Ah the Moka Pot, a simple, yet elegant little device that no self-respecting Italian would be caught dead without. It’s a staple in any Mediterranean home and, in fact, was one of my first house warming presents from Mama when I set out to forge my own life. While coffee makers become more complex by the day, the Moka Pot harkens back to a simpler time without all the frills of modern life. In my case I’m instantly brought back to a big summer meal at Nonna’s house when I was young, with the whole family around the table enjoying some dessert and an espresso. I love to pull it out on occasion as an special post-dinner treat for guests, especially older family members.
While it can be intimidating for the uninitiated, I can assure you it’s just as simple as any other method once you’re familiar with the equipment; and will produce a cup of coffee that’s second to none in many people’s opinion.
How to Brew with a Moka Pot – Step by Step Instructions
- Preheat the water: Use a kettle to bring some water to a boil before adding it to the Moka Pot. This is a crucial step that many rookies will overlook. The reason we pre-heat the water is to make sure the Moka Pot doesn’t get so hot that it begins to cook the coffee. This will leave an unpleasant taste behind.
- Prepare the Coffee: Pick your favorite espresso blend. For best results, get whole espresso beans and grind them fresh at home. You will need roughly 2 – 4 tablespoons of coffee for a 4 cup moka pot, depending on your preference.
- Add Water: Unscrew the water reservoir from the bottom of the moka pot and remove the filter basket. Fill the reservoir with the pre-heated water. Do not fill above the marked fill line.
- Add Coffee: Fill the filter basket with your ground coffee. The coffee will usually be slightly heaping over the top. Shake it lightly so the coffee settles into the basket, then simply run your finger along the top to brush off the excess. Do not press the coffee down! You should be left with a smooth surface which is even with the top of the basket. Return the basket to it’s seat in the bottom compartment of the moka pot.
- Put It Back Together: Screw the top of the Moka Pot back onto the base. Be careful as the bottom compartment will be extremely hot due to the hot water.
- Brew It: Heat the Moka Pot on your stove top, over Medium-High heat. As the water in the water reservoir heats up and becomes steam, it is forced through the coffee grounds in the filter basket and deposited into the top of the Moka Pot.
- Know When It’s Done: The Moka Pot will make it’s characteristic gurgling sound as it goes about brewing the coffee. You’ll know it’s done when the gurgling turns into a hissing / bubbling sound. At this point you should remove it from heat and pour the coffee into another vessel as quickly as possible.
- Let it cool!: The Moka Pot itself will obviously be extremely hot when you’re done making your espresso. Make sure you have an appropriate space to let it cool down before cleaning.