How to Use a Moka Pot

Posted on Fri, Apr 10, 2015

A Moka Pot is a beautiful tool to have in your coffee brewing arsenal.  Moka Pots are not only easy to use but, they have a classic design that appeals to the eye.  The industrial/ European sort of look is right up my alley.  I have a tiny one cup Moka Pot that I just love. 

The Moka Pot is sometimes referred to as an espresso kettle, a stove top espresso maker or a poor mans espresso maker because yes, they are cheap (in price, not quality).  The first Moka Pot was created by Luigi De Ponti in 1933.  Based on that name, I will give you one guess what country it was made in...yes, you are right- Italy.  The original design is still used to day and is sold as the Moka Express.
Besides the attractive design, the draw to Moka Pot coffee brewing is the results in the coffee.  A Moka Pot will produce a stronger coffee with its increased extraction abilities.  The final product is very similar to that of a french press- I like to describe it as rustic as it produces a sort of pleasant grit.  More oils are extracted from the coffee bean than with traditional drip style brewing creating a smooth, pleasant taste.  But, dont be confused, this is not a true espresso (according to coffee snobs everywhere). Espresso is a brewing method that uses a high pressure extraction process.  However, you can not get much closer to true espresso with any other devise than a Moka Pot. The taste is identical, the only thing missing is a crema. 

Using a Moka Pot can be a bit intimidating. For years I admired the display of stunning Moka Pots at a local Italian store, too scared to buy one since I had no idea how the heck to use it.  One day I took the plunge and realized- it's a piece of cake!

If your Moka Pot is brand new, you will want to perform at least three test brews to get the hang of the process, clean the unit and reduce any metal taste. 

Before we get started, let's discuss the parts of the brewer. There are three chambers to each Moka Pot.  The bottom hold the water.  The middle holds the coffee and the top houses the final product. The pot itself is made of aluminum but, should have a plastic handle and knob on the lid.  Last but not least, you will notice a small circular item on the side of the bottom chamber- that is the air valve.

Now, how to use a Moka Pot...

1- Start by adding water to the bottom chamber.  You should fill it to about 1/2 and inch below the valve. 

2- Add medium ground coffee to the middle basket.  Pack it lightly, no tamping please. 

3- Place the parts back together and tighten.

4- Place the Moka Pot on the stove top (a gas or electric stove works fine, if you have an induction oven, you will need to purchase a titanium alloy moka pot, the standard aluminum variety will not work). Moka Pots also work great over a camp fire : ) Make sure that the steam valve and spout are turned away from you to avoid burns.

5- Turn the burner to high.

6- When you begin to hear boiling and steam begins the escape from the spout, wait a few seconds then turn the heat off.  Allow the Moka Pot to sit on the burner until boiling subside. 

7- Pour the now brewed coffee into your favorite mug.  DO NOT open the lid or touch the sides, it is very hot and you will get burned. Use the plastic handle to pour carefully. 

8- Sip and enjoy!

The coffee produced in a Moka Pot is a perfect base for cappuccinos and lattes.  And I have good news- some genius invented a Moka Pot that also froth milk- check it out here.

Moka Pots are available in a huge variety of sizes and colors.  Including this vintage blue, however I am quite fond of the classic aluminum look. 

Do you have a Moka Pot?  Tell us about your experiences with Moka Pot coffee brewing. 

Additional resources:
  • Click here to shop for Bialetti Italian Moka Pots now. 
  • Confused about coffee terms?  Click here to read our article defining common coffee terms.
  • Like strong coffee?  You will love our recipe for a Red Eye, click here to learn how to make a Red Eye.

Click here to shop for value priced Nespresso pods


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Topics: All about coffee

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