So I'm a tea drinker, but sometimes I like a little coffee, to drink or to cook with. I got a 6-cup Moka pot recently (the Bialetti Moka Express) which is still sitting in its box. I know that the 6 cups are more like 6 espresso shots of coffee, but for times when I just need a couple of shots (for baking or whatever), is is possible to make a smaller amount of coffee in the same pot? If so, any tips as to quantities/ proportions? Eg, would I reduce both the water and the coffee, or just the water?
While I like good coffee, I'm not such an afficionado that I'd care immensely if there is a small drop in quality, and I imagine it matters less for most desserts anyway. A substantial drop in quality would be a more serious problem.
Any other tips for a n00b who is a little intimidated by the Moka pot?
I have never tried a partial pot. For your first half dozen pots you should make a full one. After that you will have a good enough feel for how it works to try your own experimenting. I suspect it won't do well, since proper flow of water through the grounds depends on their density. Under filling the coffee chamber will allow the grounds to float as water is forced through, resulting in under extraction, and possibly carrying some grounds through the filter.
Another option for making small amounts of strong coffee is to boil the water in an open pot, add the grounds and let them steep a minute or two, and then filter it though a fine strainer or paper filter. Plastic holders for #2 filters sell for less than $10.
I think my moka pot is a 6; it takes only 2/3c of water.
I have a 6 cup moka pot. I use it 2-3 times a day. I drink the 6 cups of espresso as one cup of coffee usually diluted with a couple of ice cubes to cool it quickly. I would not make a less than full pot. If you have any left over, freeze it in ice cube trays for next time or for iced coffee later.
I love my Moka pot!
Thanks to all, that's very helpful. That adjustable funnel looks interesting: I'll track it down, and till then, full cups of coffee and freezing as a backup it is. I made my first full pot yesterday, and it turned out quite foul, but I understand there's a breaking in period before the good stuff starts to flow. Also, I used unfiltered water in a hard water area - time to get a new water filter.
You might like to consider a Vietnamese coffee dripper. They're a few dollars each at many Asian markets. And they're designed to make a single serving of coffee - very slowly but very well.