Brikka advice

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
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BAEvans

#1: Post by BAEvans » Aug 15, 2019, 12:28 pm

Need some advice on using new 2 cup Brikka Moka pot.
Following the instructions, but not seeing coffee starting to flow after a couple of minutes into upper compartment, but rather an "explosion" of coffee into it after 3 minutes with steam, coughing, and bubbling simultaneously, as if the valve was stuck and suddenly popped open. the valve seems to move freely.
Have tried grinds from a bit coarser than espresso to a bit finer than drip with the same results. The last one, the coarsest, tasted fine but no froth and the abrupt violent behavior troubles me. Nothing like the videos.

Nunas
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#2: Post by Nunas » Aug 15, 2019, 8:41 pm

Are you tamping? If so, don't. The coffee should be ground to about the consistency of ordinary table salt. Fill full, but don't overfill...just strike it off with a knife or your finger. Start with hot water from a kettle. Then using hot mitts screw the Bialetti together. Don't use really high heat on the stove, especially if it is gas. You just want to bring the water slowly back up to a light boil. Leave the top open so you can see the coffee coming up. When it begins to pale, take it off the heat. I like to set it on a cold wet towel or run a bit of cool water over the moka pot. This stops the action before the steam can push up through the spent grounds, which gives bitter boiled coffee. It takes a few tries to get it right...hang in there!

What valve? There's no valve in mine other than the over pressure safety valve on the bottom chamber. Pls explain.

Edit: Dang...just ignore my ramblings. I just looked up this new version of the moka pot and sure enough there's some sort of valve there. Sorry...I obviously don't have a clue about it.

Edit 2: I just watched the manufacturer's video on this new style moka maker. What you describe seems to be normal. Apparently, the valve stays closed until a certain point then pops open. I gather they are trying to create some sort of crema with this new process. Frankly, I don't get it. Generally, steam through coffee is a bad thing. The aforementioned technique I use with my Bialetti is designed to NOT let steam through the grounds.

vit

#3: Post by vit » Aug 16, 2019, 5:41 am

Brikka is designed that way, so that valve opens at something around 1bar and brew process is finished in a few seconds at higher temperature, unlike ordinary moka pot where this process is gradual and mostly below boiling point. Did you watch videos of brewing with brikka and in your case it is different?

However, you can't get espresso like crema, the pressure is still too low. Foam on the top is filled mostly with vapor and some air and dissipates quickly, unlike espresso crema that is made of CO2

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C-Antonio

#4: Post by C-Antonio » Aug 20, 2019, 5:06 pm

BAEvans wrote: Nothing like the videos.
Which videos exactly?
Nunas wrote: Frankly, I don't get it. Generally, steam through coffee is a bad thing. The aforementioned technique I use with my Bialetti is designed to NOT let steam through the grounds.
Its not really steam like you have at the end of the moka express, you get this burst of pressure and the foam, pressurized filter style but it should be a compact foam, the steam is what gives you the bigger bubbles and you can kind of catch this one in time too.
“Eh sì sì sì…sembra facile (fare un buon caffè)!”

Nunas
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#5: Post by Nunas » Aug 20, 2019, 6:42 pm

Thanks for the video. Interesting, and quite different from the one the manufacturer posts. They use a full coffee load and 120 ml of water, whereas this one appears to use a full coffee load and only 60 ml of water.
However, you can't get espresso like crema, the pressure is still too low. Foam on the top is filled mostly with vapor and some air and dissipates quickly, unlike espresso crema that is made of CO2
Ooooh!...this hits on one of my pet peeves about moka makers. They are very often marketed as "espresso" makers. I've got several moka makers and IMHO they make moka...not espresso! Still, when I want moka I reach for my moka maker (the old kind).

This new kind sort of reminds me of my old Belman (to a point). I used to let it heat up until the OPV started to open, then open the coffee valve just enough for a flow. The second there was a hint of bubbly flow or steam, I closed it (so here's where it differs). I got no "crema" with the Belman, but didn't want any. I see with this one, they got it off the heat and poured right away, and it appears the ersatz crema is unavoidable.

Of course, the acid test would be tasting one made like in this video alongside a proper espresso, and maybe another made with the old style moka maker, all using the same coffee. Anyone out there done this?

Also, to the OP, have you now succeeded in turning out good moka with yours?

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BAEvans

#6: Post by BAEvans » Aug 20, 2019, 7:38 pm

Still tinkering but the mokka tastes good. No froth tho but doesn't really matter. If I want espresso I make espresso.
I think my grind is too coarse now. Dialed it down but too late for caffeine tonight.

