stove top espresso

This is a moka.  Mokas are stove-top “espresso” makers.  They use pressurized steam to brew, but the result is somewhere between coffee and espresso.  Coffee is prepared through a non-pressurized drip process.  Espresso is prepared through a pressurized process.  True espresso is produced by an espresso machine, which generates a pressure of 135 pounds per square inch (PSI), while a moka’s steam only produces 50 PSI of pressure.  The espresso machine was patented in 1884 and is either pump driven or lever operated.

Alas, the moka is a poor man’s espresso machine.  I have a Bialetti moka (the one pictured above actually) and I LOVE it.  Every Italian household has a moka on its stovetop and Italians tend to use Lavazza coffee grinds.  I prefer Illy to Lavazza myself, but that’s another post…