.

4. After a while, the water vapour begins to push through the ground coffee and the plunger to the top container, where the extracted coffee begins to flow. We brew the coffee for about 1.5 minutes and remove the kettle from the stove just before the extraction is completed, i.e. at the moment when we hear a significant bubbling. So we never wait for all the coffee to drain from the bottom of the kettle. After cooking, we take the kettle from the stove and we can serve fresh moka coffee.

serving of freshly brewed moka coffee

How does moka coffee really taste?

Even though the moka kettle was created so that the coffee made in it was identical in taste to espresso, this is not quite the case. In kotogo, similarly to espresso, coffee is prepared under pressure, but this is not enough for the same final taste. Nevertheless, when choosing the right coffee and following the right ratio and procedure, we can work towards excellent taste.

To achieve a beautifully thick and pleasantly hot coffee, which is ideal for morning or afternoon drinking, it is good to reach for darker roasted coffee blends. Our blends Gurmano and Duetto are ideal for making strong and hot coffee without traces of acidity. However, our Brazilian coffee Brasil Santos is also suitable for preparing very tasty moka coffee, which, thanks to its light roasting, leaves the resulting taste softer and more varied.

Compared to espresso, moka coffee is also less oily and does not have such a rich cream. On the other hand, we get a distinctive taste that is ideal for everyday coffee, which, thanks to simple, fast and inexpensive preparation, can really be afforded by anyone.

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