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Bialetti Moka Pot

A time-tested way to make espresso-style coffee


A compact Italian-made eight-sided wonder, the moka pot makes espresso-style coffee without the need for a large, expensive, high-maintenance machine. Invented in 1933 by Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti, the elegant three-chambered pot relies on pressure generated by simple stovetop steam, which builds up in the lowest chamber and pushes up through the coffee grounds.

The resulting coffee is robust and hearty. To espresso fans, it lacks crema, and to certain aficionados, it can even taste slightly “burnt.” If you’re at all concerned about off-flavors, as a precautionary measure you can preboil the water before adding it to the lower chamber. This preheating step decreases the time that the coffee grounds are in contact with the hot water and helps to prevent any “burnt” flavor. But fair warning: if you do this, watch your hands—the pot gets hot. To some moka devotees, this extra step also violates the spirit of practicality of this tried-and-true device.

Whichever way you choose to brew, we recommend listening to Paolo Conte’s Via Con Me, humming the refrain “It’s wonderful, it’s wonderful” while you wait the few short moments for your brew to be ready for quaffing.

Finally, if this is your first time using the moka pot, we also suggest brewing a couple of coffees to season the pot before brewing one to drink.

Step 1

For a 6-cup moka pot:
Grind about 20-22 grams of coffee finer than you would for a pour over, but not quite as fine as you might for a true espresso machine—slightly larger than granulated sugar.

Step 2

Fill the bottom chamber of the moka pot with water until it is level with the valve, about 345 grams. Place the funnel—the coffee grounds receptacle—into the pot. If any water enters the funnel, pour out the excess and replace the funnel.

Step 3

Fill the funnel with the ground coffee, leveling the grounds and wiping the funnel’s rim clean. Do not tamp the grounds.

Step 4

Screw the moka pot’s spouted top on tightly.

Step 5

Place the moka pot on a stove over medium heat. If using a gas stove, make sure the flame is not larger than the base of the pot so as not to expose the handle to heat.

Step 6

As the water in the bottom chamber approaches a boil, the pressure will push a stream of coffee steadily up into the upper chamber. You know it’s done when you hear a hissing, gurgling sound. Immediately remove the moka pot from the heat. Let the coffee finish flowing into the upper chamber, and then use caution (and a potholder) to pour your coffee.

To clean your moka pot for its next use, once the pot is cool enough to handle, unscrew the spouted top and remove the rubber gasket and filter plate that sit above the funnel. Use warm water without soap to clean all of the parts thoroughly. If you’re unable to remove any residual coffee oils, use a coffee-specific cleaner such as Cafiza, which will remove residue without imparting a soapy taste.