It comes in three parts, all aluminum.. There are a wide variety of sizes, metallic finishes and colors. It’s called the Moka pot and it is a coffee maker. It makes espresso coffee on the stove top. The name most often associated with these pots is “Bialetti”, an Italian maker. The bottom is a chamber that holds water. It has a base that is wider than its top part. Into the base, an aluminum coffee basket is dropped. The size of the basket varies in accordance with the size of the pot. All of the parts are the size necessary for the number of cups desired by the user. The basket resembles a funnel in that it has a narrow tube at its base and it is up this tube that the water from the base travels as the water boils. The bottom of the pot, basket in place, is filled with coffee and screwed together with a top piece that has an internal rod coming from its base. The rod has a hole in its top and as the water boils and comes up the basket tube, it flows out into this top chamber as coffee. This chamber has a spout and a handle and a little top ornament, usually colored black, despite the color of the chambers. One of my Moka pots is lavender colored and it sits on the shelf above my kitchen sink when it is waiting to be used. It was a gift from a friend who lives in Umbria. The other, a larger model, sits on the shelf above my stove. It was a gift from my husband.
We had quickly become friends. My interest in her beautiful silk scarves brought me to her shop window and she invited me in. Within moments, we realized that we had so much in common. The loss of a loved one, the appreciation for life and the love of color made us kindred spirits. We came from two different cultures. She, an Italian woman who spent fourteen years of her life living in France before returning to her country as an adult, me an Italian-American woman who had come to Italy seeking a unique experience. It wasn’t long before plans were made for a trip to visit her home and her studio where I would see firsthand how she produced her art pieces. We started out early that Monday morning, two of us off to Perugia in her car, en route to her apartment which was located on the outskirts of the city. I was surprised at how modern the apartment complex was but not at all surprised at the simplicity of the entrance hall and the dimly lit rooms. As soon as we entered her home, I was offered a cup of coffee. Here again, no surprises. Hers, a two cup aluminum colored Moka pot , was placed on the stove and two tiny cups, on the kitchen table. A few moments later, the aroma of Italian espresso coffee filled the air. The dark brown elixir was poured and suddenly I felt as if I had been in this same room hundreds of times before. My senses were aroused by this, a familiar little ritual and as I looked around this humble kitchen, I felt my grandmother’s presence, as if she were the occupant of the home. A flood of memories came back that morning as we sat for a few moments, drinking our coffee as if we had known each other all our lives.