The little stovetop espresso maker (or moka pot) is a classic of every Nonna everywhere. They’re the perfect tool for delivering a great, full-bodied, rich coffee at home without taking up the whole bench in the kitchen. To learn more about it, we paid a visit to Pete, our resident expert. He’s been using his little Bialetti for years and we hoped he’d share his morning ritual with us so we could pass some tips on.

The grind:
Grinding your coffee fresh as you use it is probably the most important step in any coffee brewing, stovetop included. It can’t be overstated and if you are looking to buy some equipment to make coffee at home, always start with the grinder. That said, Pete uses a lovely little Japanese Porlex hand mill. A few seconds of elbow grease and he’s got enough fresh, fluffy grinds to fill the small Bialetti pot we’ll be using. As for fineness, he recommends a few steps coarser than espresso, but a little trial and error will find you your sweet spot with your own gear.

Getting going:
Fill the base of the pot with hot water – less time on the stove stops the grinds from developing bitterness, but make sure not to fill past the valve! Now place the coffee basket in and fill with your fresh grinds. Fill it all the way to the top but don’t pack it down, you want the grinds to have some space. Screw the top on tight and pop it on the stove.

The pour:
Keep the lid open and watch, pretty soon a rich golden liquid will start to pour out of the centre and fill up the chamber. As soon as it starts to pale in colour switch off the heat. At this stage you can use a cold, damp cloth to wipe the base of the pot to instantly cool it, stopping the brewing process or as Pete says, just pour it straight into your cup. Either way, you’ll want to avoid the end of the process where it starts hissing steam out, this will only impart a harsh bitterness to the drink.

Cleaning:
Once you’re all done, you simply need to take the pot apart and give it all a good rinse and let it dry. Don’t use detergents and if you’re brewing with a Bialetti like Pete, they’re aluminium so can really do with retaining some of the oils on the surface so as to not add a metallic taste to your coffee. He recommends using it daily in this case as the seasoning won’t get a stale taste to it. If the pot goes out of action for a while, you might want to re-season it a couple of times before bringing it back into the fold.

Honestly, they’re a pretty simple way of making a cracking coffee, as long as you follow some basic parameters. That’s probably why they’ve been around for so long.


Everyone’s got one somewhere in the house. Some people swear by them and others swear at them, but just like any other method a great brew can be created from this most humble of devices. All you have to do is follow some basic rules and the coffee will come to life.

As far as we are aware, there’s not a great deal of difference between plunger models available. Make sure the mesh filter is fine enough to hold the grinds down then simply choose one that suits the amount of coffee you usually make. Really, they’re a pretty straight forward affair. Much more important is the holy trinity of any great coffee brew – grind size, brew ratio and water temperature. Being able to control these three is your answer to a great coffee from any device.

Grind size:
We often get asked at the roastery “What coffee machine should I buy?” but the answer always starts with the grinder. Being able to grind fresh and with quality burrs makes the greatest difference to your coffee – above anything else. If you’re buying equipment, always buy the grinder first and get the best you can afford, then spend the rest on brewing gear. If that means a plunger then you will be still be comfortably equipped to make delicious coffee. We still see customers buying pre-ground coffee to put into home espresso machines costing thousands of dollars, unable to make a coffee taste “like in a cafe” – you know who you are. The coffee is stale and without the ability to adjust the grind size you’ll never get it just right.

That said, grinding for a plunger should be coarse like sand. Because you will be steeping it for a few minutes you don’t want it very fine or it will over extract and turn bitter. Grind what you need at the time as coffee oxidises very quickly once ground and can be stale within minutes. You can keep the rest of the beans in an airtight bag in the pantry, not the fridge. They’re very dry and any exposure to the moist air of a fridge will absorb not only water but the smell of anything else in there, like cheese or onions or fish.

Water temperature:
Boiling water is too hot for brewing coffee and will produce bitter flavours. We suggest letting the kettle rest for 3 minutes after boiling or pouring into another container first then the plunger, to bring the water down to an ideal 93 degrees or so.

When starting the pour too, its good to add a 100mL or so of the water to coffee first in the bottom of the plunger, give it a good stir, and wait for 20 seconds. This is called the “bloom” and allows the grinds to evenly take on water and swell up. Then add the rest of the water and you’re good to go. Let it steep for about 3 minutes before plunging.

 

 

 

Brew ratio:
This is the key to it all. Plunger coffee is not espresso and you shouldn’t treat it as such, less is more. Made with the correct ratio of coffee to water, you can make a beautiful cup of joe, full of nuance and aroma, but to do it you need to back off on the coffee. For most of our roasts, we recommend 18g of coarse ground coffee to 300mL of water (or a 1:17 ratio) to find the sweet point. Honestly, in the roastery we use scales each time and if you feel like nerding it out with us, we suggest you do it too. Its the only way to achieve consistency every time and if you don’t believe what a difference this makes, try an experiment: one coffee made with 18g to 300mL of water and another with 22g to 300mL. The flavour will not only intensify, but will feel heavy and muddy and all the fresh aroma and floral notes will fade away. If you don’t have digital scales at hand to measure the coffee, our guesstimate is about 3 level dessert spoons makes 18 grams.

That’s about it. Once you’ve plunged it, get it straight into the cup as further exposure to the grinds at the bottom only leads to over-extraction and bitter tannins. Note: If you enjoy it black, allow the drink to cool, as the fresh flavours will open up in the glass as the coffee gets colder. Good luck out there, and if you’ve anything to add feel free to leave a comment.

 


Hello Coffee has evolved a lot since its creation 5 odd years ago. What started as a hobby between 2 friends has developed into an entity that encompasses an entire community, offers a diverse palette of skills and makes a bunch of people happy.

Coffee is at the heart of what we create here, and what makes it special is its ability to make people connect. Every day people sit across from each other over coffee, and have always done so. As a roaster and a cafe we can facilitate that and make it a great experience, add a story, and give it further meaning. Making people happy is what we’re here to do and making awesome coffee definitely helps! At the roasting end we have Gareth and Reed. Together they manage the sourcing of crops, careful control of roasting profiles and creation of our blends. We think our coffee stands apart from others with our attention to detail, care and understanding of the customer’s needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then there’s food. Because great coffee and great food go hand in hand. We’ve been lucky in coming together with a stalwart of the Apollo Bay food and produce scene, Holly. With a career’s worth of horticulture and cooking experience she has shaped a kitchen unique to the region. Partnering up with local primary producers, she delivers her vision of fresh, seasonal food, amazing homestyle baking and traditional preserves. We take pride in partnering with local businesses wherever possible. Our eggs come from Wongarra Farm, our fresh greens and vegetables are grown by the amazing Jodie at The Green Acre and our bread provided daily by Jane & Sally at the local bakery.

 

 

The local talent down here in the Otways spreads further than the kitchen, and because of our ever hard working curator Nattie, our partnerships with regional artists have shaped the visual outlook of the whole business. Our walls are a busy, active gallery space and the venue lays host to rotating exhibitions, live music and performance. Selected artists have also been able to personally design the packaging of our coffees and other products. We love the idea of sharing what our community can produce with the wider world and providing encouragement and opportunity for up-and-coming talent benefits us all.