Nunas
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#7: Post by Nunas » Aug 20, 2019, 7:41 pm

Oh my...I just looked at your equipment list. Sorry! I did not mean to treat you like a newbie in my posts :oops:

vit

#8: Post by vit » Aug 21, 2019, 2:37 am

Nunas wrote: Of course, the acid test would be tasting one made like in this video alongside a proper espresso, and maybe another made with the old style moka maker, all using the same coffee. Anyone out there done this?
I don't have a brikka, but was simulating it with an ordinary moka pot - I put the cap on the spout and replaced a security valve with tire valve where I put thermometer through, sealed with piece of rubber. Poured less water (to simulate brikka, which has lower position of security valve hence takes less water) and waited till about 115°C until releasing the cap on top of the spout similar like happens on brikka. Got similar effect like on brikka, considerably more foam, but it dissipated quickly. Taste was similar like if made normal way. I found no benefits of it.

Latter I succeeded to make an espresso with another modification, attaching bike strut pump to 1 cup china made moka express so that I was achieving 9 bar. Was using it for about 2 years, before replacing it with Flair about a year ago - espresso made by both is also similar ...

Funny thing, cheap chinese moka express is holding 9 bar no problem, while original Bialetti 2 cup moka express that I bough later to do the same was leaking on the seal so I wasn't able to go above 3-4 bar. Ok, it wasn't made for it. Maybe it was actually an additional security feature :D

About 4-5 bar is minimum for espresso crema (depending on coffee of course)

User avatar
C-Antonio

#9: Post by C-Antonio » Aug 21, 2019, 11:51 am

Nunas wrote:Thanks for the video. Interesting, and quite different from the one the manufacturer posts. They use a full coffee load and 120 ml of water, whereas this one appears to use a full coffee load and only 60 ml of water.
Ooooh!...this hits on one of my pet peeves about moka makers. They are very often marketed as "espresso" makers. I've got several moka makers and IMHO they make moka...not espresso! Still, when I want moka I reach for my moka maker (the old kind).

This new kind sort of reminds me of my old Belman (to a point). I used to let it heat up until the OPV started to open, then open the coffee valve just enough for a flow. The second there was a hint of bubbly flow or steam, I closed it (so here's where it differs). I got no "crema" with the Belman, but didn't want any. I see with this one, they got it off the heat and poured right away, and it appears the ersatz crema is unavoidable.
Sorry have not seen the manufacturer one. You have to consider that to a certain degree the coffee coarseness drives a bit how it flows out the top once the valve opens.

The amount of water is what the brikka you have in hand asks for, no more and no less, the older brikka models used to have a separate water measuring cup, following models added a step in the top half of the Brikka and used that to measure the right quantity and the even newer models made that step bigger and stamped it with H2O...
A moka pot makes moka coffee, the espresso deal was a a bad take of the "moka express" name, the comparison with the espresso of a bar was meantto be limited to a short time and good tasting... In Italy we call a moka pot "la moka" and thats it, noone calls moka coffee espresso or a moka pot a "stovetop espresso maker" as they do abroad (there have been plenty of other machines that tried to approach the espresso leveraging the stovetop heat, and they arent the moka)... "un caffe' " is a coffee, if around town you know that refers to espresso and if at someone's house you know it might be from an espresso machine or a moka, noone really has a problem with it (or even a passing thought).
Nunas wrote:Of course, the acid test would be tasting one made like in this video alongside a proper espresso, and maybe another made with the old style moka maker, all using the same coffee. Anyone out there done this?
A Brikka is a Brikka, a moka is a moka, an espresso is an espresso. They are all coffee but they are different, different methods for different results. We might play around visually with similar appearance but noone expects to have the same result so there is no point on comparing them. While some people might prefer the Brikka coffee over the moka express coffee because it has a bit more body its still not espresso, the fact is that in Italy we have the availability of all of them and we go for one or the other depending on convenience and situation we are in so the mindset is a bit different when it comes to the visual imitation. Its a bit like frothing the milk with the small battery whips, its just for the eye.
BAEvans wrote:Still tinkering but the mokka tastes good. No froth tho but doesn't really matter. If I want espresso I make espresso.
I think my grind is too coarse now. Dialed it down but too late for caffeine tonight.
Its just the look, an espresso is an espresso... Brikka coffee has its own taste.
A coarse grind will let the water just push past so you will see a more "violent" effect out the valve on top, playing with the grind you can get it to slow down so you can find a thicker, longer lasting, foam with finer bubbles and having the worse foam come out after it... basically you can have a couple seconds to take it off the stove. Obviously if you go too fine the coffe will taste burnt.
Also keep an eye on the stove burner, I find a difference between the electric and a gas stove (and not only with the moka, they cook differently in general). It takes just a tiny bit of tinkering between heat and grind (do not overfill it).
“Eh sì sì sì…sembra facile (fare un buon caffè)!”

User avatar
BAEvans

#10: Post by BAEvans » Aug 21, 2019, 12:09 pm

Thanks for all the comments and advice.
Not an espresso newbie but a brikka newbie.
I try all kinds.
Making the grind finer was the key. Good cup this morning with a bit of froth (NOT crema!) changing and returning to a grind a piece of cake with the monolith flat.
Close to Turkish actually but much less hassle. With my gas range with a rather high grate takes 3.5 minutes. The end does come in a rush. Quite satisfied and this will be in my rotation.