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How can I justify spending $4 on an espresso every day at a hippy coffee shop?
Because they use a $4,000 espresso machine and I can’t possibly afford that.
However, it’s not always possible (or financially prudent…) to buy an espresso. If you’re in that boat maybe you should follow in my footsteps and consider finding a Moka Pot.
Espresso lovers who can’t afford or justify spending money on a dedicated espresso machine have been using Moka Pots as an alternative for just about as long as there have been espressos.
So let’s dive into what a Moka Pot is, why you need one, and how to use it.
What Is a Moka Pot?
The simple definition of a Moka pot is a stovetop coffee pot. This pot brews coffee by pushing boiling, pressurized water, via steam, through the coffee grounds in the pot.
The Moka pot was invented by an Italian man named Luigi de Ponti, and later patented by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933. That very same pot is still sold as the Moka Express by Bialetti Industries. This particular type of coffee pot is most popularly used in Latin America and Europe, especially in Spain, Italy, and Portugal.
Current models come in polished aluminum, stainless steel, or a combination of stainless steel and porcelain, or stainless steel and plastic. Moka pots come in a variety of capacities, as well, ranging from one to twelve cups.
The simplicity of this Italian coffee maker has raised the popularity of the device. Anyone who can use a stove can use this no-frills gadget for making a fantastic cup of espresso.
How to Make Moka Pot Coffee
Making a Moka coffee is pretty easy. Just gather the supplies, and follow these simple instructions.
Supplies and Ingredients You’ll Need
Moka Pot – You can purchase a stovetop espresso maker, or Moka pot, from a variety of places online, or in certain retail stores. You may even spot one at a local thrift store or boutique.
Coffee Grinder – For the freshest, richest flavors of Moka coffee, you’ll want to grind your own beans just prior to making your espresso. Coffee grinders come in electric or manual options and range from very expensive down to around $20 for a reasonable one. A burr grinder will result in finer grounds than a blade grinder.
Coffee Beans or Grounds – The finer the coffee, the better the espresso, of course, but you don’t need a particular roast for making espresso. Both dark and regular roasts make for great espresso and truly are a by-taste choice.
Steamed Milk – You can either use a milk steamer, as suggested above, or you can go a less traditional route and make steamed milk in your microwave or on your stovetop. It probably won’t be as fine a flavor as you’d get using a milk steamer, but in a pinch, these methods work.
Microwave Method for Steaming Milk
- Pour milk into a Mason jar.
- Put lid onto Mason jar, seal tightly and shake milk for about 45 seconds, or until the volume of the milk has doubled.
- Take off the lid and heat the milk in the Mason jar in your microwave for 30 to 45 seconds. Keep an eye out to make sure the foaminess doesn’t disappear.
Stovetop Method for Steaming Milk without a Steamer
- Pour milk into a saucepan and place on medium heat on the stove.
- Stir the milk constantly, until the milk heats completely.
- Remove the milk from the heat.
- Serve as steamed milk, or whip with a whisk until foamy, if you’d like to top things off with some frothy goodness.
Sugar – Sugar isn’t necessary for making espresso, so add to taste.
Water – The amount of water you use will be proportionate to the amount of espresso you’re making in your Moka pot.
How to Make That Espresso
Here’s a quick how-to on making espresso with your Moka pot.
- Grind about 20 to 22 grams of coffee beans into fine grounds.
- Boil enough water to fill the bottom half of your Moka pot to the valve point, if you’re making a full pot. After the water has come to a boil, transfer it to the bottom of your Moka pot.
- Put your fine coffee grounds into the filter basket of the Moka pot, and place it into the Moka pot.
- Remember that the bottom half of the pot is hot, carefully screw the top half of the pot into place.
- Place the whole pot onto a medium heat on the stove. Aim for heat that causes the espresso to bubble upward into the top chamber at a steady, but not extreme pace.
- When the bubbling and hissing begins, remove the pot from the heat and serve, or make it into frothy, steamed milk espresso drinks.
Time to Put Your Learning to the Test
Now that you’ve learned how simple it is to make espresso at home on a budget using simple tools and methods, you can go looking for the perfect Moka Pot, coffee grinder, and, if you’re feeling really fancy, a milk steamer.
Check out Moka pots by Bialetti, Cuisinox, or MateoJo and see which one’s right for you.