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Discussions > Coffee > Machines > The Moka...  
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shopley
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Jun 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Canada
Expertise: Pro Barista

Espresso: Nuova Simonelli Aurelia (at...
Posted Fri Jun 21, 2013, 2:24am
Subject: The Moka stove-top "espresso" machine
 

Hi all! This is my first ever post on this site so I'll give a little background info before getting started.

I've been working as a Barista at Rocket Bakery and Fresh Food in Newfoundland Canada for about a year and a half, and have developed a passion for all manner of coffees and brewing styles. I currently own a Friehling (sp?) French Press as well as a Clever Dripper pourover for home use.

I'm currently on vacation in venice and have been introduced to the moka stovetop machine. At first I thought it was quite the ungainly device, and I still do, however it has a certain something about it, and I am determined to own one myself.

I will be using it on a glasstop stove.

So my questions are whether to buy locally, or maybe order one on the internet, as well as whether to go for the aluminum or the stainless steel variants.

Also are there any key designs to avoid or go for, and any particular brands to avoid or otherwise?

I know i'm asking a lot, but any help is much appreciated, and if I have violated any forum rules I apologize, I'm rather pressed for time and only glanced through them.

Thanks a lot
-Sam
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Netphilosopher
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Joined: 14 Jan 2011
Posts: 1,602
Location: USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Jun 21, 2013, 3:16am
Subject: .
 

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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,056
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Fri Jun 21, 2013, 3:19am
Subject: Re: The Moka stove-top "espresso" machine
 

Welcome to CoffeeGeek!

A moka pot (or vac pot) is the traditional device Italians use to brew their morning latte by passing hot water pressurized by steam through ground coffee. The resulting coffee doesn't qualify as espresso by definition, because brewing pressure is too low (only about 1.5 bar) and water temperature is too high (well above 100C or 212F).

The classic vac pot is the "Moka Express", develloped by Luigi De Ponti for Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 with its iconic octagonal design , which has been manufactured by Bialetti Industries ever since and is made of aluminium. They're available in different sizes, ranging from one to twelve espresso cups, and can be used on all kinds of stoves from flame to electric with the exception of induction stoves. However, there are also stainless steel models as well as electric self-heating pots. You might want to take a look at their homepage: click here. Other manufacturers like Alessi, for example, have also copied or modified the original Bialetti design.

There is some is disagreement among toxicologists to what extent the traditional aluminum pots can leave a residue in the drink, which would be unhealthy and can also affect taste. Poor treatment of the aluminum surface can actually lead to such residues, as scratches and abrasive detergents might affect the soft metal. It is questionable, however, if such residues significantly increase the daily intake of aluminum. The strong alkaline solution used by dishwashers can turn aluminum black. Traditionally, the pot and its parts are rinsed with water without additives, so it develops a typical patina.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,156
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Fri Jun 21, 2013, 5:06am
Subject: Re: The Moka stove-top "espresso" machine
 

I have owned many different makes of moka pots. I like the Bialetti pots for one simple reason, replacement gaskets are simple to find. I prefer aluminum for taste and speedier but SS holds up for travel and camping exceptionally well. Over the past 20 years of using moka pots I think a gas burner gives the most control over a brew but any sorce of heat will get the job done. On electric stove tops I suggest pulling the pot from the heat once the gurgle of the brew begins and let the residue heat finish the brew.

As far as moka pots brewing at boiling point, which is not always 212f depending on the elevation you happen to be at, is false based on my thermal couple measurements of brew temp. Sorry just a pet peeve of mine. Measurements I have done show the water contacting the coffee is below 205f.
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CMIN
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Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,450
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Fri Jun 21, 2013, 7:01am
Subject: Re: The Moka stove-top "espresso" machine
 

Yeh I don't know why everyone thinks Moka makes scorched/burnt coffee at over 212f (no offense meant Nobby). That's not what I've seen from Moka, usually the temps are barely higher then an espresso machine (I keep mine at 201) when it actually hits the coffee. Maybe if you fired it up like a blow torch on a gas stove lol, I think some leave the Moka to long on electric or gas even after gurgling and that's why their getting burnt taste. And yeh on electric I pull it off right when you start hearing the gurgle. Moka can make great coffee. If your gonna buy a Moka Shoppley, remember the various cup sizes. They have to be filled correctly to their specs, i.e. don't buy a 6 or 8 cup Moka and then only fill it equal to 2 cups (Moka cup size are 2oz each). Plenty of people post on here of trouble using Moka and it's almost always b/c their not using the right amount of grounds and grind type.
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shopley
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Jun 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Canada
Expertise: Pro Barista

Espresso: Nuova Simonelli Aurelia (at...
Posted Fri Jun 21, 2013, 7:34am
Subject: Re: The Moka stove-top "espresso" machine
 

Thank you all for the very helpful suggestions!

The local barista here that I was talking to said that I would need a gas stove for their Mokas, and I thought that to be very strange.

After all that great feedback, I believe I understand that I can get a regular Moka to use on my glass top stove burners, and with a bit of tlc come up with a nice cup of almost espresso.

However I need to decide on a particular size, and I believe the 2 cup should be appropriate.

Also I was recommended Aluminum by the Baristas here, and that seems to be the best option according to this feedback, as long as I take very good care of it, which I shall.

