There are those who love espresso, those who love coffee made in a moka, and those who can’t resist either one. Since we’ve already covered the history of espresso, it’s now time to learn more about the moka: who invented it and how it works.
The moka is the famous coffee maker invented by Piedmont-born Alfonso Bialietti in 1933. Thanks to the experiments he conducted in his laboratory, where he created objects made from aluminium, and his incredibly inventive nature, Alfonso succeeded in creating a timeless object that is, even now, present in almost every Italian home.
But where did he get his inspiration? Strange as it may sound, from a washing machine. In Italy at the time washing machines as we know them now were not common. Instead something called the lisciveuse was used, an object that worked very similarly to the moka.
The moka has an octagonal shape, is made primarily in aluminium (in some cases steel), and is strongly influenced by the Art Deco artistic movement.
This simple yet innovative object maintained its artisan status for many years, up until the 1950s, when Alfonso’s son, Renato, took over. Thanks to his entrepreneurial spirit, in just one year he was able to sell more than one million of these small coffee makers. And it was also Renato who hired Paul Campani to design the iconic “man with a moustache”, famous in the Carosello ads and still the symbol of the company to this day..
How the moka works
The moka is made up of various aluminium parts and works with pressure. The boiler portion is filled with water, the funnel-shaped metal filter is then filled with coffee (not packed) and inserted, and the upper portion is screwed on. When the water is heated it begins to create vapour, which forces the water to rise through the filter and out of the funnel into the receptacle.
An interesting fact
Do you know where the name “moka” comes from? From the city Mokha, in Yemen, the birthplace of coffee and known for the quality of the beans it produces.
Now that you know all there is know about the history of the moka, using it for your coffee will be even more rewarding, especially if you use one of our coffee blends!