How to Brew Moka Espresso in the Bialetti
FIRST. Heat water in a kettle until just to the near-simmer, don’t let it boil.
NEXT. Grind some espresso coffee (my favorite for the Bialetti is Counter Culture’s Espresso La Forza, hell to the yes) coarsely, as you would for the French press, or a percolator pot. Fill the filter cup to the brim with grounds and level the top off so that the grounds are even with the inner edge and slightly mounded into the middle–DO NOT PACK. For convenience, you can open the lid to the top of the pot and rest the filter cup standing upright inside of it while you assemble everything else.
NOW. Pour the hot water into the water chamber of the Bialetti, filling it just to the center line of the steam valve, and not a millimeter higher! Don’t cover the steam valve, it’s really that important. Holding the water chamber with a pot holder (it’s hot, now), fit the filter cup of grounds inside the water chamber (it should drop into the chamber easily without floating or displacing water) and screw the top of the pot onto the bottom, making a tight seal. Lift the lid open and set the pot atop the stove over medium-low heat.
FINALLY. Slow and steady wins the race–the coffee needs to be extracted evenly and heating it slowly induces even percolation of water upwards through the grounds. Watch it closely. What you want to see is that the coffee siphons up through the spout in a slow and steady stream, not a violent explosion. When there is enough coffee to fill the pot by 5/8 – 3/4 of the way up the spout, take the pot off the heat and close the lid. In the meanwhile, heat some whole milk (about ½ to ¾ cup per ½ cup of coffee) in a small sauce pot until it is just warmer than body temperature, this is when milk gets sweet and delicious, for serious. Swill some hot water into a cup (atop a saucer!) to warm it up, pour the water out. Pour a half cup of coffee and then add a half cup or more of hot milk. Ta da! That’s it, really it is. Viva L’Italia!
Feature photo: Clementina Russo
Clementina was reared in a New York Italian, hippie-go-lucky vegetarian household in Houston, Texas. She is now a happy, flexi-omnivore. She has been a GMF contributor since 2012 and likes to share cooking, eating and idea-trading around a big communal table with other cooks, eaters and idea-traders. She’s lived all over this beautiful, expansive mind-state of America, building a family in all of its corners. She’s also a physicist, or something like that, and she is genuinely interested in most all things. Please do come say hello.