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Beyond Toscano

Homemade espresso: there’s no excuse for bad coffee

Homemade espresso: there’s no excuse for bad coffee
The market for home-made coffee has come a long way since the days of bad instant from a jar. But for all the fancy advertising and slick product design of capsule coffee machines, it’s hard to beat the old fashioned Italian way of making kick-ass espresso.

The aluminum Moka pot has been an Italian staple for over 80 years – you’ll find one in almost every Italian kitchen. Designed by Luigi De Ponti for Alfonso Bialetti in 1933, the kitchen-stove coffee maker has become a classic and is included in the collections of design museums around the world.

The design is quite simple. The pot comes in three parts. The bottom is full of water, ground coffee is packed tightly in a dish in the center, with a metal funnel running up into the large empty chamber on top.

When heated, the steam from the boiling water pressurizes the lower chamber, forcing the water through the coffee and up through the funnel, resulting in a pot full of rich, sticky espresso. If you love a caffeine hit, you’ll find the coffee you make with a Moka knocks the socks off of most other homemade coffees.
Here’s how to get the most from your Moka:
1. Fill the base up to the marker line with fresh, cold water.
2. Sit the dish on the base and fill with coffee – don’t pack too tightly.
3. Screw the top chamber on tightly, or the coffee will escape.
4. Put the Moka on the stove on a low heat. Too hot and not only do you lose flavor, but it scolds the coffee.
5. When it starts making that classic gurgling sound, your coffee is ready.
6. Remember, it’s a strong coffee! Serve in a small cup or add hot water to taste.
7. Don’t use soap when washing your Moka – it will pick up a nasty taste.

Tip: No coffee coming out? If you’re sure you filled the base with water, and you didn’t pack the coffee too tightly, take the Moka to the sink. Find the small hole in the side and run it under the cold tap to release some pressure and try again.