The Roast-Den® Blog

Making the Perfect Mokka Pot Espresso

Not having a dedicated espresso machine does not mean you cannot make yourself a great espresso at home. The Mokka Pot, or stove top Espresso maker, is an ideal way to create an authentic Italian coffee. The pot itself is relatively inexpensive, available for just a few pounds online or at TK-Max or other outlets that sell kitchenware. The important aspect (as always) is the beans. Good quality Roast-Den Speciality Coffee beans will get the most out of your Mokka Pot.

One of the main differences between a machine made espresso and a stove top espresso is the "crema". The Mokka pot does not create as rich a crema (creamy top on the coffee) as the high pressure machines do but by selecting a blend with extra Robusta coffee will help. Robusta typically has much more oils than an Arabica and it is the oils that make the crema. You can make your own blend of coffee here and add in about 20% robusta to get a coffee with a rich crema. Something like a Colombian or Honduras with added cherry robusta will make an amazing stove top espresso.

Mokka Pots are real easy to operate and are widely used in homes throughout Italy. Unscrew the top and you will find a grinds holder inside, there should also be a little perforated tamper and after spooning in your ground coffee (a fine grind is best), you should gently tamp down the grinds with the perforated top plate. Your water goes into the bottom section of the pot, then the grinds holder sits in the centre and the top is screwed back on to the base. Remember to check the seal in the base of the top section, if it is hard or worn, it should be replaced. Screwing the top onto the base makes the pot ready for the stove, the seal prevents the steam leaking out and forces it up, through the grinds, into the top section where the infused steam condenses into the pot - leaving a lovely coffee pressure percolated extraction.

The beauty of the Mokka pot is its simplicity. There are no moving parts, just basic laws of physics. As you heat the water it builds pressure and temperature in the lower pot and this causes the liquid to expand into a vapour and rise up through the coffee grinds into the top chamber, when it reaches the top chamber the temperature drops and the vapour condenses back to a liquid infused wih the oils and flavours extracted from the coffee grinds as the vapour passed over them.

The amount of oils absorbed by the vapour will determine the amount of crema, so fresh coffee with high oil content will result in the best crema. Traditional espresso coffee was almost exclusively robusta beans but today we make wonderful espresso with Arabica coffees, the coffee varietal determines the levels of oils naturally present but adding a little extra robusta to pure Arabicas will, in our opinion, result in a better Mokka Pot coffee.

When most/all of the water has risen to the top section of the pot, your coffee is ready. Pour into a demitasse cup and enjoy.