Back Bay, Boston 1966

Nick makes espresso in a Moka pot every morning for he and his love, Krista before they start their day...

Brewing the best Moka

One of the favorite things character Nick Zelmenis loves, from Remember Him Yesterday  and other Nick and Krista stories, is drinking and brewing true authentic espresso. Since his family is from the Baltic region of Latvia, he is naturally drawn to this strong and aromatic coffee.

Nick shops Boston's Market Place to find and stock the best blends and newly roasted coffee beans for his special Moka espresso. 

Here, straight from Nick Zelmenis and 1966 Boston, are a few tips on how to brew the best espresso using an authentic Moka pot. 

Says Nick:

I moved into my current Brownstone flat with Krista and we use the Moka every day, cooking the coffee on the gas burner in our kitchen. If you have fire, water and coffee, you can make a Moka. Fill with cold water, add coffee, tamp but don’t press the grounds into the basket, screw the pot tight and put it on the fire.

Moka or Cafe-tera as it is called in the old country, where my family is from is found in every kitchen there. As my grandmother says, if you want to brew something strong and good a Moka is the way to get your best espresso. And that's not bad for a cafe-tera invented back in 1933 

How it works:

The Moka uses pressure to force hot water through ground coffee, and the groovy shaped pot lets the resulting syrupy liquid bubble up into a top chamber through a chimney. 

It comes in three main parts: The bottom section holds the water for boiling. The top section will receive the coffee. In between is a metal funnel with a perforated disk set into it. This is where you put the coffee grounds, before dropping the funnel into the mouth of the water boiler and letting the thin end of the funnel submerge.

When the water boils, the pressure forces the water up through the funnel tube and through the coffee, and then out through the chimney and into the pot steaming the brew into espresso.

Why so good?

The Moka makes a strong brew, it’s good and with a little care it can be amazing.

Stick some decent coffee in the basket, screw the pot shut and up the gas on your stove. In a few minutes you have a far out brew worth getting out of bed for. Yeah.

According to my Grandmother, the
secret to the best espresso? Take the pot off the heat just before it’s done. Remove it from the heat as soon as the thick part of the coffee has come out. If you watch with the top of the pot open, you’ll see the first syrupy swirls of coffee flow down the outside of the chimney. As soon as you see this, reduce the flame to its lowest setting. This will give the water a little more contact time with the grounds.

The rest of the liquid, still black and thick, will gush out and you want to grab the pot off the heat as soon as this flow starts to pale. You know how many coffee houses will make you a long espresso just by letting the machine run longer, washing more water through the grounds? The pale liquid from your Moka is the exact same stuff, and will taste woody, bitter and burned.

Stop the flow early. I put a bowl of cold water next to the stove and dip the pot’s base in there. It stops the flow. You’ll soon get used to the timing.

Most homes in the old country where my family is from have one size for everyday use, and at least another bigger Moka for family occasions. 

Our Moka is a four-cup and it’s far out just right for Krista and me.

I prefer something medium for the Moka and I grind my own beans—but I’ll talk on grinders and the best coffee beans at a later time. The brewing method will still extract all the flavor, but that flavor will be better rounded, and not one-note bitter like you’ll get at the coffee houses here in Boston and elsewhere.

I say get a Moka pot if you want the best tasting and grooviest espresso around.

Nick Zelmenis

Guitarist, singer/songwriter, main character from
Remember Him Yesterday

Nick's Moka Espresso

Note: Moka pots are still available today though not as popular as other machines for making homemade espresso.

Kaye Manro

© copyright Kaye Manro 2016


Anonymous said...

Speaking of our favorite espresso, I didn't forget this either. Hmm. Nice post. love, B

Kaye Manro said...

Again thanks! I love the idea I got when working RHY that Nick brings Krista espresso in the morning. So where do you think I got that idea? K

Anonymous said...

'love you girl' -- cool that you used that line in these stories too. yeah you know I do love you, girl. B

Kaye Manro said...

Hey B, just text me! K