Enjoying a Latte at Home (Pt. 1)
If you’re used to having a fully customized espresso drink on your commute to work, you might think that there’s no way to do it at home. I’m here to tell you that you can TOTALLY pull it off. While your best bet is an espresso machine with a steam wand, it may not be in the budget for everyone. Or maybe you don’t have the counter space for another kitchen gadget. With some creativity and new techniques, I’ll show you how you can make a coffee similar to espresso in its rich flavor and heavy body using a stovetop brewer called a moka pot. In part 2 we’ll explore how to steam milk at home and combine the two to make café-quality drinks.
To make a true espresso, you need to use an espresso machine. By definition espresso is made by forcing nearly-boiling water through ground coffee beans with PRESSURE. Pressure is the key here. You can use any type of coffee beans to make espresso, but unless there is pressure applied, it’s probably just a brewed coffee. A moka pot is made on the stovetop. Water is boiled in a lower chamber; it creates pressure and steam that is then forced upwards through the coffee. This is a great alternative for anyone that wants a richer and stronger cup and has a few minutes to watch the stove. You may even get some of that desirable crema that you find on espresso.
There are a few things to note before you start using a moka pot. The first is that this method requires you to be present for the whole brew cycle. Unlike your regular automatic drip coffee maker, you do not want to start the brew and then walk away. Since all stovetops are a little different, you want to be watching the coffee is it brews. You’ll be able to adjust the burner temperature if it is brewing too fast or too slow, and after a few times you’ll get a feel for how the brew should look. You also want to make sure NOT to pack the coffee grounds down into the basket. It can be tempting to do it especially if you’ve made traditional espresso before, but with moka pot you want to fill your brew basket with grounds and that’s it! You can experiment with more or less coffee (we recommend using a scale), but packing the coffee into the basket will disrupt the pressure and create issues while brewing.
Below is the full recipe for a moka pot. We recommend medium and dark roast coffees that will add to the heavy body in the final cup. Stay tuned for part 2 where we will jump into milk steaming and drink building at home.
Moka Pot Brewing Guide
This brew method creates a rich coffee and concentrated coffee, similar to espresso in texture and strength.
What you need: Whole Bean Coffee | 6-cup Moka Pot (10 oz) | Hot Water | Scale | Stovetop burner or hot plate
PRO TIP: This is a hands-on brewing method, so make sure to stay by the stove and observe the coffee as it extracts.
Measure: Weigh 20-25g of coffee using a scale. We love medium to dark roast coffees for this method.
Grind: Grind coffee to a very fine consistency, similar to what you would use for espresso.
Fill: Add water that is fresh off the boil into the bottom chamber. Fill filter basket with your ground coffee and shake to settle, do not press down. Place filter basket on top of the bottom chamber and screw on the top chamber.
Brew: Place moka pot onto the stove and turn heat to medium. Once water in the bottom chamber starts to boil, it will start to bubble up through the coffee into the top chamber.
Watch: Watch the flow of coffee and adjust the burner if necessary. If water bubbles up quickly through the spout, turn heat down slightly. If the flow of coffee is very slow, turn the heat up.
Finish: The top chamber will fill with coffee as the water brews upward through the filter basket. You’ll know it’s done when you hear a hissing noise. Remove from heat and serve! Enjoy as is, or add some steamed milk for a latte at home.
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