Moka pot, the mysterious object


Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by Laura Teso

What is a Moka pot? The Moka is a coffee-maker designed by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933. It is produced in different sizes, which can make from 1 to 18 cups of coffee. Before then people used other types of coffee-makers, slower and less simple to use, such as the Neapolitan coffee-maker (still used in the Naples area).

Last summer I was in France, in Bretagne. At the B&B where we stayed (near Tréguier) the lady of the house told us of this family, who had been there the previous week, who had this strange thing to make coffee. The same thing happened to us at a later B&B (near Locronan) a few days later. There was another Italian couple, who, unable to resist a two-week trip without coffee, had brought from home a Moka. The owner of the B&B was extraordinarily fascinated and amused by it. In fact he told us that he had never seen such a thing before. For me it was a surprise, I had never thought that the Moka pot was almost unknown outside Italy, or at least in Bretagne ;).

How to use the Moka pot

  1. First you have to fill the boiler with water almost up the level of the safety valve.
  2. Then put the funnel shaped filter.
  3. In the filter you put the coffee powder, which should not be pressed excessively.
  4. Finally you have to tighten the top part.
  5. At this point you can place the Moka on a heat source (not too high). The steam reaches a pressure sufficient to force the water up the funnel through the coffee powder and into the upper part, where the coffee is deposited.
  6. When the coffee begins to rise, the Moka emits a characteristic sound like a gurgle. This particular sound is one of the most beloved by Italians because it reminds them of the cosiness of their home.
  7. You have to wait a few moments for the coffee to go up and then you can turn off the heat.
  8. Pour the coffee and enjoy!

What does Moka mean?
The origin of the name is connected to the city of Mokha in Yemen. This is in fact one of the first and most popular areas of production of coffee.
Voltaire in his “Candide” tells of a journey of the protagonist to the Ottoman Empire. At some point Candide is offered a drink prepared “with coffee of Mokha”.

If you love coffe you can also read my post about Italian kinds of coffee.