How to use a Moka pot to make espresso like an Italian

Aubiquitous fixture on most Italian and Italian-American stovetops, a Moka Pot, also sometimes called a Moka Express, acts as a constant — dispersing hot, fresh espresso (please don’t pronounce it “expresso”) with the knowledge that it will practically always be on the stove. There’s a comfort there over and above the sharp jolts of caffeine (and health benefits), especially in knowing that that tool is at your disposal at practically any time. There is never a need to rummage through your cabinets, be knocked over by a cascade of plastic storage containers à la those outdated infomercials, or use a cumbersome espresso machine haphazardly. Moka Pots are a durable, consistent product, steeped in years or usage and tradition in “the old world,” and now just as functional here in the states.

Blue Bottle Coffee describes the Moka (pronounced like “mocha”) Pot as a “compact Italian-made eight-sided marvel.” The Moka (pronounced like “mocha”) Pot’s ingenuity lies in its operation, its diminutive size compared to modern espresso machine behemoths, and its relatively low price. European sensibility is evident in the method, which produces nothing but a pure, smooth shot that is sharp, robust, and exactly what espresso should taste like. In order to contextualize its iconic statue, The New York Times reports that “nine out of ten Italian households own a Moka Espress,” and it has been displayed in various art museums.

Bialetti, the company that created and still owns Moka, describes its product with pride as “representing our country’s joie de vivre, audacity, creativity, and, of course, its convivial lifestyle.” Bella!

Alfonso Bialetti introduced the product in 1933, during a particularly difficult economic period for Italy. For some, coffee (and espresso) was strictly something to partake in while out-and-about or when meeting friends, but the invention of the Moka Pot and the new financial restrictions helped coffee became an at-home enjoyment.

Blue Bottle Coffee explains that the “elegant three-chambered pot relies on pressure generated by simple stovetop steam, which builds in the lower chamber and pushes through the coffee grounds.” Bialetti’s inspiration for this novel idea was from none other than his “primitive” household laundry apparatus, which at that time, used a practically synonymous system (except with detergent and soap suds instead of coffee grounds, but both embracing the power of the chambers of the vessel, along with boiling water and steam) (except with detergent and soap suds instead of coffee grounds, but both embracing the power of the chambers of the vessel, along with boiling water and steam.) Bialetti worked with steel and metal, but chose aluminum for the Moka Pot prototype due to its lighter weight. According to the official Bialetti website, the name derives from “the city of Mokha in Yemen, one of the leading and most renowned coffee-producing regions in the world.”

The New York Times reports that 20 years later, as the product’s popularity grew, Bialetti collaborated with an Italian artist to create a l’omino coi baffi (mustachioed little man) who was printed on the machine’s side, further establishing the Bialetti family’s ownership of the cherished product. (While many assumed the man was in Bialetti’s likeness, it’s said that the mustachioed man may actually represent his son, Renato). This archival article from Disegno Daily, written by Bialetti’s grandson, reveals that Renato was instrumental in mass-producing the household staple in the 1950s… and the rest, as they say, is history.

While Bialetti has continued to expand and release innovative espresso products over the years, the simplicity of their original Moka Pot has maintained a place in cultural discourse as well as on numerous stovetops. A Moka Pot, also known as a Moka Express, is a constant on most Italian and Italian-American stovetops, dispensing hot, fresh espresso (please don’t pronounce it “expresso”) with the knowledge that it will almost always be on the stove. In addition to the sharp jolts of caffeine (and health benefits), there is comfort in the knowledge that this tool is practically always available. There is never a need to rummage through your cabinets, be knocked over by a cascade of plastic storage containers à la those outdated infomercials, or use a cumbersome espresso machine haphazardly. Moka Pots are a durable, consistent product, steeped in years of use and tradition in “the old world,” and are now equally functional in the United States.

Blue Bottle Coffee describes the Moka (pronounced like “mocha”) Pot as a “compact Italian-made eight-sided marvel.” The Moka (pronounced like “mocha”) Pot’s ingenuity lies in its operation, its diminutive size compared to modern espresso machine behemoths, and its relatively low price. European sensibility is evident in the method, which produces nothing but a pure, smooth shot that is sharp, robust, and exactly what espresso should taste like. In order to contextualize its iconic statue, The New York Times reports that “nine out of ten Italian households own a Moka Espress,” and it has been displayed in various art museums.

Read more • salon.com

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