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THE MOKA POT MIGHT NOT BE A STANDARD FIXTURE IN US HOUSEHOLDS JUST YET. But head over to Italy, the spiritual home of coffee, and you’ll struggle to find a home without one.
So why are the Italians so fond of the humble moka? Probably because it’s such a clever bit of design. It's an easy, repeatable and fun way of making their favorite coffee, espresso. And if you can make espresso you've got the basis of many other favorites - cappuccino, latte, Americano, plus many more.
As with most things in life, there are plenty of cuttable corners. If you want to do it properly, this is our guide to making perfect moka every time.
Boring but essential - sorry. Get into the nooks and crannies to get out any lingering grounds from previous brews. Previously brewed grounds of coffee will all add to the taste and extract to some random extent. Simply put - it'll screw up the fresh taste of your next brew.
Ok, it might sound fussy, but boiling water won’t get rid of the taste of chlorine or whatever other chemicals your local officials are good enough to add to the system. So if you filter your tap water then do the same for brewing. In fact, filter it anyway - I bet you’ll notice the difference.
Grind it freshly if possible and grind it good and fine. You want it to be practically dust, so you'll probably want to use the finest setting on a grinder. If your brew comes out weak it's probably not ground finely enough.
Tap down the grounds lightly. We're not talking 'tamped', like you would with an espresso machine - just a gentle tapping - like 'patting a dog' level perhaps. Level off the top and wipe any excess grounds with your finger to get a good seal when you screw it all together.
You want the water at just below boiling point and filled up to the safety valve. Using hot water reduces the time it takes to get to the right pressure level for brewing. NOTE: Make sure you protect your pinkies and hold the brewer with a cloth or similar because it’ll be hot now.
Drop the basket into the base and screw on the lid (remember - it’s still hot so be careful).
Put the brewer on the stove on a medium setting and leave the lid open.
It’ll take a while on medium heat with the lid open, but the idea is to build pressure without creating excess heat which scorches the coffee. Your patience will be rewarded with more micro-bubbles and that elusive layer of crema on top.
Eventually, your liquid gold will emerge. It’ll come through steadily at first then start sputtering which shows there's excess air coming through and it's time to stop.
That air coming through makes the coffee less thick and creamy. To prevent that, run the base of the brewer under a cold tap to stop the brewing process in its tracks.
Rejoice. You have delicious coffee with crema.
There are quite a few things that will affect the quality of your final product. But if you follow this guide you won't go too far wrong. Remember to pay particular attention to:
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