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
- 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.
- Fill the base with cold water until it reaches the bottom of the valve.
- Lightly tap the coffee into place but do not pack it down.
- Always make sure the rubber gasket seal and the rim of the filter are clean before screwing the top on.
- Heat slowly over low heat.
- 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.