Fun new toy in the project vvlgar coffee lab.
What? You ask.
A mini moka pot.
For those not yet in the know, this is just a moka pot made by Top Moka with two spigots that pours two demitasse shots of espresso and is damn fast. In fact, that is the one seriously awesome thing about this moka pot. I ran salt and water through it once and then subsequently seasoned it with cheap pre-ground coffee six times before the real seasoning began. After three renditions of seasoning with freshly ground coffee it was starting to pull shots that had a real, robust flavor.
I cannot emphasize enough how quickly this tiny device brews. When I’m brewing moka pot espresso I keep the heat on the stove very low (and you should too). This allows for a better extraction – too high of heat will result in a faster extraction from the grounds, which in my experience leads to a flat tasting cup of stovetop espresso. This stuff takes practice, and in my experience it tastes the best when it heats very slowly. With the mini moka pot, I could afford to keep the flames of my gas stove completely underneath the moka pot (you don’t want the flames to wrap around it ) and yet it still brewed quickly and without sacrificing the extraction.
In fact, at about one o’clock in the morning, after ten or twelve demitasses from the mini I decided to use my six cup Bialetti moka pot to try and compare the flavors. It wasn’t until I was waiting for the Bialetti to brew that I realized how incredibly fast the mini is. And that is what its main purpose in the project vvlgar coffee lab will be – express espresso. However, it has a few drawbacks that I have to tweak or learn to live with.
It will not pour two even shots. This is seriously lame. I really wish I could get the two demitasse cups to fill equally, but unfortunately one of them is much more generous than the other. This will be great when I’m entertaining people I don’t like…but otherwise I’ll probably still use a full size moka pot. I was drinking all of the stove top espresso so it really didn’t matter though. The taste was phenomenal and I could get fresh espresso quickly and easily.
I find the best way to use these minis is to expect one doppio shot and then one demitasse to collect mere dregs – I just poured the insufficient out and enjoyed the generous serving of the other one, but if you really want to conserve coffee you could just combine them or enjoy the less than ample sip of the second demitasse. The flavor was great once it was seasoned properly, and for a quick shot of stovetop espresso it works phenomenally.
It has a plastic seat that the demitasse cups sit on, which while hardly making it the classiest looking device, suffices to catch drips of espresso and looks fine. It doesn’t have the glamour of my Bialetti moka pot but it pours the shots right into the cups so there’s no question of when it is finished brewing. I would actually recommend this device for anybody who isn’t currently making moka pot espresso because it is fast, doesn’t make a lot of coffee, and is really simple to get the hang of. A part of me wishes that I had one of these before my Bialetti because it works as a great introduction to stovetop espresso.
A fan of project vvlgar over at www.moka-pot.co.uk sent us this mini to play with and to see what
we thought. Aside from being flattered to get our first real demitasse cups and saucers (and a kick ass new toy), we’re pretty impressed with what he’s sent us so far. I like this set and I think that it works well in the lab, I wish it poured two even shots – and that is something to consider before buying one, but it does pull really tasty espresso and it’s fast enough that it works great for experimentation. If you’re trying out new blends or roasts and want to get a rough idea of how it performs in a moka pot, I think it is better to try a small serving in a mini like this than to start out by using a bigger stovetop espresso maker. So, even though I’ve only had this in my lab for a few days, I’ve already found great use for it.
More importantly than anything else, it tastes really good – and when your goal is to make kick ass coffee at home, that matters more than anything else.