How To Make The Perfect Moka Pot Coffee (Complete Guide)
Brewing Moka Pot Coffee can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before. This process is a little different from most, so it can seem tricky to follow.
While it’s true that Moka Pot produces some of the best coffee, it does require attention.
Tess Presso is a Coffee Judge and an Ambassador of the Coffee Industry in Melbourne.
She says: "Moka Pot was the first coffee I ever had, with my grandmother. The day couldn't start without it! I quickly fell in love with coffee at a young age, and three decades later - It's my greatest love of all."
In this post you will be learning:
1. What Is a Moka Pot
2. The Process Of Extraction: Pressurized Brewing
3. Why Is Moka Pot Coffee Bitter
4. How To Use Moka Pot Coffee Maker
5. Detailed Moka Pot Coffee Instructions
6. Tips And Tricks On How To Make The Perfect Moka Pot Coffee
7. How To Select The Best Moka Pot For You
Moka Pot has been around for years, and while some rave about the coffee made through this method, others are not the biggest fans.
However, despite being invented in 1933 by Luigi De Ponti for Alfonso Bialetti, an Italian coffee maker. The method remains somewhat a mystery, but we will be unfolding it all to you.
Whether you are a novice or an experienced coffee maker, by the end of this article, you will be equipped with interesting knowledge and facts that are bound to make your coffee taste better.
Let's dive into it!
What Is a Moka Pot?
The Moka pot is a stovetop coffee maker. It brews coffee by allowing the steam vapours from the boiling water to seep through the coffee grounds to extract the coffee flavours.
The Moka pot yields a smooth, rich cup of coffee that you cannot achieve using an auto-drip coffee maker.
The Moka Pot was invented in Italy, and, since its invention, the Moka Pot quickly gained prominence and the use spilt over North America, Europe, North Africa, and finally to the East.
Moka Pot is made of simple elements:
The body is made from either aluminium or stainless steel. Both of the metals can withstand high heat from the stove and are quite rust-resistant.
There are three parts to the Moka Pot Coffee Maker:
2. Above it is the coffee basket that holds the coffee grounds and contains tiny holes.
3. The topmost element is the upper chamber that consists of brewed coffee.
Before you start brewing your coffee in the moka pot, you need to understand the process of coffee extraction as this is most important factor that impacts the taste in the cup!
Pressurized Brewing: Process of Extraction
This is where the functioning of a Moka Pot differs from the rest and gets interesting.
When the water and coffee grounds in the basket are put on heat, the steam gets trapped as there is no escape in the sealed lower chamber.
This creates a lot of pressure that forces the vapours to shoot up to the grounds, starting the brewing process.
That’s not all. The pressure is still there and building up, ultimately forcing the liquid to go to the funnel and pass through a filter.
When the brewed coffee finally breaches the upper chamber, there is no pressure, and the coffee slowly fills up.
Despite largely being marketed as stovetop espresso makers, Moka Pot is not a replacement for true Espresso due to the difference in methods employed to make the coffee.
While the mechanism is the same for Espresso - hot water is forced through the coffee grounds to derive a strong cup of coffee.
A typical espresso requires about 8-10 bars of pressure, which can only be attained through dedicated machines. An espresso machine also employs a temperature of 92-96°C.
On the other hand, a Moka Pot only generates about 1-2 bars of pressure, meaning it is not nearly as strong enough as Espresso.
The Moka Pot will not be able to pass through a crema test as there is not enough pressure. Also, the coffee is brewed at much higher temperatures (100°C) than Espresso.
Still, caffeine in Moka Pot coffee comes pretty close to Espresso, and if you aren’t a stickler, you may not even find a difference between the two as flavour-wise, they both seem incredibly close.
Another difference is that you should never tamp the grounds while brewing the coffee in the Moka Pot.
Tamping is necessary while making Espresso, this practice should never be done in Moka Pots.
The reason for this is, an Espresso machine is designed to sustain an incredible amount of pressure, and comes with a fail-safe that prevents the machine from bursting.
However, Moka Pots are considerably more fragile than the automated machine.
Despite having a release valve, if the grounds are packed too tight, the water won’t be able to pass through and would result in the building of pressure that can result in the bursting of the Pot.
The hot metal and water can cause serious burns and injuries.
Now let's address a frequently asked question by the coffee drinkers!
Why Is Moka Pot Coffee Bitter?
