Bialetti Moka Express

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Moka Pots Coffee

Have you heard of Bialetti and the Moka pot coffees? Let’s start with an introduction first so that you understand who and what were are talking about. Talking without references or history will not enable you to understand the product.

The Story Behind It

Bialetti is a company based in Italy that specialized in making Moka pots that are used to make the now-famous mocha coffee. It was founded by a guy named Alfonso Bialetti in the early 1900s and was initially dedicated to manufacturing aluminum products from his workshop with the skills he learned working in the aluminum industry.

Later on, he transformed the workshop into a design studio, and by 1933, he had founded the Bialetti brand and was making specialized in making Moka pots. That’s a little bit of Bialetti trivia for you.

Moka pot is a small and generally aluminum canister. It works on the concept of passing steam through coffee powder at a higher pressure and extracting the coffee.

The Moka pot is usually used on a stove or an electric gas unit. The credits for the Mocca coffee and Moka pot invention goes to Alfonso Bialetti. Due to its easy mechanism, low cost, quick coffee delivery, ease of use, and cleaning, it soon became a rage in the 1930s, and the trend has not stopped since. To date, you will find a Moka pot in most Italian households. Also, this goes on to say how mainstream the product has become.

Introduction to Bialetti Moka Express

Here we present to you the Bialetti Moka Express, one of the best products to make an espresso for yourself. For espresso lovers, time and effort are a major constraint. Also, a whole lot of them are not very keen on spending a lot of time selecting the beans, roasting them, grinding them right, and then processing them right to make that perfect cup of espresso.

Also, a lot of them cannot afford an espresso maker. Besides that, regularly having espresso in café’s can blow up your weekly budget too. The problem with espresso machines is the fact that there is just too much variety and choice for the end-user. This can be overwhelming for a lot of people. And then comes the learning curve. This is where you have to spend hours learning the ropes and then some more to practice to get the favor that you like. We agree, it’s just too much effort involved unless it’s a hobby for you.

bialetti moka express
Photo from Amazon

Why Moka Pots?

Moka pots are a wonderful alternative. Why? Well because they are super simple, tiny, super cheap, super quick, need the least maintenance, and time-tested for almost a century now. How’s that for a product review? Probably those rare occasions of a product review where the scale is completely tipped in its favor, and even we!

The Bialetti Moka Express comes with shiny steel, an almost mirror-like finish. And also, sports the classic octagonal shape and design that makes it so Bialetti. It comes in a variety of sizes. So you can use 1 cup, or if you have a family, you can use 3 or even 6 cup capacity Moka pots. It works best on a stovetop, and that’s how you should use it too. Before we review the product, let’s gets some facts straight.

Is the Coffee From Bialetti Moka Express a Real Espresso?

You can call the coffee produced by the Moka pot semi-espresso. However, the difference lies in how the unit is designed and works. True espresso is made in a larger machine where a lot of pressure is exerted on an equally sized tamper to extract the coffee.

Also, the coffee ground is firmly pressed into the tamper, and hot water is passed at very high pressure. The combined effect of this will result in a concentrated amount of coffee extract by using a small amount of water. As you would have understood, the taste, flavor, and aroma are rich. If you have an espresso machine at home, you will find the aroma spreading across the house just because it’s so concentrated.

In the Moka pot, the lower chamber creates steam from boiling water. That steam, in turn, creates the required pressure. If you have noticed, the lower chamber is designed in such a way to channelize all the pressure upwards. Now for such a small pot, the maximum pressure that gets created is just 1.5 bars, compared to 9 bars for an espresso machine.

The basic principle is the higher the pressure, the richer the extract. You can now understand that the coffee made in the Moka pot will be much milder and tastes diluted compared to the one from the espresso machine.

Of course, it will be unfair to compare the two, but since they work on making the same type of coffee, we need to understand why Moka coffee is milder.

Therefore, the Moka pot will never be able to create the signature espresso flavor and consistency just because of the lack of pressure.

bialetti moka express
Photo from Amazon

Is the Heat Source Important? 

Moka pots were designed at a time when there were only gas stoves around. Also, according to Bialetti himself, the distinct 8-sided octagonal shape has been specifically engineered for it to be able to diffuse (gas) heat properly, which will enhance the aroma of the coffee.

So most of the Moka pots available are usually stovetop ones, and if you have an electric induction-based top, you should shop for one which is specifically compatible with the induction-based ones. However, the design and look will mostly be the same as the traditional ones.

Do You Need a Grinder?

It is best recommended to invest in a burr grinder to be able to make full use of this setup. You can surely buy the ground coffee beans, but their level of grind will sometimes leave a lot to be desired, or you may want to invest in some fancy coffee grinding research of your own.

