Want To Make Affordable Lattes At Home? Try A Moka Pot
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s summer editorial intern Alexandra Speck. Find her on Instagram at @alexandraspeckk. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at email@example.com.
There’s no complement to a summer morning quite like an iced latte. For many, myself included, it’s an indisputably necessary accompaniment to drives to the beach, breakfasts with friends and leisurely mornings at home. The caffeine addict’s struggle is that going out for a fix is not always in the time and money budget, and quality home espresso machines can be expensive and finicky. Before resigning yourself to instant coffee, try the moka pot: an inexpensive espresso maker that lasts a lifetime, requires no extra gadgets and makes incredible coffee. Read ahead for an introduction to this tried-and-true machine and for moka pot recipes.
Where to Begin
Moka pots, like the one linked here, were invented in Italy nearly a century ago and remain popular in Europe today. You would be hard-pressed to find an Italian kitchen that doesn’t have a moka pot resting on the stovetop, always on hand for a pick-me-up. Often called the “Bialetti,” in reference to the most famous moka pot producer, these machines brew an ultra-concentrated coffee that can replace a shot of espresso in a latte, cappuccino, or americano. Just like drip coffee machines, moka pots come in a wide range of sizes; some are small enough to make just one cup of coffee, while others can serve an entire family. The moka pot can be used anywhere there is a stove or burner available, making it a great option for college students and campers. You can buy this single-serving Bialetti for just $24.99 on Amazon, and the price often drops below $20. That’s less than a week’s worth of Starbucks – for a machine that lasts decades.
Also add ground coffee to your shopping cart, because that’s the second and last thing you’ll need to get your home café up and running. To produce the best results, the coffee grounds should be slightly coarser than the usual extra-fine espresso grind. Pre-ground coffee specifically intended for the moka pot is available on Amazon and in many large grocery stores. Illy and Lavazza are two of the most popular Italian sellers, but they aren’t your only options. I’ve had plenty of success using all kinds of ground espresso, including products that aren’t explicitly advertised to work with the moka pot and beans that I’ve ground myself. Since only a few teaspoons of coffee are needed to make one serving, the moka pot beckons experimentation.
Moka Pot Recipes
Coffee aficionados might suggest measuring coffee grounds and water with a food scale, but that is definitely unnecessary and highly uncommon in Italy. Just like any other coffee machine, the moka pot responds just fine to some trained eyeballing. Getting comfortable with the machine (without the help of measuring tools) is the recipe for success with a moka pot of any size. Creators on TikTok and YouTube can be helpful resources for familiarizing yourself with the process.
Like all coffee-brewing devices – such as drip, French press, pour-over, commercial espresso machines and contraptions like the Nespresso – the moka pot produces a coffee with its own unique taste. Moka pot coffee is my favorite, but new drinkers may need to sample a few cups to appreciate the difference.
My suggestion for a transition smoother than your homemade lattes? Make your coffee the same way you would order it in a coffee shop. If a vanilla latte is your go-to, consider picking up some vanilla syrup or creamer. If you like your drinks foamy, invest in a handheld frother, which can also be used in matcha and sports drink mixing. When making a hot drink, make sure to warm up milk on the stove or in the microwave – it makes all the difference. Even an espresso martini can be a great introduction to the moka, and it can be ready in mere minutes if you have a pot nearby.
What are the first moka pot recipes you would try? Let us know which drinks you’ll recreate in the comments section below!