How to Use a Moka Pot? (Instructions for Perfect Italian Coffee)

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Johny Morrisson

The Moka Pot or Bialetti or Stovetop Espresso Maker is a classic and straightforward brewing method that delivers a rich, bold, and flavorful cup of coffee resembling an Espresso shot. You can drink Moka Pot Coffee as is if you like bold flavors, or you can add some steamed milk to make a latte.

Although it may seem simple, there’s an art to mastering the perfect moka pot brew. Let me walk you through the process and share some tips that have worked wonders for me.

How to use a Moka Pot

Moka Pot Instructions

Here’s a step-by-step process to brew rich, flavorful coffee using a Moka Pot. Let’s start with the ingredients first!

Ingredients and Tools Required for Moka Pot Brewing

  • Coffee Beans: It’s best to use Medium Roast Coffee
  • Water: Use Filtered or Bottled Mineral Water for the best taste
  • Coffee Grinder: You can use Pre-ground Coffee but it’s better to grind your own beans
  • Moka Pot Brewing Device
  • Heating Source

1- Grind the Beans

Grind your coffee beans to a medium-fine grind, similar to the consistency of table salt. The grind size is crucial; too fine, and the water won’t pass through easily, while too coarse will lead to under-extraction.

The Best Grind size for Moka Pot is between Espresso and Drip. That’s why I recommend grinding your own beans for Moka Pot as it gives you the best taste and you can play with the grind settings easily to nail the extraction.

Moka Pot Coffee Grounds

2. Fill the Bottom Chamber of the Moka Pot

Now heat the water close to boiling temperature in a kettle or stove. You can heat the water first using only the bottom chamber of the Moka Pot.

Fill the bottom chamber of the moka pot with hot water and make sure not to exceed the valve level.

Using hot, near-boiling water in the bottom chamber is important. It allows the brewing to start quickly at the optimal temperature for proper extraction. If you use cool or room temperature water, it will take too long to heat up and brew, resulting in burnt, bitter, and inconsistent coffee.

Note: While using Moka Pot you can’t make coffee less than the maximum volume. For the Moka Pot to work properly, the bottom chamber must be filled completely with water (just below the valve), and the filter basket must also be completely filled with coffee grounds. That means if you have a 4-cup Moka Pot device you can’t make a good tasting 1 cup serving.

Fill the Bottom Chamber of the Moka Pot

3. Fill the Filter Basket with Coffee Grounds

Pack the ground coffee into the filter basket firmly, then level it by giving it a gentle tap. Don’t tamp it down too hard, or it will slow down the water flow.

Fill the Filter Basket with Coffee Grounds

4. Assemble the Moka Pot Securely

Now place the Filter basket securely in its place and tightly screw the top chamber onto the bottom chamber, making sure the filter and rubber gaskets are sealed securely.

Assemble the Moka Pot Securely

5. Heat the Moka Pot on the Stove

Place the moka pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat and leave the top lid open. The brewing process will take around 5-8 minutes.

As the water in the bottom chamber heats up, it will create steam pressure, forcing the water up through the coffee grounds and into the top chamber.

For best extraction, keep an eye and ear out for when the coffee starts gurgling or sputtering out of the nozzle. At this point, remove the heat and close the lid to maintain gentle pressure. If the flow of coffee slows down too much, apply a little more heat briefly. The key is controlling the heat to get a steady, even flow without sputtering or over-brewing.

Note: If the water starts coming out too fast pull the Moka Pot from the heat quickly and place it under a tap of cold running water to cool it down.

Put the Moka Pot on Stove

6. Give Coffee a Stir

Once the coffee is finished brewing and the gurgling stops, give the coffee a gentle stir to blend everything together evenly before pouring.

This combines the strong coffee from the beginning of the brew with the lighter coffee from the end, creating a smooth and uniform flavor.

7. Serve the Coffee

Now that you’ve brewed up that dense, full-bodied moka pot coffee, it’s time to decide how you want to drink it! 

If you’re a fan of strong, intense coffee flavors, you can absolutely savor it as-is – that concentrated brew packs a serious punch. 

