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Discussions > Coffee > Q and A > Need Some Advice...  
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Zyk
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Nov 2013
Posts: 5
Location: Iowa
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Nov 20, 2013, 6:35pm
Subject: Need Some Advice On Moka Pots
 

Hello guys. I'm new to this site and in general new to the coffee world. My experience with coffee has been only with a drip system. Frankly, I think I need some new experience.
I have been doing research into moka pots and I think tis is the route I want to explore more than an aeropress or French press.
I was wondering if anyone had links, resources or personal experience in this area of coffee brewing. My main interest lies with Bialetti and Vev Vigano products. I'm trying to make a very educated purchase towards something that will be long lasting and enjoyable. With so many models of aluminum and stainless steel it is very confusing to what would be best for me since I've never operated one before. Any help would be appreciated.
David/Zyk
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,044
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 Thu Nov 21, 2013, 2:28am
Subject: Re: Need Some Advice On Moka Pots
 

Welcome to CoffeeGeek!

A moka pot is the traditional brewing method most Italians use to make their morning cappuccino or latte. However, what you should know is that, no matter what they tell you, you cannot prepare real espresso with it, because brewing temperature is too high (well above 212F) and brewing pressure is too low (just about 1.5 bar), therefore there's no actual crema. Because of the high temperature the coffee tends to have a slightly burnt taste, especially when using lighter roasts. Still, the resulting drinks can be quite enjoyable.

Here are a few tips for working with a moka pot:
  • Fill in hot water. This shortens the heat up time, and the coffee grounds won't be cooked as long as when you have to warm the whole pot with cold water.
  • Fill the filter basket to the rim and only press the grounds slightly with your finger. Do not use a tamper.
  • Only use medium heat on your cooktop in order to prevent burning the coffee grounds completely. A tradional electric stove or gas stove works better than a ceramic cooktop, because they deliver continuous heat instead of pulse heating.
  • Observe your moka pot and take it off the stove when the coffee starts to run in a steady flow. The residual heat will be enough to finish the brewing process. This prevents burning the coffee too much. Some people cool the pot with cold water at the end to stop extraction resulting in a bolder taste.
  • Prewarm your cups. That way the moka doesn't get cold so fast.
  • Darker roasts (like Italian or Torrefacto) tend to be less temperature sensitive than lighter roasts (city or full city). Moka is not for third wave coffee.

Whether you use an aluminium or stainless steele moka pot is a matter of personal preference. The traditional Bialettis are all made of aluminium. Personally, I don't have any health concerns with that.

 
***
"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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Zyk
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Nov 2013
Posts: 5
Location: Iowa
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Nov 21, 2013, 6:46am
Subject: Re: Need Some Advice On Moka Pots
 

I appreciate the input! I know it's not real espresso. I just can't afford one of those machines at the moment. LOL I think I've read so many reviews on those two companies and products that it just caused my head to spin.
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,044
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 Thu Nov 21, 2013, 8:48am
Subject: Re: Need Some Advice On Moka Pots
 

I used to have a Bialetti Moka Express which I passed on to my brother in law 12 years ago. It's about 25 years old now and stills works flawlessly.

 
***
"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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jpender
Senior Member
jpender
Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 701
Location: California
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: OE LIDO
Vac Pot: S/S Moka Pot
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Thu Nov 21, 2013, 11:21am
Subject: Re: Need Some Advice On Moka Pots
 

NobbyR Said:

... brewing temperature is too high (well above 212F)...

Posted November 21, 2013 link

That's not really true but Nobby likes to add that when there's a moka pot thread.

