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Craig Camp

The Pleasures of Moka

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NYC filtered tap water (e.g. run through a Britta filter) is IMHO as good as any water you'll get anywhere in the US. I lived until recently in Norh Jersey where the tap water is disgusting but NYC's is pretty good. Despite how bad the Jersey water was, the Britta made even it palatable. No need to waste money buying bottled water to make your espresso or moka.

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Bialetti is a very high quality brand...

Okay, Bialetti. Any other good brands?

Anybody have any experience with the pots on this page, for instance?

Thanks for all the advice, as always.

Edited because I'm stupid.


Edited by SethG (log)

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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I've got a small Moka pot that I picked up in the Ikea scratch and dent section for $0.99.

I use Medalia d'Oro coffee which is the cheapest espresso at the grocery. I like it better than Illy or Lavazza because I think its got a more chocolately flavor.

I have run it through the dishwasher and now it is a dull grey color rather than shiny aluminum, but it still makes great coffee.

Every morning I start my day with a cup of moka poured into a half-mug of warm milk.

Its delicious and is by far my favorite morning beverage. I've gone through 3 month phases drinking tea and milk, regular coffee, and mate out of a gourd with a silver straw, but I think I'm hooked on moka.

Hal

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I just bought a 2 cup moka pot a couple weeks ago from Ikea- I really prefer it to the drip and french press methods. It's great alternative since I don't have the time and money right now to invest in a nice home espresso setup.

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And I got myself the 6 cup stainless steel Guido Bergna. It just arrived today, along with a can of Lavazza espresso grounds. I can't wait to try it out.


"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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It's so good to see so much respect for a home technique! We Americans seem to be locked into the "more expensive equipment is better" mentality when it comes to coffee-brewing, and it's nice to have a reality check as to how coffee is actually made in Italian and Italian-American homes.

LOL, by the way, I heard something recently that really puts the whole "Why is the espresso in American cafes usually so bad?" The average age of a barista in Italy is 35. In the US.... I don't even wanna think about it... the average is a college junior with about 30 minutes of training. :wacko:


"Give me 8 hours, 3 people, wine, conversation and natural ingredients and I'll give you one of the best nights in your life. Outside of this forum - there would be no takers."- Wine_Dad, egullet.org

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craig, i can't quite figure out if you think one should tamp or not - but i do with the lavazza 4-cup model, and i think that's what prevents the (lavazza espresso) coffee grains from seeping through the filter as it did before i started tamping. i mostly only make 2 cups at a time. very nice coffee, though not quite as good as on the small krups espresso machine. but that may be because i don't use it often enough, though i do wonder how that can make a difference (just as i wonder why soap is a no-no).


christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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I got my moka pot set up last night, and started seasoning it right away. I rubbed all the parts with bacon, then put them in a 350F oven for about two hours. Then I made some coffee, and it was the best pork-flavored caffiene I've ever had.

Just kidding.

I did make a starter pot, threw it away, then made a keeper pot. And I thought it wasn't bad at all! I've certainly been served worse in restaurants, and from those toy steam espresso machines. I'm looking forward to it getting better and better. I made another pot this morning, and it seems I see everything with just a bit more clarity than usual. This moka thing is going to be big.


"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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i've been experimenting with a new moka pot trying to duplicate a latte that i used to make daily in my now defunct $200 krups espresso maker (i decided not to buy a replacement). so far, i have successfuly "steamed" my milk by nuking (6 oz for 1.5 min) and whipping it with a hand blender - this produced better than the "perfect froth" and certainly hoter milk. the "espresso" out of the moka pot came out too bitter for my taste using the "medaglia dóro" espresso grind and too watery using the drip grind, i use a 6 oz moka pot and 2TBSP coffee. next i blended the two grinds - still a little too bitter!

any tips or ideas for better tasting "espresso"?

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i use a 6 oz moka pot and 2TBSP coffee. next i blended the two grinds

?? 2 tblps. coffee - don't measure the coffee- you fill the filter full

Try the Lavazza espresso that is readily available in grocery stores. It is the perfect grind for moka and is not bitter.

