Moka-Pot or Coffee pot, Caffettiera or also simply known as Moka in Italian, is a precious kitchen tool of every Italian home, it is one of the staples of Italian culture. A stove-top or electric coffee maker that brews coffee by passing boiling water pressurised by steam through ground coffee from the bottom up.
Neapolitan coffee is made with a specific kind of coffee pot, called ‘Cuccumella‘in Neapolitan language. In the Cuccumella, the water drips on the coffee from above. Neapolitan coffee is made with a specific kind of coffee pot, called ‘Cuccumella’in Neapolitan language. In the Cuccumella, the water drips on the coffee from top to bottom instead. Although both the results are just as delicious, they are strikingly different and highlight different qualities of the coffee blend used.
In Italian restaurants they don’t use the Moka for making coffee, it is more for home use, although some small osteria or trattoria in the old days sometimes may offer it, but it is quite rare.
But how do you make an Italian coffee with a Caffettiera?
Throw away the first coffee
If you’ve just bought your Moka, be aware that the first coffee (and often also the second one) will simply not be good.
Start by preparing a ‘fake coffee’, putting only water in your and no coffee powder; afterwards, you can prepare one or two proper coffees. Be aware, though, that you should only start drinking coffee from your Moka after having used it for about two days – and it will take some days more than that for the coffee to be actually enjoyable.
Should the water level be below the valve, at the valve or above the valve?
Firs of all, the water to use should be cold, never hot. You can use both the tap water and the bottled one. And since less is more, let’s say just fill the valve below it if you want a full-bodied, ristretto coffee. Or even at the level of the valve if you want it less full-bodied. Whereas if above the valve, the water goes on top of the filter and mixes with a bit of cold coffee and can knead into a kind of cement that hinders the rise of the liquid and compromises the final result. And you will get a somewhat watered-down coffee.
Add the filter and fill it up with a generous amount of coffee powder. Don’t tamp the coffee powder: the Moka could get damaged if the water builds up too much pressure and cannot go through the coffee powder.
There is no need to press with the spoon. In this way the coffee aromas will not be dispersed.
Screw together the different parts of your Moka, making sure they are tightly closed. Then put the Moka on the stove on low heat, since the high heat heats up the whole machine and can ruin the coffee mixture that is in the filter before the water goes through. As soon as the coffee starts to fill the upper chamber, immediately raise the lid to prevent the condensed water from falling into the jug. Remove it from the stove after a short time, before the coffee has finished brewing. Mixing coffee as is still in the Moka is recommended. Whether you add sugar directly into the Moka coffee or not, once it has come out, stirring helps to combine the various flavours of the coffee.
Never wash with detergent your Moka
Why? Because this would alter the taste of your coffee. Just clean it with hot water and kitchen paper.
You’re all set now!