I’m not here to talk about the half-hearted brownish beverage that comes from a standard pot. I enjoy bold, black coffee, and I prefer to make it in a device as straightforward and aggressive as the brew it produces. That’s where the Bialetti Moka Express comes in. Its sharp, geometric lines and no-nonsense style encapsulate everything that it embodies. It’s the most simple and aesthetically pleasing way to make a shockingly strong cup of coffee.
The Moka Express uses ground coffee beans and a steam-powered boiling water extraction to produce a concentrated cup of coffee that’s similar to espresso. The pressure at which extraction occurs is much lower than in an espresso machine, but the coffee is strong like espresso, and highly-caffeinated, unlike espresso. In fact, the various sizes of the device correspond to the number of espresso-sized servings it produces in one go. I use the 6-cup version, and it essentially produces two servings of very strong coffee. Sometimes, I drink the whole brew in one sitting, but it’s actually the perfect amount of coffee to last through a morning of classes, especially when kept in an insulated thermos.
Operation is as simple as it gets. After unscrewing the top from the base, fill the base with water up to the steam release valve (nub on left side of base, pictured below).
Place the funnel on top of the base. Then, spoon coffee into the funnel until the grounds are level with the top of the basket.
Screw on the top, place the whole assembly on the stove, and turn on the burner. If you’re using gas, make sure the flame doesn’t extend beyond the edges of the base.
That’s it. Wait until the water boils, and the resulting steam forces water through the coffee grounds, filling the top with a rich, delicious brew. When you hear a gurgling noise, indicating that steam is bubbling through the filter along with the water, turn the burner off.
Wait a few seconds for any grounds to settle from the coffee, and pour yourself a cup.