Guest Post: Ways to Make proper Italian Moka Coffee at Home
Since I first traveled to Italy and drunk Italian coffee I am not able to drink any other type of coffee and drive the same immense pleasure from it. Sure I drink Turkish, American and French coffee, among the many available internationally, but to have the full bodied experience I must always return to Italian coffee. And how could it be any different? Italians invented coffee as we drink it nowadays.
The most famous type is Espresso, which is not the one made at home with a stove top machine; in fact espresso is the one made with pressure machines, it entails a different degree of coffee bean grinding, water temperature and shorter brewing time. Next time you rent a villa in Tuscany, remember to practice making your own Italian coffee at home.
This type of coffee brewing involves the Moka machine, the quintessential coffee maker in Italy. Its name derives from Mokha in Yemen, one of the first and most renown coffee production cities.
To prepare a good Italian coffee with a Moka machine is an art. First of all it is hard to brew a decent beverage from a new or long-unused Moka. The reason has to do with the aluminum getting permeated by the scents and aromas of coffee. That is why you should never ever clean your Moka pot with soap. Aluminum is porous and absorbs micro particles of soap, making your delicious coffee extremely bitter and undrinkable. If you unscrew an clean your Moka under running water after each use and let it dry properly, that is enough to provide a perfectly healthy cleaning process.
What are the secrets to prepare a delicious Italian coffee brew at home using a Moka pot?
Supposing you have a good Moka, the first thing you need to get is Italian coffee, roasted properly and ground for Moka pot use. The only other thing you need is good water without chlorine and with a low calcium content.
The Three-Holes tip
The Moka machine has three main parts: the water chamber, the filter and the coffee brewer. Fill the chamber with water until you reach the exhaust security valve. If you want the coffee to be more “ristretto”, more concentrated, stay five millimeters below the valve. Never go above it.
Set the filter in place, granted it is completely dry. Using a teaspoon, start filling the filter with coffee powder until it is evenly full. Add another teaspoon of coffee powder, then gently press it down to level evenly with the rim. Using a toothpick, make three small holes more or less equidistant from the rim and each other, piercing until you reach the bottom of the filter. Now screw the brewer tightly on top (do not tilt the coffee pot sharply or more than 30 degrees) and set on the lowest heat possible leaving the lid open. Once the coffee starts coming up it should overflow from the brewer’s nozzle very slowly. As soon as it stops pouring evenly, remove from heat, close the lid and let it rest a minute. Stir with a teaspoon before serving in espresso cups.
The Mound Tip
This technique differs from the Three-Holes one only for the filling step. Using a teaspoon fill the filter with the coffee powder to create a tall, pointy mound. Do this inside a bowl or a flexible cutting board, so you can recuperate the spilled coffee easily. Once no more coffee can be added to the mound, gently set the brewer on top and screw tightly without applying any other pressure. Now proceed as above.
These techniques give a very rich, black coffee. Experiment adjusting pressure and water quantity to your taste.
Remember: the more coffees your Moka pot produces, the better the coffee taste will be; keep your coffee air-tight and refrigerated; never wash your Moka with anything else but water.
About the author: Matt loves good Italian coffee, and enjoys it while vacationing in Tuscan villas with fully equipped kitchens where a Moka pot can always be found.