Neapolitan flip coffee pot

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A typical Neapolitan flip coffee pot. The pot has already been "flipped". There is no opening at that end of the pot; a lid has been placed there for storage.

The Neapolitan flip coffee pot (Italian language: Napoletana, Neapolitan language: cuccumella, pronounced [kukkuˈmɛllə]) is a drip brew coffeemaker for the stove top that was very popular in Italy until last century. Unlike a Moka Express, a Napoletana does not use the pressure of steam to force the water through the coffee, relying instead on gravity.


The Napoletana is claimed to have been invented in 1819 by a Frenchman named Morize.[1][2] It takes its name from the city of Naples though, the multicultural capital of southern Italy till the 19th century that was highly influenced by Greek, Arabian, French and Spanish dominations during its history. The reason why this particular coffee-pot is known as "napoletana" is because it was developed, perfected and actually became popular in the Kingdom of Naples.

Naples was at that time an important cultural, artistic and political center in Europe, and the art of making a perfect coffee, along with the finest traditional local cuisine and music (Naples is also the place where Pizza, as we know it today, was born) soon became one of its distinctive features worldwide, first among aristocrats, and then a pleasure and a daily duty just for everyone.

After the second world war, with the economic development and the emergence of the consumer society, the neapolitan coffee-pot was superseded by a more modern coffee-maker called "Moka", used today in every Italian house, and it went completely out of use. Although, an increasing number of experts and coffee-fans have lately returned to this kind of ancient and "out of fashion" method that is actually more gentle to coffee due to the use of gravity and a little slower preparation instead of the very high pressure and temperature of a quicker moka pot; this produces a coffee that is less concentrated but more tasteful. Along with that goes the habit of buying selected roasted coffee beans and grinding them at home, or even roasting them at home when possible, which is actually how it worked in the past centuries. The combination of the two simple rules is absolutely what gives coffee the richest, spicy, unique aroma for which Naples became famous in the world centuries ago, that is in any case impossible to taste with packed coffee powder. This is why the "Napoletana" is going through a new popularity among an elite of connoisseurs and is in fact still available on the market with new fashionable designs.

Structure and use[edit]

It consists of a bottom section filled with water, a filter section in the middle filled with finely ground coffee, and an upside-down pot placed on the top. When the water boils, the entire three-part coffee maker is flipped over to let the water filter through the coffee grounds. Once the water has dripped through the grounds, the water-boiling and filter sections are removed, and the coffee is served from the remaining pot. If coarse grounds are used, the coffee is brewed quite mildly. Using very finely ground coffee in the "Neapolitan" style, this method can produce a coffee that has a stronger flavor than an automatic drip brew maker.

Classic Designs[edit]

Southern Italian Riccardo Dalisi redesigned this classic for Alessi. He began his research in 1979 and earned international attention when his design entered into production in 1987.[3] As they have come back to gain some popularity, Ilsa now also makes them in stainless steel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ William H. Ukers, All About Coffee, New York, The Tea and Coffee Trade Journal Company, 1922, cap.34.
  2. ^ Selecting a Coffee Brewing Method
  3. ^ (Italian) Biografie: Riccardo Dalisi

External links[edit]