A moka pot is a great way to savour authentic Italian style coffee at home. It delivers a coffee which, in taste and strength, sits somewhere between an espresso and drip coffee. It’s a unique taste and using a moka pot is a fun way of brewing coffee.
That said it can take a few tries before you master the art but there are a few insider tricks that you can use to to get the best out of your moka pot.
Our top tips on how to use a moka pot to make great coffee
Without further ado let’s get started and let’s begin by once and for all nailing an urban myth.
1 – Keep your moka pot clean
There’s an old wives tale that says you should never clean your moka pot. This is similar to the fable about never washing woks if you’re into Chinese cooking. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
If you don’t wash the pot, residue from the coffee will build up over time. This baked on stale coffee will make your new brews taste bitter. For the best tasting and freshest coffee keep the coffee compartment of your moka pot spotlessly clean.
Personally, I think the ‘don’t clean your pot’ myth was spun by waiters in back street Italian cafes who couldn’t be bothered to do the washing up. Don’t be like them.
2 – Use a coarse grind
How you grind your beans plays a big part in how good (or bad) your cup of coffee will taste. And for a moka pot it’s very important to get the grind right. You need a coarse grind or your coffee will taste very bitter.
This is something a lot of people get wrong as they assume they should use a very fine espresso type grind. Don’t do this. Grind your beans so they are a bit coarser than an espresso grind. This may take a bit of experimentation to get right but it’ll be worth it in the end.
3 – Use the best beans you can
If you’ve read any of my other coffee themed articles on this website you’ll know this is a bit of a hobby horse of mine. Users often criticise coffee machines because their brew doesn’t taste great. But – big news people – this isn’t your coffee maker’s fault. It’s yours.
If you don’t use good quality beans your coffee will be disappointing. And that will be the case whether you’re using a barista coffee machine or a humble moka pot. ALWAYS use the best quality beans you possibly can. Sure, it’ll cost a little extra but good quality coffee is always worth the money.
Oh, and here’s a bonus tip for you. Never grind your beans in advance. Once the beans are ground they immediately begin to lose their flavour. This is why you should never ask that helpful assistant in the coffee shop to grind your beans for you. Do it yourself just before you make your coffee.
4 – Don’t compact your beans
If you’ve used a barista style coffee maker you’ll be used to putting your beans into the tamper. But when you’re using a moka pot don’t be tempted to press down the beans. Pour your beans into the basket and gently level them off with your finger. Don’t press down on the beans as this will compact them.
On an espresso machine this is fine as the high pressure blasts the water through the beans to make the coffee. However, a moka pot doesn’t create anywhere near that same amount of pressure so you have to make it easy for the water to break through the beans.
5 – Use hot water
This is another tip that may surprise you. And it does sound sort of counter intuitive. You’d imagine that it would be best to use cold water but the problem with this is that as the gas heats the water it will heat the coffee beans too. This makes the coffee bitter.
Use hot (not boiling) water straight from the kettle. Using hot water shortens the brewing process and ensures a more flavourful brew.
Also, be careful not to overfill your pot. You want to pour in the water until it is just BELOW the safety valve. Pour in too much water and you’re asking for a flood.
6 – Rinse the pot before pouring
This is a step many coffee lovers miss. But it’s such an important one to take when the moka pot has done its stuff and the coffee is brewed (you’ll know this is the case when the pot or rather the coffee starts ‘gurgling)’.
Once that happens quickly remove the pot from the hob and hold the water compartment under cold running water for ten seconds or so. Cooling the pot down like this gets rid of the steam and, more importantly, it stops the brewing process. This prevents your coffee from being over-brewed, looking like sludge and tasting bitter.
7 – Buy yourself a milk frother
Once you have your beautifully brewed coffee you can use it to make all kinds of wonderful drinks. Yes you can drink your coffee black and sometimes when you just want a caffeine hit you’ll do just that. But we’re all about milk frothers on this site.
Use your moka pot coffee as a base and you can make all kinds of frothy coffee including cappuccino, latte and more. If you want some inspiration check out our milk frother recipes page.
And if you’re unsure which milk frother is best to use with your moka pot I’d recommend you read this article.
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