When I arrived in my new apartment as a study abroad student in Florence, the first thing I searched for in my apartment was a coffee machine. Breakfast as I knew it always came served with a huge mug of hot coffee. The coffee machine was nowhere to be found, and you can forget about enormous American-sized coffee mugs! Instead I found a strange metal contraption, and I had no idea how it worked. It wasn’t until much later that an Italian friend took pity on my ignorance and taught me how to use it.
Although you can find places to get your American coffee fix (like The Diner in Florence), you might just find that you like a quick rich cafè from a Moka machine, so here’s how you use it:
You’ll need your Moka, and finely ground coffee grounds (I recommend Illy Caffè Macinato). A sink, a spoon, and a working stovetop will help too.My Italian husband told me that you have to throw away the first three brews of a new Moka Express, but I wasn’t able to confirm this. I tasted the first brew made with the coffee machine pictured, and it was so-so. Basically, if you’re a serious coffee snob, throw out the first brew or two as some people say that they can detect a slight metalic taste (don’t worry – there’s no danger to your health). As you use your machine, the brews will get better and better as the past coffee in the filter adds depth to your brews. That also means that you only have to worry about cleaning it thoroughly once in a while!
First, unscrew the top and remove the middle section. Fill the bottom with water up to the screw marker as shown.
Replace the middle section and fill it with coffee grounds. Don’t pack it down – just spread it loosely and evenly, and make a little heap on top as shown (its hard not to make a little mess, as you can see)
Screw the top back on TIGHTLY and put it on the stove on medium low heat. Let it boil until the top section is filled with your rich espresso. It only takes about five minutes, so its best not to walk away (I’ve seen kitchen walls that speak of past expolosions from forgotten coffee machines). When you hear the coffee start to come out of the spout, keep the lid closed and wait about another minute for it to finish before turning off the heat.That’s it! You can add milk or sugar to taste, make a cappuccino, or any other espresso-based coffee drink. Enjoy!
*This post by our staff member Krista was originally posted to her personal blog. See the original post here