Brewing Guides

How To Use A Moka Pot To Get Delicious Coffee Every Time!

Today we’re talking about how to use a moka pot, and why moka pot coffee doesn’t deserve the bad rap it usually gets. They’re a great way to make delicious coffee if you stick to a few basic rules!

So, how to make coffee with a moka pot taste great? Well, we’re here to share all of our tips and tricks so you can make perfect moka pot coffee. We’ll also fill you in on some common mistakes when using a moka pot.

how to use a moka pot pin image of a moka pot full of coffee

Quick Moka Pot Brewing Guide

  1. Fill the bottom chamber with freshly boiled water to just below the valve.
  2. Fill filter basket with fine ground coffee – DO NOT TAMP!
  3. Assemble the pot and place on medium heat with lid open.
  4. Wait for coffee to bubble up into the top chamber.
  5. As soon as you hear a gurgling sound, remove from heat.
  6. Immediately run the base under the cold tap.

What is a Moka Pot?

A moka pot is a stovetop coffee pot, usually made from steel or aluminium. Moka pots rely on steam pressure to brew coffee and are comparable to espresso machines in this way. You can also achieve an espresso style coffee taste using a moka pot. 

There are various moka pot sizes and designs with a popular design being the stainless steel moka pot, since they can be easier to clean.

Many people buy a moka pot because they love espresso coffee and want to replicate the taste at home. Making espresso in a moka pot is simple and most people won’t notice the difference between espresso machine espresso and moka pot espresso.

Moka Pot vs Percolator – What’s the Difference?

A moka pot and a percolator are both a stovetop coffee pot. However, a fundamental difference is that moka pots use steam pressure to push water upwards through the coffee grinds and a percolator uses gravity to drip water through the coffee.

In terms of taste, moka pots and percolators produce quite different flavours. Percolators often create a bitter taste profile due to the length of time you must apply heat to the pot, as well as how the water can drip through the coffee grinds several times before it’s ready. 

Unlike percolators, moka pots have a separate chamber for the brewed coffee to collect, meaning the water only passes through the coffee grinds once. The result is a stronger, espresso style coffee, that should not be bitter (keep reading for our step by step guide on making espresso in a moka pot).

How Does a Moka Pot Work

Let’s get into the science behind a moka pot. When the water in the lower chamber of a moka pot is boiling, some of the water becomes steam and fills the empty space above the water, where the pressure starts to build.

Eventually, there’s enough pressure to force the water upwards, out of the lower chamber, and through the coffee grinds. The brewed coffee then collects in the upper chamber, ready to be served.

You might have an image of an exploding, over pressurised moka pot in your mind, but fear not—all modern moka pots now come fitted with a safety valve that will let out any excess steam. 

Moka Pot Grind Size

When it comes to moka pot grind size, it’s important to note that the water travels through the coffee quickly. For this reason it’s best to use fine to medium fine grinds so that there’s a bigger surface area and you get a stronger, well bodied coffee. 

However, the grinds in your moka pot coffee maker should be a little coarser than the typical super fine espresso size grind, as these may clog the filter basket and result in bitter coffee.

Check this article for our top coffee grinder suggestions!

How to Make Espresso in a Moka Pot

Using moka pots is not difficult and you can achieve an espresso style coffee with ease. Start off by pouring freshly boiled water into the bottom chamber. If you’ve been wondering how to use coffee pots to get a strong but not bitter flavour, using hot water is key.

Fill with water to just below the safety valve. Then, put your grinds in the filter basket. Fill it completely, but don’t tamp the coffee—just level it off. Put the filter basket, complete with grinds, into the bottom chamber. 

Now, using a tea towel to protect your hand from burns, screw the upper chamber onto the bottom securely. As soon as you’ve done this, get it onto the stovetop at a medium heat.

It’s best to leave the lid up so you can tell when the coffee is ready. Watch the brewed coffee fill the upper chamber and wait until you hear a gurgling sound. Then, get it off the heat, and close the lid and run a cold tap over the base to stop the brewing process in its tracks.

Lastly, pour the coffee into a cup and you’ve got yourself an espresso style moka pot coffee!

Cleaning Moka Pots

Luckily cleaning moka pots is a simple process. Some are marketed as dishwasher safe but it’s recommended to only hand wash your moka pot. It’s a common myth that you shouldn’t clean your moka pot at all — in fact this can result in bitter coffee.

When it comes to what to use to clean coffee pots — you should use, well, nothing! It’s enough to dump out the coffee grounds and rinse with warm water, then dry thoroughly. You shouldn’t use soap to clean your moka pot as it can damage the lining.

Moka Pot vs French Press

Let’s break down the battle of the moka pot vs french press. French presses make coffee by combining hot water and coffee grinds directly within one chamber. The coffee grinds and water are left to brew for a few minutes and then the grinds are pressed to the bottom of the chamber using the plunger. 

French press coffee tastes similar to percolator coffee and is not as strong or comparable to the espresso style coffee that can be achieved with a moka pot. So, if you’re an espresso fan and like your coffee strong, you’ll most likely be more satisfied with a moka pot over a french press.

Find our favourite french presses here or read about how to make great coffee in them here.

Where to Buy Moka Pots

The simplest way to get your new moka pot is online—you’ll find a broader choice of products and can read up on others’ experiences before committing. Take a look at our stovetop coffee maker buying guide for some great products and links to where to buy moka pots.

Take a look at our in depth reviews on all the best moka pots right here or read more of our brewing guides.

Sophie is a barista and coffee enthusiast who has owned and ran a coffee truck in her remote community since 2017. She wants to cut the jargon and make brewing coffee enjoyable for everyone.