With clever marketing, Renato Bialetti made the Moka espresso maker famous worldwide
Following his death at 93, Bialetti's family buried coffee king in a replica urn
His father may have invented the beloved Moka stovetop espresso maker, but Renato Bialetti made it a symbol of Italian style worldwide.
Bialetti died last week at age 93. His three children honored him Tuesday by placing his ashes in a large replica of the coffee pot.
The unusual urn even featured the famous “Omino con i baffi” (meaning “The little man with mustache” in Italian) pictogram printed on every pot.
A symbol of the company since the 1950s, the cartoon is a caricature of Bialetti and was designed to distinguish his pots from those of competitors.
Through clever marketing, Bialetti expanded the business turning the coffee maker into an global sensation. Fast forward 60 years, and the company, which Bialetti sold in the late 1980s, says it has sold more than 200 million Mokas internationally.
Tuesday’s funeral took place in the coffee connoisseur’s birthplace of Montebuglio in northern Italy’s Casale Corte Cerro.
His remains were taken to a nearby cemetery and buried alongside his wife, a stone’s throw from the place where Bialetti’s father, Alfonso, invented the Moka in 1933.
Alfonso Bialetti, the story goes, got the idea for the coffee pot after observing local women washing clothes on the banks of a lake. The containers they used, made of two buckets connected by a central pipe, lit the spark in his mind.