When lockdown started, Kat and I decided to get a moka Pot for home, and it was the best decision we’ve made. It allowed us to start the day with a shared coffee ritual, together, and to hone the recipe for the devilishly difficult cafecito. Just kidding, the cafecito is pretty straightforward to make. There are probably many recipes like it, but this is ours.

We use a 6-cup bialetti moka pot, but any size will do, you just have to adjust the recipe. The downside to the moka pot is you have to make the full pot, can’t do a half batch or anything. However, the 6-cup works really well for 2 (maybe oversized) cafecitos. Nothing wrong with getting the day started with a double, is there?

We’ve tried a few different coffees from the store, and our current favorite is the illy Classico. I plan to try Intelligentsia’s Black Cat Espresso, Dark Matter’s Unicorn Blood, and other espresso blends from my favorite roasters, but for now the simplicity of picking up coffee from the grocery store has been nice.

I hate it when recipes go on and on and on before getting to the actual recipe, so here we go:

  1. Pre-heat some water in a kettle, I bring it all the way to a boil.
  2. Spoon 21 grams of espresso ground coffee into the basket. Tap it gently on the sides to level it out. No need to compress the grounds at all, that’s when things go bad…

  1. Pour the hot water into the base of the moka pot all the way up to the bottom of the pressure release valve, about 280 grams.
  2. Screw the top of the pot on to the base. Be firm, yet gentle.
  3. Put the moka pot on the stove, on the smallest burner. Pop the lid open, and set the heat to medium-low. For us this is #4-5 out of 10, but YSMV (Your Stove May Vary).
  4. Watch the liquid goodness start streaming out. There’s a balance here, too slow and you’ll want to turn up the heat. But if it’s coming too fast and spurting coffee, it’s too hot and you’ll want to turn the heat down.

  1. Once it starts to gurgle, take the moka pot off the stove, and run the base under cold water to stop the percolation.
  2. In each of your two cups, add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Pour a few drops of coffee into the cup, and mix with the sugar. The goal is to make a thick sugar coffee paste. It’s delicious, but try to save some for the rest of the coffee. If there’s still sugar that hasn’t been pastified, add a few more drops of coffee. Be warned: It’s really easy to add too much coffee and the paste to become too watery, so start with less than you think. All that being said, I don’t know if this impacts the overall drink much. But at the very least, it’s more fun to make the thick paste.

  1. Once the paste has been made, pour the remaining coffee into the cups. A few stirs will get the sugar paste all mixed in, and then it’s ready to be enjoyed.