Food /
Food /
Flavors of Italy

Moka: How I Share It

“The smell of love in the air is quite incredible, but can you really compare it to the scent of coffee?”

Among the things I love most in the world, and I realize the list is long, the aroma of coffee that rises from the Moka stands, or rather floats, on ​​the podium. That smell from the kitchen, early in the morning.

The mocha-happiness connection was not so automatic or obvious. When I lived with my parents this perfume that infiltrated the bedroom meant that shortly thereafter, with affectionate motherly screams, I would have to catapult out of bed to go to school. 

But we grow, and we change. And today, the scent of coffee makes me happy, hearing it out on the landing of a house or catching it while I walk down the street passing under some window, always brings me back to that time as a little girl who lingered insolently in bed before going to school.

Preparing the coffee pot is an indispensable daily ritual made up of slow and careful gestures. Almost with my eyes closed, in the early morning with the light filtering through the windows, I commit myself to complete the first task of the day in the best possible way.

The scent of Moka is one of those ancestral scents which belongs to our culture. To our DNA. Like that of freshly baked bread or frying on Sunday mornings; in terms of culinary aromas we can proudly say aloud “Italians do It Better.”

I love coffee with Moka, and I love the social and sharing ritual that revolves around it.

Coffee is part of our being Italian. There is no invitation to someone else’s house that is not accompanied by the offer of a cup of coffee and the coffee pot is the object that, more than any other, defines the “home”. Waking up in the morning and drinking coffee, eating lunch and having coffee, drinking coffee after dinner to stay awake a little longer. The Italian character is marked by those simple brown beans… Inviting someone to drink a coffee is in short a gesture of love.

La Moka is one of us. A democratic object, a symbol of Made in Italy everywhere in the world, present in all homes since the 1930s, when it was invented by Alfonso Bialetti.

But do you know where the term Moka comes from? From Mokha, a city in the Yemen region, famous for the quality of its coffee plantations, especially the Arabica quality.

And the Bialetti family of Omegna thought of this city to give a name to their innovative hourglass-shaped coffee maker, different from the Neapolitan one that was widespread in Italy until that time.

It is curious to think that even in the case of the invention of the Moka we women were involuntary inspirers: behind a great man (and a great invention) there is often a great woman. And for the Bialetti Moka it is THE appropriate expression!

Alfonso Bialetti himself stated that he was inspired by his wife as he watched her do the laundry with a washing machine called a lisciveuse. It had a sort of boiler, inside which water, detergent and dirty clothes had to be put, and a tube, the upper end of which was perforated. Once the water reached temperature, it went up along the tube and then cooled down and flowed down again. This procedure was used to dissolve the detergent, which could better spread on the clothes.

Here Alfonso decided to apply this mechanism to his new idea of ​​a coffee maker, which therefore went against the force of gravity. He began to produce a few thousand copies.

The coffee tasted much better with this new extraction mechanism, and it looked a lot like that of the espresso in the Bar.

But it was only with the arrival of his son Renato (the little man with a black mustache stylized by the hand of cartoonist Paul Campani) that after the Second World War this new coffee maker began its industrial production period with a heavy focus on communication, advertising, and new marketing strategies that combined product quality with the image of the entrepreneur behind it.

Moka Bialetti conquered the whole world. It arrived in all homes and even in contemporary art museums.

The slogan that distinguished the mocha was “Eh yes yes yes … it seems easy to make a good coffee”.

And in fact, getting a good coffee, even better than that of the bar, not too watered down and not burnt is something we can all have with a few small tricks. 

First point: you have to put the right amount of water in the tank, water that must be cold (it is forbidden to use hot water to make the coffee come out sooner!), Light and not calcareous, so I would avoid using that from the tap. The valve that you see inside the tank is an important indicator: the water must barely touch it, do not completely cover it, not even halfway, just touch it.

The funnel-shaped filter must be inserted into the water tank and then filled with ground coffee. The coffee must never be pressed, the filter must be filled evenly up to the edge, without letting out any dust that would ruin the seal.

I continue to choose 100% slow roasted arabicas. Why do I choose Arabica and not Robusta? Above all because Arabica contains less caffeine and, coming from plantations grown at higher altitudes than Robusta crops, the resulting coffee has greater aroma and acidity.

But there is nothing to prevent you from making coffee with part Robusta, creating a more full-bodied flavor. It goes according to taste.

What is certain is that to have a good coffee with Moka, the quality of the raw material (as in everything) is FUNDAMENTAL. So, good water and top quality ground coffee. Even better if you buy coffee beans from roasters and grind them, not too finely, at home with the bean grinder.

Once the coffee maker is closed, ensuring that the gasket and filter are well in place, place it on the fire, which must be low and sweet. Wait for the water to start boiling and for the coffee to slowly start coming out.

Leave the lid open all the time so that no condensation occurs. At the first gurgles close it again and put out the fire. With patience the coffee will finish coming out. You will have to mix it well and then serve in the cups.

Does the coffee pot need to be washed? Of course yes! Don’t believe those who tell you that the dirtier it is, the tastier and tastier the coffee will be. The coffee maker should be washed with hot water, without detergents and left to air dry.

Now I can officially declare “televoting” open: are you part of team espresso coffee at the bar counter, or that of coffee in capsules, or are you part of the Moka team like me?