February 22, 2008



Coffee’s brewing!

In Dangerous Ideas for the Caffeind Part 1 we reviewed the cold-brew method.

In Part 2 we looked at the Aeropress.

On the Aeropress post, pippa commented:

Um… uh… Italians have done it for years. I’m just saying. ;)

And that’s when I decided to take those Bialetti pots seriously. I’d seen them locally at some discount stores, and the price was really reasonable. So I put one on my Christmas list, and my very generous in-laws saw fit to encourage our coffee habits.

Leslie tweeted today about the snowstorm keeping her away from the coffee shop, so I thought I’d pass along the advice. For next snowstorm.

The Bialetti Moka Express produces coffee via “pressurized infusion”. Water in the lower chamber is heated until pressure forces it up through the grounds, where it extracts flavor, and then collects in the upper chamber. This has some similarity to percolation in its appearance. However the process is quite different in effect.

I’ve found that it’s easy to make a decent, strong shot of coffee which is also easily diluted into a smooth cup of American coffee (Americano). I’m not an espresso aficionado, but this coffee is much better than what I was getting from Starbucks1 and Dunkin’ Donuts. Not saying I wouldn’t get coffee out in a pinch, but I much prefer what I make at home or Mirasol’s Cafe espressos and lattes2.

Interested in seeing the steps to brewing coffee via this method? I have a Flickr photoset, of course.

Also, Sweet Maria’s has some instructions on brewing with a Moka-style pot.

We’ve found that just by using this and saving the extra, we make enough concentrate for our iced coffee beverages. So we don’t really have to use the cold brew method much anymore. Although that might change when summer rolls around again.

1 “Starsucks”

2 Maggie, this is where we should meet for lunch after class sometime.

Posted by James at February 22, 2008 11:56 AM
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I can vouch for this stuff. Enthusiastically.

Posted by: Julie at February 22, 2008 1:41 PM

Ah, Twitter. The place were early morning, undercaffeinated typos go, never to die... ;) (The typo was 'form'. StarCrack was on purpose.)

Posted by: leslie at February 22, 2008 3:38 PM

Yes, that's right. I RAWK!

Posted by: pippa at February 22, 2008 5:11 PM


I remember seeing these pots at Ocean State Job Lot and being intrigued by them but not enough to buy one. Now you have me feeling non-buyers remorse!

I'm curious, will there be future posts on percolators? We have one, purchased at a time when neither of us really drank coffee but wanted something on hand for those who did. Most coffee lovers seem to hate them but they can turn out a decent cup of coffee and I love the nostalgia.

Anyway great post, lots of fun to read and if I buy a moka, it is totally your fault. :)

Posted by: Lefty at February 24, 2008 3:38 PM

I think they had them at Home Goods in Seekonk in December and may still.

We don't own a percolator, so I don't know how it compares in flavor. I can tell you that I was never happy with the coffee I was making with my $12-or-so drip coffee pot.

Aside from this being better coffee, espresso is also more versatile because it's concentrated. You can make a good iced coffee without worrying too much about diluting it, or add it to recipes.

Posted by: James at February 24, 2008 6:08 PM

I used to have a percolator. Supposedly, the coffee it makes is really great if you get the timing right. I never was able to, and kept ending up with either burnt coffee or weak brown liquid.

The kind of percolator you use probably makes a big difference too. Mine was a cheap aluminum stovetop thing. Maybe a heavier one would have worked better.

Posted by: Julie at February 24, 2008 7:58 PM

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