Sure, the piping hot cup you get at the coffee bar in Italy is something else. With its trademark froth and energetic kick, properly extracted espresso is superb.
But as far as homemade coffee goes, the Napoletana stovetop espresso pot historically delivers the best.
The flavor of the caffè is "round," longer and more complex than regular coffee made with a Moka.
Naples is a city often associated with pizza and spaghetti. But if you've ever tasted coffee in Naples, you'll agree it's probably the best you've ever had. Scholars hold the water responsible, others say it's the technique, some say it's magic. The Napoletana was invented in 1819, and is used less and less on a regular basis in Italian households. And that's because using a Napoletana is not easy: bizarre mechanics, empirical measurements and lots of patience are involved.
Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to brew a little bliss with a Napoletana, a ritual more than a method.
Tip: Use only the best finely ground coffee. Coffee powder is best kept in an air-tight glass or glazed earthenware container, not plastic. And stored in a cupboard, not the refrigerator.
Tip: Don't skimp on the coffee powder. Compact it with the back of a spoon and then make 3 little holes in the surface with a toothpick.
Tip: Overturn the Napoletana in one quick, single move, holding it by both handles. During this movement water will spout from the escape hole, this is totally normal.
Tip: While you wait for the water to drip down through the filter, make a little paper cone called "coppetiello," and place it on the spout. This will keep the aroma form escaping the pot :)
Waiting times vary according to pot. Mine takes 15 minutes to full drip down, some are quicker. You'll have to figure that part out on your own.
Can't find a Napoletana (also called "maghenetta" in dialect) where you live?
Buy one on my Amazon store and have it delivered to your doorstep!