Southern Europe appeals to me for a number of reasons, one of which is the good general availability of great espresso. Itís one of those little things that I can look forward to when travelling southwards. Last November I spent a few days in Rome where I, due to the Italian custom, recalled having an aluminium moka pot in the basement of my parentís house. A moka pot that I had bought on my sixteenth and that had never really seen a lot of daylight. Why, I wondered, had I left it in the dark for so long? I decided to rediscover this simple piece of engineering as soon as I returned. Back in the cold and wet (not that Rome is that much of a recommendation in November though) and eager to say goodbye to Senseo, the immensely popular alternative to drip coffee in the Netherlands, I started with some extensive literature research. First question that arised: is stainless steel preferable to aluminium? Let me answer that by saying that Iím not convinced of the negative effects which aluminium might have on health, yet am convinced of itís superior conductive properties. Question that followed: is Bialetti the brand to go with? My answer to that is: yes it is. There might be several reasons to choose the original brand but one was good enough for me: the Brikka line.
The moka pot consists of a thick wall casted aluminium bodywork, a stainless steel funnel and filter, and a patented internal pressure valve. The bodywork is clearly built to withstand the higher pressure that results from the internal valve. The resulting beverage is great. In contrast to my forgotten moka pot, this one brews a very fine coffee with subtle flavours and a beautiful crema. I have mine for two months now and am still experimenting with the amount of water, the quantity, roast and grind of coffee, the pressure to tamper the coffee with, the level of heat etc. etc. to eventually get my own perfect cup of coffee.
And as a matter of fact, that is what I like most. Working on that perfect cup. Brewing coffee has become a true ritual with the Brikka pot. It starts with filling the pot with fresh water until 1-4mm below the line, followed by freeing up the coffee aromaís by freshly grinding the beans and lightly tampering the coffee, screwing the pieces together, placing them on medium to high heat and waiting, watchingÖand enjoying!
The result is said to improve over time by the oils and flavours of the coffee that gradually cover the interior of the pot. I canít confirm this yet but for now I know, Iím enjoying the brewing and am very satisfied with itís results!