Monday, September 18, 2006

How Italians (and the French) Make Coffee at Home

I love beginning my day with a cafe au lait, and recently I've been making mine in a moka--the stovetop espresso maker that's a kitchen essential in French and Italian kitchens. My companion gave me the moka for Christmas, but I hadn't tried it out yet simply because I wasn't sure how to use it. But the other day, I was doing some library research for an article on Italian desserts, and voila, I came across some perfectly written instructions for making coffee in a moka. Now, I can't be stopped! If you'd like to give a moka a try, here's a simple step-by-step:

1)Fill the bottom chamber with filtered water to just below the steam vent.
2)Insert the metal coffee filter into the bottom chamber. Add the ground coffee in spoonfuls, tamping down each spoonful firmly until the filter is full to the rim. Press the coffee down to ensure it's compact.
3)Screw on the top chamber.
4)The slower the espresso emerges from the moka, the more flavorful the coffee. Place the moka on the stove and turn the heat on low.
5)When the pot makes fast and furious sputtering sounds, the coffee is ready.
6)If desired, blend with heated milk.


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