Making Espresso Coffee Without an Espresso Machine
Using a Moka Pot, or a Stovetop Espresso Machine you can simulate the effects a regular espresso machine. These small coffee brewing devices only cost about ten dollars so it is a good way to experience fine the best coffees in the world.
To use the stovetop Espresso maker unscrew the device at the middle and take out the coffee funnel. Then put enough water in to cover up the pressure valve on the side of the coffee pot.
Now put the funnel back in and place about two tablespoons of roasted and ground coffee into the pot and screw the top back on. Place the stovetop espresso maker on the stove on high heat and let it brew for three to five minutes when you should hear a slight whistling, sputtering sound. It should be ready for you to pour into your cup.
Note: These are different than percolators.
What is a Moka Pot?
Italian-based, the Moka pot is a stovetop Espresso maker that is steam-based and which can produce an intense coffee closely resembling that produced by a traditional Espresso Machine. The Moka Pot was invented by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933.
Some Espresso aficionados would tell you, of course, that the coffee produced by a Moka pot is not true espresso, since an Espresso Machine used water at very high pressure and temperature and forces it through a compressed bed of roasted and ground coffee to extract the fine flavors and aromas.
A Moka Pot or Stovetop Espresso Maker, in contrast, uses just the natural pressure created by the steam itself. This is a much less expensive way to produce a very high quality and well-extracted cup of intense Gourmet Coffee.
When purchasing a Moka Pot make sure to get one made from stainless steel. While this will cost a bit more, it is well worth the money and avoids having the peculiar bad taste in the coffee produced by the aluminum pot.
Making Espresso Coffee With No Espresso Machine continued:
Anatomy of a Moka Pot
A Moka pot has three chambers, and there are three different sizes typically available - two cups, four cups and six cups.
The bottom of the Moka Pot is where the fresh water is placed previous to the brewing of the coffee. This bottom chamber typically has a pressure valve.
Beginning With a New Moka Pot
If you have a brand new Stovetop Espresso Maker (Moka Pot) then before you brew you first good cup of coffee brew a batch first with some used grounds.
Place the coffee in the basket and fill up the Moka Pot to the pressure relief valve level. Let this first batch brew completely and then pour it down the sink. This will generally clean the machine out of any impurities and will also serve as a check that the pressure relief valve is working properly.
When you make Gourmet Coffee in your Stovetop espresso machine you have to take care to use the proper amount of water and also the proper compactness of the coffee and proper brewing temperature.
The grind should be coarser than you might use for an Espresso Machine, which is typically very fine. Basically you want the grind size to be just a bit larger than the filter holes on the coffee maker.
You will know if the grind size is to to small because there will be sediment in your coffee, although some aficionados prefer just a bit of sediment to give it that hearty quality.
Brewing with a Moka Pot
To brew coffee using a moka pot you will follow the following steps:
- Place water in the bottom section of the pot to the level of the valve.
- Fill the filter basket with ground coffee. Do not tamp it. As the water reaches the grounds they will expand effectively tamping your coffee for you.
- Put the unit together and place on a medium heat. Brewing should take approximately 5 minutes. If it takes longer use a slightly higher heat.
Tips on Brewing
Don't try to make less or more than the amount of coffee that your particular Moka Pot is designed for. If you try to use less grinds and water, or too much, it will create overly weak or overly bitter coffee.
Use a medium heat to brew your coffee. Perhaps just a bit hotter than medium, but not full heat. The way a Moka Pot works is that the water and air in the lower area expand and push hot water up a tube and through the ground coffee and then out the spout into the pot's top chamber.
You will know when all of the water has been pushed up through and the percolating is finished by a gurgling sound that will emit from the pot. At this time the coffee is ready to pour.
The brewing of the coffee in the Moka Pot should take about four and one-half minutes. If it takes much longer then raise the heat, and if it takes a shorter time then raise the heat slightly.
Keep the Stovetop Espresso Maker very clean, using detergent to clean it after each use, and vinegar every few weeks.