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Craig Camp

The Pleasures of Moka

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I'm planning on trying a regular Bialetti moka pot (aluminum, standard Moka Express), and am unsure about the size. I'm the only coffee drinker in the house, and normally have just one strong 12-oz. cup of drip or french press. I know the "cups" in moka pots are much smaller, and am trying to decide between the 3-cup and the 6-cup moka pot (Bialetti makes nothing in between in the basic Moka Express line). I'd appreciate any advie from anyone.

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The coffee from your moka pot will be stronger than most drip or French press coffee. As the sole coffee drinker in your household, I recommend the 3-cup pot. However, you will probably end up with both pots if you entertain guests at all.


Edited by sanrensho (log)

Baker of "impaired" cakes...

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Can someone who has used both please compare the coffee from a Brikka with that from a Cona D? I've used the Cona D but never the Brikka?

Ken -

The Cona is a vacuum pot and the Brikka is a moka aka "stovetop espresso" maker. They are beasts of a different color and the output is radically different. Moka pots in essence are a way to produce an espresso like beverage without a real espresso machine. As I understand it, in Italy, when one refers to espresso in the context of drinkign it at home it is assumed one is referring to moka coffee. When the context is drinking it outside the home it is assumed that the beverage is made on an espresso machine.

Ideally they produce a rich, dark conecentrated coffee that is much closer to espresso than to coffee. As evidenced by this thread it does take time and practice to adapt one's techniques to machines larger or different than the one on which you've developed your process.

Your wife will most likely appreciate an Americano style beverage - moka coffee diluted with hot water.

As for the bitterness people are reporting in some cases - I suspect an adjustment of the heat level (up or down), a change in grind or even a change of espresso blend may help. many places int he US sell "espresso blend" that is dark and oily - overroasted and therefore inherently more bitter than lighter roasted coffee. Open a can of Illy or Lavazza that's fresh and you won't find it to be cark, charred or oily.

But I suggest trying a competent local roaster tha offers fresh beans within a few days of roast date. The grind should be close to espresso grind in terms of being fairly fine - not coarse. But an excessively fine grind can lead to a bit of excess bitterness due to overextraction.

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Does anyone have a reliable method for getting that damn rubber gasket out for a rinse?!

I have resorted to bringing home a hemostat (surgical clamp) to remove it without wrecking it.

i know that this q was posted ages ago, but id like to say that i dont pull the rubber gasket out. to rinse that is. i just leave it there. i figure the time i pull it out is the time i replace it.

anyone pull it out regularly to clean?


"Bibimbap shappdy wappdy wap." - Jinmyo

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Regarding care of a Moka pot, I have a Mukka Express (don't worry, I didn't get the cheesy cow-print one), in which one must put milk in the upper part of the maker.
i always have to heat up milk in the microwave for the moka... i went to the site and watched the video. this sounds so nice; i hadnt heard of mukka express before. im tempted to get it now. as if i dont have enough equipment.

but it wouldnt hurt to get this... its so small :rolleyes:


"Bibimbap shappdy wappdy wap." - Jinmyo

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i always have to heat up milk in the microwave for the moka...  i went to the site and watched the video.  this sounds so nice; i hadnt heard of mukka express before.  im tempted to get it now.  as if i dont have enough equipment.

but it wouldnt hurt to get this...  its so small  :rolleyes:

I say go for it! I still love my Mukka, though I don't use it as much as I used to (apparently I'm very sensitive to caffeine). One can never have too much kitchen equipment, after all, and imagine the electricity you'll save by not having to use the microwave to heat up your milk! :biggrin:

edited to fix my crappy quoting


Edited by prasantrin (log)

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Regarding care of a Moka pot, I have a Mukka Express (don't worry, I didn't get the cheesy cow-print one), in which one must put milk in the upper part of the maker.  So far, I've been washing the upper part with soap to help get rid of the milk residue.  For this type of maker, would you still suggest not using soap? 

After a few cleanings, I found that if I immediately filled the top with water and let it sit for a short while, it was much easier to get rid of the milk residue.

Love my Mukka Espress!

I've been using my Mukka for 3 weeks and after I learned the intricacies of not boiling the cappuccino over...I love mine too. I now do a capp every morning and night using our locally roasted beans. And we clean the same - immediately fill with water.

