Making mornings more bearable for some since 1923, the Moka Pot is synonymous with a good cuppa. Here’s looking at its history, one sip at a time
It has had an exciting journey, to say the least. Conceived in 1933 by Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti during the Great Depression, it was an affordable response to the reduced purchasing power of Italians. The Moka Pot brought home café-like coffee with this unique stovetop espresso machine. Since then, Bialetti has manufactured more than 200 million coffee makers.
The design has been lauded and found a place in the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the London Design Museum. The idea for the Moka Pot struck Bialetti as he watched the mechanism of his primitive washing machine as his wife did laundry. Luigi De Ponti was instrumental in crafting the Moka Pot’s design. There are essentially three compartments. The pressure of the boiling water is built in the lower chamber, causing steam to pass through the ground coffee packed just above this compartment. The liquid then condenses in the third and upper chamber as it comes out of the nozzle owing to the steam. The top is eight-sided allowing heat to better diffuse and enhance the coffee’s aroma.
Brewing coffee using the Moka Pot requires one to invest some time in learning its mechanism (failing which the brew could get too bitter!). The brew from the Moka Pot is stronger than the regular espresso machine and depends a lot on the coarseness of the ground coffee, type of beans used, their roast and the heat applied to the Pot.
Bialetti commissioned Paul Campani, an Italian artist to draw up the mascot for the Moka Pot. He is known as ‘l’omino coi baffi’ or ‘the mustachioed little man’ and looks like a man ordering his coffee, who is rumoured to be a caricature of Bialetti himself.
Even after decades of service, the Moka Pot remains irreplaceable. Some modifications have since been made to its design and a few different materials have been used to craft its body. But the Moka Pot still remains a stylish response to fixing a great cup of coffee, making it a fantastic addition to any kitchen top.