Bialetti Mukka Express
Mukka, Mukka, Mukka! I don’t know if it was it’s quirky design (cow print), the promise of the perfect stove top cappuccino, or the unknown mysteries of the Moka pot that had me giddy with anticipation to try the Bialetti Mukka Express.
As I waited for my Mukka Express to be delivered I stumbled across a fantastic article by Myron Joshua called “The Story of the Bialetti Moka Express” on www.ineedcoffee.com. In this article Myron speaks in depth about the history of Bialetti and his Moka vision. Bialetti promised:
“Espresso in the Home Just Like in the Bar”
The Bialetti Mukka Express is an updated version of their traditional Moka pot. The Mukka Express has a number of other finish options available if the cow print does not suit your tastes.
Central to the unit is a two position value that allows one to toggle between cappuccino mode, and “milk coffee” mode (aka latte). Depressing the value sets the Mukka Express to cappuccino mode, keeping it in the up position sets it to latte mode.
As you can see the Mukka Express is made up of two sections. The bottom basin holds the water and percolator basket. The upper pot screws onto this and is where the milk is added.
The then combined unit is placed on the stove and when the pressure in the basin reaches its crescendo, the upper value pops, causing the coffee to forcefully combine with the milk. Steam moving from the bottom chamber into the top causes the milk to foam. The end result being a perfect cappuccino.
According to the Video…
In reality, obtaining those results is not as easy as it is portrayed. During the initial break in period Bialetti suggests that three pots be made and discarded without milk. No problem.
I carefully filled the bottom with the exact amount of water indicated. Added my grounds to the percolator basket making sure to not pack the coffee or get it on the surrounding threads. And set my flame to medium as requested.
About five minutes later I heard the pop of the value being tripped, and excitedly watched to see what would happen. Coffee began to rush into the upper pot, it tumultuously rolled and thrashed as the steam forced its way up into the pot, up, up and over it boiled..
All over my freshly cleaned stove.
My wife eyed the Mukka Express with a slightly less enthused look, I could tell she was beginning to question its “cute” factor. Not a problem I assured here, the heat may have been too high, etc.
Attempt number two was made…
Honey I am going to need some more towels..
By attempt three I decided to throw caution to the wind, and dare I say it, add milk to the top. When the valve popped I opened the lid and yes, the milk was countering the explosive nature of the coffee, but it too continued to rise up and ultimately… overflow.
This time thankfully, I had more or less spared the stove. The instructional video on the Bialetti site shows the Mukka Express filling two giant cappuccino cups, in reality it just barely filled two regular coffee cups.
After a number of additional trials with different beans, grind consistencies and water and milk volumes (it seems using slightly more water and milk that they suggest is needed to avoid the boil over effect when using 2% milk, skim may be different), I was able to get the Mukka Express to bubble to rim of the pot just like the video shows.
If you are not willing to go through a trial and error period like this, you might want to consider a coffee brewing method that will give you more uniform results. Also, I would like to point out that moka brewed coffee has a unique, earthy almost industrial taste to it.
If you have never had this type of coffee before, try some first before you buy a moka pot to make sure you like it. At around $90 the Mukka Express will not break the bank, but I would hate to see someone buy one expecting it to taste like something other than what it does.
While I really like the idea of doing everything in one pot, I can see the merits of keeping the two processes separate. Your control is limited with the Mukka Express. Again this can either be a good or bad thing depending on the type of coffee drinker you are.