How to Brew Coffee in a Moka Pot
Everything you need to know how to brew coffee in a moka pot
The Moka pot has been a fixture of kitchens across Italy, Spain, and Portugal since the 1950s. So how have you not heard of it? We’re not here to shame you — while the Moka pot is practically synonymous with Italian coffee it has failed to take root stateside, only being appreciated by coffee connoisseurs.
The Moka Pot: A Brief History
The Moka pot, called a “caffettiera” in its native Italy, was invented in 1933 by Luigi De Ponti. The design was purchased, perfected, and patented by Alfonso Bialetti shortly after, a man who confusingly is also not named “Moka” (the Moka pot gets its name from the Yemenite city of Mocha).
Bialetti, who had existing business ties in the aluminum and metalworking industries, decided that all Moka pots should be manufactured from aluminum. At the time this was considered an innovation, but keep in mind while using a Moka pot that aluminum retains heat and can burn you if handled improperly.
What Makes the Moka Pot So Special?
Anyone with thirty dollars to their name can afford an original Moka pot that brews strong, viscous coffee evocative of espresso without an expensive and complicated espresso machine.
A Moka pot is a straightforward stovetop brewing device that generates velvety smooth coffee by passing pressurized boiling water upward through fine coffee grounds. The simplicity of a Moka pot makes it appeal to veterans and newcomers alike, leveling the playing field so you can enjoy a perfect cup of coffee without earning a Master’s Degree in Coffee Science.
What You’ll Need:
Coffee - ground
Approx. 5 minutes
How to Brew Coffee in a Moka Pot
Alright, you’re ready to make your first cup of coffee with a Moka pot. Great! Before you begin check you have everything you need:
A coffee grinder
Ready? Here’s our quick Moka pot brewing guide:
Grind your coffee to a fine grind, the same size that you would use in an espresso machine. Grind about 20 grams of coffee per cup that you want to brew.
Unscrew and separate the bottom of the Moka pot from the top and remove the basket. Fill the bottom of the Moka pot with water, ensuring the water level stays below the steam release valve.
You have a choice: use cold water, or pre-boil water and add hot water directly to the Moka pot. Some brewers prefer one method to the other. If you choose to boil water and add it to your Moka pot while hot be cautious when transferring the boiling water from your kettle. Also, keep in mind that the heating and brewing processes will take less time in the steps below.
Add the coffee grounds to the filter basket. Shake the basket gently or use your finger to evenly disperse the grounds to make them level.
Insert the filter basket into the bottom compartment and screw the top back onto the Moka pot.
Place the Moka pot on the stovetop. Turn on the burner and set it to medium heat.
It is possible to use excessive heat and cook the coffee beans, spoiling your pot of coffee. Pay attention to the temperature you use and adjust as necessary with subsequent brews.
Watch the coffee brew. The right pressure should push a steady stream of coffee through the upper chamber once the water has boiled. If you see the coffee practically explode like a geyser the heat is too high, and if the coffee is bubbling up occasionally it is too slow.
Remove the Moka pot from heat once you hear a hissing, bubbling sound indicating that the coffee has finished brewing. Once your Moka pot coffee has finished brewing simply pour yourself a cup, add sugar and cream if you like, and marvel at your handiwork as you enjoy a sip of rich, steaming coffee.
After a couple of practice runs you can perfect your Moka pot brewing method. Maybe this will be your new morning ritual, or maybe you’ll stick to dropping by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® before the morning commute. Either way: happy brewing!