For a pukka cup of coffee you've gotta use a moka
Most people prefer a freshly brewed filter coffee to one made in a moka pot. The reasons vary: Some like a cleaner lighter body from a filter coffee; others think using a moka pot is too complicated, especially because you need to heat it on a stove, while cleaning the brewer is also troublesome and tricky. However, coffee made in a moka pot is still favored by most people around the world and the love for it never diminishes as time goes by.
The moka pot is named after the port city in Yemen, Mocha, where coffee is exported to Europe.
In Italy, where the moka pot was born, it is believed that over 90 percent of families have at least one Bialetti moka pot.
In 1933, the invention of the Bialetti Moka Express, by Alfonso Bialetti, not only made it a staple of Italian culture but it changed how coffee was consumed at home. Before that, coffee was usually consumed in public coffee houses.
On the company’s official website, over 270 million Bialetti coffee makers have been distributed around the world since the first one was manufactured.
The patented Bialetti Moka Express is an aluminum octagonal shaped stove-top device — one easily bought online in China.
After World War II the price of aluminum and coffee beans went down sharply and, added to a growing economy and a more affluent middle-class, coffee and moka pots were more accessible to ordinary Italian people.
When Bialetti’s son Renato Bialetti took over the company in the 1940s he made a big decision — to produce only one product: the Bialetti Moka Express.
In 1958, a little man with the moustache became part of the brand’s logo, which you can see on every Bialetti moka pot today.
There are many other brands producing moka pots, such as Bodum, Lavazza and De’longhi. But none of them are like Bialetti design, which hasn’t changed much since it hit the marketplace 87 years ago.
As it keeps the crema from the coffee grounds after brewing — very similar to espresso — the moka pot is also called a “stove-top espresso maker.”
Filter coffee tastes cleaner because the crema is almost absorbed by the filter paper. If you get the right ratio of water and grounds, you may get a very strong coffee from a moka pot but it is still not an espresso.
An espresso is made by pushing water downwards through coffee grounds under the pressure of 9 bars (9 times the atmospheric pressure at sea level).
A moka pot is normally extracted in the opposite direction — from the bottom water chamber going up through a filter basket of coffee grounds to the top collection chamber with less than 1.5 bars. The extraction temperature is different: An espresso is normally extracted at 92-96 degrees Celsius while the water in a moka pot can reach 100 degrees Celsius.
It is very easy to use a moka pot to make coffee as long as you know the tricks and be careful with the aluminum pot, which is not used for induction stoves. If you get a stainless steel moka pot, it will also save you tons of cleaning issues with aluminum.
Tip 1: Use fine coffee grounds!
You will need really fine coffee grounds of about 20-22 grams for a moka pot (2-4 servings size). It’s because the extraction time is very fast, merely a few seconds when the water boils and goes through the coffee layer.
Tip 2: Boil water beforehand!
You can fill your moka pot (bottom water chamber) with just boiled water. It will save much time for your to boil the water from room temperature on the stove.
Tip 3: Shake shake!
Shake the coffee grounds a bit as you fill the filter basket and place it into the bottom chamber. Screw on the top chamber. (Caution: the bottom chamber is very hot.)
Tip 4: Don’t use big flame!
Keep the flame low or mild until the water reaches boiling point. The pressure will push the stream of coffee going into the collection chamber slowly. If it is too fast, turn down the flame a bit. Remember to remove it from the heat when a hissing/bubbling sound is heard.
If you go to FOLLOW, you’d be surprised at the number of signature (localized) coffee drinks on the menu — some of which you can only get here. You will find several types of Bialetti Moka Express pots here. You can have black, latte or a latte art upon request.
Address: Room 108, 1/F, 500 Jinling Rd E.
Time: 9:30am-6pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
This small coffee shop on Nanchang Road offers a wide range of coffee brewer options, which includes a moka pot. All coffees are made to order, which means you can watch how it is made. You will have up to six different beans to choose from.
Address: 248 Nanchang Rd
Time: 7:30am-11:30pm (Monday-Friday), 10am-11:30pm (Saturday and Sunday)
Lavazza is one of the best-known coffee brands in the world. Now it has three brick-and-mortar cafes across the city. The moka pot shaped “cage” seating area is super eye-catchy. You can have a proper Italian-style coffee made in a moka pot (45 yuan, US$6.72) — and the coffee will be served in the pot! You can also order Affogato (68 yuan) with a serving of coffee in a moka pot!
Address: 1/F, Crystal Galleria, 8 Yuyuan Rd
Address: 1/F, Metro City, 1111 Zhaojiabang Rd
Address: L1132, Global Harbor, 3300 Zhongshan Rd N.
Time: 9am-10pm (Monday-Friday), 10am-10pm (Saturday and Sunday)