There’s one item you’ll find in every Italian household. Yes, you’re correct in thinking of the bidet…but we’re not here to talk about personal hygiene (not yet 😆)…we’re talking coffee! Literally every single Italian owns at least one of these pots: la moka! In this article, I'll show you how to use it to make the best home espresso. Let’s get brewing!

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The moka…behind this apparently cold metal object hides the beating heart of an entire nation. I don’t mean to be too dramatic…but yes, the moka evokes memories of my first ever coffees with nonna; the early breakfasts before catching a school bus throughout high school; long night study sessions in college; and obviously endless chats and gossip with friends and family around the kitchen table. The moka is to Italians what the tea pot is to the Brits — a centerpiece of the home and a symbol of hospitality and conviviality.

But before I get too sentimental, let me share some interesting facts about the moka pot. It is a stove-top coffee maker that's been a staple in Italian households for over 80 years. It's a simple, yet highly effective way of brewing a rich and robust espresso that's truly the best. It was invented by Mr. Alfonso Bialetti, and it’s no surprise that - to this day - the uncontested queen of mokas is still the “Bialetti” brand.

But before you get too sleepy, let's see how to use a moka pot…it’s time for coffee!

Photo by Elesban Landero Berriozábal / Unsplash

How to get your moka ready:

  1. First, fill the bottom part of the moka pot with water, making sure to fill it to below the valve.
  2. Then, place the filter basket into the bottom part and fill it with ground coffee. Unlike traditional coffee machines, we don't want to press down the coffee. Just let it rest naturally.
  3. Next, place the moka pot on your stove and turn on the heat. As the water begins to boil, the pressure will force it up through the coffee and into the top part of the moka pot. This is when the magic happens! The result will be a delicious and authentic espresso that will definitely give your day a huge boost of energy. WOW!
Brewing a morning coffee with an Italian Moka pot.
Photo by Thanos Amoutzias / Unsplash

Ah that gurgling sound…grrrr…such an Italian note, full of anticipation and satisfaction. Here’s a tip from my grandma — nonna Gina — to make your espresso extra luxurious. She taught me that the first drops of coffee coming up are the most special ones. Get some sugar in a cup, pour the first black gems of coffee in it and whisk to create a magic “crema al caffè” — la cremina. And then add this to your coffee instead of sugar. Mmmm….it’s the bomb! Una bomba…calorica, but delicious.

While in Italy, you’ll often hear people say “metto su la moka da 3” or “metto su la moka da 6” (meaning “I put the 3 or 6 cup moka on”). That’s because mokas come in different sizes — measured by cups (hey….Italian-sized cups) depending on how many people you’re entertaining. Which means we usually own multiple mokas for multiple social occasions 😉 You never know who’s coming for coffee, better be ready.

👉 If you need help with picking the best mokas, Italian ground coffee, accessories and cups, here you find my shopping recommendations:

Disclaimer: Inevitaly is an independent publication supported by readers like you (thanks!) We may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through affiliate links on our site at no additional cost to you.

Ah, and don’t forget that moka maintenance is key to a long life of great espressos. Make sure you rinse and fully dry your moka before storing it away. Never — I said never — use soap. Just water and your finger. Do you see that coffee buildup? That’s the secret of the best coffee, trust me ;)

So, there you have it folks, the secret to making the perfect Italian coffee using a moka pot. I hope you enjoy trying it at home and don't forget to share your results with us in the comments below.

Grazie mille e buon caffè! Ciao ☕

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