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craig, i can't quite figure out if you think one should tamp or not - but i do with the lavazza 4-cup model, and i think that's what prevents the (lavazza espresso) coffee grains from seeping through the filter as it did before i started tamping. i mostly only make 2 cups at a time. very nice coffee, though not quite as good as on the small krups espresso machine. but that may be because i don't use it often enough, though i do wonder how that can make a difference (just as i wonder why soap is a no-no).

When you fill the filter container of the moka is should be piled over the top - when you screw on the top it "auto" tamps the coffee for you. I would say the peak of my mountain of ground coffee is about a quarter inch above the top. When it is done the coffee comes out in a firm packed disk.

The soap breaks down the oils that cover the inside of the moka and improve the flavors as you use it.

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BTW, I bought a Moka pot (Bialetti 6 cup, original style) last month and have been using it ever since -- it makes a fantastic cup of coffee.

Its not professional style barista espresso by any means, but it probably does make better home espresso than 90 percent of the 200 dollar plus consumer grade cappuccino/espresso units out there and is far less of a pain in the ass to clean and maintain. No crema, but the extraction is quite rich. I could totally drink Moka now instead of French Press.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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How I love my own Moka pot -- it's what I've used for my morning coffee for the past several years, and I'll never look back. I'm greatly endebted to Pongi for the trick of submerging the lower half in cold water to deal with the boiling-as-it-fills problem that crops up periodically, when my crummy blade grinder leads me to grind my coffee a bit too fine.

I recently got a second 6-cup for those times when we have guests over (a 6 makes just the right amount for two of us, I find) and as I was breaking it in, I found that it was extra inclined to have that early boil trouble -- just another symptom of the crankiness of the unbroken-in pot? -- and was especially happy to have the trick on hand. The result was MUCH tastier coffee than I had a right to expect from a shiny new pot.

I find, also, that it is good to start over a high flame, with the top up, until the coffee has come creaming out for a few seconds, being careful, of course, to position the pot so that the handle does not melt. Then after the coffee has poured forth for a little bit, turn the heat down a bit and close the lid, and turn off the heat while the last burbles are still burbling out.

I also love my ancient bullet stovetop milk steamer, which builds up pressure wonderfully and reliably. It makes it entirely easy to get really gorgeous microfoam, and I will cry many buckets of tears if it ever dies. There are still a couple of companies making stovetop steamers out there (though it seems no one in Italy has any interest in them anymore, and I fear they will eventually disappear altogether) but they look much less sturdy and impressive than my dear old bullet. I should probably haunt eBay and stockpile like crazy.


"went together easy, but I did not like the taste of the bacon and orange tang together"

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dáquino brand ground espresso from trader joes made a nice cup in my moka pot - finaly... i like it, i like it!

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Just wanted to report that I'm using my moka pot every day and loving it. Thanks eGullet!

By the way, I haven't got the slightest idea what "early boil trouble" is, and I think I don't want to know.


"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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Moka is moka and espresso is espresso - two different things.

I love my mokas in the morning.

Yeah, ok, I accept that, but then why does Bialetti market it as the "#1 espresso maker in the world" :laugh:

I coudl be mistaken but I have the impression that the Italian coffee culture sort of implicitly recognizes the difference between the two but uses the term interchangeably. Might this be true? "Espresso" made in a moka pot on the stovetop is apreciated for what it is but recognized as being a different creature than the crema laden shots that come from a good machine and a barista.

I still need to invest in a good moka set for travel. Has anyone here tried the Velox two cup electric... the little stainless steel electric job? Just curious.....

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i am becoming attached to my aluminum 3 cup moka pot and use it daily. is there any advantage to using a stainless steel pot?

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I have been considering the purchase of a moka. From this discussion, it sounds like most people are using the Italian pre-ground coffees (Lavazza, Illy). I understand the importance of having the correct grind, but doesn't pre-ground coffee contradict the usual advice that the best flavour comes from grinding the freshest beans at the last possible moment? I am curious because it sounds like everyone is happy with the moka results.

