Start your day like an Italian: how to make the perfect Moka Pot coffee
Start your day the Italian way: a how-to guide
Coffee snobs will always tell you that their way of making coffee is the best. No ifs, no buts and no arguments; Their way is the ONLY way any self-respecting coffee aficionado should make their morning brew.
Whilst I too am a bit of a coffee snob, I can certainly accept that moka pot coffee isn't for everyone. It's more time consuming than instant coffee and the clean up is admittedly lengthy, but there's something so incredibly satisfying about hearing that antiquated coffee brewer whistling away to signal the readiness of your brew.
So I'm going to share with you my way of making 'perfect' moka pot coffee.
Step one: Choose your roast
Moka pots need a finely-ground coffee (finer than espresso, coarser than a French press to be technical) to work at their best, and as with any coffee topic, taste is everything. In terms of brands readily available in supermarkets my choice is either Cafe Direct Organic Machu Picchu ground coffee, or I'm a sucker for Starbucks at-home grounds (I know, stereotypes...) though I would certainly encourage you to find local independent suppliers where possible, sample a few roasts and try as many different origins as possible. If you can find somewhere that you're able to smell the beans before buying, I'd recommend it. (Covid shopping restrictions permitting...)
Step two: Preparation
To keep the extraction time as short as possible, it is best to start with pre-heated water for your Moka Pot coffee. Fill your kettle and set it to boil, but remove it from the base just before the water has boiled.
Fill the base of the Moka Pot up to just below the safety valve/whistle, and pour a little of the hot water into your mug to heat it ready for the fresh coffee: hot mugs are an important and often overlooked part of the coffee making process.
Pour your coffee grounds of choice into the basket and fill it to the top, levelling off the basket with your finger; Unlike coffee machines, there is no need to tamp the basket for a Moka Pot, since the extraction process relies on pressure, which will naturally compact the grounds during the brewing process.
Screw the top of the Moka pot onto the base, taking care as the bottom half of the assembly will be hot - I'd recommend using an oven glove or wrapping a dishcloth around the base during this stage.
Step three: Brewing
Place the assembled Moka Pot onto a medium-high heat burner (or pre-heated electric stovetop) and leave the lid open so that you can monitor the extraction process. If your preparation has gone to plan, you should see a golden-brown slightly aerated coffee come out of the spout at the top of the brewing chamber, trickling down into the top half of the pot.
Keep an eye on this coffee flow, and as soon as it goes very light (also known as 'blonding') remove the Moka Pot from the stove, close the lid and wrap a cool, damp dishcloth around the base to cool it and stop the extraction process. The goal here is to extract the coffee as quickly as possible, as over-extraction will cause bitterness in the final outcome.
Step four: Enjoy
So there we have it - hopefully you've ended up with a lovely, rich Italian-style espresso to enjoy. Pair with a Lotus Biscoff biscuit and some light entertainment, or if you are able to sit outside and just enjoy a few minutes of peace, I'd highly recommend doing so.
Let me know how you get on. This is my morning routine on a weekend and it really allows me to signal the start of a more relaxed, non-working day - give it a go and show me your results in the comments!