Many are the ways to prepare coffee around the world. The charm of the Neapolitan moka pot, however, is unmatched. If you are curious but don’t know how to use it, here you can discover the secrets of this ancient coffee ritual!
A story that began centuries ago
In 1819, Parisian Morize designed the first flip coffee pot in terracotta. His invention was later perfected in Italy, giving life to the Neapolitan flip coffee pot also called cuccumella, from cuccuma, meaning terracotta container in Neapolitan.
This coffee pot was soon manufactured in tin and went on to be the only device used to make coffee until 1933 when Bialetti invented the contemporary moka express. Despite having been largely replaced by the latter, the Neapolitan coffee pot is still the symbol of tradition and of the slow, ancient ritual of preparing coffee.
The moka pot: how it is made
To fully understand how it works, let’s have a look at the 5 parts composing the cuccumella:
- Coffee chamber: it’s hollow and smooth
- Water chamber: it’s perforated and has a handle
- Filter cap: it closes the first chamber
- Serving pot: it has a spout and a handle
How to make a good cup of coffee
To make your favourite beverage, put the ground coffee in the coffee chamber without pressing it too much, especially if it’s finely ground. Close the chamber with the filter cap. Now fill the water chamber up to the indicated level. Place the coffee chamber inside the water chamber, making sure to align the stem-vent hole on the side with the small indentation on the coffee chamber. The stem-vent hole enables the air trapped between the walls to be released, producing a hiss that lets you know it’s time to turn the stove off.
However, before turning on the stove, put the serving pot on top of the two chambers. Now you will have obtained a single coffee pot that you can place on the stove. As soon as the water starts boiling, turn off the stove and, after a minute, flip the cuccumella, making sure that the two parts of the Neapolitan pot remain together and the boiling water doesn’t pour out.
You have almost finished. Now you just have to wait until all the water in the upper chamber filters through the ground coffee, slowly extracting all the aromas in a process called percolation. After approx. 10-12 minutes, your coffee will be ready in the serving pot and you can keep it warm by closing the lid. However, it is best served hot.
Coffee made with the cuccumella is intense and aromatic, but one of its best qualities is perhaps the way it lets you rediscover the pleasure of old rituals and coffee as a convivial custom, and not only as a break from the thousands of things to do or a break from your busy schedule.