How to make coffee in a Moka maker

Coffee is personal. Milk or black or sugar, yes, but also the coffee maker itself. Everyone in my family has a different preference and on holiday mornings we seem like a coffee shop. My mother has a French press. My brother used a Chemex pour-over but has recently upgraded to an espresso machine. My aunt likes drip coffee.

I prefer the Moka maker. At least at home, well-made espresso from a quality espresso machine always trumps everything else. I also don’t know why I refer to it as a Moka maker. I always have but the rest of the internet seems to think it is a Moka pot. Moka maker just has a better ring to it.

The Moka maker is a double-chambered stovetop coffee pot invented in Italy in the 1930s. It’s named after the port city Mocha in Yemen, a famous coffee marketplace back in the day. Moka pots come in all sorts of sizes from teensy tiny shot vessels, to big family-sized versions that look a bit comical.

The coffee from a Moka pot tends to have a deep, dark, and rich flavor. It’s often touted as a stovetop espresso maker, but it’s not. While both machines rely on pressure to pass water through coffee grounds, an espresso machine does so at a much higher pressure and can produce a more complex flavor. Still, the Moka pot does perhaps come as close as you can get without the real deal. I use one every day and have a collection in various sizes.

How to make coffee in a Moka maker

  1. Use finely ground coffee that is slightly coarser than an espresso grind. Although in the US, and even sometimes in Italy, I buy the espresso grind as it’s easier to find.
  2. Fill the base with cold water until it reaches the bottom of the valve.
  3. Lightly tap the coffee into place but do not pack it down.
  4. Always make sure the rubber gasket seal and the rim of the filter are clean before screwing the top on.
  5. Heat slowly over low heat.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat just before it starts to make a full gurgly sound. Some folks keep the lid open so they can see the spatter and remove it before it starts to gurgle at all.

Photo by Elesban Landero Berriozábal on Unsplash.

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