The moka pot, often referred to as the stovetop espresso maker is a nifty little brewer. First patented in Italy in 1933 is becoming a popular choice for many home brewers. The moka pot is cheap and can give you a bold, “espresso-like” brew.
Let’s not get it twisted though, moka pot coffee is not the same as espresso.
An espresso machine forces water through a tightly packed puck of coffee at about 9 times the atmospheric pressure at sea level of atmospheric pressure for between 20-30 seconds.
A moka pot brews between 1-2 bars of pressure for about a minute.
There is a significant difference in the amount of pressure but both of these methods do still use pressure to brew.
Unlike pour over coffee, which only uses gravity to brew.
This similarity makes moka pot coffee more similar to espresso than any other brewing method besides maybe the Aeropress.
How does the Moka pot work?
The moka pot is a three chamber system.
The bottom chamber holds the water, the middle chamber holds ground coffee,which also acts as a filter and the top chamber holds the final brewed coffee and has a filter on the bottom.
Steam is built up, which creates pressure and forces water up through the coffee grounds into the top chamber.
Moka pot coffee Characteristics.
The moka pot will make coffee that is concentrated and rich with a tiny bit of espresso ‘like” crema.
Of course, the characteristics of your coffee will change depending on other things, not just brew method.
The origin of the bean, grind size, and roast level all play roles in the outcome.
Some people prefer to brew with only darker roasts while others enjoy a nice light roast.
Be sure to explore the coffee landscape and find what you like best.The exploration is my favorite part of coffee.
Some people also like to drink moka pot coffee straight up after it’s been brewed.
To each their own.
That’s not my taste though.
I prefer to add a little milk to my moka pot brews, making cheap espresso “like” drinks.
I’ll show you how to cheaply froth up some milk in a little to make a moka pot cappuccino.
I want to reinforce though, moka pot coffee is NOT espresso.
You won’t be able to fool a coffee geek or snob with the moka pot but for a fraction of the cost, you can get something that slightly resembles your beloved cafe cappuccinos with a moka pot.
How to brew moka pot coffee
The key to moka pot brewing is to walk the line between getting enough steam generated to force water up through your grounds but not boil your water, this way you don’t burn your coffee.
Brewing with water that is boiling is an easy way to get a bitter cup of coffee.
Nothing tastes worse than burnt coffee.
You are looking for the coffee to start coming out of the top slowly and steadily, you do not want the coffee to erupt like a volcano.
1. It’s best practice to start with hot water. So first fill a pan or kettle with water and bring to just before boiling. Adding preheated water to your moka pot is a good idea. If you start with cool water that means your brewer will be exposed to heat for a longer period of time in order to heat the water more. I’ve found that the less time the ground coffee is exposed to a heat source the less bitter my cup.
2. The amount of coffee you use will be different based on the size of your moka pot. You will want to fill the basket of your moka pot all the way up. I have a 4 cup brewer and I use 25 grams of coffee.
3. For espresso-like drinks from your moka pot you will want to grind your coffee somewhere between espresso grind and drip grind. A medium-fine grind will be perfect.Almost any cheap grinder can do this for you.
4. After your coffee is ground and your water is preheated, fill the bottom chamber with water. Don’t fill it all the way to the top, fill so that water is just below the relief valve, this is a safety feature and if the valve is covered, it will not work properly.
5. After your bottom chamber is full put your ground coffee into the middle chamber and level off, do not tamp your grounds. Drop your middle chamber in place, on top of the lower chamber.
6. Screw the top and bottom together, be careful though the bottom will be hot! Use hot pads of an Ove Glove!
7. Put the moka pot on your stove at around medium heat. Place it on the burner so that the handle isn’t right over the burner. So place the brewer on the edges of the burner.
8. Leave the lid of the moka pot open so that you can see when coffee starts to pour out. Be patient, this may take a few minutes to start seeing coffee come out.
9. When the coffee starts to come out of the top you should turn off the burner after about 10 seconds or so. The heat of the burner will continue to brew the coffee for the next minute.
10. From the time you see the coffee until the time you are finished brewing it should be about 1 minute.
Pour into a cup and drink
or get your french press out and make a cappuccino.
Make a cappuccino with your moka pot coffee
If you already own a french press and want to make a cheap cappuccino with your moka pot coffee it’s super easy.
Warm some milk of your choice(whole milk, 2%, almond, soy) in the microwave for a few seconds.
Pour it into your french press and then plunge up and down a few times.
Bam! Frothed milk.
I didn’t add any extra milk. The milk expands when you add air to it.
Mix with your freshly brewed moka pot coffee and you’ve got a cheap Cappuccino.
There are no set in stone rules to the moka pot, it’s coffee and if you’ve read anything else on the blog then you know I think everything in coffee is subjective.
You don’t need any electrical power so that means you can take it camping or hiking.
The moka pot also has a nostalgia to it, being an old time brewer and actually preceding the espresso machine.
It’s easy to burn your coffee so be patient when brewing with your moka pot.
Don’t cover the relief valve and don’t tamp your coffee grounds.
Also, don’t expect true espresso, moka pot coffee won’t trick any baristas but you can make a tasty cappuccino with it right at home.
If you don’t have a moka pot you can get one pretty cheap on Amazon, pick yourself up a brewer and see how you like it.