Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Chiacchierata di Caffè - Moka Mania

I have talked about my moka pot before in my Spanish Coffee post, Coffee + Rum = Yum!!. But I didn't really talk about the moka pot itself. Originally patented by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933, the moka pot is a sort of 1 way percolator and is still produced by Bialetti's company or the same name.

How do they work? Water is placed in the lower chamber and heated just as with a percolator, however, unlike the "Maxwell House" version, the moka pot builds up steam in the chamber. As the steam expands, it pushes the remaining water up through the center tube and forces it through the brew chamber, which contains finely ground coffee. After passing through the ground, the infused water moves to an upper pot.. Never again to touch the grounds. This 1 way percolation produces a deliciously well infused cup of coffee. The trick is removing it from the heat right before it begins to gurgle with steam and water, as the steam is too hot and over extract the grounds. I usually pull mine when the upper pot is about 1/2 - 2/3 full... Don't worry, the residual steam will continue to force most of the remaining water up the tube before it has a chance to cool down and condense again.

One thing I have learned in researching the moka pot, is that my misgivings regarding aluminum are unfounded in this case. It seems that the moka pot is not suppose to be washed with soap, only rinsed with hot water, sort of like a cast iron pan. This leaves the oils from previous brewings which form a protective layer, keeping any subesquent brews from coming into contact with the aluminum, reducing and/or eliminating any metallic taste from the aluminum/acid reactions.

Be that as it may, my pot is still the ceramic one I had shown in the previous post. I am waiting until I can afford to pick up a Brikka model. The Brikka is a moka pot with a special weight in the upper pot, that increases the pressure in the bottom chamber, thus producing a more "espresso" type brew. Sounds pretty darned awesome to me.. :)

Moka Pot

OK, so first off, you must fill the bottom chamber with water. Do not fill it above the safty valve. This is needed incase there is an unsafe pressure build up.

Insert the filter cone.

Fill with finely ground coffee (do not compact it)

The top pot has a filter built into the bottom.

Screw down the top pot and set over low flame.

When the steam pressure builds up enough, cofffee will begin shooting up the tube.

Mine doesn't produce as much crema because the holes in the pot cone are a little too big.

Mmmmm.. But it still smells delicious.

And tastes even better with a little swirl of heavy cream.

Cin Cin!!


Patti T. said...

Never saw or heard of anything like that, thank you for teaching me new things all the time.

Bob said...

Ok, that's just cool. I love kitchen toys.

Danielle said...

I think I've had this before...served in these tiny little cups...and boy, what a pick me up!(silly me had 2 or 3 cups LOL) soo yummy too!

girlichef said...

Wow..this is really cool! I could really get some use out of this!

Spryte said...

You have the coolest toys!!