Here’s how to use a Moka Pot to make coffee! Made by Bialetti, this stovetop espresso maker makes delicious espresso-like coffee.

Moka pot

Love a great cup of strong coffee? Here’s how to make a smooth, bold brew: the Moka Pot! This stovetop espresso maker makes a dark, intense cup that’s somewhere between espresso and very strong coffee. It’s very easy to use, either for your everyday coffee or to make “espresso” for homemade coffee drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and more. Here’s how to use a Moka Pot!

What’s a Moka Pot?

The Moka Pot is a stovetop coffee maker used to make espresso-like coffee. It uses boiling water to force steam through the coffee grounds, so the coffee bubbles up into the pot versus percolating down like in brewed coffee.

The Moka Pot was invented in 1933 by an Italian engineer, Alfonso Bialetti. It’s manufactured by the Bialetti company, so some people simply call it a “Bialetti.”

Moka pot

Does the Moka Pot make espresso or coffee?

The Moka Pot is the best known stovetop espresso maker, but it doesn’t actually make espresso. It’s a very strong coffee that’s similar to espresso, but it’s not quite the real thing. It doesn’t get the foamy crema on top like a true espresso, and lacks the richness in flavor. It also brews in larger quantities than a typical espresso shot. In fact, Moka Pot coffee is closer to an Americano than espresso.

Why isn’t it espresso? The Moka Pot only gets to 1 to 3 bars of pressure when it forces the water through the coffee grounds, versus 9 bars of pressure like an espresso machine. But the flavor is so close, you can use Moka Pot coffee as a stand-in for espresso in espresso drinks like lattes, iced lattes, and more.

Are you an espresso connoisseur? Your best bet is a countertop machine. Go to How to Make Espresso at Home.

Ingredients and tools to get started

Ready to learn how to use a Moka Pot? Here are the ingredients and tools you’ll need:

  • Dark roast coffee: It’s best to use dark or espresso roast coffee with this method. (The Chemex is a better method for light and medium roast.)
  • Filtered water: Filtered water has the best flavor (we use this filtered pitcher for our coffee).
  • Coffee grinder: You’ll want a fine grind here: espresso grind or just slightly larger. An electric burr grinder is a great tool for the job.
  • Food scale: It’s nice to have a digital food scale to weigh out the coffee and water.
  • Moka Pot: This 6-cup Bialetti Express Moka Pot is the standard size and makes 2 5-ounce cups of coffee.
Moka pot coffee

How to use a Moka Pot

Ready to make Moka Pot coffee? The process is quick and easy: it takes under 10 minutes. Here’s what to do:

  1. Grind the coffee: Grind the coffee to a fine grind: espresso grind or just slightly larger.
  2. Add water: Add cold filtered water to the bottom half of the pot until it reaches the valve.
  3. Add the coffee and assemble: Fill the funnel with coffee grounds level with the top, but don’t tamp the grinds down. Insert the funnel into the bottom portion of the pot. Screw the top onto the base until it is just finger tight.
  4. Place over medium heat: Place the pot on the stove over medium heat. For a gas stove, make sure the gas flame is smaller than the width of the pot.
  5. Wait while the coffee brews (about 5 to 7 minutes): The water will boil up through the coffee and fill the top of the pot. You’ll hear coffee start to bubble at around 3 to 5 minutes. About 2 minutes later, you’ll hear it boiling rapidly: then listen as the boiling sound increases in volume and frequency. Once the sound dissipates to air and you hear a loud gurgling sound, the coffee is done. Turn off the heat.
  6. Check the coffee: Once you turn off the heat, lift the top of the pot and peak inside. The chamber should be full of coffee. If it is not, return the pot to the heat and continue heating until the coffee is done.

When you’re done making the coffee, wash out the Moka Pot with warm water and dry it thoroughly before reassembling.

How to use a Moka Pot

Ways to use Moka Pot coffee

What’s the best way to use Moka Pot coffee? You can drink it straight up, or use it for coffee drinks! What’s the ratio to swap for espresso? Use 5 ounces (10 tablespoons) Moka Pot coffee to stand in for a double shot of espresso (2 ounces). Here are a few ways to use it:

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Moka Pot Coffee


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) 1x

Description

Here’s how to use a Moka Pot to make coffee! Made by Bialetti, this stovetop espresso maker makes delicious espresso-like coffee.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 20 grams (¼ cup) dark roast coffee
  • 330 grams (1 ⅜ cups) filtered water*
  • 6-cup Moka Pot

