Moka Pot Espresso Coffee
The Moka pot is the oldest way of making espresso at home. It was invented in Italy, in the early 20th century, as a way to take the then-booming espresso machine (powered by steam) into our homes. The Moka pot was so visionary that 100 years later, we could say that making espresso at home is still somewhat of a new concept for many.
It runs much like an old timey espresso machine, using steam to push water through the coffee grounds and make a concentrated cup. Of course, not nearly as concentrated as an actual espresso, but pretty close. And delicious!
Before making coffee with the Moka pot for the first time, you need to give it at least 2 dry runs. See, the upper chamber has a rubber band to make sure that steam has nowhere else to go but up. Like all rubber, it has a very strong smell when it’s new and virginal. We recommend 2 of more dry runs to get it all out.
You can also just rinse this part with plenty of hot water. A nice trick is reusing coffee grounds and letting them sit on top of the rubber band for a while. Scrub a little and let them soak in the smell. Fortunately, they will take most of the smell off.
Now let’s make some espresso coffee using a Moka Pot!
Sounds simple enough.
Let’s make some espresso coffee:
- Have some hot water aside, for a reason I’ll explain at the end. You want it to be hot, but not scalding hot or you’ll burn your fingers. So heat up water in a kettle up to about 200F and set aside.
- Unscrew the upper and bottom chamber and take the filter, or middle chamber, out.
- Fill the bottom chamber with water up to ¾ of its capacity. Usually, there is a valve – fill it just below it.
- Place the filter on top of the bottom chamber and pour an adequate dose. I’m using a small Moka Pot, so I’ll just need 15 grams – enough for 2 cups. Tamp very lightly.
- Screw the Moka pot together and place on top of the stove on high heat.
- Leave the top lid of the Moka pot open. After a few seconds – maybe a minute, you’ll see the coffee start to pour from the tube. This process takes very little time.
- Once done, serve espresso immediately.
Go through these steps a few times in your mind to get ready.
Once served, add some sweetener and enjoy as it is. Moka pot coffee is great without any milk or cream. Cuban coffee culture asks for cane sugar to be poured first into the cup, then add a little coffee and stir until a past is formed; only then the rest of the coffee is poured. The paste stays as a layer on top of the coffee- and it is completely delicious.
Moka Pot Tips, tricks and general advice
A recipe is not enough. Here we offer you some of our knowledge to take your moka pot coffee to the next level:
Use hot water
Most people use water straight from the tap to fill the bottom chamber; this is a mistake.
Since the Moka pot is made mostly of aluminum, it transfers heat rather efficiently. What do you think this means for the coffee grounds right on top of the bottom chamber?
Exactly. They heat up, get burnt, and most of the flavor is ruined.
The easiest solution for this is to fill the bottom chamber with hot water right away, then we don’t have to wait until it heats up to the point of the bottom chamber being full of steam. This saves us a couple of minutes in which our coffee could lose a lot of flavor and aroma.
Use a coarser espresso grind
There seems to be a little bit of confusion around this topic. It probably comes from the fact that the Moka pot has been dubbed “stovetop espresso maker”, and this is technically incorrect.
A moka pot does not produce the same force as an espresso maker, which pumps water at about 15 bars of pressure; the moka pot produces about 1 to 2 bars. This, combined with the fact that the moka pot takes longer to extract the coffee, means that a slightly coarser grind is the best choice.
Something between espresso grind and medium grind is the best choice when it comes to the Moka pot.
Avoid the Moka Pot gurgle!
If you own a Moka pot, you know the gurgle. Many of us come to love that sound since it means that our espresso coffee is ready to drink.
But a lot of people seem to mistake this gurgle for just the Moka pot doing its job. This gurgle does not equal good functioning. It’s actually excess steam exiting the Moka pot: As soon as you hear this sound, you should take the pot out of the stove.
When excess steam starts coming out, it means no more coffee is coming out, but just steam, which actually dilutes your coffee and can give it a slightly burnt taste.
So either avoid the gurgle or turn the stove off -and serve- as soon as your hear it!
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