Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Simple is better...

I am so quickly coming to the conclusion that simple is better.

As a case in point this is my trusty and much used stovetop expresso maker. It’s small, was very cheap (under a tenner), simply made - so there’s very little to break, it’s easy-peasy to use, and, oh yes, it brews a better cup of coffee than the huge electric device that broke after less than a year and cost – well I won’t tell you what it cost.

Yes, simpler is better. When I want a coffee all I do is unscrew the aluminium base, fill it with water, spoon some ground coffee into the colanderised coffee chamber, re-screw the pouring coffee pot chamber back onto the base, and stand it on a lighted stove.

Five minutes or so later and voilĂ ! Perfect coffee.

The Moca Expresso (that’s what it’s called) was invented in 1933 by an Italian named Bialetti. The water is heated by the stove flame and as the water molecules gain momentum (kinetic energy) they collide with each other. As the temperature builds so does the kinetic energy, and there are more and faster collisions which increases the pressure in the pot, forcing the water upwards, through the colander coffee chamber, and up into the pouring chamber. The thick cast aluminium pot is made to withstand the additional pressure - that’s why it has that distinctive (and structurally stronger) ten sided shape and isn’t simply round.

Simplicity itself – well as long as you ignore the science.

As you can see I’ve had mine years, I had to make a wire mesh thing to get it to stand on the stove easily, but it works well and my Moca Express washes clean in a minute.

Simple is better.

I’m really going to hang on to that thought and see where it can take me.


  1. We also use one of these but we bought a stainless steel version. At the time, there was some research linking aluminium cookware with early onset alzheimers. It was later disproved so don't worry. There have probably been studies since that actually claim health benefits for aluminium. You can't trust sceintists. Anyway, I agree, it makes great coffee in a very quick & simple way.

  2. We have one of these, but its round and cow colour.

  3. Yes it makes great coffee if only I could remember where I put it.

    Very designer Rick.

  4. The beloved got me one a couple of Christmases back and it truly is a thing of beauty. You can't beat those design classics.

  5. I have two, one small one large BUT the silly house in which I currently reside has a so called state of the art hob which doesn't work with, guess what, aluminium.
    Which definitely goes to prove simpler is definitely better. I have large box of wonderful pans which can't be used on the flipping thing.
    Oh and you are so right about the coffee but my steel french press turns out a damn fine cup of coffee too.

  6. Alan Spence e-mailed:

    Is there a market for these retro type contraptions?

  7. Phillip Yeadon commented on Facebook:

    Phillip wrote
    ".... it beats breaking in to Starbucks at 6am in the morning ..... not quite as exciting tho!"

  8. Phillip Yeadon continued on Fcaebook:

    I ruined mine years ago by using detergent to wash it - somehow it never tasted right afterwards - also I was making full jugs and not using enough coffee so - I produced weak soapy stuff Yuk. Your descriptions have inspired me - I may buy another ... ! I'll email you re 'things'.

  9. Nick Jones comented on Facebook:

    That thing looks great! Reminds me of something out of Return To Oz...

  10. I love coffee and i have one of these, but I usially go down to the cafe on the corner it is so easier

  11. Sister Della says:

    We couldn't survive without our stovetop expresso maker ... Jed found a really fancy Italian one in a wonderful 'sells a bit of everything/antiques?" store in Katoomba, Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia. $24.

    We did have a coffee grinder which stopped working within the year - I would get it mended but I can't remember where I put it!!
    :O) The cheap replacement from Aldi 'ground to pieces" - literally. But what do you expect for $14.99?

  12. Zee Taylor commented on Facebook.

    Zee wrote
    "you know Andy, even though I don't drink coffee, I had a good read to your blog and you couldn't have put it any better."