In the mood for an espresso? You don’t have to run out to your nearest java joint, you can get the taste of an espresso at home with a Moka pot. A staple of Italian culture, the moka pot is a stovetop or electrical coffee pot, which brews coffee by passing boiling water—pressurized by steam—over ground coffee.
The moka pot is another culinary feat for the Italians. Italian engineer, Alfonso Bialetti, invented the Moka Express Coffeemaker in 1933. The popularity of the coffeemaker later spread throughout Europe and Latin America. In fact, the same model is produced today through Bialetti Industries. The moka pot is named after the city of Mocha in Yemen, which is home to the mocha coffee bean that is commonly used for espresso.
Now let’s be clear; although it might taste like it, moka pot coffee is not actually considered espresso for a few reasons—most importantly because the pot’s boiling water is pressurized at 1-2 bars. The coffee which is brewed from this process is about 2-3 times stronger than regular drip coffee; however, when the coffee is brewed in an espresso machine, it’s 5-6 times stronger because the pressurization of the water is between 7-10 bars.
Believe it or not, there’s a whole wonky scale that’s super technical and includes factors like the amount of coffee used vs. brewing time. It really is a science unto itself but since we’re not in chemistry class and I’m not a teacher—or a coffee sommelier for that matter—we’ll just leave it there..
The Pot’s Design
Let’s talk about the iconic design of the moka pot. It is widely appreciated as a technological modern-day work of art. Most commonly constructed with aluminum or stainless steel, you have to admit, there’s a rustic sleekness to the design and a simple sultry quality to the drip. The result of the brew is a strong, able-bodied flavor that’s handsome and powerful to the taste. It’s an Idris Elba-Bond, a Godfather-Al Pacino in elegance and strength, yet more times than not it finishes with a bitter edge.
Moka pot coffee has an acquired taste but those who love it seem to really love it And it’s not a given that the coffee should be bitter. Check the quality of the bean—it should not be over-roasted. After all, your moka pot coffee should be an experience. It’s a shot in the arm, a jolt to human heartbeat. And although It may not put hair on your chest, occasionally check your chin ladies and gents. Check your chin.