Bialetti Moka Express Italian Cappuccino Pot Set

Aluminum Steam Coffee Maker

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Bialetti Moka Express ItalianThe original Moka Express coffee maker, plus a latte pot for foaming milk, make up this espresso lover's survival kit from Bialetti of Italy. This Express design was first introduced in 1933 and survives virtually unchanged. The brew from this pot is a cut above ordinary coffee because it's based on the flow of steam, not boiling water. As steam is forced through the grounds, greater amounts of oils, flavor and caffeine are released into the brew.

The Express is not the sort of coffee pot you can set and forget--it requires the attention of the user and there's a bit of learning curve involved. Clean filters and regular valve maintenance are required, because this is a steam device with the hazards that go along with that power source. The pot's filters need replacement on schedule and the safety pressure release valve on the lower chamber must be kept free of scale.

Cleaning the upper chamber should be only a quick rinse with fresh water. The dark oil coating on the inside of the top pot prevents the aluminum from flavoring the coffee with a metallic taste. Cleaning the interior with detergent sets the process back to step one.

This is an old style device without warning lights or automatic shut offs--ideally you should remove the pot from the burner halfway through the brewing process and let it complete on steam pressure alone. When you hear a gurgling sound, that means the last of the steam is coming through and you have espresso.

The latte maker is also a very manual process requiring close attention to temperature, but works well (better if a little cream is mixed in with the milk) if you're patient and willing to practice.

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