Coffee Brewing

How To Brew In A Moka Pot (Step-By-Step Guide)

If you love coffee chances are you’ve already stumbled across the Moka Pot. This coffee brewer is found in almost every home throughout Italy and is the brewer of choice for many cafés in Europe.

Although this brewer is often touted as being able to make espresso, it really doesn’t deliver a “true” espresso shot like you would find in restaurants or cappuccino bars simply because of the commercial espresso machines utilize high-pressure to produce the perfect espresso and often cost more than eight hundred dollars.

Moka coffee is brewed at a relatively low pressure of 1 to 2 bar (100 to 200 kPa), whereas real espresso coffee requires a pressure of 9 bars (900 kPa).

The Moka Pot, on the other hand, costs under fifty dollars and uses a tiny amount of pressure when compared to the commercial espresso machines. The Moka Pot still works with pressure in very much the same way as commercial brewers but isn’t exactly like the espresso you would find in high street coffee shops, but it can come close.

The Moka Pot is designed to sit directly on your stove-top, the bottom chamber holds the water, and the center filter basket holds your ground coffee, the top chamber is where your freshly brewed coffee will collect. The principle is pretty simple. The pressure is built up in the bottom chamber which then pushes steam through the grounds and up into the top chamber.

Moka Pot Brewing At A Glance

What You Need

  • Bialetti 6-Cup Stovetop Espresso Maker (Moka Pot).
  • 19 grams whole coffee beans (or pre-ground).
  • Kettle (pour-over kettle preferred).
  • Coffee mug.
  • Burr coffee grinder (recommended).
  • Coffee scale.

End Result

  • Total brew time: 5:00.
  • Yield: 1 full mug.
  • Cup Characteristics: Flavor notes are closer to an espresso than filter coffee.

Brewing Espresso In A Moka Pot Instructions

The Moka Pot is pretty simple to master, and after reading through this brewing guide, I’m sure you’ll be well on your way to making some great tasting coffee.

Step 1: Preheat The Water

Gooseneck kettle on a stove-top

Preheat your water, simply bring the kettle to a boil and remove from heat.

There are many Moka Pot brewing guides that will tell you to add cold water directly to your bottom chamber and then heat, I disagree. I recommend that you boil your water separately and then add to the bottom chamber, this stops the Moka Pot from becoming too hot which can cause your coffee to burn which in turn can give the coffee a metallic taste. You will still be placing your Moka onto the stove-top, but due to it being pre-warmed it takes very little time to brew.

Step 2: Weigh Your Coffee

Coffee being weighed on a scale

Next, you need to weigh out your whole coffee beans, you’ll need enough to fill your filter basket so depending on the size of your Moka Pot adjust accordingly. For my Moka Pot, I typically use 19 grams of coffee.

Step 3: Grind Your Coffee

Grinding coffee beans

Once weighed out you’ll need to grind your whole bean coffee. Set your coffee grinder to a medium to a fine setting, your Moka Pot coffee grind size should resemble table salt. You can buy pre-ground coffee, the best coffee for Moka Pot I have found is the illy Caffe Normale which you can find here at Amazon.

Step 4: Add Water To The Fill Line

Pouring water into the Moka Pot base section

showing the fill line inside of the Moka Pot

Take your boiling water and pour it into the bottom chamber and stop at the fill line. If you cannot clearly see a fill line stop just under the pressure valve located on the side of the pot.

Step 5: Insert The Filter Basket

inserting the Moka Pot filter basket

Insert the metal filter basket into the top of the bottom chamber.

Step 6: Fill The Basket With Coffee

Moka Pot basket filled with ground coffee

Once your metal filter basket is inserted, fill it with your freshly ground coffee (or pre-ground) until it is level with the top. I like to slightly press down on the coffee, but not too much, also make sure that there is no coffee around the edges of the rim otherwise you will not get a good seal.

Want to take a look at the different Bialetti Espresso Makers? (yes there are different designs) Check out this article on the stovetop espresso makers that showcases a great handpicked selection.

Step 7: Assemble The Moka Pot

fitting the Moka Pot together

screwing the sections together

Assemble the pot by screwing the top chamber onto the base, hold the pot itself, and not the handle. Again, make sure that there are no grounds on the outside rim as you begin to screw together.

Step 8: Place Coffee Pot Over Heat

Moka Pot on the stove-top

Next, place your Moka Brewer onto the stove-top over moderate heat, make sure the handle isn’t over a naked flame. Try and leave the lid open to monitor the brewing, I say try, because you may find that coffee will start to splutter everywhere.

Step 9: Watch The Magic Happen!

Top view of the Moka Pot brewing coffee

You’ll start to hear a gurgling sound, and you will begin to see a rich-brown stream of coffee start to bubble up through the top of the filter that will get progressively lighter in color. Once the color of the coffee coming up through the filter starts to get lighter in color, and the bubbling almost stops, remove the pot from the heat.

Step 10: Remove And Pour

Pouring coffee from the Moka Pot

Pour the Moka coffee into your coffee mug being extra careful not to touch the pot directly with your hands – it’s hot!

Step 11: Clean Up And Enjoy!

Used coffee grounds and black coffee in a mug

Dilute the Moka coffee as I have done with hot water or if you prefer to add cream, milk, sugar, or other flavorings depending on your preference.

Stovetop Espresso Maker Brewing Tips

If you find that the center metal filter basket clogs or if the pressure valve pops out, try to use a coarser grind. Also, make sure not to pack the ground to tightly inside of the metal filter basket, just a slight tap down is all it needs.

If you find that your brew time is taking longer than 5 minutes try turning up the heat to build up more pressure in the bottom chamber.

I almost always recommend using whole coffee beans when brewing coffee, however, with the Moka Pot you can get away with using pre-ground coffee made especially for the Moka coffee maker such as this and this type of coffee.

If you don’t own a coffee scale simply fill your metal filter basket to the top.

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