The moka aka the original Italian coffee pot is probably one of the best known pieces of Italian design. It is so famous that it is part of the permanent collection of the MoMa in New York City.
Who invented the moka?
In 1933 Italian industrialist Alfonso Bialetti invented the moka. He had the idea while watching his wife doing laundry using the “lisciveuse”, i.e. a large pot equipped with a hollow tube with a perforated upper part where water, clothes to be washed and lye (the soap used at that time) were put together.
The Italian coffee pot owes its name to the port city of Mokha, in Yemen, from where the ships loaded with coffee left for the West: this country has in fact for centuries been one of the first and most renowned coffee production areas , in particular of the delicious Arabica quality.
How to use a moka
The moka makes coffee, not espresso. It makes coffee using a method which relies on three key elements: boiling water, steam and coffee powder. This coffee pot needs to be in aluminium and the shape of the bottom part of it must be octagonal. Here the procedure to properly use it:
- Fill the bottom part with water. Not all the way up though. Just stop at the valve (0.2 inches from the edges)
- Insert the filter
- Completely fill the filter with ground coffee, but don’t pack ( or press) it down.
- Make sure the filter and rubber gasket are in place. Screw the two chambers tightly together.
- Place the moka on the stove. and keep the heat low.
- When the pot starts to gurgle turn the stove off, wait a few second before opening the lid.
- Your coffee is now ready to be served.
Remember coffee must be drank very hot, almost burning
How to wash it
The moka must not be washed with soap nor put in the dishwasher. It is a crime against humanity to do so. Just rinse it and all its part under running water. This is because the more coffee you make the tastier the next one will be. If you wish you can just do the above procedure without using the coffee powder. Just make the water boil and go through the pipes.
It does not make espresso
This coffee making procedure, using the moka, is not what the espresso machine you would find in a bar do. It is a different process even though hot water and coffee are still involved. Coffee made with a moka is less creamy a bit more liquid. Furthermore, depending on its size, a moka can prepare from one to 12 cups of excellent coffee.
Coffee prepared in this way is the best to use for the tiramisu recipe, the classic Italian dessert whose most distinctive ingredient is coffee.