viernes, 4 de abril de 2014

The history of Moka coffee

In our houses there are many objects that we simply consider that have been there since forever. One iconic thing that many of us (at least in Europe, overall in southern Europe) will surely have is the moka coffee pot. We see it and we immediately link it with coffee. But this great invention, simple just like every other great invention, is no more than eighy years old! It is considered, along with Vespa, Fiat 500 and Ferrari cars one of the most important and universal product of Italian industrial design. It is exposed in Milan's La Triennale Design Museum and in New York's MoMa. But let's get back to see the full story!

Alfonso Bialetti, who worked in France in the early 1900s in a foundry, learning many important techniques, opened in 1919 an industry in his native Piedmont region. In this industry he produced objects in iron and alluminium. In 1933 he had the idea that revolutioned his life and the whole community of coffee lovers: creating coffee in every home through the steam of boling water. The name he choose, "moka", was inspired by the Mokha, in Yemen, in the area where the coffee has been cultivated for centuries. This lead to a revolution in drinking coffee: it became a drink very easy to obtain everywhere, and this pleasure was no longer confined to the higher classes in the cafes. It "democratized" the black hot drink. In Italy and in many other countries like Spain coffee in a moka pot is somewhat a ritual involving families and friends eating together.

The espresso machine, invented in 1901 by Luigi Bezzera, now to be found in every coffee worldwide, of which we will talk in another occasion, is just so different in concept and in taste. There are two main way of thinking in the big big world of coffee lovers: those who thinks that the true "caffè" is the one made with Moka (let's say them the Bialettians) and those who thinks that true coffee is only the one made with espresso machine (the Bezzerians). Choose your side, or, as we do, enjoy both!

Many thinkers, like frenchmen Honoré de Balzac, links the invention of agitated the crowd. It surely is no good exaggerating in caffeine, but a small ritual, twice a day, is really pleasing. The very first home coffee pot was actually not the Moka, anyway. The caffettiera napoletana (we'll talk about it, do not worry!) was created in 1819 in Naples, but in this way, even if the coffee is really delicious, the process is considerably longer.
caffeine, isolated in 1820, with the new, energetic, speedful society of the XIX and the XX century. It somewhat

It is important that, even if many industries (like for example the elegant Alessi) creates interesting and stylish coffee pots, the licence is still owned by Bialetti Industrie, and them only can produce the original octagonal Moka. Check it out, other version have a different number of sides, and is never octagonal! Mokas are still nowadays mainly produced in Italy. From 1933 to 1946 the Bialetti industrie produced some 70000 coffee pots in an year. From 1946 on, when Alfonso Bialetti left the charge to his son Renato, the company reached one million coffee pots mark in an year. With the post war European growth, the Moka became easily a sign of La Dolce Vita, a relaxed and laid back way of thinking about life, enjoying a good cup of caffè surrounded with good friends. The "man with mustache" (l'omino coi baffi) campaign started in 1953, making Bialetti a worldwide recognizable brand. The mustached man represented was Alfonso Bialetti himself.

The Bialetti Moka and our Bowl get along very well!

And now some suggestion about how to obtain a good cafè with your moka!

-First of all, pour the water in the buttom chamber of the moka pot. Do not let the water pass the valve: if the water is too high and touch the coffee basket, it would create a sort of cap that would not let the steam circulate freely.

-Put the coffee powder in the middle basket and press it a little bit, but it has not to be too pressed, otherwise the steam of the boiling water will not flow. This is a main difference between the moka and the espresso machine, that has a higher pressure and needs the coffee powder to be very dense.

-Put the coffee on low-middle heat. Do not put the coffee pot on high heat, the coffee it is obtained with a process known as percolation, and if the steam is too strong because of high heat, the coffee you'll obtain with get only partially the complete flavours that the coffee powder has.

-After some minutes, you'll hear your moka bubble. There you have it! Your coffee is ready! Pour it into a small cup and get back to the table with your friends!

-If you see that the coffee you obtained is not enough according to the water you put inside the bottom chamber, you might either have wet your coffee ground in the basket or it might be just time to substitute your filter. You can put a little bit of cold water in a pot beside the Moka and put for some seconds the bottom of Moka pot in the water to cool it down a little bit before putting the moka back on fire. It will help extracting all the stream.

Buon caffè to all!


2 comentarios:

  1. Hi! I've been reading your blog for a long time
    now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from
    Houston Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good job!

    Look into my blog post: garage flooring nh

  2. Thank you! It's nice to have a good feedback from our readers! It keeps us motivated! :)