Have you ever gone to your favorite café and watched in awe as the barista expertly makes a rich and flavorful espresso?  Well, if you’re as addicted to Italian coffee as we are, you dream of that aroma even when you’re sitting at home. That’s why an Italian moka is something we can’t live without. A stovetop moka is a coffee pot that is cheap, versatile and lets you make coffee similar to professional espresso at home without buying a complicated and expensive machine.


Espresso from a machine |  (Credit: Mark)

Espresso from a machine | (Credit: Mark)


Walk into any Italian home and you’ll find a moka coffee pot in the kitchen.  A moka pot has a lower water reservoir capped by a funnel, with an upper chamber for the brewed coffee. The aluminum body of the moka is a good heat conductor and allows the water in the reservoir to boil. The pressure of the steam then pushes the water up through the filter into the ground coffee producing a rich, dark espresso.


A Bialetti Moka Coffee Pot

A Bialetti Moka Coffee Pot


The first step in making the perfect coffee is buying a good moka, such as a Bialetti or an Alessi. Once you have your moka there are  just a few steps left to enjoying a great espresso experience at home. Any Italian would be happy to give you some basic advice to turn that experience into the perfect Italian moment, so here are our tips.


1. Quality taste comes from quality ingredients

Lavazza's gold standard coffeee

Lavazza’s gold standard coffeee

  • A moka might seem like magic, but it doesn’t have the ability to transform a bad roast into good coffee. Put some of the money you’re saving by making espresso at home into buying quality ground coffee. The options are endless and depend on your personal taste. If you don’t know what you like, then experiment with different roasts until you find the perfect blend.


2. Don’t try to be bigger than you are

Coffee placed in the Moka's filter

Coffee placed in the Moka’s filter

  • Fill the coffee filter without pressing down on the coffee. Tampering the coffee might work for a large machine in a café, but since the moka uses a lot less pressure, coffee that is too compact will obstruct the flow of water.
  • Fill the reservoir with water only as far as the relief valve. Extra water soaks the ground coffee and makes it weak.


3. Don’t rush things!


Coffee fills the top portion of the Moka | (Credit: Chan)

  • Use cool or room-temperature water in the reservoir.
  • Place the moka on a low flame.
  • You might want to try a sip from your new moka right away, but remember to throw away the first few coffees you make. Some residue needs to build up in the pot to prevent an overly metallic flavor.


4. Take care of your moka

The rubber seal around the moka's filter

The rubber seal around the moka’s filter

  • Over time the rubber seal around the filter becomes brittle and starts to break down. Be sure to replace it.
  • A moka might be made from metal, but it’s more delicate than it looks.  Never put it in the dishwasher, scrub it or use soap to clean it.

5. Enjoy your coffee!

A cup of Italian coffee made at home

A cup of Italian coffee made at home

  • Whether you’re reading the newspaper, talking with friends or taking a break from work, each sip of Italian coffee is meant to be savored.