Vv Magazine’s West Coast Editor Alexandra Gill investigates moka pots aka the guilt-free K Cup alternative.
There has been much lamenting of late over Keurig K-Cups. The single-serve coffee brewing pods are killing the planet. No kidding.
Last year, Keurig Green Mountain Inc. sold more than 9 billion of those dastardly little non-recyclable, non-biodegradable hard plastic and aluminum-foil pods — enough to circle the globe 10 times.
The American manufacturer has pledged to create fully recyclable K-Cups by 2020. But even the K-Cup inventor, John Sylvan (who now regrets creating the environmental monster), says that pie-in-the-sky dream is impossible. In the search for lazy-morning coffee solutions, an inventive British Columbia cement plant is turning K-Cups into concrete. (Because Mother Earth could really use more parking lots.) A Singaporean designer has developed a coffee maker that uses pods encased in a hard sugar coating. Meanwhile, a Halifax film company has launched a shaming #killthekcup campaign to ensure every K-Cup of Joe goes down with a bitter swill of guilt.
Why all the angst? The answer has been sitting on your stovetop (or could have been) all along! It’s called the moka pot. And this is why we love it:
1. It’s easy to use. Fill the bottom chamber with water (to just below the steam-valve regulator), add coffee to the metal filter basket, screw the two pieces together, place on a medium-high burner, and wait a few minutes until the steam pushes the water through the ground coffee into the top chamber.
2. It’s inexpensive. The standard Bialetti three-cup express model costs about $30.00.
3. It’s good for the planet. No plastic, no paper filter, no muss, no fuss. Compostable coffee grinds are the only waste involved.
4. It’s versatile. Depending on personal preference, you can use freshly roasted hand-ground coffee (better crema) or vacuum-packed Italian brands, which make extremely decent coffee for the price.
5. It makes better coffee than a Keurig K-Cup. It’s not espresso (the moka uses far less pressure), but it does taste like a beautifully bittersweet, extremely concentrated cup of percolated coffee.
6. It can be customized. If you like strong, syrupy coffee, fill the coffee basket to the brim. Prefer café allongé? Fill it only halfway or dilute your cup with boiling water.
8. You don’t even have to wash it and should never use soap. It’s true, ask any Italian nonna. With continued use, the upper moka chamber develops a thin coating of greasy coffee residue. This patina is desirable because it protects the coffee from contact with the aluminum (or stainless steel) to prevent a metallic taste.
9. It’s stylish. The iconic object, designed in the 1930s by Luigi De Ponti, has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and the London Design Museum.
10. 50 million Italians can’t be wrong.
What’s your favourite method of making your morning coffee? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.