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What is the Moka Pot?

The Moka pot is a stovetop brewing method that has made a comeback among nostalgic hipsters and coffee lovers alike. This brewing method centers around an eight-sided metal device that has three individual chambers for water, coffee grounds and brewed coffee. Using high pressure and steam,  Moka pot coffee is somewhere between espresso and drip. When done right, it’s notably strong and concentrated but not overwhelmingly bitter. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying coffee using this classic method.

What You’ll Need

The beauty of the Moka pot is how simple it is to use and how little waste there is. Here are the four things you need before starting:

  • Moka pot – I like the classic Bialetti
  • Coffee – I prefer a medium to medium dark for this method, specialty grade of course
  • Water – filtered, not hard tap water
  • Stove – electric or gas, it doesn’t matter

8 Steps to Moka Pot Heaven

Step 1: Preheat Water

Heat the water to near boiling before you put it in the Moka pot. This is a critical and often overlooked step that will help ensure you don’t over extract your coffee.

Step 2: Grind Coffee

The grind should be fine, but not as fine as espresso. Try somewhere between your drip (medium) and espresso setting (fine). If you’re buying retail bags and don’t have a choice, I would pick a standard drip grind over espresso.

Step 3: Fill the Bottom Chamber

Pour the preheated water to the fill line or just beneath the safety valve.

Step 4: Fill the Coffee Filter

Take your (freshly) ground coffee and fill the metal basket to the brim, level it off but do not pack it down.

Step 5: Put Back Together

Screw the top and bottom (with the coffee basket) of the Moka pot back together. Use a kitchen towel to avoid burning yourself on the hot base and do not overtighten.

Step 6: Stove Time

Place the Moka pot on the stove and set the burner to medium heat.

Step 7: Brew

Soon after placing the Moka pot on the stove, coffee will start brewing into the top chamber as the water below boils. The brew will be completed once you hear a distinct bubbling sound and the liquid is honey in color.

Step 8: Stop the Extraction

As soon as the brew finishes, run the Moka pot under cold water to stop the extraction and prevent any less desirable flavors from making their way into your cup.

Serve immediately and ENJOY!

Common Moka Pot Mistakes

When talking about the Moka pot, critics often note a bitter and off-putting coffee. Since this is a manual method, there is certainly some room for error that can cause this to be the case. If you can avoid the most common mistakes here, you’ll be in for a delicious coffee experience.  

  • Cold Water– If you do not preheat the water before filling the Moka pot, you will risk burning the coffee grounds while your water reaches a boil.
  • Routine Cleaning– Many people think a simple rinse does the trick, but you need to regularly clean not only the top chamber but the entire Moka pot to ensure your coffee will taste right. Pro tip, make sure to remove the plastic gaskets between the levels for a full cleaning.
  • Grind Size– If your coffee is seriously over extracted and bitter, there is a good chance you’re using coffee that is ground too fine. Try a little coarser next time.
  • Forgot the Cool Down– Lastly but equally as important as the others is that final step when you’re done brewing, running the Moka pot under cold water. If you forget to do this your coffee will over extract and you may even get a metallic taste in your cup.
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