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AP Photo/Danilo Donadio
Ashes to ashes, grounds to grounds.

Italy’s coffee pot king was buried in the appliance that made him famous

Corinne Purtill
By Corinne Purtill


Renato Bialetti, the Italian businessman who turned an aluminum coffee pot into a classic global design, died last week at the age of 93. In accordance with his and his family’s wishes, his ashes were interred in an urn shaped like a large version of a Moka pot, the stovetop coffee maker he introduced to the world.

A short video of the memorable funeral mass is here.

Bialetti didn’t invent the Moka. He just made it famous. A man named Luigi di Ponti designed the appliance in 1933 and sold the patent to Renato’s father Alfonso Bialetti, an aluminum vendor. It works like this (via Alborzagros):

Sales lagged under the elder Bialetti, but Renato had bigger, coffee-scented dreams when he took over the business in the 1940s. He spearheaded a massive marketing campaign across Italy for the pots, which were branded with a charmingly mustachioed caricature—based either on himself or his father, depending on the legend you read. L’omino con i baffi, the little man with a mustache, remains a widely-recognized symbol in Italy today.

An estimated 330 million Moka pots have since been sold around the world. Bialetti’s Moka-shaped urn now lies in the family plot in Omegna, Italy.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

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