The first time I used a moka pot to make coffee, I must have gotten lucky. A few years out of college, I was working in a tiny office in New York, and the classic Italian wasp-waisted 3-cup coffee pot was in the kitchenette. Near the end of my first week, my coworkers suggested I be the one to make our coffee when we all started to droop during the long afternoon. I had fallen in love with the intense, lightly foam-topped little cups of coffee that was nearly espresso. It seemed pretty easy.
The second time I went to make it: Absolute disaster. The brew tasted burnt and horribly bitter. I had no idea what I did wrong.
Since those days, I’ve made countless cups, and picked up a few tricks to ensure fail-proof moka pot coffee.