The Bialetti Moka Express is the classic as I'm sure you've figured out. I have a 25 year old stainless pot that I suspect was made by Vev Vigano. I think mine will easily last another 25 years and I suspect so will Nobby's Moka Express. Some say aluminum heats more evenly. Stainless has the advantage of being easier to keep clean.
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Zyk
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Nov 2013
Posts: 5
Location: Iowa
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Nov 21, 2013, 11:26am
Subject: Re: Need Some Advice On Moka Pots
 

They sound pretty reliable from what I've read. Just hard to chose one with my budget. Otherwise, I'd end up with two!
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jpender
Senior Member
jpender
Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 701
Location: California
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: OE LIDO
Vac Pot: S/S Moka Pot
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Thu Nov 21, 2013, 2:15pm
Subject: Re: Need Some Advice On Moka Pots
 

Moka Express (Al) 3 cup for $25, 6 cup for $26.
Bialetti Venus (SS) 4 cup for $35.
Vev Vigano Nero (SS) 3 cup for $42.

That doesn't seem that expensive when good roasted coffee costs around $20/lb. If you're willing to gamble a little you could try a Primula moka pot. Their 3 cup model sells for $12.
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canuckcoffeeguy
Senior Member
canuckcoffeeguy
Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 205
Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Magica, Mypressi...
Grinder: K10PB, Vario, Hario Slim
Vac Pot: I have a Dyson vacuum, but,...
Drip: Bialetti Brikka, Bodum...
Posted Thu Nov 21, 2013, 4:02pm
Subject: Re: Need Some Advice On Moka Pots
 

I have a 2 cup Bialetti Brikka. It has the patented spout that creates a fleeting crema, depending on the bean and grind one uses. It does seem to extract some of the oils through this process, but I have no way of quantifying this.

Overall, I really like it--since I prefer strong, concentrated coffee. I mostly drink straight espresso shots at Cafs and my Moka pot at home. And never drink milk based drinks.

I use my Hario Mini hand grinder with fresh beans, often espresso blends, and that works well. I find more traditional espresso blends tend to work better in a Moka pot, but I've also used third wave blends.

I can only speak for my Brikka, since I haven't used or owned any other Moka pot. But I've had it for a few years and never had a problem.

As has been mentioned already, there are techniques to make the process less harsh on the coffee -- by reducing the heating time and exposure to higher temp -- that results in a smoother cup.
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,044
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 Thu Nov 21, 2013, 11:55pm
Subject: Re: Need Some Advice On Moka Pots
 

jpender Said:

That's (i.e. brewing temperature above 212F) not really true but Nobby likes to add that when there's a moka pot thread.

Posted November 21, 2013 link

Why do you think that is false? The way I understand the way a moka pot works, water boils at 212F (100C), the steam builds up pressure inside the pot, which allows the water to get superheated, and finally pushes the water through the coffee grounds.

 
***
"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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jpender
Senior Member
jpender
Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 701
Location: California
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: OE LIDO
Vac Pot: S/S Moka Pot
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Fri Nov 22, 2013, 9:29am
Subject: Re: Need Some Advice On Moka Pots
 

NobbyR Said:

Why do you think that is false? The way I understand the way a moka pot works, water boils at 212F (100C), the steam builds up pressure inside the pot, which allows the water to get superheated, and finally pushes the water through the coffee grounds.

Posted November 21, 2013 link

The water doesn't have to boil to generate the pressure needed for it to flow through the grounds.

The pressure is the sum of the water vapor partial pressure and the entrapped air partial pressure. The former rises as the water is heated whereas the latter declines as the water chamber head space volume increases. As a result the brew temperature is not constant; it rises throughout the brew.

When starting with cold water the grounds may be initially infused at a relatively low temperature, say 50-60C, and will increase in temperature throughout the brew cycle. The increasing temperature is required primarily because of the continual loss of air partial pressure as the water is forced upward and secondarily because of physical changes in the grounds. The highest temperature reached depends on many factors including grind, tamping, heating rate, initial air volume to water ratio and initial water temperature.

While it is possible, easy even, to reach a temperature well in excess of 100C, it isn't necessary. And since the highest temperature comes at the end one method of dealing with this that is commonly employed is to halt the brew before this happens.

Here's my moka pot with an embedded thermometer. As you can see in this example the high temperature was 95C and the vast majority of the coffee brewed below 92C.
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