Moka pot brewing

Here is another inexpensive and easy method for coffee brewing. It produces a bold, concentrated cup similar in strength to an espresso (it is also called a stove-top espresso maker). But the Moka pot is not a true espresso maker. It cannot produce nearly the amount of pressure required to be called a true espresso. That said, it can make a great cup of coffee. The flavor profile is more like a press pot so if you like your coffee bold and a little muddy, this is a great option.

The Moka pot was created in 1933 and is still sold by the Bialetti company. These days, a lot of companies make a brewer using the basic Bialetti design.  I bought my 6-cup Moka pot at IKEA for $20 and it works great. The Moka pots come in both aluminum and stainless-steel. I suggest stainless-steel as it is sturdier and imparts less metallic flavor to your brew. They do take longer to heat up than the aluminum models, though. The brewing concept is similar to espresso, by boiling water you cause pressurized steam to move through the coffee grounds and into the top portion. 

Brewing Guide

1. Make sure your pot is clean, if this is your first time using a new pot it helps to run a batch of coffee that you are not going to drink through it to remove any factory smells or flavors. You can use grounds that have already been brewed for this if you don't want to waste your coffee. 

2. You have two options for water. A. You can use cold water and let all the heating happen in the Moka pot. B. You can pre-boil the water before putting it into the Moka pot. The second method will produce a cleaner cup, but I find you are more likely to burn yourself trying to assemble the pot while it is hot.  Or at least, I did. As always, use good-tasting water. Pour water into the bottom portion up to or just above the pressure release valve.

3. Grind your coffee to a medium-fine consistency, you don't want to go as fine as espresso because you risk clogging your Moka pot. Grind enough coffee to fill the filter basket. Wipe off the excess with your finger and place the basket back in the pot.  Unlike regular espresso, do not tamp the coffee grounds down.

4. Screw on the top portion tightly (use a pot-holder if you are starting with hot water). Put the pot on a small burner on medium heat. 

5. Open the lid and wait for the brew to begin (5-10 minutes starting with cold water). When the brew is nearing completion you will hear a sputtering sound. Pull the pot off the heat immediately when you hear this sound, or a little before once you get used to your pot. This is very important as the brewed coffee will cook if the heat is still on after brewing is complete. This can ruin the coffee's flavor very quickly. 

6. Serve the coffee immediately, or pour into a thermal carafe. Once the pot has cooled a bit, you should clean it out thoroughly. You are dealing with pressurized steam so it is important to keep the pot clean for it to work in safe manner. 

Coffee from a Moka pot is pretty concentrated and is delicious on its own, but you can also add some hot water for an americano, or cream and sugar. Treat it like you would a shot of espresso.