Anybody can make coffee with a coffeepot. It’s the reason Folgers is still around. Put in your filter, scoop, and press a button. It seems strange, but this is the absolute limit of how much some people can handle.
The moka pot is for those people. Maybe following a lot of directions just isn’t your thing, but you really like espresso. Alternately, maybe you’re cheap or you want espresso in a campsite. Well, then a moka pot is for you. They sell for $15-$20 at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s, and $2-$3 at your local thrift store.
Technically, a moka pot does NOT make espresso. Espresso is extracted with 9 bars of pressure, and a moka pot tops out around 1.5 bars. What it DOES make is shots of intense, strong coffee that’s perfect for a campsite or a rainy afternoon.
I bought this moka pot when I graduated from high school. I bought it with my graduation money and it was the first time I branched out from a drip brewer, and I never went back.
To make coffee with a moka pot, you’ll need the following:
A moka pot
1. Grind your coffee
You need fine ground, dark roasted coffee for this. Why? A couple reasons. The fine grind provides the right amount of surface area for maximum contact with the water, and is packable to aid in building enough pressure to properly extract. If your coffee is too coarse, it won’t pack and you won’t get enough pressure to get anything decent.
You need dark roast (preferably French or Vienna) because at those roasts, acid is as diminished as it can get. Since we’re using boiling water and steam to make this coffee, we need low acid coffee to keep it from tasting like vinegar.
2. Fill your reservoir
Believe it or not, your water quality really impacts your end result. ALWAYS use cold water in your coffee maker no matter WHAT you’re making. See that white stuff? That’s scale buildup from using well water and hot water.
Fill your reservoir to just below the little brass safety valve. Don’t fill over it because then boiling water will squirt out if the pressure gets too high, and then you’re gonna have a bad time.
3. Fill your basket
Now, fill your basket as full as it can get. Mine holds about 5 tablespoons of ground coffee.
4. Tamp tamp tamp
There is some debate over whether or not you should tamp your coffee in a moka pot basket. I do. I get a more uniform taste from it. You can tamp with anything round and flat. I use the end of my coffee scoop. You can just set it in the base and tamp away.
5. Assemble and brew.
Now comes the fun part. Screw the top onto the reservoir and set on the stove. Set your burner to high and wait. You can either shut the lid and wait, but I like to keep it open. I put a spoon over the inside spout to keep it from spattering, and then I know when it’s done boiling and I don’t warp the reservoir.
Enjoy straight, iced, or with a touch of cream. You can also be extra manly and add a double shot to a mug of French press to make a killer depth charge.