A brewing method that has been around for years and has a fascinating history is the moka pot.
Alfonso Bialetti had an aluminium workshop where he would produce household products and it was situated in Crusinallo, Piedmont. One day he was watching his wife do the laundry and noticed the system used to wash the clothes in the basket. The water was brought to a boil and pushed through a tube, and visualising this was how he thought of a similar system to implement for brewing coffee. His inspiration for the name came from the Mocha region in Yemen, which was one of the biggest importers of coffee in Europe around that time.
The way the moka pot is constructed it has three chambers: the first one (lower one) is filled with water, the second one has a little basked where the coffee grounds are added. The third one is where all the coffee created by the pressure goes. The stove heats up the lower chamber which is pushed up by the pressure and meets with the coffee grounds and finally arrive in the upper chamber as condensed, brewed coffee ready to serve.
Due to the crema it sometimes produces, many people think of the moka pot brew as an espresso. However, the extraction time and temperature do create a difference between them in consistency and taste.
Bearing that in mind, Alfonso wanted to crated a device that brews coffee very similar to the one served in coffee shops, that you can make at home. He worked on the moka pot around a wave of Futurism that took Italy by storm. It was the moment Italians would love to see old ordinary traditions in the light of technology advancement. They really liked to embrace the idea of evolving, so the moka pot ticked all the right boxes.
At first, not many were sold and then came World War II. Aluminium was harder to source, therefore the shop had to close and opened again in 1946 when Alfonso's son took over and focused mainly on the moka pots. The design that is found on Bialetti products to this day is a caricature of Alfonso Bialetti, that was adapted along with the opening of the shop.
We can all agree it was a blooming successful concept, and to this day more than 300 million Bialetti Moka Expresses have been sold.