The reason why Moka Pot may not be preferred by some, is that this pressurized brewing makes the coffee bitter. The coffee ratio is said to be twice as strong.
In a normal cup of coffee, the ratio of coffee to water is 1:16, whereas coffee made from Moka Pot consists of a 1:7 ratio, meaning that the flavour of the coffee is quite potent, thus the bitter taste.
Due to Moka Pot coffee caffeine levels, many people prefer to enjoy their cup with steamed milk, hot water, or just sip lightly as is.
IT'S BREW TIME!
How To Use Moka Pot Coffee Maker?
While the coffee maker looks simple enough from the outside, people are often puzzled as: how to make Moka Pot coffee? You can start by assembling the flowing materials to brew the perfect Moka Pot coffee:
1. A cold towel
Moka Pot is designed to get hot quickly. Even after you have cut off the heat, the metal can retain it, thereby continuing the brewing process farther than it needs to.
A cold towel comes in handy to cool down the metal so that the flavours are not over-extracted. You can do without it, but if you are having trouble with the bitterness of the coffee, it is the little things that count.
2. Any Moka Pot of your choice
3. Freshly Roasted Coffee Beans
The complex flavours of coffee last for 2 weeks after the coffee is roasted. It is suggested that you grind your coffee beans just before you brew to keep the complex aromas intact.
There is no other way to preserve the natural flavour of the beans and prevent them from going stale.
4. Hot Water
You can take water at a regular temperature and wait for it to boil in the Moka Pot, but you will run the risk of cooking the coffee grounds beforehand.
When that happens, you will get a metallic and bitter taste.
Step by Step Guide -
How to brew coffee in a Moka Pot?
Moka Pot Coffee Instructions:
1. Start with grinding enough coffee at a fine or medium-fine setting that fills the coffee basket to its full capacity.
2. Take a knife and swipe to level off the excess coffee grounds. Remember to not tamp them.
3. Get the boiling/ hot water and fill the water chamber just below the release valve. Do not cover it, or it will not work in case of pressure build-up.
4. While you are doing the above step, dampen a towel and put it in the freezer.
5. It is now time to assemble the Moka Pot. While sealing, ensure that no coffee grounds are spilling over or remain on the ridges of the coffee basket.
If the coffee grounds are not completely in the basket, it will prevent the Pot fully sealing itself, which will ultimately disturb the balance and flavour.
6. Put the assembled Moka Pot on the stove, on medium heat, keep the lid open. Keep an eye on the time, or set up a timer for 5-10 minutes.
However, if nothing seems to be happening, the heat may be too low.
7. The distinctive sounds of gurgling would start to reach your ears by now. It means coffee is now oozing into the upper chamber.
Please note that if the Moka Pot is making too much aggressive noise, the heat may be too high.
8. When the coffee has a golden honey hue and reached about 3/4th to the spout, you can take it off the burner. Put the Moka Pot on the cold towel.
It will prevent over-extraction of the coffee.
Pour and Enjoy!
People are often confused about how to use Moka Express, manufactured by Bialetti.
The Moka Express may have been invented first, but the mechanism remains the same and it is to be used in the same manner as detailed in this guide.
If you prepare your coffee with these steps, the answer to the question -
Is Moka Pot coffee good?
will always be yes!
Tips and Tricks on How To Make The Perfect Moka Pot Coffee
Many disregard the role of grind size of the coffee grounds while brewing Moka Pot coffee. If you have done everything by the book and still don’t love your coffee, it is time to take a closer look at the size of the coffee grounds.
Grind it too fine; it will not let the water pass through and grind it too coarse; the coffee may be lacklustre.
The coffee extraction time and the grind size are dependent on each other. However, there is no correct formula to nail the taste, as everyone likes their coffee differently.
It comes down to trial and error and understanding the finer things about a Moka Pot.
Troubleshooting Moka Pot Coffee Taste Profile:
If the coffee is uncharacteristically bitter, then there is something wrong.
It could be that your coffee quality is low or the grounds have been over-roasted. There is also a possibility that you over-extracted the coffee.
Try to get a coarser grind as it will prevent the steam from over-extracting the flavours.
You also need to find the perfect extraction time as per your taste, and this will take a little bit of trial and error.
Also, try to toggle between different heat settings.
If the brew is too weak, it is because the water passes through channels within the coffee grounds instead of filtering through them. Which means, only a small amount of flavour is getting extracted.
