A moka pot is a delightful and petite gift of joy. It makes delicious espresso, ideal as a base for capuccino and latte coffees.
Small in stature, which makes cupboard storage easy, and inexpensive to buy, a moka pot is one of my favourite items in the kitchen.
A moka pot, or stove top coffee maker, makes delicious coffee. Professionals will say it isn’t true espresso, but people all over Europe use a moka pot to make espresso coffee because it tastes good.
The espresso from a moka pot is strong and flavourful, making an excellent base for lattes and cappuccinos. A moka pot is considerably cheaper that premium espresso makers, and its small size means that it can be tucked away in a cupboard when not in use.
The difference between espresso coffee from a moka pot compared to an espresso from a commercial espresso machine is the pressure the steam passes through the coffee grounds. The higher pressure of commercial machines creates an espuma or foam head above the espresso. For some coffee lovers, an espresso is not an espresso without the espuma, but for cappuccinos and lattes, the espuma is not visible after the addition of milk.
The moka pot works by passing steam at high pressure through the coffee grounds, albeit at lower pressure than commercial machines. By choosing a low to medium heat, the steam passes slowly allowing the coffee to develop a strong espresso flavour.
The moka pot works by boiling water in the lower section. When enough pressure builds up, the water is forced through the ground coffee in the middle section, before bubbling up through the spout in the centre of the top section.
Compared to an electric espresso machine, making coffee with a moka pot can feel more satisfying through its ‘hands on’ nature. You are participating in the process. There is a downside though, as the moka pot needs to be watched whilst on the hob, and removed from the heat when the coffee starts to bubble through.
Moka pots do feature a safety release valve to relieve pressure, but the lower chamber should not be allowed to run out of water whilst on the heat.