Also, I can see that stainless steel is much more durable. I compared the classic aluminum bialetti to stainless models by bialetti and guido bergna. However, the stainless steel version cost at least twice that of the aluminum versions from what I can see online and here in France. I have not seen a stainless model (beginning at 3 cups) for less than 40 euros in France (or 45 dollars online). Also wanted to know if this is consistent with what you may have spent on the stainless steel models.

Thanks for your advice.

Lisa

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Just as the majority of American coffee drinkers are satisfied with the preground coffee they buy in the supermarket (which type sells more, really?), so drinkers of Italian-style coffee beverages seem to be overwhelmingly happy with imported preground coffee.

I don't understand it, myself. When I was still able to drink coffee ( :sad: sigh...) I roasted my own twice a week and ground it fresh when I brewed it. There is no comparison. The beans may have been of the highest quality, and vacuum packed coffee will stay fresher than non-vacuum packed, but it's still coffee that was roasted and ground overseas a long time ago. And after you open the can, it loses its vacuum and deteriorates rapidly.

Of course, if the standardized roast you want is a higher priority than freshness, that's the way to go. But I recommend either finding a local roaster who can supply you with coffee roasted fresh daily, or investing in proper equipment to roast and grind your own, which will save you money in the long run.

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-A "grandma" trick to get a sort of cream on your moka coffee. As soon as the first drops of coffee come out, pour them in your coffee cup, add a couple of tsp of sugar and stir vigorously with your spoon until creamy, then add very slowly the remaining coffee. When we were children, we were told that this was a way to get " a real espresso"...of course this is not true, but the result is anyway pretty nice :wink:

In Cuban communities, and Cuba I suppose, this is called cafe cubano, and is divine when well made and not too sweet for my taste.

As an aside, one of the great pleasures of going to Miami (I used to live there, and now visit once each winter) is the cafe cubano. The pleasure starts in the airport. Upon arrival, we head straight for La Carreta in terminal D, and order a colada, a 4 oz. styrofoam cup-full of great espresso in the cuban style. The container of coffee comes with a stack of 1/2 oz. cups, apparently to divide the coffee with a bunch of people. Yeah, right. My wife and I finish off the 4 oz. straight from the container without any help -- welcome to Miami.

Another remarkable thing about cuban coffee in Miami is the price. A shot of liquid gold is only $0.30 in any of the many joints serving it in Miami. Even in the airport, we paid only $1.60 for a delicious colada which could have been shared with at least four people. Meanwhile, right across from La Carreta is Starbucks, getting $2.06 for an ordinary espresso, with none of the charm of the cuban cafeteria. One would think that Starbucks couldn't compete in this market, for espresso at least, and makes me wonder about the introduction of Starbucks in Italy, for example.

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I have been considering the purchase of a moka.  From this discussion, it sounds like most people are using the Italian pre-ground coffees (Lavazza, Illy).  I understand the importance of having the correct grind, but doesn't pre-ground coffee contradict the usual advice that the best flavour comes from grinding the freshest beans at the last possible moment? I am curious because it sounds like everyone is happy with the moka results.

Lisa

Lisa, we don't use pre-ground coffee in our moka. We grind our own coffee in a $50 Braun burr coffee grinder using fresh roasted beans, it works just fine and produces good results.

In France you should have no problem getting fresh roasted beans. Any type that suits your fancy should be fine, I would tend to go with the more lower acid varieties personally.

Coffee that is brought home from the store freshly roasted should be fine for a few weeks, Once you grind it, it will start to lose a lot more potency and go rancid in a matter of days.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Thanks Jason. That makes sense. You are right - there are a few good places to buy fresh roasted beans in Paris. My big problem is that I don't have a grinder and it is not feasible to spend the money on a decent one. I know it is an essential element in the coffee-making process, so I am starting to think I should give up on the idea of good coffee at home, until I can make the investment. Thankfully Starbucks is here now. :wacko::laugh:

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