One last question, there seems to be a choice between a silicone or rubber gasket, and that's a decision that's out of my league. Is there a large difference between the two?

PS:Thanks to NobbyR for the link to the Bialetti site, and for everyone else being so helpful and prompt

PSS: Please let me know if any of the conclusions I have drawn from this are false or off.
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CoffeeRoastersClub
Senior Member
CoffeeRoastersClub
Joined: 6 Jul 2005
Posts: 4,564
Location: Connecticut
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vintage La Pavoni Lever...
Grinder: Breville Smartgrind,...
Vac Pot: Vintage Silex, Nicro...
Drip: Technivorm Moccamaster...
Roaster: javaPRO-CRC AIR Fluid Bed...
Posted Fri Jun 21, 2013, 8:13am
Subject: Re: The Moka stove-top "espresso" machine
 

shopley Said:

Hi all! This is my first ever post on this site so I'll give a little background info before getting started.

Also are there any key designs to avoid or go for, and any particular brands to avoid or otherwise?

I know i'm asking a lot, but any help is much appreciated, and if I have violated any forum rules I apologize, I'm rather pressed for time and only glanced through them.

Thanks a lot
-Sam

Posted June 21, 2013 link

I suggest getting a Bialetti Brikka Moka Pot.  I have the 4 cup model.  Renowned make, proven design, pressure relief value that works if overpressured.  Make sure its the "Brikka" model as that model if you want the best espresso-like results.  Avoid the cheap aluminum china made junk, likely will explode in your face if ever an overpressure issue as they skimp on the chamber wall thickness, upper/lower chamber thread designs are weak, etc.

Len

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

Bitcoin Merchant www.CoffeeRoastersClub.com     www.javaPRO-CRC.com
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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,156
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Fri Jun 21, 2013, 8:39am
Subject: Re: The Moka stove-top "espresso" machine
 

Glad Len brought up the Brikka, I love mine and it sees the most use. The widget that sits on the spout allows for the correct pressure while in a normal moka pot the coffee dose and grind need to be proper for the best results. This means the Brikka is more versatile for dose and grind.

Keeping the aluminum pots in top condition is simple, rinse and dry with a towel, that's it. I have seen it posted a ton to never use soap and water but nobody ever says why. Sometimes I have to use soap and water to clean the pot if let sit dirty for to long, always back to normal on the second use.  SS pots stay looking brand new, except for the one I put on camp fires.
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jpender
Senior Member
jpender
Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 719
Location: California
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: OE LIDO
Vac Pot: S/S Moka Pot
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Fri Jun 21, 2013, 9:01am
Subject: Re: The Moka stove-top "espresso" machine
 

If you have the option I suggest getting the silicone gasket. They're more durable and easier to clean. They're not as easy to find though.
Glasstop electric should be okay, just harder to control as well as a flame. But glasstop induction does not work with the vast majority of moka pots.

If you want a moka expert contact the king, Lucio Del Piccolo, owner of about 500 moka pots.
I believe he is located in Trieste, not too far from you.


Nobby, where have you heard a moka pot described as a "vac pot"? The latter term is usually used for glass vacuum pots, aka syphon pots, completely different animals.

Also, the notion that moka always brews above 100C is a common myth. Here is an example demonstrating otherwise, where the temperature of the brew water ranged from about 65C at first infusion to about 95C at the end
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CoffeeRoastersClub
Senior Member
CoffeeRoastersClub
Joined: 6 Jul 2005
Posts: 4,564
Location: Connecticut
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vintage La Pavoni Lever...
Grinder: Breville Smartgrind,...
Vac Pot: Vintage Silex, Nicro...
Drip: Technivorm Moccamaster...
Roaster: javaPRO-CRC AIR Fluid Bed...
Posted Fri Jun 21, 2013, 9:30am
Subject: Re: The Moka stove-top "espresso" machine
 

CMIN Said:

Yeh I don't know why everyone thinks Moka makes scorched/burnt coffee at over 212f (no offense meant Nobby). That's not what I've seen from Moka, usually the temps are barely higher then an espresso machine (I keep mine at 201) when it actually hits the coffee. Maybe if you fired it up like a blow torch on a gas stove lol, I think some leave the Moka to long on electric or gas even after gurgling and that's why their getting burnt taste. And yeh on electric I pull it off right when you start hearing the gurgle. Moka can make great coffee. If your gonna buy a Moka Shoppley, remember the various cup sizes. They have to be filled correctly to their specs, i.e. don't buy a 6 or 8 cup Moka and then only fill it equal to 2 cups (Moka cup size are 2oz each). Plenty of people post on here of trouble using Moka and it's almost always b/c their not using the right amount of grounds and grind type.

Posted June 21, 2013 link

I have had a couple occurances of essentially "overheated" moka from my Britta.  What happened was that I ground too fine and tampered it down a bit (which I do not do any longer).  This caused the brew to come out real slow (once the top popped), and the resulting brew in the top chamber was negatively influenced by the high heat from the now very hot water and steam in the bottom chamber, causing the sugars in the brew to caramelize and burn.  (As an aside the pressure vent opened too.)  Maybe this is what happened to other peoples moka pots causing some to say that the result was scorched or burned.  I would say yes that can happen with Moka pots, however it is due to error in using the pot and not the norm.

Len

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

Bitcoin Merchant www.CoffeeRoastersClub.com     www.javaPRO-CRC.com
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