Enquiring minds who are unfamiliar with what a “moka express” pot is have an opportunity to deduce its function. Add a vowel to “express” and you will have the beverage for which the pot is designed.
That’s right! A moka express is for making “expresso” at home. This simple appliance was invented in Italy in 1933 and Signore Bialetti’s company is still making them. Their basic six cup model is about $25.
One of my earliest posts was about brewing coffee. The short version is that I have four different types of coffee brewers. My favorite is the moka express pot because (a) it is so simple and (b) you can’t beat its value for the strength of coffee it delivers.
Most coffee makers simply combine water and coffee by some method. Caffeine extraction is minimal.
What gives espresso its strength is that the caffeine is extracted under pressure. This pressure is measured in “BARs.” Expresso requires a machine which can achieve at least nine bars of pressure. That is 130 pounds of pressure per square inch. But commercial espresso is made with machines capable of 30 BARs and up.
Now a moka express pot cannot deliver anywhere near that much pressure. Maybe 1.5 BARs, so the coffee it produces technically is not espresso.
But I abide by this expression: in the land of the blind, the one-eyed myopic with severe astigmatism is King. Even with only 1.5 BARs of pressure, you will easily be able to identify a cup of coffee brewed with a Moka pot from coffee brewed from a “drip” machine. (Note: I use either $6 a pound coffee or at least an “espresso” grind such as Cafe Bustelo, which is in grocery stores.)
I don’t recall how old my previous Moka pot was. I’m thinking six years because I first noticed it during a trip to Spain. Other than the seal going bad, there’s not much to go wrong.
In my case, the seal was good but the bottom began developing some sort of white crude that I became tired of scraping off. (I wasn’t washing the pot shortly after use and sometimes not for a week.) So now I have a “replacement” top , interior, and seal if my new pot develops problems with any of those.
The good news is that you don’t have to pay even $30 for a Moka pot if you buy a “generic” model. I bought my new one at the grocery store for less than $15.
So if you want to upgrade your coffee flavor, get a Moka pot. You’ll be glad you did!