Either way, a burr grinder will be the best investment, as the Moka pots require a relatively fine ground coffee. Granulated powers will not work, and the pot won’t be able to take out the full flavor.

Ease of Use – Extremely Simple and Intuitive

An extremely easy-to-use product, you will be enjoying the coffee in no time. Let us explain how to use the product and how it produces the coffee. You just need to follow these steps outlined below to get that perfect Moka pot espresso.

bialetti moka express
Photo from Amazon

Step by Step

  1. The Moka pot is made up of the upper and lower chambers separated by a filter basket unit. Pour water into the lower chamber. You will notice a small safety valve on the lower chamber. Take care to always keep the water level below this valve.
  2. Add the ground coffee to the filter basket and lightly tap it into place, also ensuring there is none left on the rim. You don’t have to tamp the ground coffee as the entire unit works at very low pressure. If you tamp the coffee ground, the unit may not work as desired. Screw the filter to the top unit of the pot.
  3. Place the pot on a gas stove and keep it on medium flame. Wait a few minutes. As the water in the lower chamber heats up, it will expand due to the steam created. Like in a steam engine, it will exert pressure on all the sides of the lower chamber, including the filter. Slowly the steam will pass through the ground coffee, making it hot and filling it up with moisture. Further, more steam is fed into the filter, and more moisture is created.
  4. The double-effect of extreme pressure in the lower chamber and the steam escaping into the coffee ground will lead to the condensed water rising into the upper chamber through the small nozzle. As the hot water goes through the coffee, it will heat the beans, which releases the taste along with the coffee extract.
  5. Open the lid a few times to keep a check on what’s happening. The extract accumulates in the top chamber. In a few minutes, all water in the lower chamber converts into steam and is pushed out into the top chamber. You can now shut off the gas and pour the extract.

Special Tips for Making Espresso in a Moka Pot

  • If you leave the gas stove on simmer, the process will be slow and steady. The resulting extract will be strong and bitter
  • If you leave the stove on medium or high, the process will be fast. The resulting extract will feel diluted, mild, and will have a non-bitter taste
  • Three controllable factors affect the taste of this coffee. The amount of water, the coffee ground size, and the amount of heat will finally decide the taste of the coffee. You can very well experiment with these factors to understand what works best for you.

Brewing Capacity – Quite a Few Options Available

Initially, even I thought the Moka pot was available in just a 1 cup size. Boy, was I wrong! This company manufactures the Moka pot for 1 –cup, 3-cups, 6-cups, 9-cups, and (hold your breath) a massive 12-cup serving size that works great if you are usually making it a family and saves a lot of time.

Design and Build Quality – Extremely Tough

We have to agree that the design is extremely compact and good-looking. The unit has a personality of its own, and if you do not agree, place it on a kitchen counter and take a look. With an Italian heritage, we don’t have to doubt its looks. Having a full metal frame, it is extremely tough and durable.

There is nothing that can break or damage even from a fall unless you want to intentionally throw it on a rock to test it. Its small size means you can easily stow it away in even cupboards with limited spaces. Even though it looks big, it is hollow from the inside and extremely light because of the aluminum.

Cleaning and Maintenance – Extremely Easy

Cleaning and maintenance are the same way you would maintain your containers, vessels, and plates. Just wash it clean with dish soap, rinse it thoroughly with water, and leave it to dry off by itself. It is also dishwasher safe. In fact, there is hardly any maintenance required. Having said that, do not leave any water droplets inside the chambers as it might start to give off a smell after a few days.

Bialetti Moka Express: Value for Money

You can find several deals for this product. Overall it ranges in price from $30 for 1-cup to $70 for a 12-cup version. Considering its long life, it practically costs close to nothing.

Additional Bialetti Products

Along with the manufacture of these excellent Moka pots, Bialetti also manufactures other accessories. Like milk pots, filter coffee units, and such. However, the most interesting version of the Moka pot is the Mini Express, in which the top chamber of the Moka pot is replaced by a funnel that dispenses your coffee extract directly into a cup or mug. And we agree, it’s a very interesting looking product.

Bialetti Moka Express: Nice, Simple, and Cheap

Overall we are more than happy and pleased with this inexpensive product that will serve you for decades. It’s a simple unit with hardly any part that would break because of its metal construction.

Using the Bialetti Moka Express is one way to up your coffee game (if you want to learn) and enjoy it at home without any hassles. I am sure you will love this unit and enjoy your experiments with it. I hope the information helped you and would turn this into a small hobby for yourself.

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