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Coffee Brewing Series 4- Moka Pot


Coffee lovers really enjoy Italian coffee (or caffe). Another brewing method for home use is an “espresso pot”, called a Moka in Italy. The Moka is a simple device that uses steam pressure to force water through a strainer to make espresso. It won’t be exactly like the espresso you find in bars, but this espresso pot is an inexpensive alternative to making good caffe.


Moka Pot is a coffee maker that has been in the Italian household since the 1950’s. The Italians call it as the ‘caffettiera.’ The beautifully designed Moka Pot was invented in 1933 by Luigi De Ponti and was quickly put into production by a mustachioed metal machinist from Piedmont, Alfonso Bialetti, who transformed di Ponti’s so-called “Moka Express”, an aluminum, pressure-driven stove-top coffee brewer, into one of the most famous, familiar brewers in the world.

The story of the stove-top espresso maker begins when Alfonso Bialetti, returned home to Italy from France, where he had been working in the aluminium industry for 10 years, and set up a workshop making metal household goods. Near his factory in Piedmont, Bialetti watched women washing their clothes in a sealed boiler with a small central pipe. The pipe drew the soapy water from the bottom of the boiler and spread it over the wet laundry. Bialetti decided to try and adapt this idea to make a coffee machine that would allow Italians to have real espresso in their homes. Instead, of course, the Moka Express causes hot water to pass upwards, through coffee grounds, and rise up out of a tube which means, brewed coffee does not have to pass through any additional coffee filters, as the grounds stay below the final extraction. Prior to that, coffee was generally drunk in public coffee houses, usually by men. Indeed when women started to drink coffee outside the home it was regarded as a sign of their move towards emancipation.

Domestic coffee machines allowed the hot water to drip gently over the coffee grounds to produce a weaker version of the real thing. But during this period various inventors had begun to experiment with steam in an attempt to emulate the strong and intense flavours of the espresso found in the public coffee houses. Bialetti set to work using aluminium. Mussolini had imposed an embargo on stainless steel and has Italy had a rich supply of the aluminium ore bauxite and it became the national metal.

James Grierson, the owner of Galla Coffee, said: “He finally invented the Moka Express in 1933. Its distinctive shape was based on a silver coffee service that was popular in wealthy Italian homes at the time and hasn’t changed since. He said that without requiring any ability whatsoever, one could enjoy an espresso in casa come al bar – in other words coffee as good as you could buy in the café.”

At first, the Moka Express was sold at local markets and it was not until after the war, when Bialetti’s son Renato joined, that sales took off after an advertising campaign using l’omino con i baffi (“the little man with the moustache”), a caricature loosely based on Alfonso Bialetti.

Grierson said that the residue of coffee from previous brews apparently taints the side of the Moka pot and adds flavour and depth. That’s why it is also recommended that you don’t clean it too thoroughly.

The Moka Pot did not diminish in terms of its popularity. Even at present, the Moka Pot is still in the market. Although there were new designs that were introduced, the original design is still what most people are asking for. You can buy the new designs that were produced, or would still have the option to buy the original design. There are no known manufacturers of Moka Pot, except the company of Bialetti.


The Moka Pot is a straightforward way of making a rich, strong brew. Though it is often referred to as the stove top espresso maker, they are quite different. It is best to think of a Moka Pot as a compact and affordable brewer that gives you a concentrated dose of coffee, rather than an espresso replacement. This coffee maker brings a rich Italian culture, in fact you will see a Moka Pot in almost all Italian houses. An Italian kitchen will not be complete without this iconic piece of house ware.

This eighty-year-old coffee pot has been used in different countries. It is famous mostly in European Countries, and it became a household name Italy, Portugal, and Spain. The culture and history that you get from using the Moka Pot is the primary reason why it is still the most sought-after piece of coffee equipment in the world and at the present time.


There are three main parts of the Moka Pot, we have the bottom piece or called the bottom chamber where the water is placed. The tube and basket are where you place the coffee grounds, and then the top chamber is where the steam or coffee is pushed. Take note of the last part, see how the term used is pushed and not drip.

The new coffee makers make use of the coffee drip strategy. The boiling water passes through a tube and is directed to the coffee beans, as the coffee beans get the hot water, the coffee then drips to the cup. Take note that it is hot water that passes through the coffee grounds and not the steam. The Moka Pot uses steam instead of the hot water, making the final product stronger and flavorful.

The Moka Pot uses a push effect or forcing the steam to pass through the ground coffee. A Moka Pot produces a stronger tasting coffee which is likened to an espresso according to coffee enthusiasts. This is why a lot of people became a huge fan of the Moka Pot.


1. Preheat the water. Bring kettle water to a boil and remove from heat.

We do this to keep the temperature of the moka pot from getting too hot and cooking the coffee, imparting a metallic taste.

2. Grind your coffee on a drip coffee setting, about as fine as table salt. You need enough coffee to fill the filter basket, which is about 15 to 20 grams for a 4-cup Bialetti moka pot.

3. Add the heated water and fill to the line in the bottom of the brewer.

4. Insert the filter basket into the brewer bottom.

5. Fill the basket with coffee, slightly mounded, and level the surface off with your finger. Brush away loose grounds on the top edge of the filter basket.

6. Screw the top and bottom together. Use hot pads and don’t over tighten.

7. Put the brewer on the stove, use medium heat and make sure that the handle is not subjected to heat. Leave the top lid open.

8. When the water in the bottom chamber approaches a boil, the pressure will push a stream of coffee slowly and methodically through the upper chamber. The coffee will begin to come out and you will hear a puffing sound and see a rich-brown stream that will get progressively lighter in color. Once the stream is the color of yellow honey, remove from heat source with hot pads and close the lid.

9. Wrap the bottom of the pot in a chilled bar towel or run under cold tap water to stop extraction. We do this to prevent the coffee from developing a metallic taste. The idea here is to get a relatively small amount of coffee which is very concentrated and rich.

As soon as the coffee stops bubbling out, pour it into cups or a carafe. You may wish to dilute with hot water depending on preference.

Enjoy your coffee!

Remember that the Moka Pot remains not just a coffee maker, but a worthwhile piece in the coffee industry. It will be a piece of historical item that can be shared with the next generation.

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