I’ve created a monster.
One trip to Italy and now Ben is a cappuccino connoisseur.
In lieu of a large wedding, we decided to concentrate our funds on the honeymoon and were fortunate to be able to travel around Greece and Italy for 12 days. I returned with 600 digital photos, he came back with a cappuccino habit.
Ever since then, our Saturday morning routine includes piling into the El Camino and heading to the nearest Cups coffee shop. A medium-sized, whole milk, dry cappuccino for him and a small, decaf vanilla latte for me.
To curtail this expensive addiction I bought him a Bialetti 06990 Mukka Express Cappuccino Maker from Williams-Sonoma.
Before making this purchase I did ample online research and read many reviews from people who love the mukka like their firstborn or shun it like the plague. Half of the users claim this contraption churns out the most authentic Italian cappuccino this side of the Atlantic, while the other half complain of it’s finickiness if not assembled just so.
Hesitant to pay $90 for an appliance that seemed to be as reliable as Lindsay Lohan, I made the plunge after a ringing endorsement from a friend despite the problematic characteristics. Admittedly, there have been a few mishaps of overflowing coffee and one instance of cold, un-steamed milk. But now I’ve got the system down pat, saving at least $3 a week and regularly enjoying a cup of cappuccino goodness in the morning.
These are the steps I take to use the mukka on a gas stove top:
- Starting with clean parts, fill the water cup precisely to the line and pour it in the bottom base.
- Then put the filter cup in the base and spoon in espresso to the top. The directions say not to pack the grounds down, only use espresso (no coffee), and clean any grounds from the top edge of the filter cup.
- Take the glass top and screw it to the prepared base as tightly as possible. (Water has, and can, leak from the base.)
- Insert the valve, turn clockwise until it stops and push the gray button down for a cappuccino. (Leave it up for a latte, I don’t know if there is much of a difference because I’ve never left it up.)
- Fill the glass top with milk until it barely reaches the line beneath the handle (too much and it overflows.)
- Put the lid down.
- Turn the burner on so the flames reach the outer perimeter of the base, but not beyond (#5 on my stove).
- After 4-6 minutes you’ll hear a hiss, the valve button pop up, and get perfectly steamed milk blended with espresso.
Immediately after each use I rinse it out with water and wipe off the valve stem. Milk residue builds up easily so be sure to clean it thoroughly. Be forewarned, the mukka produces two small cups or one regular-sized cup of cappuccino.
All sources say the machine and product improves with use which has proven to be true. Ironically after mastering the process, Ben proclaimed he doesn’t like wet cappuccinos, he likes dry cappuccinos. Riiight. And for the rest of us mortals, this is the best explanation of the difference between wet and dry cappuccinos I’ve found.
So now I’ve developed a habit, and thankfully this magical little pot is mine, all mine.