Moka pot on a camp stovetop
What Is A Moka Coffee Pot, And How Exactly Does It Work?
By Elizabeth Thorn
Moka pots are iconic Italian coffee pots known for making Italy’s high-quality, aromatic coffee. While often overlooked in America, Moka pots are crucial to Italian coffee culture.
All Moka pots work using the same principle: pressurized steam. They produce a rich and potent brew that stands out for its intense fragrance and taste.
Alfonso Bialetti invented the Moka Express coffee pot in Italy in the early 1930s. He adapted the design of the lisciveuse, a boiler-based washing machine, to craft the iconic pot.
The octagonal pot was named after the city of Mokha in Yemen, where coffee beans were first commercially traded in the 16th century. It was an instant hit.
The little man with a mustache painted on every pot became the symbol of the Bialetti company. By the 1950s, the Moka pot had become a symbol of Italian Art Deco culture.
Coffee brewed in a Moka pot, while strong, is not espresso. True espresso must endure at least nine bars of pressure — a feat standard Moka pots cannot achieve.
When using a Moka pot, select a bean with character to complement the brewing strength, such as a medium-roasted espresso bean boasting a delightful dash of sweetness or spice.
To use a Moka pot, grind the beans up medium-fine, fill the bottom chamber with cold water, and tightly pack the filter basket with your coffee grounds.
Place the top chamber on the pot and heat it over medium heat until you hear that signature gurgle. Take it off the heat and savor each sip of your rich, bold coffee.
Moka pots can sometimes produce bitter coffee. To fix this, try using a coarser grind, brewing the coffee on lower heat, or cutting the taste with sparkling mineral water.