Consider this a summer course on ideal coffee making – quick, requires minimal brain power, but fulfills an important purpose. As any globe-trotters will know, the device shown above and below is responsible for a majority of Europe’s coffee drinking, not to mention a staple in any Italian household.
The Moka, a stove-top espresso maker, is a noteworthy piece of hardware due to it’s simplicity and sheer endurance. I have a love affair with all of my moke, each holding a dear place in my heart after years of tireless brewing. For all readers who quell in light of thunder-strong espresso, fear not! A moka can produce the richest of syrupy espresso, but can also produce a light -albeit strong – coffee depending on grind size and roast. Let’s get to brass tacks:
A Moka has 3 parts and 3 basic steps: 1. Water Basin 2. Grind Portafilter 3. Coffee Chamber
1. Fill the water basin with enough filtered water to reach the steam valve on the side. Do not fill over this level as you risk overheating and improper brewing.
2. Drop the portafilter into place in the water basin and fill to the brim with your finest-ground espresso. Lightly level off but do not tamp down, just clean the edges so the top can safely screw on. Using a coarser grind or lighter roast will brew a much lighter coffee if you’re into that sorta thing.
3. Screw the top portion of the Moka on firmly and put over a burner on high. NOTE: Most Moke have plastic handles. They stay cold so you can handle the coffee, but DO NOT put the handle over your burner unless you want a pool of molten plastic all over your stove.
4. Your Moka is finished brewing when you can hear a light gurgling sound. If you open the lid to see what’s happening be careful, the funnel top likes to spit out steam when it’s finished brewing.
What’s happening inside this marvel of stovetop engineering is basically: Water being heated into steam > Steam traveling thru the grounds > Steam condensing thru funnel into espresso. Or magic.
Once complete, simply pull of the heat and pour into your favorite demitasse or mug. To clean your moka just rinse thoroughly with water and wipe clean with your hands – NO SOAP, NO DISHWASHER. Dry with a paper towel or rag and assemble until next use.
As much as I love a perfectly pulled doppio espresso from a qualified barista, I don’t think anything is as comforting or delicious as a piping-hot mini-mug of caffe’ from my moka. It’s velvety, almost oily in the best possible way, with a clean finish and a slower buzz. I hope this inspires any coffee drinkers out there to jump on ebay, invest $30, and join the club of forever satisfied moka fanatics.