Moka pot: origin and how to prepare coffee to perfection


Do you know the history of the origin of the moka pot? Do you know how to best use it to extract the best coffee possible?

Find out all this and much more, such as: which coffee maker to choose or which coffee to buy?

Let's start with its birth!

The moka pot is a coffee maker designed by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 in Crusinallo di Omegna, in Piedmont, and subsequently produced in more than 105 million units.

It is a product of Italian industrial design famous all over the world, and present in the permanent collection of the Triennale Design Museum in Milan and at the MoMA in New York.

Over the years the project has undergone only minor changes in shape, remaining practically unchanged over time. The typical octagonal shape represents one of the distinctive and original elements of the product.

To date, the Moka Pot is recognized all over the world as an icon of Made in Italy.

In fact, we at Caffè Ernani have also produced our personal moka pot, a 100% Made in Italy product and designed to extract only the best of our coffee. FIND OUT MORE >>

There are several legends about the birth of this coffee maker, but the most popular one tells that Bialetti had the idea of the moka around the 20s of the twentieth century, watching washerwomen doing laundry in a particular tub, with a tube in the center from which hot water came out. and soap that was distributed on the clothes. This boiling and water distribution procedure is the basis of the whole project.

It only spread to the masses in the 1950s, do you know why?

It reached the masses thanks to the economic boom and the Carousel(the name of the first TV Italian ads)!

In these years advertising began to spread, and with one of these the little man with a mustache, the icon of the Bialetti coffee maker, became famous.

The famous character is none other than Renato Bialetti, Alfonso's son, who in the first commercials said "It seems simple, but it is not, the feeling is not enough, but it also takes experience and care and a good coffee maker!"

Here he immediately presented the essential elements for the perfect coffee: a good coffee pot, care and experience, to which I would add only the selection of a good coffee.

The coffee maker is made up of 4 aluminum elements:

  1. Boiler
  2. Calibrated spring valve, to avoid excessive pressure increases that could cause the moka to explode
  3. Filter
  4. Reservoir, that is the collection tank

To which is added a replaceable food-grade silicone gasket and a bakelite handle, with thermal insulating characteristics. 


Finally, the name takes up the famous port of Mokha in Yemen, one of the first and most important areas of production and distribution of coffee until the nineteenth century, in particular of the finest Arabica quality.

Now that you know how and where the mocha was born, are you curious to find out how to prepare it to perfection?

We Italians all actually know how to use the coffee maker and we learn it at our places as it is very funny to watch our older family members get the coffee done with it: you pour the water up to the level of the valve, then fill the filter with ground coffee, put it on the stove and the steam pressure will do the rest!

But how would a real expert do it?

There are actually very specific proportions to use:

  • 140g of coffee
  • for 1lt of water

In this case I have a 3-cup mocha available, so I will pour 150g of water per 21g of ground coffee, with a dose of 7g per person.


The coffee must be ground to a medium level, neither fine as for espresso, nor coarse as for filter coffee or for methods and infusion.

And now the procedure:

  1. Pour the 150g of water into the boiler. Two small tips: use bottled water and better if at room temperature or even preheated. This is because the hotter the water, the less time the coffee maker will have to stay on the fire for extraction and therefore the ground will have less contact with the heat, avoiding burning and making the coffee bitter;
  2. Insert the filter and fill it with medium ground coffee, without making the mound and without pressing it, but leveling it;
  3. Close the moka pot tightly by screwing the tank;
  4. Light the flame and check that the diameter of the fire is less than the diameter of the base of the coffee maker;
  5. When the extracted coffee reaches the middle of the collector, turn off the flame and wait for the extraction to finish by itself. The gurgling, a symptom of over-extraction, should never occur, that is, you are heating your coffee too much and extracting the bitterness, which you will then find in the cup;
  6. Mix the coffee with a teaspoon to mix all the flavors and serve! 

Another small tip: pour 10ml, or a drop, of cold bottled water into the tank, to prevent the first drops of extracted coffee from touching the hot walls of the collector and burning, bringing further bitterness into the cup.

The last step is maintenance, never to be underestimated!

It is in fact important to rinse the moka pot with warm water after each use. Don't use soap, ever!

While once a week it is good to do a more thorough washing: disassemble the mocha, including the gasket, and immerse all its parts in a container with hot water and bicarbonate or vinegar for a whole night. Then remove all dirt residues with a non-abrasive sponge and dry it thoroughly.  

Once a year you will also have to change the gasket. When it gets dark and dry, she absolutely needs to be replaced, both because she no longer does her job well, and because she can start to crumble and end up in your coffee!

It is found in all supermarkets.

Obviously all this loses importance if you use an unsuitable tool or if you buy poor coffee. In this case, all the talk about paying attention to temperatures and the procedure for not extracting the bitterness and making the coffee aromatic no longer apply.

That's why we at Caffè Ernani have selected a double-bottomed moka pot with a heat diffuser and a filter specifically designed to extract only the best. All contained within a 100% Made in Italy mocha. FIND OUT MORE, see the product >>

Discover the coffee that best suits your tastes by answering just 3 questions and getting the answer immediately, GO NOW TO THE TEST >>

For other doubts write us!

Martina Mazzoleni 

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