Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Moka Pot

I was having breakfast at a friend's apartment when I found what is quite possibly the most entertaining kitchen gadget I've seen in a long time.  I was poking around her counters when I saw this (And yes, that's a full size electric range, so it's really that small):
 A search on Wikipedia later, this apparently a moka pot.  She had gotten it from a neighbor moving out, and had not yet figured out how it works.  Being the engineer I am, how could I not see that as a challenge?  I found the entire operation of it very entertaining and clever, so I thought I'd share it with all of my readers. (And I promise, more actual technical posts on electronics and such are coming, they just require free time for me to do technical things first)

Opening the pot revealed three sections:
 The top section with a pour spout and a column from below that has a defused notch on the top.
 A middle section with a fine grating
 And a bottom section with a tube leading into the middle section and what appeared to be (and is) a pressure relief valve.

Operating this is fairly simple.  Finely ground espresso beans are added to the middle section, and water is added to the bottom section.  There is a gasket between the bottom and top sections, which screw together.  As the water boils, it pressurizes the bottom section, forcing the water up the tube, through the grounds, and up into the top section.
Once all of the water has been forced through the grounds, the moka pot makes a distinctive bubbling noise as the bottom section depressurizes, at which point the espresso can be poured into the most adorable mug you can find in your kitchen, and enjoyed with breakfast.
Oh, why yes... That is a little ceramic cow taking a bath in my espresso.

Unfortunately, I had so much fun watching it brew that I managed to make quite a mess on her kitchen range, as well as having three espressos with breakfast, which quite thoroughly precluded getting anything that required concentration done for the rest of the day.

2 comments:

  1. Hmm. That drowning cow looks oddly familiar....

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  2. Very cool! I picked up a camping version of that kind of device, since I'm addicted to espresso. My wife tells me they used those when she was living in Germany. And, yes, now that you mention it, that is the most adorable mug one could find... probably anywhere. :)

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