An Intro to Stovetop Espresso Makers (The Moka Pot)

Background

A Stovetop Espresso Maker is commonly known as a “moka pot”. I’m sure I will switch back and forth between using the name “moka pot” and “stovetop espresso maker” but I will try to be consistent. The moka pot was designed by Luigi De Ponti for Alfonso Bialetti. The original model of the moka pot, the “Moka Express”, is still produced today by the Bialetti Company.

A moka pot can be found in almost every Italian home – known as la Moka or la macchinetta. While originating in Italy, mokas are extremely common throughout Europe. Bialetti revolutionized the way people enjoyed high-quality espresso.

Only the wealthy were able to brew high-quality coffees at home due to the need for expensive machines. The Moka Express provided an affordable and user-friendly way for many more people to enjoy great-tasting espresso coffee at home.

The Moka Pot

Moka Pot

Almost all stovetop espresso makers have the same basic design. They are made of three parts: A bottom chamber filled with water up to the safety valve (A), a middle basket that contains the espresso grounds (B), and a top chamber where the percolated espresso is made (C).

The middle basket rests inside the bottom chamber and then the bottom chamber is screwed into the bottom of the top chamber with a gasket in between them. Below are a few pictures of each part.

The bottom chamber:

The middle basket:

The top collection chamber:

Caring for Your Stovetop Espresso Maker

Of course you will want to make sure your stovetop espresso maker is clean and lasts as long as possible. After each use, your stovetop espresso maker will have a residue left all over the inside of the pot. This residue is actually a good thing and comes from the oils in the coffee beans. The oils will protect the coffee from tasting metallic, due to the aluminum the stovetop espresso maker is made of.

You never want to use to use soap or dish detergent to clean your espresso maker. Any type of cleaner can leave behind its own residue and will strip away the protective layer that will form within your moka pot. Only use very hot water and a dish rag to clean the components.

One other note, when cleaning out the used espresso grounds, never bang the basket on any surfaces. The basket will dent easily and brewing issues will occur. I have always dumped most of the grounds in the garbage and rinsed the rest away in the sink with water.

All stovetop espresso makers will have some maintenance that comes with them. After a few years of use, the gasket that sits up in the top chamber may need to be replaced. If you notice decreased performance, the gasket is the most common problem. Check and make sure the safety valve in the bottom chamber is not clogged. Otherwise, you should be making stove top espresso with your moka pot for many years.

1 comment to An Intro to Stovetop Espresso Makers (The Moka Pot)

  • Diane

    I believe that avoiding prepared foods will be the first step for you to lose weight. They may taste great, but ready-made foods currently have very little nutritional value, making you feed on more in order to have enough vigor to get through the day. If you’re constantly ingesting these foods, changing to whole grains and other complex carbohydrates will help you have more power while taking in less. Great blog post.

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