Food No Espresso Machine? A Moka Pot Will Get You Close

02:10  17 august  2022
02:10  17 august  2022 Source:   bonappetit.com

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For Adam Keita, co-owner of Daughter Cafe & Wine Bar, coffee made with a moka pot perfectly encapsulates the taste of New York City.

Engineer Alfonso Bialetti’s iconic moka pot was invented in Italy in 1933, and it migrated to Latin America and Australia with Italian immigrants in the mid-20th century. Moka pots, also known as grecas, are often the preferred brewing method for Dominican and Cuban-style coffee. (According to a Telemundo article about Dominican coffee, “If you don’t own a greca, you might as well consider yourself a disgrace to your people!”) Keita—who grew up in the Bronx, home to a sizable Dominican community—says the potent smell of strongly brewed coffee reminds him of his youth.

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While a moka pot can’t replace an expertly pulled shot of espresso, it’ll get you pretty close and is significantly easier. Keita explains that with a coffee grinder, a moka pot, and a heat source, you can make strong espresso-like coffee, sans the bulky and expensive machine. It might not produce the most nuanced and complex brew, but because it's simple, inexpensive, and hard to screw up, it's one of our favorite ways to make coffee at home.

How does a moka pot work?

A moka pot consists of a bottom chamber to hold the water, a filter basket for ground coffee, and an upper chamber where the finished coffee collects. The mechanics are fairly similar to a percolator. As the water in the bottom chamber reaches a boiling point and creates steam, the pressure forces water up through the filter basket, where it saturates the coffee grounds. As this process continues, the coffee collects in the upper chamber until, at last, the liquid has moved from the bottom to the top. It’s a little like magic—behold, the upper chamber is completely empty, but in a few short minutes, burble burble, it is filled with coffee.

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Who is a moka pot for?

If you prefer the type of bright, delicate brew you might get from a Chemex, a moka pot may not be your cup of…coffee. But if you favor strong, robust coffee, a moka pot can provide espresso-esque results quickly, cheaply, and with no fussy routine. “A moka pot is not about perfection,” says Keita. “It takes literally no electricity, just fire. It’s for people who need something really simplistic.”

Like a French press, the moka pot possesses a sort of analog charm, which also makes it ideal for camping, road trips, or temporary living situations. “When I think of a moka pot,” says Bon Appétit food director Chris Morocco, “I think of living abroad and having extremely no money. For $20 you got a complete coffee system that doesn’t need filters or special parts." Stash one at your in-laws’ house if you can’t stand their burnt drip coffee.

What is the best moka pot?

The Bialetti Moka Express is the undeniable classic. With its shiny silver body and ergonomic black handle (which infamously melts over an open flame should you position it off-center, forcing users to replace the handle), it’s an icon. You can find the Moka Express in sizes ranging from 1-cup (yielding a single-shot of espresso) to 18-cups, but the 6-cup model is a happy medium.

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  No Espresso Machine? A Moka Pot Will Get You Close © Provided by bon Appétit

Bialetti Moka Pot

$50.00, Amazon

Best for induction burners

The Moka Express is not induction compatible, but Bialetti has used the original model as a jumping off point for various iterations that are. This includes the Bialetti Venus—a stainless steel moka pot with a more streamlined design (an old-school women’s magazine might say pear-shaped instead of hourglass) that will work with your induction burner.

  No Espresso Machine? A Moka Pot Will Get You Close © Provided by bon Appétit

Bialetti Venus Induction-Capable Moka Pot

$55.00, Amazon

Most aesthetic

“The Stelton Collar stovetop espresso maker is for pure aesthetics,” Keita says. Its Teflon-coated stainless steel body is cylindrical in shape and attached to a perpendicular wooden handle. This one is also not induction compatible.

  No Espresso Machine? A Moka Pot Will Get You Close © Provided by bon Appétit

Stelton Collar Espresso Maker

$85.00, Amazon

Best for giving back

Not too dissimilar in shape from the Bialetti Moka Express, the Grosche Milano is available in a variety of sizes in colors like blue, black, and statement red. But what really sets this moka pot apart from all the rest is its giveback component. When you buy a Grosche product, you’re helping to fund the purchase and installation of biosand water filters (which help remove waterborne pathogens) in communities in India, Malawi, Pakistan, Philippines, South Sudan, and Uganda.

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  No Espresso Machine? A Moka Pot Will Get You Close © Provided by bon Appétit

GROSCHE Milano Stovetop Moka Pot

$26.00, Amazon

Best for camping

If you mostly use your moka pot when roughing it, GSI Outdoors offers a compact and highly transportable alternative that deserves a place in your camp kitchen. “It’s smaller than most moka pots and it comes with a cup to drink from,” Keita says. The GSI Outdoors MiniEspresso Set makes exactly one double shot of coffee (although it also comes in a 4-cup model), which it brews directly into a cup instead of a top chamber via a slim spout. Pop it on a camp stove and have a steaming cup of joe in seconds.

  No Espresso Machine? A Moka Pot Will Get You Close © Provided by bon Appétit

GSI Outdoors Mini Expresso Maker

$50.00, Seattle Coffee Gear

How to clean a moka pot (and yes, you really need to clean your moka pot)

If your coffee is coming out bitter and scuzzy, your moka pot might need a deep clean. “Think of the pan that you seared your chicken in yesterday,” Morocco says. “A little bit of oil became polymerized and stuck to the side of the pan. And maybe over time that builds up and it doesn't perform quite so well because the cooking surface is no longer as clean.” Something similar can happen to your moka pot. As you use it and let residual coffee oils or burnt coffee layer on, it can impact the flavor of your coffee and leave it tasting “funky,” as Morocco puts it.

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Moka pots typically aren’t dishwasher safe, and while a rinse and quick wipe-down is good post-use, it’ll likely take a bit more than just water to get your moka pot back in optimal shape. The secret, according to Keita, is Cafiza, a cleaning product widely used in the barista world. It’s meant for espresso machines, but Keita explains it really works more as an all-purpose cleaner for any coffee gear and even cookware. “It is the most reliable cleaner out there,” he explains, saying he also uses it to clean his pans. “It eliminates oils and basically cleans everything.”

When your well-loved moka pot gets a bit of buildup, simply drop it in a bucket of hot water with a teaspoon of Cafiza powder and let it soak for about two hours. There still might be some brown residue when you lift it out, but Keita explains it should wipe off with a sponge. He recommends giving your moka pot a dip every couple of weeks.

  No Espresso Machine? A Moka Pot Will Get You Close © Provided by bon Appétit

Urnex Cafiza Espresso Machine Cleaning Powder

$26.00, Amazon (2-pack)

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