Wednesday 17 August 2022

Marco Bazzara explains how to prepare a good coffee at home with moka

The Bazarra Academy director: "Devised in the 1930s, the moka is one of the most famous Italian inventions. Interestingly the name moka is a reference to Yemen, more specifically to the famous port of Moka where coffee was once exported from. For generations of Italians it has represented the traditional way of sharing the spirit of conviviality so as to spend some enjoyable moments with friends and relatives."

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Marco Bazzara, Bazzara Academy director, explains in an extract the importance and the history of moka from the book CoffeExperts, the encyclopedia book focused on coffee we talked about here. He further explains the steps to follow in order to prepare a good coffee with moka. Soon in these pages, there will be other insights from the various coffee expert authors who contributed to the writing of CoffeExperts.

Marco Bazzara and the value of moka

MILAN, Italy – “Devised in the 1930s, the moka is one of the most famous Italian inventions. Interestingly the name moka is a reference to Yemen, more specifically to the famous port of Moka where coffee was once exported from. For generations of Italians it has represented the traditional way of sharing the spirit of conviviality so as to spend some enjoyable moments with friends and relatives.

Indeed, throughout the entire Italian peninsula and beyond, it is one of the most widely used methods for preparing coffee. The water evaporates from the base of the device and rises through the coffee in the filter before, after a few minutes, flowing out into the upper section of the coffee maker.”

The method

“Huge quantities are produced each year and shipped throughout the world, underlining the uniqueness of Italian ingenuity and the importance of coffee as a means for people to spend pleasurable moments together.

This method, which occurs at atmospheric pressure, requires that certain important parameters are maintained so as to ensure that the water temperatures during the extraction process don’t render the beverage bitter and astringent. Furthermore, a number of specifications regarding the coffee to be used and the particle size of the ground coffee must also be adhered to.

Indeed, for a classic moka, the ideal roasted coffee is one that’s not too light and offers marked acidity.

It should be medium roasted and have a medium-fine particle size, i.e. slightly coarser than that for an espresso: this allows the water vapour to pass through the filter without channelling or soaking only some areas of the coffee cake. The same goes for a darker roast, which is to be avoided because, together with an excessively high water temperature, it would cause an even higher level of bitterness with respect to the previous situation.”

The steps to follow for a good moka

“The first step consists of filling the lower part of the device with hot, almost boiling, water up to the level of the valve, thus avoiding excessive pressure in the following steps. The ground coffee should then be placed into the filter immediately and levelled off without being pressed.

Then place the filter into the lower part of the device, removing any grounds that may be on the edge. Next, screw the upper part onto the lower chamber, without overtightening. Finally place the moka on the stove over a low heat to proceed with the extraction.

If the water heats up quickly, the pressure will rise abruptly: a low heat slows down the process slightly, thus ensuring a correct extraction time and allowing the water vapour to soak the coffee in the filter at the appropriate pressure.”

The best possible extraction

“Finally, when you start to hear the typical gurgling sound, you can remove the moka from the heat as soon as the coffee has filled half of the upper chamber. In so doing, the best possible extraction of the coffee is achieved.

Furthermore, the flame can be turned down during the extraction and maintained at this level until the process is complete, this helps to avoid over-extraction or causing any other undesired alterations.

Once the water has completely passed through the coffee cake and reached the upper chamber, the moka needs to be cooled under cold water, thus lowering the pressure to prevent the steam from continuing to rise into the upper chamber containing the coffee. Before pouring the coffee into the cups, it can be stirred with a teaspoon to ensure all the different components are mixed together.”

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