“The voodoo priest and all his powers were as nothing compared to espresso, cappuccino, and mocha, which are stronger than all the religions of the world combined, and perhaps stronger than the human soul itself.” Memoir From Antproof Case, Mark Helprin
What is more delightful than an espresso (that’s eSpresso, not eXpresso) to help move through the day or a caffè correto to end a good dinner and aid digestion? This is an easy-to-learn process using a Bialleti Moka Express, a stove-top espresso maker. It’s well worth the negligible effort. I prefer the moka pot to a machine because I feel more connected to the process and the product, it takes up less real estate in the kitchen, and it’s budget wise.
As always we start with the freshest ingredients: water – clear, cold, and filtered – and freshly ground dark-roasted coffee. Buy it when you know you will use it right away, even if you purchase beans and grind them at home.
The Bialetti Moke Express comes in three parts: the reservoir for water, a coffee filter with funnel for the grounds, and a top piece to capture the espresso as it bubbles up from the bottom. This coffee pot comes in various sizes to make coffee for just one person or for up to twelve.
Fill the reservoir with water to just below the steam valve. Put the coffee filter in place and fill it with grounds, tamping them lightly with the back of the spoon. Screw the top piece in place.
Put the Moka Express on the highest heat. Watch it because it is quickly done. The espresso will gather in the top chamber. Serve immediately. Sweeten with xylotol if you like. If you care to, you might add either a lemon peel or, for a caffè correto, a little grappa. Caffè latte: One shot fresh, hot espresso for each six ounces of steamed organic dairy or nondairy milk.
This video demonstrates the process. (If you are view this from an email subscription, it’s likely you’ll have to link through to the site to watch the video.)
“An old American who lives in Brazil is writing his memoirs. An English teacher at the naval academy, he is married to a woman young enough to be his daughter and has a little son whom he loves. He sits in a mountain garden in Niterói, overlooking the ocean. As he reminisces and writes, placing the pages carefully in his antproof case, we learn that he was a World War II ace who was shot down twice, an investment banker who met with popes and presidents, and a man who was never not in love. He was the thief of the century, a murderer, and a protector of the innocent. And all his life he waged a valiant, losing, one-man battle against the world’s most insidious enslaver: coffee. Mark Helprin combines adventure, satire, flights of transcendence, and high comedy in this “memoir” of a man whose life reads like the song of the twentieth century.”