Coffee Monday

What Is a Moka Pot?

October 17, 2016
moka pot instructions

by Rebecca Holland

Before moving to Rome, I had never seen a Moka Pot, the aluminum coffee brewer present on every Italian stovetop. The iconic, eight-sided contraption was invented in 1933 by Luigi De Ponti for Alfonso Bialetti’s company, and popularity spread across Europe and Latin America. It did not spread as widely in the Midwestern United States, and so I grew up with drip coffee instead of Moka Express.

Now, I love the two methods equally. Drip coffee gives you a steaming pot of coffee you can pour throughout the day. It is best drunk black (in my opinion). Moka Pot coffee is more intense, and while the pot comes in different sizes, it generally provides one or two small servings and is best served with heated milk.

Visitors in Rome and now in Chicago often ask what my Moka Pot is, and how to use it. It’s simple, actually.

How to Brew Moka Pot Coffee:

what is a moka pot

Photo via Wikipedia

Step 1 – Grind coffee to espresso grade. (I use Illy or Lavazza at home).

Step 2 – Fill the base chamber (A) with water. Some fancy coffee blogs say to boil the water first. This is absolutely not necessary.

Step 3 – Fill the top filter (B) with coffee. Give it a little shake to make sure it’s evenly packed.

Step 4 – Screw on the top (C), and place on the stove over low heat. Keeping the heat low is important so your coffee doesn’t taste burned. Be patient!

how to use moka pot

Step 5 – Listen for a delightful gurgle, open the lid and take joy in the bubbling coffee, and remove from heat. You don’t want to let it bubble for too long, and removing it from the heat as soon as it starts ensures you only get the best parts of the coffee so it’s not too bitter.

Step 6 – Mix the coffee with a spoon before pouring into cups and serving with a side of milk.

There you go! No longer will you have to feel confused when you see a Moka Pot at a friend’s house, or at a loss when staying in a European Airbnb and it’s your only coffee option. Buy a Moka Pot for yourself. Aside from brewing rich, flavorful coffee, they also make pretty adorable kitchen accessories.


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