Wednesday, February 3, 2010

the mystery of the moka.

Okay, so as usual, blogger is working against me and posted these photos in the reverse order I wanted, but I'll explain them anyway. This is an Italian moka, or their version of a coffee pot.

This is the final product. In the top of the moka, you will have coffee if you have done everything right.

The filter separates from the bottom piece. You fill the bottom part to the line with water, and then fill the filter about halfway with coffee grounds (adjusting based on how strong you want it to be. We use normal coffee, but some people apparently use espresso. Whoa.)

Like I said, add the grounds.

Then you screw the pieces together (tightly), making sure that no grounds got into the seal. It has to be airtight, or apparently water will explode out of it. We haven't experienced this yet, shockingly, but I'm sure we will before the end of our time here. Then you place the whole moka on the stove, add heat, and wait until you can hear water boiling. When the water stops, you remove from the heat (with oven mitts) and let it sit for a minute. Then you have your finished product (see top picture).

I decided that today would be a good day for the kind of entry that allows you a small glimpse into Italian life, instead of just summarizing my activities here. The pictures above are what Italians use for making their coffee every morning. The contraption works in mysterious ways that I don't care to question, so long as it makes my coffee in the morning. All I know is that if you add water, grounds, and heat, it makes you one hell of a cup of coffee. I intend to buy one before I leave to introduce all of my American friends (Shannon, in particular) to the joys of coffee made on the stove.

Gillian and I also shopped at the market today, where I bought romaine, a tomato, some dried fruit, and my very first bag of fresh mozzarella, intending to make a salad sometime this week. My roommates and I have also taken to eating dinner together pretty often; it started with our failed attempt at spaghetti earlier this week and improved greatly with Marissa's lesson in lentil soup. Last night, Gillian fixed me my very first brussel sprouts EVER and we all contributed to make simple pasta that ended up turning my stomach...we accidentally used tomato puree instead of tomato sauce. Oops. It was so acidic it gave me a stomachache. Fortunately, Gillian and Sam rescued me with combination of antacids and rice cakes.

Tonight is my first cooking class, so let's hope that our trials and errors in our home kitchen make me a more successful chef in my class.


  1. you are becoming such the coffee gourmet. Does it actually "fit" on the gas burner of the stove. What did you think of the brussel sprouts :-o?

  2. They don't fit together directly, no. You can get mokas in all sizes, so they just rest on the burner like a pot would.

    I LOVED the brussel sprouts! Gillian made them with garlic and balsamic vinegar. Delicious.

  3. Coffee connoisseur indeed! Mokas are great, but you really must try it with espresso (illy!). It makes a great caffè latte if you have a way to steam/heat milk :) And if you fill the filter all the way up so that the coffee piles into a little mound, the coffee becomes a bit more compressed and comes up creamier... you'll definitely know when its ready because of the aroma! I'm so glad you've gotten to experience Moka coffee though... you'll have to convert all the Starbucks-goers in the US ;)

    x Jess

    P.S. - You might already know this about the moka, but you shouldn't ever wash it with soap. Its like a cast-iron grill pan, it seasons with every use. :D

  4. I'm excited. That thing looks really complicated though. Make sure you keep all of those recipes. :] I miss you!

  5. i miss you baby. it sounds like you're going to have all sorts of cooking to teach when you come home.