Caffé dell’Appartamento: The Bialetti

Living in a New York City apartment has taught me two things: I own way more things that I actually need (not having any closets makes that painfully obvious) and that of the things I do own, most of them are coffee-related equipment and gadgets.

This post will be the first part in a new series here on Briana Augustina: Caffé dell’Appartamento. This is the Bialetti edition. The Bialetti Moka Express is an Italian household staple. It’s a stovetop espresso appliance. To learn the nuances of brewing with a Bialetti Moka Express, read Stumptown’s Brew Guide (it’s incredible and you might spend all day on that page–oh, maybe that’s just me).

The Bialetti has been in my mom’s kitchen for years. My brother and sister-in-law have one in every size that look like Russian nesting dolls on the top of their fridge. So when I moved into an apartment in New York City, a Bialetti was on the top of my shopping list. Note: Our coffee cart is the exception when it comes to being minimal in our quaint home.

I use the 3-cup Bialetti Moka Express. It makes between 2-3 espresso-sized cups. For this demo, I used Andytown Coffee Roasters Single Origin from Ethiopia. The result is stronger than a drip, but slightly lighter than espresso. There is not enough pressure that builds up in the brewing process to make it as strong as espresso. That said, it should be sipped and enjoyed in its own right and not compared to the results of other brewing processes.

Using a Bialetti will likely give you the urge to hang your laundry on clothespins while leaning outside your window akin to what a stereotypical Italian grandmother would do while waiting for her Bialetti to finish brewing.

Steps (my own steps that are slightly modified from the Stumptown brew guide):

  1. Grind your coffee (medium-fine)! It’s SO much better than pre-ground.
  2. Fill the bottom of the brewer half way to the brew line with boiling water (ensures coffee doesn’t burn on the stove when water is already partially heated) and then continue to fill with regular temp. water to the brew line.
  3. Insert the filter basket into the bottom of the brewer and fill to the top with coffee grounds (do not pack).
  4. Screw the top and bottom of the brewer together (avoid using the handle to tighten).
  5. Put the brewer on the stove with a flame that does not exceed the circumference of the bottom
  6. Coffee will come out the top into the top half of the brewer. Done when the brown steam becomes the color of yellow honey (OR when you hear a hissing/bubbling sound)
  7. My serving suggestion: sip decadently from an espresso cup.
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