Pb_ Senior Member Joined: 2 Mar 2005 Posts: 1 Location: Atlanta Expertise: Just starting
Espresso: Moka Pot (if that counts) Grinder: Cheap, barely usable... Vac Pot: Bodum 6-oz. French Press Drip: Sbucks Barista
Posted Wed Mar 2, 2005, 2:23pm Subject: Few Moka Pot and general Espresso questions
Before I start, remember that these questions might seem pretty stupid to you guys. Sorry, I'm just a total n00b to the espresso world. Anyways, I recieved a Moka Pot for Christmas last year, I've been messing around with it and reading through a ton of articles online trying to make a decent shot (is it okay for me to label coffee made from teh Moka Pot as 'espresso shots'?). I've had a few problems, and think I've narrowed down the causes to them... First, I've heard somewhere that aluminum Moka Pots, as compared to Stainless Steel ones, produce bitter coffee... is this actually noticeable? Is it that much of a difference? Second, the grounds that I have were bought from a coffee shop chain (Barnie's, I'm pretty sure), they seem decent, but I've noticed that they're almost ground to a powder. I've heard that this is recommended for a real espresso machine, but is this too fine for a Moka Pot? Sometimes there's a ton of grounds in the coffee and on the lid of the pot. Is this because the grounds are too fine, or because I have too much heat on the stove? I've been having problems with that, too. What is the general heat you should have the stove set too? I know most stoves are different, but I've had the best results with Medium-High heat, but closer to Medium. This is definitely the dumbest question, I can feel it. Is "expresso-blend" just a marketing ploy, and any coffee will work, or are espresso blends somehow specially made? Anyways, thanks for putting up with me here :)
nyc_crema Senior Member Joined: 13 Oct 2004 Posts: 1,617 Location: New York City Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Alexia (2010), Silvia (2004) Grinder: Mazzer Mini (2004)
Posted Wed Mar 2, 2005, 2:28pm Subject: Re: Few Moka Pot and general Espresso questions
I can't answer all your questions, but for a short time I used a moka pot (Stainelss steel) and I was happy with store stuff that is pre ground. Try cafe bustello and cafe pilon for moka pot - their grind size worked fine for me. As for heat, keep it a low heat. I made sure that the flames only touched the bottom of the moka pot and did not creep up on the sides. Try a low flame. Lets say the bottom of your moka pot has a diameter of 2 inches, then make sure the top of the flame (the blue part) is no more than a cm [end of edit] from the edge of the moka pot bottom. In other words, make the flame cover probably no more than 80% of the bottom of the moka pot.
Moka pots in general make bitter coffee. They're great for lattes though.
Posted Wed Mar 2, 2005, 6:09pm Subject: Re: Few Moka Pot and general Espresso questions
I've used aluminium and stainless and I didn't really notice any difference in quality. I haven't tried them side by side.
If you can afford to get yourself a decent grinder, you'd be better off getting fresh whole bean and grinding before use. There is really no substitute for fresh coffee. Plus, you can experiment with grind levels. If that's not an option, buy the smallest quantity of pre-ground you can. For Moka pot, I'd go slightly coarser than espresso but definitely finer than drip.
True "espresso blends" use different types of coffee beans to produce a great shot. Check out the blends and blending info on Sweet Maria's website. Even though the discussion there is about green coffee beans you'll get the idea. No telling what's in an "espresso blend" you find at a grocery store. On the other hand, blends from folks who know what they're doing can be superb. Nothing at all wrong with "single origin" coffee - it's whatever tastes good to you that's important!
mgrignan Senior Member Joined: 14 Jan 2002 Posts: 77 Location: WY Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Thu Mar 3, 2005, 8:42am Subject: Re: Few Moka Pot and general Espresso questions
I grind just slightly coarser for my moka pot than I do for my espresso machine. Basically, take a look at the perforated basket and top filter in your moka pot - you don't want grounds to be able to go through those.
Beyond grinding your own freshly roasted beans (which is nearly always the single biggest source of improvement), experiment with the amount of grounds you use. I prefer to only barely fill the basket without any tamping; an Italian coworker tells me that Northern and Southern Italians squabble about whether overfilling and tamping or just lightly packing the basket is best - try different weights, see what *you* like. General consensus does seem to be to always use the moka pot at capacity - ie, if you want to make two cups at a time, use a two cup moka pot, not a four-cup pot half-filled. As for heat, it sounds like you're using an electric stove. "Medium" on one electric stove could well be "Nuclear" on another, so it's hard to compare notes on that one. I have heard (again, from the Italian coworker who grew up on moka pot coffee) that it's best to turn the heat down slightly once you hear water is starting to go through the grounds, but again, I think this is one of those YMMV, personal preference questions. As for aluminum, it does react with acids (that's why you don't cook tomato sauce in an unlined aluminum pot), but I'm not sure how noticeable that is for something that stays in the pot only briefly. One advantage of stainless steel, though, is that it cleans up a bit easier. An accumulation of old coffee oils will definitely affect flavor - some people like that and say the moka pot gets "seasoned" by the accumulation (which would eventually eliminate the Al reactivity issue), but I'm happier with a stainless pot that gets cleaned regularly. If you have an Al pot and want to see how a stainless one differs, a friend recently bought a small one from Aabree Coffee (one of the CG sponsors) for less than $25 including shipping.
outofdate Senior Member Joined: 28 Apr 2014 Posts: 1 Location: kerrington Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Mon Apr 28, 2014, 1:18pm Subject: Re: Few Moka Pot and general Espresso questions: Lacor moka po
Has anyone ever used a Lacor (from Spain) moka pot? I have a small stainless steel one and find the coffee is not as good/rich as I would like. I would have expected it to be pretty much the same as any other stovetop espresso maker, but not so. The coffee chamber is much smaller than it is in a Bialetti moka pot, while the water chamber is larger. (It also leaves more water in bottom chamber after brewing.) I have tried using far less water which helps a bit. Does anyone have experience with how to produce good espresso-style coffee with this type of maker. The Bialetti technique is not working for me with this pot.
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