Cuccumella AKA Napoletana

The Cuccumella is a very odd looking Italian home coffee apparatus. I am not sure where I initially saw it, but the first time I got a clear idea of how it worked was from an Illy Video I watched while learning about the Moka. Like the Moka, the Cuccumella is mostly a home use device. When I asked Italian colleagues about it, they said it was the Moka before the Moka. It was widely owned and used before the espresso-style, Moka machine’s marketing prowess took the nation.

The Cuccumella is often called the Caffettiera Napoletana or simply the Napoletana, due to it being more widespread in the South of Italy. If you want to take all the fun out of life, you can call it the Neapolitan flip coffee pot. Much like the Moka, the Cuccumella comes in a wide range of sizes from comical shot glass portion to ones that could caffeinate a large Sunday family gathering.

It must be noted that this is essentially an all-in-one drip coffee device. It has two chambers with coffee held in the middle by a third. The water is added then the entire device is left on the stove top till the sight of water or steam coming out of a small hole on the side warns you it is ready. After visual confirmation, one risks skin and flips it over, shooting a small amount of hot water out. It then brews via gravity.

It has actually been hard to find one in Northern Italy. I was even told to go to the South to find one. Online versions tend to have boutique prices. I only really started seeing them when I visited Rome and Napoli. However, since then I have seen them in vintage and secondhand markets.

Currently in Italy for home-use, I only have my array of Moka pots and my beloved vintage Cuccumella. It is a bit too labor intensive for the work week, especially considering there are Cafes on each end of the block on the street where I reside. It has become my weekend ritual.

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