Let us be completely upfront here, we do not sell the moka or stovetop devices in our store. In fact, we don't sell any brewing equipment, so our advice or recommendations are offered entirely unbiased.
This article was originally written in 2009, so please try to keep that period of 14 years ago in context when reading this article.
Around 6 days before Xmas 2009, we were still undecided (or I should say somewhat paralyzed by making a proper decision) on whether we should drive from Melbourne to Newcastle or catch a flight to save time and energy.
Historically, we had done the drive routing for the past 10 years as it also offered the flexibility and freedom of having a vehicle to get around in Newcastle. Plus, the advantage of driving meant we could lug our wonderful espresso coffee machine and grinder equipment all the way up to Newcastle to enjoy the best coffee experience on holidays.
After all, isn't having amazing coffee part of enjoying a memorable holiday ?
OK, we know it's kind of coffee enthusiasm to the extreme but for those of you who can't accept mediocre coffee, surely you can empathize. Great coffee was not entirely part of the Newcastle culture back in 2009 (apologies to my dear friend and colleague Adrian regarded as the "king of coffee in Newcastle" - you know what I really mean).
So lugging all this extra equipment is like taking another body in the vehicle, but heck when you only get a measly 4 or 5 days off a year, then you definitely need to enjoy those rare days off with the best coffees available.
It is not showing off, no way. Purely a standard we are accustomed to enjoying. and also keen to share with family and friends.
However in December 2009 with just 3 days before Xmas we had suffered from time poor conditions the entire month so the fly option eventually won out.
Now with our mode of transport sorted, mind shifts to the problem of selecting an appropriate brew method for the aerial journey.
Would it be Aeropress, Plunger, Cold-Drip or Stovetop. Plenty of choices.
Ultimately, stovetop wins as a super reliable performer that we have enjoyed many great brews in our remote travels.
Next decision is what coffee to pair with the stovetop ?
Seemingly, PNG, Ethiopian and Tanzania coffees are the best suited for stovetop brewing, so we grind up fresh coffee for the trip.
With my parents having so many visitors over Xmas, there is a never-ending procession of guests morning till night and we pack a few extra bags of coffee with any leftovers staying for the parents to use.
The downside of being a designated coffee expert means spending half my days dosing, brewing and repeating the process over and over for all the guests. You can imagine after a few brews of being chained to the kitchen preparing coffees, the novelty wears thin - goodness, I escape my day job only to spend the majority of my holidays brewing coffee for others. Thanks but no thanks.
On the first morning in Newcastle after our flight up from Melbourne, we sauntered our way into the kitchen after a night on the alcohol, opened a pack of Ethiopia Sidamo ground coffee and carefully dosed the measured amount of ground coffee into the stovetop device filter holder.
Having the convenience of electric espresso machines, there is a certain kind of enjoyment to fire up the gas burner on an oven stovetop to plonking the moka pot on heat knowing soon the entire room is filled with amazing aromas,
Then it's the theatrical sounds of deep throated gurgling, a high-pitched whistle and a finished result of delicious fresh brewed coffee. Old school but just as enjoyable.
What amazed us about this careful ritual is a pure clarity and depth of the brewed coffee flavors from this humble stovetop.
Maybe we had our coffee goggles on, but wow it tasted superb and in some respects better than anything from an expensive espresso machine.
Then I thought for a moment, being hooked into a culture of the "best espresso machine and grinder", it's easy to forget there are in fact simpler and just as effective pleasures to be enjoyed from small and humble brewers.
A stovetop brewer is simple and truly elegant in how it goes about producing coffee. My goodness, it was indeed a wonderous juxtapose why I had lost this or forgotten this art form of a basic device as a competent and masterful system for preparing coffee.
One evening, after the mayhem of coffee and Xmas had subsided I was thinking about how and why this coffee was tasting so very special.
Was it being because I was home with my family, or the wonderful people around us or maybe the perfect summer weather. Any of those reasons could have influenced my mood and perception.
Then finally it dawned on me - coffee is indeed a very special beverage that should be enjoyed with those you like or love.
PLEASE NOTE: We recommend using a stainless moka pot/stovetop. Just like cooking pots and pans, there might be health risks from using aluminum-based cooking or brewing devices.