The Complete Guide to Brewing Moka Pot Coffee

The Moka pot brew style is perfect if you’re after a rich, full-bodied coffee that packs a punch. Sleek in design and easy to use, we have the Italians to thank for this method of brewing. If you’re new to Moka pot coffee, our step-by-step guide can help get you started - saluti!

  1. What is Moka pot coffee?
  2. When was the Moka pot invented?
  3. How does the Moka pot work?
  4. What size is a standard Moka pot?
  5. What you'll need to get brewing:
  6. How to use a Moka pot step by step:
  7. Moka pot coffee FAQs

 

What is Moka pot coffee?

Moka pot coffee is an Italian coffee brewing method that uses a Moka pot. Made of aluminium, this brewing system relies on pressure and steam to brew the coffee grounds. Also referred to as a Bialetti, the Moka pot has become hugely popular across the world, with an estimated 330 million pots having been sold since its invention.

When was the Moka pot invented?

Having been around for just under a century, the Moka pot was invented by Alfonso Bialetti (with the help of Luigi De Ponti) in 1933

Bialetti was an engineer who had spent ten years prior working in the French aluminium industry. In 1919, Bialetti returned to his hometown of Piedmont to set up his own workshop creating aluminium products, and it was during this time that the Moka pot design was inspired. 

In the 1920s, dirty laundry was washed in sealed boilers containing a small, central tube. The tube was used to draw soapy water up from the bottom of the boiler and spread it across the wet laundry. Bialetti adapted this design to create the Moka coffee pot we know and love today. 

Fun fact: In 1947, Bialetti’s son Renato took over the family business. He died in 2016 at the age of 93, and his ashes were placed in a large replica of the Moka pot coffee maker.

How does the Moka pot work?

The aluminium Moka pot has an octagonal shape and is comprised of three main sections:

Moka steam
  • A: Lower chamber (a small tank which holds the water) 
  • B: Metal filter basket (used to hold the coffee grounds)
  • C: Upper chamber (collects the brew) 

    After being placed on a stove, the water within the lower chamber increases in temperature, which generates steam. The pressure in the bottom chamber pushes the water upward, through the safety valve and filter basket (which is where the coffee granules are situated).

    Once is has passed the filter basket, the water continues to move in an upward motion until it is released into the upper holding chamber.

     

    What size is a standard Moka pot?

    Moka pots can be purchased in a number of different sizes which impacts how many cups of coffee you can brew at once. The classic Bialetti Moka Express is available in 1 - 12 cup sizes.

    Cups Height in mm Base in mm Volume in ml
    1 133 64 60
    3 159 83 200
    6 216 102 300
    9 550 105 550
    12 775 127 775

     

    What you'll need to get brewing:

    • Kettle
    • Stove
    • Odd Kin’s speciality coffee (grind type: Whole Bean or Moka Pot)
    • Moka pot
    • Scales / measuring scoop

    How to use a Moka pot:

    Making coffee in a Moka pot is simple and fast, taking only a few minutes to brew. Follow our Head Roaster Rama’s 6 step Moka pot instructions to get started:  

    Step 1: To get started, simply boil your kettle and leave the water to rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Giving the water time to cool will prevent the Moka pot from getting too hot and cooking the coffee.

    Step 2: If you’re using whole bean coffee, grind your bean to a medium-fine ground. It should be slightly finer than V60 or Cafetière, but coarser than espresso. 

    Step 3: Next you need to fill your Moka pot filter basket with the coffee grounds. Be careful not to tamp the grounds, just distribute them evenly to create a flatbed. The exact amount needed will depend on the size of your Moka pot, but usually a 10 to 1 ratio is required. So, for 30g of coffee, you would need 300ml of water.

    Step 4: After the filter basket has been filled, pour the boiled water into the base chamber and assemble the moka pot.

    Step 5: Once assembled, place the Moka pot on the stove on a high heat. It’s important to keep the lid open to pay close attention to the brew. As soon as you see the coffee coming through, reduce the stove top temperature. 

    Step 6: Before or just as the pot begins to splutter, remove it from the heat and pour cold water over the base to stop any further extraction as this will spoil the taste of the coffee. Now, all that’s left to do is pour the coffee into cups. Ecco! Your Moka pot coffee is served. 

     

    Top Tip: We recommend using fresh, filtered water to allow for a fuller flavoured brew.

     

    Moka pot coffee FAQs

    What is the best Moka pot grind size?

    The best Moka pot grind size is a medium-fine grind. Each coffee particle should be roughly 0.5 mm in size, with a similar texture to caster sugar or table salt. Many people make the mistake of using a fine grind for Moka pot, which results in a bitter brew. 

    We recommend grinding your coffee to order, as whole bean coffee keeps fresher for longer. This can be done with a hand grinder or electric coffee grinder, but if you don’t have one of these - don’t worry, we can do it for you!

    All you have to do is choose which bag of Odd Kin’s speciality coffee you want, then choose the Moka Pot grind type and add to cart.  

    What is the correct coffee to water ratio for Moka pot?

    The ideal coffee to water ratio for Moka pot coffee is 1 to 10. This means that for every 30g of coffee used, you’ll need 300ml of boiling water.

    What are the pros of Moka pot coffee?

    A 2010 study found that 90% of Italian households own a Moka pot - and we’re not surprised, there are lots of reasons to love this style of brewing! The main benefits of Moka pot coffee are: 

    • Sleek, Art Deco design which has become a symbol of Italian coffee culture
    • Aluminium body which helps with heat retention 
    • An affordable way to brew great coffee 
    • Creates a rich and robust brew
    • Easy to clean and durable

    Are there any cons?

    The main potential pitfall of the Moka pot is that it requires a stove top and can result in a bitter brew. Quality control is important when making Moka pot coffee, and it’s crucial to nail the grind size and water temperature. 

    Why does my Moka pot coffee taste bitter?

    If your Moka pot coffee is resulting in a bitter brew, there are a few reasons why this could be. A major culprit of bitter Moka coffee is when the coffee bean has been ground too fine. With a fine grind, there is more surface area which means more extraction, and the last compounds of the bean are very bitter. 

    Pay close attention to your coffee to water ratio, and focus on achieving the correct heat as this is crucial to extraction and the final taste of the brew. It’s also important to make sure you’re using high quality beans that are as fresh as possible. Using a coffee roaster like Odd Kin is a good way to ensure your beans are the right quality, resulting in a balanced brew. 

    Is Moka coffee as strong as espresso?

    Despite producing a rich and intensely flavoured brew, Moka pot coffee is not the same or as strong as espresso.

    How to clean a Moka pot:

    Although Moka pots are not dishwasher safe, it’s important to clean your pot after each use. To do so, wait for the pot to cool, disassemble it and remove the spent coffee grounds from the filter basket. Then, you can rinse each part of the pot with hot water and wipe it down with a clean cloth.

    Should I use filtered water for Moka pot coffee?

    Yes, we always recommend using fresh, filtered water to improve the quality and taste of your coffee. How? You can use a coffee water filter to optimise your water for home brews. 

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