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The Bialetti Moka: how it was born (and how the perfect coffee is prepared)

Who knows if Alfonso Bialetti would he have ever thought that while watching his wife do the laundry, his name would enter the home of every Italian, it would arrive at the MoMA in News York and even at the Triennale in Milan. Yet she went exactly like this: Mr. Alfonso Bialettiwho in 1919 had opened a workshop for the production of semi-finished aluminum productswatching his wife wash the clothes with a «lisciveuse», proto-washing machine consisting of a tank with a central turret from which the water heated by a boiler rose, he thought about coffee. She thought more or less: «What if we used the same method to make coffee?». Thus it was that the brilliant idea supported by the entrepreneurial spirit produced, in 1933, the first Moka.

In 1933, thanks to a brilliant intuition Alfonso Bialetti creates the first and original Moka Express, an invention destined to forever revolutionize the way of preparing coffee at home. Bialetti’s goal was to bring coffee as good as that of the bar into Italian homes, while creating a simple and easy-to-use object. This is why he chose aluminum to make it: a light, resistant material and at the time synonymous with modernity.

We must all say thank you to Alfonso Bialetti if the sound of the bubbling Moka and the smell of coffee lives somewhere happy in the memory of each of us. The Moka is in all probability the most loved object in the kitchen, certainly the best known (it has a brand awareness level of 100%), it is a cult object, but above all we like it because it is democratic (And the cheapest system for making coffee, with around €0.07 per cup)and it is also naturally eco-sustainable: the aluminum of the machine lasts a lifetime, it can only be washed with water, without soap and the only waste product is the coffee grounds (which can also be used to fertilize plants).

Its ninety years of history are a success that fortunately does not seem to stop: they are approximately 2 million Moka Express sold worldwide in one year (40% Italy, 60% Abroad), this is thanks to a careful vision of the company which innovates where it is needed (obviously the induction Moka pots have also arrived) and above all gives the right space to the traditional and timeless coffee machine, with special editions (like the one with Dolce & Gabbana), 100 Bialetti stores in Italy and a marketing in 90 countries of the world (with approx 1000 employeesand revenues for 152.9 million euros in 2022).

In the company where Moka was born.

Marco Antinori

He tells us the story of the success of Moka Egidio Cozzi, CEO of Bialetti, a Coccaglio, in the province of Brescia, the current headquarters of Bialetti. We visit the company which has a fully automated production line from which the Moka pots come out one after the other, shining in aluminium, a material that Alfonso Bialetti had chosen because it was light and resistant.

Today the company has expanded its production: in addition to the Moka, in 2010 the project was born roasting, of which Bialetti follows all the phases: from the selection of the beans, to the roasting and grinding, up to the final packaging. In the same years the production of capsules for espresso machines with i Coffee of Italyblends designed with the idea of ​​enhancing the differences in habits and taste in coffee consumption, from the north to the south of the Peninsula, while in 2020 Gioia arrives on the marketthe compact espresso machine with a pop design.

There Moka Express Caretto Siciliano born from the collaboration between Bialetti and Dolce&Gabbana.

In the company we taste the different coffees to distinguish the aromas of the different blends, when arabica prevails and how much robusta there is, among Bialetti’s Caffè d’Italia blends, between the Milan, Turin, Venice, Rome, Naples, Palermo. But for those who love Moka the indispensable product is «Perfect Mocha», that is, the coffee that solves the doubts of all of us when we want to make the perfect Moka, the one ground to the right degree so that it releases its aroma and does not burn. It’s obvious, we asked for them «instructions» to prepare the perfect Moka, because that remains the art that every Italian is proud of. Here’s what Bialetti thinks:

How to prepare the perfect mocha

  1. The best water for making coffee is the one with less limescale: with harder water less is extracted, with bottled water the differences in flavor can be felt better.
  2. Put the water up to the valve.
  3. Place the coffee level, level it without crushing.
  4. Keep the flame low.
  5. Turn off immediately as soon as only water starts to come out to avoid the risk of burning the coffee.

Historical images of the first Bialetti company.

The first Moka. The name is chosen in honor of the city of Mokha in Yemenone of the first and most renowned coffee production areas, while it is said that the iconic octagonal shape of the Moka – which has remained almost unchanged over the decades – was inspired by the silhouette of Alfonso’s wife herself: the head, the broad shoulders, the waist narrow, one arm on the hip and a pleated skirt.

The introduction of the very famous on the Moka Express dates back to the 1950s Little man with a mustache. Born from the pencil of cartoonist Paul Campani and inspired by the figure of Renato Bialetti – Alfonso’s son – the Little Man with the Mustache became the symbol of the company itself and was soon applied to all Bialetti products.

In 2010 Bialetti entered the coffee market with the line of capsules for espresso machines The Cafés of Italy: carefully studied blends with the idea of ​​enhancing the differences in habits and tastes in coffee consumption, from the north to the south of the Peninsula. The capsules contain 7 grams of coffee and are made of aluminium, a material that can be recycled infinitely and which guarantees the best preservation of all the organoleptic properties of the coffee.

Luca Argenterobrand ambassador of Bialetti

From the knowledge of the Moka and Bialetti’s experience in the world of coffee in 2021 is born Perfect Mocha, the line of ground coffee specifically designed for preparation in the moka. In April 2022just a few months after launch, Perfect Mocha He is elected Product of the year in the coffee category. There roasting is slow and controlledwhile the grinding comes carefully studied and calibrated: the specific size of the coffee powder is what guarantees a full-bodied result in the cup, giving creaminess and aromatic intensity. Perfect Mocha is available in one range of 7 varieties – Classic, Intense, Delicate, Deka, Chocolate, Hazelnut, Vanilla – in addition to the limited editions that the company presents on special occasions.

The offer of espresso machines is further enriched in 2020 with Joythe new compact machine, with a pop and contemporary design, which becomes the flagship product of the Bialetti espresso system.

Bialetti is constantly committed to improving its products and the production process. The company is implementing a review of processes and supply chain with the aim of making the entire organization more aware of environmental and sustainability issues. Among the results achieved in terms of product there is:

The design of a separates capsules which allows you to correctly recycle used ones;

The removal of every plastic component from all packs of Moka Express, which from 2020 are completely made of FSC certified recycled paper;

The creation Responsible Joy (2022), made with 50% recycled plastics and with a 100% FSC certified recycled paper pack;

The reconformation, from 2022, of all product packs marketed with the aim of giving the user all the information necessary for a correct disposal of each individual part.

In 2022 the meeting between Bialetti and Dolce&Gabbana – two representative realities of Made in Italy – gives life to a unique and exclusive collaboration that celebrates the Italian coffee ritual. The launch product of the partnership is the Moka Express Caretto Siciliano in which the iconic design of the coffee maker meets the characteristic imagery of the famous fashion house. In 2023, in addition to the creation of the new ground coffee blend Perfect Irresistible Mocha, the range of products expands and the iconography of the Sicilian Cart adorns the Moka Induction, the Coffee Press and two exclusive and new gift boxes. Hero piece a limited edition of the Moka Express 50 cups, a true art object to collect.

Completes the range of Bialetti coffee products Grain Expertalso designed for automatic machines and perfect for those who love experimenting and composing their own blends. A product that favors beans grown in tropical areas at high altitude, where, thanks to the strong temperature variations, the coffee has a slower maturation time and develops a characteristic refined and elegant aroma.


Source: Vanity Fair

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