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I've been using my Mukka for 3 weeks and after I learned the intricacies of not boiling the cappuccino over...I love mine too.  I now do a capp every morning and night using our locally roasted beans.  And we clean the same - immediately fill with water.

Do you use soap? I'm still not using soap, but I use a Mukka-specific sponge. But I'm a little wary of not using soap, because of the milk residue

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I am so glad I did a search for Bialetti here. I have been abusing my stove-top espres...err...Moka pot for months now and the coffee kept on getting worse. My list of offenses include:

- Washing thoroughly with soap

- Pressing the coffee tightly

- Other times not using enough coffee

- Spending weeks without using the pot

No wonder my moka coffee is acrid, bitter and harsh. Because of that I spend longer and longer periods without using it.

Thanks to all the advice here, epsecially Craig's early "essay" I will start my Moka rehabilitation by:

- Making one pot and dumping it out (just one time thing), then making the drinkable coffee

- never washing it with soap

- using it more often

- filling the filter and never pressing the grounds

I sure wish the damn thing came with instructions as good as these.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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i am tempted by the mukka, but i think i want a steel mokapot instead. however i am concerned bc i cant find info about replacement parts.

i looked around on the bialetti site and didnt find anything. perhaps you don't need to replace parts for steel pots? or perhaps the aluminum parts fit the steel pots?

ive also been interested in other makers (alessi and vespress) but can't seem to find info about replacement parts for those steel pots either.

anybody have any experience, knowledge about this?

thanks so much in advance


"Bibimbap shappdy wappdy wap." - Jinmyo

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I usually make coffee with my espresso machine, but take a moka pot on holidays and camping etc. The moka makes very good coffee and I've always been confused why because I would have thought that the water passing through the coffee would be at or very close to 100C and scald it.

Do you think the water cools significantly on its way up the tube to the coffee?

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i am tempted by the mukka, but i think i want a steel mokapot instead.  however i am concerned bc i cant find info about replacement parts.

You might already have done this, but if you go to the Bialetti Shop Espresso Makers page, just click on any of the stainless steel machines. At the far right, under the picture, is the "Description", under which you'll find a link for "Available Parts".

I kind of like the Mia...I wonder if I need one...

Edited to ask:

How do you know when you need replacement parts? Obviously when the handle breaks off, you'll definitley need one. But for the gaskets, filters, and baskets, how do you know? Does something go wrong wtih the machine? Or are they parts you should just change periodically? I'm a relatively new Bialetti owner, and have already been worried about the gaskets. (Actually, I bought my first Bialetti in 1996, but I never used it.)


Edited by prasantrin (log)

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The main thing you will need to replace from time to time is the gasket. Just check it for cracks, extra stiffness or brittleness, and leaks. For the other things, it is going to be, for the most part, a matter of visible damage. Gaskets are the only thing I have ever replaced.

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I've been using my Mukka for 3 weeks and after I learned the intricacies of not boiling the cappuccino over...I love mine too.  I now do a capp every morning and night using our locally roasted beans.  And we clean the same - immediately fill with water.

Do you use soap? I'm still not using soap, but I use a Mukka-specific sponge. But I'm a little wary of not using soap, because of the milk residue

Oh my! I'm very sorry to respond so late - I must have missed your question. We have been using soap with no problems. We don't have a dishwasher but I think that would do a great job cleaning.

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We have two Moka pots - a stainless steel Bialetti and also a stainless Alessi. This is the only way we make coffee in our house. We only buy whole beans and grind our own. Our very old Krups blade grinder has died and we need to get another grinder. I've been reading about various grinders and I'm confused. Since this is not really "espresso" that we are making, I don't think we neccessarily need a high end machine that grinds beans to espresso fineness. However, I was thinking maybe we should step up to a burr grinder. But from what I've been reading, an inexpensive burr grinder can be worse than a blade grinder. Should we just go with another Krups blade grinder and call it a day?


Edited by searchingforclues (log)

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If a basic blade grinder was yielding good results with your moka pot I can't give you any compelling reason to buy something different. You're correct in recalling that, as a general rule, cheap burr grinders are bad news.