But if that’s a bit too strong for your taste buds, no worries! You can cut it with some hot water to make an Americano. Or go the milky route and turn it into a creamy latte by adding steamed milk. Feel free to sweeten the drink with a drizzle of flavored syrup or a spoonful of sugar too. 

Serve the Moka Pot Coffee

Some Expert Moka Pot Tips

Here are some of my exclusive tips to get the most out of your Moka Pot.

What are the Best Coffee Beans for Moka Pot?

The best coffee beans for a Moka Pot are a nice medium-dark roast of 100% Arabica beans. The balanced medium roast flavors stand up well to the intense brewing method without tasting bitter.

You can experiment with different origins too – I’m a big fan of using Colombian or Indonesian beans. Just stay away from super light roasts as they can taste a bit mousy and underwhelming and also avoid extra dark roasts as they can make the drink overly bitter. Personally, I opt for Lavazza Super Crema- it gives me that rich, bold moka pot experience I crave.

Why is Moka Pot Coffee Bitter?

Moka pot coffee can taste bitter due to overheating the pot, using a grind size that’s too fine, or brewing with low-quality or stale coffee beans. Also, a dirty moka pot with built-up residue can lead to bitter flavors.

To avoid bitterness:

  • Use Medium or Medium-light roast Coffee Beans
  • Use Grind size coarser than regular Espresso Grind
  • Clean your Moka Pot with Vinegar to remove old coffee residue
  • Never use high heat and start with the hot water
  • Use a paper filter

Lastly, Aeropress is supposed to be a little bitter. If you are entirely against bitterness it’s the last coffee brewing method you want to try.

Read a guide on How to make Coffee less bitter

Use Paper Filter

Try using a paper filter along with the metal filter in your moka pot. It adds an extra layer of filtration to catch any extra grit or sediment.

I just use a cheap AeroPress paper filter and it makes for a smoother, cleaner cup. Not a must, but it’s an easy upgrade if you really hate bitter flavors and gritty texture.

Clean your Moka Pot Immediately

As soon as you’re done pouring out the coffee, give your moka pot a quick rinse while it’s still hot. The leftover coffee will slough off way easier before it has a chance to really cake on.

Just unscrew the chambers, dump out the grounds, and give all the pieces a quick wash with hot soapy water. Do this right after each use and you’ll avoid any funky residue buildup that can trash future brews.

A clean moka pot is a happy moka pot!

Clean Moka Pot

How Does Moka Pot Work?

A Moka pot also known brews coffee by pushing hot water through the grounds using steam pressure. It is composed of three main parts: the water chamber at the bottom, the filter basket in the middle for the ground coffee, and the top chamber where the brewed coffee collects.

As the water in the bottom chamber heats up, it creates steam and pressure that forces the water up through the grounds and into the top chamber.

The brewing process is actually quite similar to espresso, using pressure to extract flavor, that’s why Moka Pot is also known as stovetop Espresso Maker. But unlike espresso machines, the moka pot brews under lower steam pressure, around 2 bars, compared to a pump machine which produces around 9-10 bars. Still high enough to produce a rich, concentrated shot that mimics espresso shots.

Read a guide on Moka Pot vs Espresso

Moka Pot Parts

Read Guides on Other Coffee Brewing Methods


Should you tamp coffee in a Moka pot?

No, you should not tamp or compact the coffee grounds too tightly in the moka pot basket. Leveling the ground with your finger or tapping it on the surface gently is sufficient.

Does the Moka Pot make espresso or coffee?

The moka pot brew falls somewhere between espresso and drip coffee. It’s certainly not real espresso, as it doesn’t reach those high pressures, but it produces a much stronger and more concentrated brew than typical drip coffee.

How Much Caffeine in Moka Pot Coffee?

A single 2 oz shot of moka pot coffee contains around 70-80 mg of caffeine. For a 6 oz moka pot brew, the caffeine content ranges from 180-240 mg.

Can you make less in a 6 cup moka pot?

No, you cannot brew less than the maximum amount in a moka pot and get good results. Moka Pots are designed to brew at their full capacity. If you try under-filling the water or grounds, the pressure and extraction won’t be on point. You’ll likely end up with an underwhelming and bad tasting drink instead of that bold, rich flavor you’re after. Stick to filling it up all the way for best results or buy smaller Moka Pots.

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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