Instructions

  1. Grind the coffee: Grind the coffee to a fine grind: espresso grind or just slightly larger. (Use a burr grinder or pre-ground coffee.)
  2. Add water: Add cold filtered water to the bottom half of the Moka Pot until it reaches the valve.
  3. Add the coffee and assemble: Fill the funnel with coffee grounds level with the top, but do not tamp the grinds down. Insert the funnel into the bottom portion of the pot. Screw the top onto the Moka Pot until it is just finger tight (don’t over tighten).
  4. Place over medium heat: Place the pot on the stove over medium heat. For a gas stove, make sure the gas flame is smaller than the width of the pot.
  5. Wait while the coffee brews (about 5 to 7 minutes): The water will boil through the coffee and fill the top of the Moka Pot. You’ll hear coffee start to bubble at around 3 to 5 minutes. About 2 minutes later, you’ll hear it boiling rapidly: then listen as the boiling sound increases in volume and frequency. Once the sound dissipates to air and you hear a loud gurgling sound, the coffee is done. Turn off the heat.
  6. Check the coffee: Once you turn off the heat, lift the top of the Moka Pot and peak inside. The chamber should be full of coffee (if not, return to the heat and continue heating until the coffee is done). When you’re done making the coffee, wash out the Moka Pot with warm water and dry it thoroughly before reassembling.

Notes

*Coffee is best with filtered water: use a filter pitcher like this one. 

  • Category: Coffee
  • Method: Brewed
  • Cuisine: Coffee
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Moka pot, moka pot coffee, how to use a moka pot

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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2 Comments

  1. Came for the Chemex review, clicked over for the Moka since that’s my favorite method at home. Sorry to say, I think you’re missing out, and your methods could use a review.

    You take such care and time with your pour-over coffee, and you’re blundering through the Moka process — no wonder you’re reporting a big gap in quality. Please consider revisiting this, with a few changes. Of course, it will be a different kind of thing fundamentally, and people like what they like, but you might find the result is closer to what you get with your Chemex.

    I’ve found that a mix of dark-roast and light- or medium-roast beans can work well. There’s no reason you have to use dark, and as you point out, we’re not actually trying to make espresso here. A lot of people first try a Moka Pot looking for a shortcut to espresso, and I think that may be why they get disillusioned, and why so many Moka pots end up in the dark forgotten corners of kitchen cabinets. Instead, it’s better to try and embrace the Moka as a way to try a different variation of the coffee YOU like.

    By the same token, a fine-to-medium grind is perfectly okay. I like a little chaos and variation, so I grind my beans medium. There is a little bit of pressure in the brewing process, working against gravity. It’s much less than in an espresso maker but much more than in drip or pour-over, so the flavors are actively extracted from the ground beans. Pulverizing your beans into a fine powder isn’t necessary.

    Next, filtered water is great, but if you add it to your Moka pot cold, that means your fresh-ground coffee will be sitting up there in the basket “baking” over the heat for a few minutes while the water gets up to steaming temp. That can increase bitterness. Start with boiling water instead and you will get a better product, in a shorter brewing time (and please use a kitchen towel to protect your hand as you screw on the top after adding the coffee to the basket!).

    You should be careful with the heat, as well. You describe listening for some sounds, which is correct because that’s the ‘phase change’ as the (hot) water is converting to steam, which goes up and through the grounds. I like to make sure the kitchen is relatively quiet for a few minutes at this part of the process.

    But you don’t want to hear bubbling, boiling, or percolating noises. As with your pour-over coffee, temperature matters. The coffee will be overly bitter if it’s brewed too hot. Ideally, you’ll keep the heat right where you need it to get steam up through the grounds, and you’ll be able to lift the lid and see coffee gently flowing up and out, without hearing loud active bubbles. When done right, it’s like a magic trick. The added pressure in the lower chamber means the water doesn’t have to get hotter than 205F or so, so it’s never truly boiling.

    If you hear loud boiling and gurgling because air bubbles are coming up with the last of the water, then you have actually ruined your Moka brew. The good news is, you’ve just made percolated coffee like in a cowboy campfire pot, only upside-down. It’s not categorically terrible, it’s just not what a Moka pot is for, and it’s not what it can do.

    So, to recap, here’s what we do at my house:

    – Grind beans of the desired roast, anywhere from fine to medium, per preference
    – Pour boiling water into the lower chamber
    – Add the basket, add the ground coffee, be careful of the hot base, attach the top part of the pot
    – Move the assembly over medium heat; listen for ‘phase-change’ sounds. Peek if you like, for coffee gently flowing out into the pot.
    – Remove from heat if bubbling/ percolating is heard. If pot is not full yet, return to slightly lowered heat after 15-30 seconds.
    – When the top is full, which should take no more than 2-4 minutes after coffee starts flowing, remove from heat, switch off stove, pour and enjoy.

    Please try again, and see if there isn’t a big difference. You could even follow your previous instructions for one pot, and then try again with these changes, in a head-to-head test…