Day 79: The Moka Pot

iconic simplistic essential

Before there was Krups. Before there was Nespresso. There was the Moka.

No single item in our kitchen is more beloved than the iconic Moka pot. No kitchen should exist without one. Yes there are more refined ways to prepare your brew, but no other icon of industrial design and simplicity has captured the hearts of so many millions worldwide in order to produce the elixir billions can’t live without, coffee.

It was in 1933 that Alfonso Bialetti came up with the idea to make coffee without an expensive space hogging espresso machine, an idea which brought coffee to everyone’s home. Practical, ergonomic, and affordable, Bialetti introduced in-home espresso to the masses, having since sold over 105 million units.

A masterpiece of simplicity, consisting of only four lightweight aluminum components, a rubber gasket, and plastic handle, the Moka employs the straightforward percolation principle, pushing heated water from a boiler chamber up a funnel and through a basket which holds powdered coffee, past a filter, and finally up into a collection chamber. When the water is exhausted from the boiler the characteristic bubbling sound of steam tells you the process is complete, and the Moka can then be removed from the heat.

In the PashbyMaul household, there are two Moka pots. One for everyday use that prepares three servings, and a larger six serving model for either guests or multiple Saturday morning servings. These “investments” are worth paying for. You’ll find many brands available at the ipermercato, but only the original Bialetti is worth buying. Yes you can buy a cheap Moka at Ikea for 5€ that will melt if you leave it on the stove too long. Or you can find a luxury designer brand like Alessi for 150€, but why waste your money? A Bialetti Moka will last for a generation, and properly maintained with a replacement rubber gasket every few years will bring you countless joyful coffee moments.

evening ritual - caffè corretto sambuca
evening ritual – caffè corretto sambuca

As a decaf family since October 2013, you may wonder, “Why the obsession with the Moka?”. Two words – Caffè corretto. A few days ago, we wrote about the cureall digestivo Amaro Montenegro. Caffè corretto, prepared at home with Sambuca has become the go-to after dinner beverage in the PasbhyMaul household. It helps to get things moving in the digestive department, in much the same was as your Grappa, Amaro, or liqueur/liqour of choice. Of course coffee minus a special something does pretty much the same thing, but isn’t nearly as much fun. Obviously we enjoy our wake-up coffee too, but we utilize other coffee brewing techniques in the mornings.

On any given day, the ever present Moka waits patiently next to the stove-top for it’s inevitable use. Not a single day goes by without the Moka signaling, often multiple times, the completion of a brewing cycle, in kitchens around the world, bringing happy coffee moments to millions.

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