In Italy, ordering a Caffe Moka is quite different from, say, calling for a Mocha coffee in America. To sound alike is not to taste alike, coffee-style. For making moka, the chocolate syrup is nowhere in sight.
Small, two-chambered moka pots sit on many Italian stovetops, easy to use and producing a full-bodied coffee, rich in aroma. Many have an hourglass shape, but you can find moka pots in a variety of styles, all based on the same operating principle. Water is heated in a lower chamber. Vapor pressure approaching two atmospheres pushes the water up through ground coffee in a filter, which collects in the upper chamber as liquid coffee.
It’s really that simple, but it does take some practice, a careful eye and the right grind, never too fine. Use a low flame, and be sure not to overheat to coffee.
Making a moka coffee:
- Fill the base chamber with cold water up to the level of the valve. Insert the filter.
- Completely fill the filter with ground coffee, but don’t pack it down (see photo above).
- Make sure the filter and rubber gasket are in place. Screw the two chambers tightly together.
- Place the moka pot on the stove. Warning: keep the heat low.
- Remove pot from heat just when coffee starts to gurgle, before it starts to rise and bubble. You’ll be sure to extract only the best parts of the coffee.
- Mix the coffee with a spoon before pouring into cups.
- Rinse the coffee maker with hot water and let dry thoroughly before screwing chambers back together.