Tag Archives: coffee

How to Make Espresso in a Moka Coffeemaker



    • Boiler
    • Basket
    • Chamber


What You’ll Need:

  • Coffee ground to espresso setting or slightly coarser
  • Dish towel or oven mitt
  • Kettle or electric water boiler



Step One: Boiling (optional but strongly recommended)

Boil water
Boil enough water to fill the Moka Pot boiler up to its release valve. Starting with boiled water is beneficial to the extraction process – it limits the possibility of burning the coffee grounds, which produces off-flavors. But it is not wrong to just fill the Moka Pot boiler straight away with water of any temperature, it will just take slightly longer for the water to get to steaming temperature inside the mechanism. IF YOU USE PRE-BOILED WATER, THE OUTSIDE OF THE BOILER WILL BE VERY HOT. USE A DISH TOWEL OR OVEN MITT FOR ALL CONTACT WITH THE BOILER.

Step Two: Filling the Boiler

Fill boiler with water up to, but not beyond, the midway point of the release valve
Fill the Moka Pot boiler up to the midway point of its release valve, but no higher, with pre-boiled water. Overfilling will cause displaced water to leach into the basket containing the coffee grounds, water-logging them when the object is to extract solely through steam passing through the grounds. The water-log caused by overfilling will lead to off-flavors and an imbalanced extraction.

Step Three: Loading the Grounds

Moka 017Fill basket with coffee grounds, level out, and place inside the boiler
Fill the basket with coffee of your choice, ground to an espresso setting or just slightly coarser. You want the volume of the basket to be filled evenly. Once you’ve scooped enough coffee grounds to fill the chamber, lightly level out the surface of the coffee so it is flush with the lip of the basket. DO NOT TAMP THE COFFEE! The Moka Pot is equipped to withhold only a moderate amount of pressure, and tamping the coffee grounds can impede the movement of steam from the boiler through the basket and into the chamber. This will cause an uneven extraction at least, and at worst the results can be, literally, explosive. So just brush off the excess grounds, wipe away any that are clinging to the outside surface of the basket as well, and place the basket into its snug resting place inside the boiler.

Step Four: Closing the System

Screw chamber onto boiler until just tight – then give an extra quarter turn
Screw on the chamber until just tight, then screw another quarter rotation to firm up its connection to the boiler to avoid any pressure leaks. Remember the outside of the boiler will be hot if you’ve used pre-boiled water, so hold only with a dish towel or oven mitt. Once the chamber is screwed on, be sure to pop open the lid so you can monitor the upcoming action!

Step Five: Heating

Put your Moka Pot on medium-low heat
Place your Moka Pot on the stove-top and heat on medium-low. Be mindful of the placement of the handle, which is plastic – accidentally melting this is a tragic sensory compromise that strongly overshadows the coffee aroma you were hoping for, and the burnt plastic smell will linger in your kitchen for hours or even days. I always turn the handle to the outside of the burner.

Step Six: Extracting

Moka 016Watch Your Coffee!
As the water in the boiler turns to steam, pressure forces it to rise up into the basket. It continues through the basket, extracting vitamins, oils, caffeine, and all the flavors that are soluble at that temperature range from the coffee grounds. It rises into the small, dual-opening channel within the chamber, recondensed into liquid form as coffee!

The extraction occurs in a few stages: the first bit of coffee that escapes into the chamber is typically a bubbly, light-hazel honey colored foam. Quickly after this first spurt, the coffee will begin to stream through both openings, running down the channel in the chamber as a thin, cherry-dark, syrupy ink with a thoughtful constancy. Coffee will stream through like this and at this pace for almost the entire extraction process. As the extraction nears its end, the coffee begins to thin significantly and become pale, almost straw-colored.

Step Seven: Stop Extraction

Remove Moka Pot from heat, run boiler under cold water to halt extraction
Learning when to stop the extraction is the true art of the Moka Pot. The extraction will continue until all of the water from the boiler has passed through the grounds into the chamber. But the flavors change dramatically toward the end of the process, and knowing what taste profile you desire will inform how long you allow the coffee to extract. As a general rule, cutting your extraction short, as the coffee is still prominently dark and streaming, before or just as it becomes light in color and puffing bubbles through the channel, will produce a rich, robust, concentrated drink. BUT DO NOT BE FOOLED: THE EXTRACTION WILL NOT STOP JUST BY REMOVING THE MOKA POT FROM HEAT. To stop extraction, you must cool the boiler rapidly. I blast the bottom of the pot – the boiler component – under cold water for 5 seconds or so, until coffee stops passing through into the chamber. For more pure volume, you can allow the extraction to go longer, knowing that the tail of the extraction period is pulling less and different soluble components out of the beans. This will water down the overall flavor of your drink and can produce a less delicate, balanced tone in your coffee. Whichever way you choose, enjoy your drink!

Moka 015

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Components:   What You’ll Need: Coffee ground to espresso setting or slightly coarser Dish towel or oven mitt Kettle or electric water boiler   Method: Step One: ...

