Bialetti, the Italian maker of the moka pot, a stovetop coffee machine and one of the most iconic kitchen appliances ever created, announced in 2018 that the company was in major trouble—tens of millions of Euros in debt, unpaid salaries and taxes, revenues that are way down and look to be staying that way. In a press release, the company said there are “doubts over its continuity.” (Update: Bialetti sales have been on the rise since then.)
The moka pot is a symbol of Italy: of postwar ingenuity and global culinary dominance. It is in the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and other temples to design. It is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most popular coffee maker, and was for decades commonplace to the point of ubiquity not only in Italy but in Cuba, Argentina, Australia, and the United States. It’s also widely misunderstood and maligned, with approval in the modern coffee world coming perhaps a bit too late, in only the past few years. Get one while you can.