Renato Bialetti, the coffee king whose name is synonymous with the iconic aluminum stovetop esspresso makers, died last week at the age of 93.
In an unusual and strangely befitting tribute, the ashes of this well-known Italian coffee impresario were placed in a giant Moka pot at his funeral this week in Montebuglio, Italy.
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.
Bialetti took the modest sales of his father’s company, which had only manufactured 70,000 pots when he gained control in 1947, and spearheaded a massive marketing campaign across Italy for the pots, which were branded with a mustachioed caricature.
L’omino con i baffi, the little man with a mustache, remains a widely-recognized symbol in Italy today.
Bialetti’s Moka-shaped urn now lies in the family plot in Omegna, Italy.