Caffeine Fiend

For me there is more to coffee than just the caffeine or the aroma – it’s the idea of coffee that I love.

Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of coffee around the house; my father likely had a cup at the office on occasion but my mother never drank it. The only time there was ever coffee in my house was when they threw a party. Unbeknownst (at least I thought) to their guests, I would sneak around finishing cup after cup as people set them down. It didn’t matter what was in them – black coffee, coffee with sugar, coffee with cream, coffee with cream and sugar – every cup went down smoothly. To this day, the smell of coffee brewing is the promise of a party and an adventure and I can’t seem to get enough.


My family knows that I can’t get up in the morning without a cup of coffee – not for the caffeine – but the hot cup in my hand and the aroma filling my nostrils. We have a coffee maker with a timer and a thermos – coffee set at night and ready to go first thing in the morning. If my kids wanted a ride to school – they needed to bring me that first cup. Ride to a soccer game – cup of coffee, SAT exam – cup of coffee. Breakfast – cup of coffee.

With that being said, I will be the first to admit that I have a track record of being an irresponsible coffee drinker. While I love the feeling of having a hot cup of coffee in my hand and I appreciate a good coffee, I will happily finish a cup that’s gone cold and have been known to buy coffee at a gas station during a road trip. For better or for worse I always have a cup of coffee.

Via Umbria's Reusable Cups

When we first decided to serve coffee at Via Umbria, my one requirement was that we do it right. We decided to use Illy coffee beans and serve traditional Italian drinks in proper portions – no more cold coffee for me. We pride ourselves on making excellent coffee in our Cafe. We are not in the business of making pumpkin coffees or even hazelnut coffees and we don’t want to be – there are plenty of places to grab a coffee shake. Via Umbria makes drip coffee and all of our other coffee drinks are ground and brewed to order – espresso, lattes, cappuccinos and Americanos – and we do diligent training with our barista’s and under Guido’s watchful eye because when it comes to bringing you an authentic Italian experience there is no room for error.

I love having my own coffee shop. Every morning I walk in and a fresh cup of coffee is handed to me. Gone are the days where I will happily drink cold, stale, or gas station coffee; I drink fresh coffee all day long. And now you can too! Join Via Umbria’s coffee club – For every 10 cups purchased, get one free. Or, buy one of our reusable coffee cups and get 10% off each refill when you come back.

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For me there is more to coffee than just the caffeine or the aroma – it’s the idea of coffee that I ...

Press Release: Illy partners with Via Umbria


What’s hot, Italian and waiting for you at the bar?

That’s right—illy coffee at the all new Via Umbria opening this November! Paired with a fresh made croissant, and sipped at the bar—Via Umbria provides the traditional Italian coffee bar experience right in Georgetown.

“You can grab a cup of coffee anywhere; we wanted to offer people a real Italian coffee experience. Stop in on your way to work, order a small, delicious cup of illy and talk politics with your neighbor—just like in Italy. We will open at 7am for coffee and breakfast,” said Suzy Menard, one of the owners of Via Umbria.

Via Umbria’s coffee bar is perfect for those who crave the classic social European coffee experience instead of a cafe overrun with people on headphones and laptops.

Later this week, Via Umbria will announce its website’s new press page for up-to-date news, events and announcements.

CONTACT: Jenny Buck, Via Umbria 

To warm up your mornings with delicious warm coffee! Read more

What’s hot, Italian and waiting for you at the bar? That’s right—illy coffee at the all new Via Umbria opening this November! Paired ...

Noteworthy Notizie


This week found us with a new shipment of food (the porcini mushrooms are back!), some new artwork in our Galleria, and some newly flowering trees on our back area. We are looking forward to slowing down a little bit this weekend, and our round up of news from this week will provide some excellent conversation for your moments spend savoring life this weekend.


Italian Espresso gets sent into space, as a special treat for an Italian astronaut at the International Space Station. For a treat a little closer to home, we always go with Cafe del Doge.


The Today Show did a segment on “longevity soup.” Those who eat this soup in the South of Italy live longer than most…and this fountain of youth is only chickpeas, borlotti (cranberry) beans and the fregola (Italian couscous, which can be hard to find), as well as a giant can of tomatoes! Our own Deborah made it for friends to celebrate her birthday (may she live as long as the Sardinians!), and it was a big hit.


The migration struggle from Lybia to Italy is getting insreasingly complicated. This article from CNN does a just recap.


The New York Times covers an quirky story about how a quest to fix broken toilet for a would be trattoria owner ends in a huge archeological discovery. Oh Italy, you’ve done it again.


McDonalds made an add earlier this week suggesting that Italian children would rather have a Happy Meal than pizza. Neapolitan pizza makers retaliate against the MacDonalds add with their own hilarious and cute video. We’ll have the pizza too!


We hope you find the time to sink your teeth into an excellent pizza yourself this weekend.  We will be open for an extra hour tonight for the Book Hill Gallery Night, come say hello!


Ci Vediamo!

–Via Umbria

April 17th Read more

This week found us with a new shipment of food (the porcini mushrooms are back!), some new artwork in our Galleria, and ...