You can get a burr grinder of okay quality for $70 - $120 and one that's very very good for about $175 to $275. For serious espresso productio with a good espresso machine the range starts at $275 and goes up.

The more uniform grind particle size produced by a better machine could in theory produce better extraction and slightly improved results with a Moka pot but it might be a subtle difference - not necessarily worth the bump up in price.

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I'm wondering about how best to improve the coffee I drink regularly. Preferably without either creating huge amounts more work for myself or spending a great deal of money. The latter, combined with the fact that I don't drink milk in coffee, means that I have already ruled out upgrading the moka pot to an espresso machine: it's beyond the budget I'm prepared to spend at the moment, although I don't wish to rule it out for the foreseeable future, which means it would be good if any upgrades I make now were compatible with such a move at a later date.

I currently mostly use filtered Berlin tap-water and pre-ground dark-roast espresso from cafe liberdad, a German collective who import coffee from co-operatives in Chiapas and Costa Rica. This makes an acceptable but not exceptionally good drink. For various reasons, I'll probably be sticking with the same suppliers: they also offer roast whole beans (which I have bought on occasion) and raw coffee (which I have not yet bought).

I have access to a hand-powered burr-grinder, which I have used on the occasions when I have bought whole beans. The grounds are noticeably coarser (or rather: not so uniformly fine) than the pre-ground stuff. The resulting coffee was slightly but not a huge amount better than than that from the pre-ground beans. It is hard to be certain, but I think that the coffee made shortly after the packet was opened was better than that at the end of the packet (which I stored in an airtight tin).

Are the most substantial improvements to the end-product likely to result from home-roasting, getting a better grinder, storing the beans differently, something else I've not thought of, or some combination of the above? I'm assuming that the biggest advantage of home-roasting comes from the freshness with which I will then have access to the roast beans, rather than the quality of the roast per se. And have no idea whether this benefit can be achieved through other methods, or how much a difference a grinder can make, etc.: all advice gratefully appreciated!

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For the best coffee, no matter what method of brewing you use, fresh, good quality beans AND grinding right before brewing will make the best coffee...there's really no argument about that.

Once coffee is ground, it goes stale really quickly...so if it's vacuum packed after grinding, maybe the first cup is acceptable...it goes down hill quickly after that.

If you've got your fresh, good quality beans, then it's about your grinder.

Then it's about your water.

And then, once you've got the beans, grinder and water covered, you can pretty much brew great coffee no matter what method of coffee brewing you use. Without the above, your coffee will never rise to the level of deliciousness you seek.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

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If I'm buying roasted beans, how should I be storing them? Or does their age by the time it comes to grinding them mean that I need to be roasting at home in order really to taste the benefits?

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If I'm buying roasted beans, how should I be storing them? Or does their age by the time it comes to grinding them mean that I need to be roasting at home in order really to taste the benefits?

Find a good local roaster and buy just enough to last you a week. Where are you located?

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If I'm buying roasted beans, how should I be storing them? Or does their age by the time it comes to grinding them mean that I need to be roasting at home in order really to taste the benefits?

Buying roasted beans is great, and you can stretch out their lifespan, BUT you need to know when the beans were roasted for this to be effective. Many places sell beans by the kilo or pound, but they may have been roasted weeks before - not good.

When I get beans roasted 2 or 3 days prior, if I immediately vacuum and then freeze them in packs that I can use up in 4 or 5 days, they can stay in the freezer for a couple of months and maintain a good freshness when they're pulled out.

On the other hand, properly stored beans at room temperature pretty much have a life span of a week to 10 days depending on variety and roasting technique.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Resurrecting this thread for a quick q:  I've only owned an aluminum Bialetti moka pot, and am considering investing in a larger stainless steel moka pot.  Do the stainless ones need to be used frequently in order to produce a good flavor?  I get why this is true for the aluminum pots, but I think of stainless steel as totally inert and thus not subject to improvement over time.  Any thoughts on this?   

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I have 3 sizes of Bialetti aluminum moka pots (3 cup, 6 cup and 9 cup.)

I have 2 stainless steel moka pots (1 cup and 6 cup).

ALL five moka pots have aluminum 'baskets' and 'filters."

The stainless steel pots are more expensive without any noticeable advantages, IMHO.


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)

~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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