Making Stovetop Espresso
If you want to enjoy the same strong stovetop espresso coffee drinks served in fine restaurants and numerous coffee shops around the world you are going to have to invest in some additional kitchen equipment. The standard coffee maker can use espresso coffee, but for a true pot of stovetop espresso you will need either a full-blown machine or a simple Moka pot.
For this discussion we will look strictly at the standard Moka pot and how it produces optimal results for anyone who uses it. To begin, it is important to note that a Moka pot comes in three simple pieces – the bottom chamber for water, the filter for the espresso grounds, and the pot that catches the brewed coffee. These three pieces must always be screwed securely together for the best results, and they must be well-maintained to keep the quality up to snuff.
The process begins by filling the bottom chamber with pure, filtered water. Because the Moka is made from metal and some households have minerals in their water, a common problem is for build up to clog the central feed tube in the pot. If filtered water is used this can be kept to a minimum. Additionally, using city water or water with mineral deposits can often cause an “off” taste to occur in the espresso as well.
When adding water to the Moka the cook is going to have to know the proper ratios of water to coffee grounds for the batch they are making, and they are going to have to ensure that they do not add water to the point above the steam valve. This is usually a brass fixture near the top of the water chamber which allows some of the pressure to safely exit the chamber during the heating process.
The next step in making a delicious stovetop espresso involves filing the filter or basket with espresso grounds and most people will use one tablespoon per single serving of coffee. If you have a six cup Moka pot (which is only going to contain six to twelve ounces of fluid) you could add six tablespoons of espresso grounds to the filter and then tamp this down tightly before placing it inside the lip of the water chamber.
Once the two bottom pieces are fitted together properly, the actual pot is screwed tightly over them and the entire unit is put over a medium-high heat or flame. The goal is to have the heat or flames cover the bottom of the pot without it heading up the sides of the chamber. It is vitally important to keep the lid of the pot closed during the process in order to keep steam contained within, and also to ensure safety.
If you DID peak inside you would soon see that the nozzle in the center of the pot would begin to drip and the gush espresso from the small tip at the top. This is the result of the heated water being forced through the grounds and then being caught in the pot. You know your pot of espresso is done when there are no longer the sounds of steaming and dripping, and the pot must be taken off the heat right away. Don’t unscrew the pot from the base immediately as scalding can occur.
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