To eliminate this, try tapping your coffee basket at a hard surface to evenly distribute the grounds.
If this does not work, then you should go for a finer grind size.
If the steam or water is leaking from the side, kill the heat immediately. The pressure has not built correctly, and that is dangerous.
When the Pot is cooled, seal it again properly and ensure, there are no grounds in the way of the rim.
If the steam is releasing from the release valve, the pressure, again, is too much.
Check if the coffee basket has been overfilled, or if the heat’s too much, or you have tamped the grounds.
Maintenance and Cleaning
Cleaning a Moka Pot is not difficult, and the more you maintain it, the longer shelf life it is going to enjoy.
When you take it off the heat and after you have poured the coffee, ensure that the Pot has cooled down. Disassemble the different parts and discard the coffee grounds.
Rinse the Moka Pot with hot water. Use your fingers to give the pot a good rinse and clean the hard-to-reach sections, wherever the coffee grounds are remaining.
Wipe the water with a dry cloth and let it air dry.
It is preferred not to use soap to clean a Moka Pot. It strips away the shiny surface of the metal, leaving it more prone to damage.
How To Select The Best Moka Pot For You?
Moka Pot is commonly available in two varieties - aluminium and stainless steel. While the type of coffee they both make do not differ from each other, there are other differences that set them apart.
Aluminium Moka Pot:
When the Moka Pot was initially invented, it was made out of aluminium due to its malleable properties, and it was easy to manoeuvre and shape.
Unfortunately, it also had some serious downsides that led to the invention of the stainless steel Moka Pots.
While cost-effective, aluminium is very porous, meaning on its surface, it consists of tiny holes that may be invisible to the eye, but they are there.
Over time, with usage, oils and coffee grounds get stuck on the surface and remain there. This will slowly chip away at the metal, and a metallic taste will start to creep into your coffee.
Aluminium Moka Pots are durable and easy to find, but due to the cons of the material involved, the taste of the coffee starts to change for the worse.
But, that only results after years of usage. Another issue with the metal is its susceptibility to rust. From the first instance of exposure to water, oils, and coffee, it starts to rust.
The only way to slow down the process is to ensure that it is devoid of any moisture after you have used and cleaned it.
However, if you want to try out a Moka Pot, it is suggested to go with an aluminium one. They are inexpensive, and for newbies, who don’t care much about durability and would only like to try it out, an aluminium Moka Pot is the best option.
Stainless Steel Moka Pot:
Stainless steel has only recently snuck into the production of Moka Pots. Every con that aluminium has is rectified by this one.
It is non-porous, as there is chrome polish covering all the holes on the surface, hence, there is no impact on the actual taste of the coffee and is easier to clean.
Steel is also more durable than aluminium; it does not scratch easily and can take a few crashes. It is also non-corrosive.
Your choice of material of Moka Pot should also depend on what type of stove you intend to cook with. Whether it is gas-based, electric, or induction, you need to check if the chosen Moka Pot is compatible or not.
In case you are having trouble choosing, stainless steel is the safest bet.
Electric Vs. Manual Moka Pot
The biggest complaint of a Moka Pot is that there is a serious learning curve, and it is hard to figure out, definitely not for the impatient coffee drinker.
Thankfully, the solution to that is also here via Electric Moka Pots. Your job is to pour the water, put the coffee grounds in, and plug it into an electrical outlet.
With a temperature regulation, it functions as an electric kettle. You only need to figure out what grind size you prefer.
Here is the catch, though - Electric Moka Pots are expensive than the manual ones. A good and branded electric Moka Pot comes with an upward cost of INR 10000, while the normal one can be yours for under INR 2000.
All said and done, another thing to keep in mind is that Moka Pot is not for bulk brewing.
Any type of Moka Pot only produces 60 ML of coffee in each cup. If you have a three-cup Pot, it will produce 180 ML, if you have a six-cup Pot, it will produce 360 ML.
Moka Pot is worth exploring as an option if you are just starting, instead of splurging out on an Espresso machine.
Moka Pot makes some of the most balanced, rich, and soothing cup of coffee that will truly energize your mornings.
So there you have it, a step by step guide to making the perfect Moka pot coffee.
We hope that you have been able to make the most of this blog and that you continue to return to our blog and website for more great information and practical advice.
Do leave a comment below sharing your own experiences with this brewing method.
Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter and get all the latest coffee tips, tricks and education delivered to your inbox!