If you have traveled in Italy you have probably seen one of these coffee making devices. The device is called a Moka and it makes strong little cups of coffee that I recently heard referred to as stovetop espresso.
Italians don’t drink the big, long cups of coffee that we do, theirs are smaller and stronger. When I’m using my moka I make a coffee that is somewhere in the middle. Be advised that coffee made in a moka, or stovetop espresso, is strong!
The first time I rented an apartment in Italy I couldn’t for the life of me figure this thing out. The apartment’s cleaning lady had to come over and show me how to do it!
Traditional mokas come in an octagonal shape. Mine is a little more modern looking, and was a gift from my dear friend Anna Maria, when I was staying at her beautiful home in Varese.
A moka breaks down to 3 pieces.
The base, a funnel looking filter basket, and the body or caraf of the moka.
The first step is to fill the base with water.
Next put the filter funnel into the base.
Put a couple of table spoons of coffee into the filter basket, and don’t pack it down hard. I let it sit loosely in the basket.
I recommend using Italian coffee. I use Illy or Lavazza Crema E Gusto . Normally I buy Illy Moka, but I couldn’t find any in the local stores today, so had to buy Espresso instead. You can order both coffees here and here on Amazon.
The body or carafe of the moka screws onto the base.
Now sit it on the stove over a medium high flame.
The water in the base is going to boil, and push up through the funnel, through the filter in the base of the top section of the moka, and will fill up in the top section.
And now we wait…
I periodically check it so that it doesn’t end up spitting out over the stove.
I normally find the handle gets quite hot, so I use a cloth when I take it off the stove and pour it. I’m sure I just run the flame on the stove too high, but old habits die hard, and this is just how I do it!
I cheat quite often, putting it in a medium sized cup and adding a little boiling water, so that I can have a slightly longer coffee. Just don’t tell my Italian friends….
Once you get the swing of this you will be hooked. Moka, or stovetop espresso is so incredibly good!
Where to buy a Moka
You can find Moka coffee makers online: The Bialetti 3 Cup Moka at Bloomingdale’s here , Bialetti Stovetop Espresso Maker at Amazon.com here and the Primula Stovetop Espresso Maker at Target, here.
Where to buy Italian Coffee
All images in this post are courtesy of KristinaBeth.Photography
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