Until recently, I would have considered that an oxymoron. I grew up in a family that was really into coffee and its attendant paraphernalia. My parents were ahead of their time and owned a restaurant coffee maker. When I was a teen, they obtained a commercial espresso machine. Later came a coffee bean roaster. As an adult, I loved to return home and get those strong cups of rich, fragrant coffee. But since I was on a budget and not married to a coffee aficionado, there was no way I was going to own my own espresso machine. Nor did I want to, really. Besides being costly, they were space hogs and looked rather fussy to operate. We ended up with a Cuisinart drip maker, which was Amazon’s top-rated machine, but I always thought the coffee was pretty blah. And that’s pretty sad for a daily morning ritual.
It does not need to be!
In researching coffee-brewing methods for camping, I came across the Moka Pot. The Moka Pot was invented in Italy–where they know coffee!–back in the 1930’s and is a staple in many European homes. I don’t know how I missed hearing about this elegant little device for so long. If you are a thrifty or non-hassle person and yet love good coffee, this is your man.
Campers like it because it is small and light, consists of three basic parts, generates no paper waste, and is easy to clean. It does not require electricity or a separate vessel to boil water; all you need is a source of heat. But when I read all the raving reviews on its coffee quality I thought, “Forget camping; I need one for the house!”
Moka Pots come in several different sizes because each one only makes a certain amount of coffee. The thing to remember is that the cup sizes are demitasse; they are not big American cups. My “6-cup” pot makes the equivalent of one big, or two small cups. The coffee is pretty strong, however, fairly close to an espresso. You can water it down a bit and get maybe three cups of Americano coffee from the 6-cup pot.
The classic Moka Pot is made from aluminum, which does a nice job of retaining the coffee’s heat if you are roughing it. If you have an induction stovetop or prefer to avoid aluminum, they are also available in stainless steel.
I was so happy when I tried my first cup. Good coffee, within reach of a busy minimalist mom! This little pot works magic with even humble grounds. For what it’s worth, I think it makes better coffee than a french press, is a little faster, and a bit easier to clean.
The Moka Pot has iconic looks and is just fun to use. It has the charm and coziness of a percolator without cooking the coffee to death.