Moka: The Closest Thing You'll Get to Espresso at Home for Under $50

Categories: Grind

Heather Hoch
Espresso lovers need to buy themselves a moka pot.
Not everyone is a cold brew addict. That's fine. Espresso certainly has its place in my heart, but it's not the most conducive to at-home coffee connoisseurs--right? Wrong. The moka pot came to me a few years ago when I thought drip coffee or French press were pretty much the only options for my morning cuppa. I don't count Keurig because -- no. If you're looking for the boldness of an espresso, without spending money on an expensive machine, it's time to take a look at a moka pot.

See also: How To Make Cold Brew Coffee

Heather Hoch
A moka pot disassembled.
This post goes out to my old roommate, Mattia. When we were living together, the Italian native brought home such delights as salami handmade by his grandmother, which single-handedly ended an eight-year stint of vegetarianism for me. He's also responsible for making coffee a daily habit for me by making it cheap and accessible, thanks to his moka and love of company on the porch while having a morning cigarette and cup of coffee. Italians....

Moka pots like Bialetti are great for folks who love the bitter intensity of espresso, but aren't quite ready to throw down thousands and thousands of dollars for a La Marzocco. Granted, the stovetop coffee pot won't give you the same quality and control as a pull off of a real espresso machine, but the relatively cheap moka is a pretty close alternative.

You can buy Bialetti mokas for around $40 from Crate and Barrel and Bed Bath and Beyond. You can also buy knock-off versions from Target for under $20, but, in my experience, those tend to be less functional and break in a matter of months.

Heather Hoch
A fine grind works best for a moka pot.
Mokas work in essentially the same manner as a pressure cooker. Hot water in the base of the pot is pressurized and pushed through the filter, which contains your coffee grounds of choice. The coffee then trickles out of the spout in the upper chamber, resulting in a strongly concentrated brew completely separate from the grounds. The whole process takes only a few minutes, making it ideal for busy mornings.

Heather Hoch
For instructional purposes only-- please leave the lid closed as your coffee brews.
While not technically espresso, moka coffee comes pretty close in both consistency and flavor. It's rich and definitely smacks you in the face with flavor. Espresso and dark roasts work well with moka pots, though you'll want to get a very fine grind on your bean for best brewing results.

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I pretty much wrote the exact same post in 2006. Where have you been hiding?

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