The macchinetta, AKA “moka pot”, is a wonderful little contraption originally from that magnificent coffee-loving peninsula otherwise known as Italy. It is a very popular way to brew, especially in Israel, where it’s quite common to see Israelis futzing with these bulbous brewers. Its popularity in Israel is no doubt related to its ability to produce a dense espresso-like brew with no electricity or fancy equipment. No less attractive is its endearing little gurgle it makes as it works its magic. Operation (outlined below) is fairly straight forward. Two general things to remember:
- most macchinettas are made of aluminium. While this might not be an issue for occasional use, if this is your regular brew method, we highly recommend investing in a quality stainless steel macchinetta, as aluminium has documented adverse health effects when used in cooking.
- like espresso (though not quite as finicky), grind level plays an important role in your brew’s extraction and flavour. Experiment to find the optimum grind for your coffee and your tastes.
- fill the bottom of your macchinetta about half way with hot water.
- measure out 20-22g of coffee and grind it about as finely as you would for a shot of espresso.
- fill the pot’s filter basket with the coffee grinds, give it a shake to settle them evenly, and place the basket into the bottom bulb.
- screw on the top (be careful of the hot water!) and place on the stovetop over medium heat.
When the water in the bottom chamber approaches a boil, the pressure of the expanding steam will slowly push water vapour through the coffee grinds, exiting into the upper chamber as brewed coffee. If the stream of exiting coffee is explosive, your water is too hot and you should turn down your flame. If it gurgles lazily, turn up your flame. It should be a steady, calm, evenly paced burble-gurgle. You know it’s ready when the bubbling stops. This brew is quite delicious with some milk or sugar, or just by itself as a very strong, naked, viscous experience.