The Bialetti Moka and A Simple At-Home Espresso

Author: Andre Vippolis

Millions of Italians make their at-home espresso with a Bialetti Moka every day. It’s an easy way to prepare a solid tasting espresso with little fuss. By adding water and a splash of milk, cream, etc., you’ll also be able to turn that espresso into the coffee beverage of your choice. If you have a milk frother, you can even make yourself a cappuccino or latte without a fancy and expensive machine.

Here is how we do it at our house:

Step 1: Unscrew the Bialetti and set the top and bottom pieces down on the counter. Remove the grounds basket insert from the base. Fill the bottom piece of the Moka with spring or filtered, just until it reaches the very bottom of the interior pressure valve. Do not place water above the pressure valve.

Step 2:
Grab your freshly ground or pre-ground beans. We enjoy the Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso or a classic like Illy Espresso. If you are grinding your beans at home or in the market, you will want to use the course grind for espresso machine setting. Place ground coffee into the basket and lightly bang the Moka base down to spread the grounds in the basket. Place more grounds if needed but do not overflow the basket or tamper down with any pressure. The grounds need water to flow through them, and tampering down will create too much water flow blockage. Now, screw the base on tightly enough to make a seal so that water or air cannot escape.

Step 3:
Place the Moka on a burner that best complements the size of the base of the Moka. You will have to experiment with your stovetops’ strength at home to know the right temperature to put the burner on but, as a general rule, keep the flame about as wide as the base. Trying to speed up the brew time with a high flame will yield a bad espresso. The grounds will get burnt and taste bitter. The process to do this right will only take 10 minutes or so, so don’t be too impatient! Leave the top of the Moka open. Once the coffee begins to stream out of the spout keep an eye until it’s just at the top and close the lid. Let the Moka sputter for a moment or two, shut off your burner, and remove it from the heat. Place the Moka on a trivet or the like, flip the top open, and gently stir the coffee. Finally, pour 1-2 ounces in each cup depending on whether you like a single or double-shot espresso. If an espresso is all you’re after, then you are good to go!

Step 4 (Optional):
We go a step further and make an Americano with milk. To do so, heat a tea kettle with spring or filtered water while your Moka is doing its magic. Pour the hot water into a coffee cup with your espresso to your desired balance. Finally, add a dash of the milk of your choice.

Suggested ratio:
1-2oz of espresso
2-3oz hot water
Milk to taste

Figure out your balance and enjoy!