The Moka pot is a much-loved method of coffee brewing, particularly in Italy. In this post, we show how to brew coffee in a Moka pot, explain why this particular method stands apart from many other coffee brewing methods, and give some of our top tips.
What is a Moka pot?
Also known as a stovetop, the Moka pot is a method of brewing coffee made up of two chambers. You place the pot on top of your stove, and water in the lower chamber heats up and creates steam. The pressure from the steam builds and pushes water up through coffee grounds and into the top chamber.
It’s a very different way to brew coffee when compared to methods such as the Hario V60 or the Chemex, and it creates a very strong, rich coffee that is a pretty good alternative to an espresso if you don’t have an espresso machine at home. One of the reasons for creating a rich flavour is that the grind type if slightly courser than espresso which results in more body as the water is pressed through the fine grounds of coffee. It’s perfect for those wanting filter coffee which packs a punch.
Why do home coffee drinkers love it?
- Affordability – if you’re looking for a cup of coffee that is very similar to an espresso, the Moka pot is a marvel, especially when you compare its price to the price of a good espresso machine. While a Moka pot won’t make the same crema as an espresso machine, you can still get a rich, flavourful brew that works perfectly in a latte or cappuccino.
- Flavour and body – speaking of flavour, this is definitely one of the aspects that people love most about the Moka pot. Much like the cafetiere, the Moka pot makes a cup of coffee that is rich and full-bodied, with intense flavour.
- Sleek, classic design – another thing that draws people to the Moka pot is its sleek, retro design. Originally created in Italy in the 1930s, you can definitely see a cool art deco influence in its design.
- Ease of use – the Moka pot is also easy to use. You just need to keep an eye (and an ear) out as it is brewing. It’s also quick (you can make a great cup of coffee in less than 5 minutes), and easy to clean.
Here’s a video of James brewing coffee with a Moka pot:
What you’ll need:
- Digital scales – this is to weigh your coffee. It’s not essential but it’ll dramatically improve your quality as you’ll know exactly how much coffee to water you’re using. Once you’ve mastered the recipe you can then replicate for the best cup of coffee daily.
- Moka pot
- Electric or gas stove
- Freshly ground speciality coffee beans – these will need to be ground medium fine – coarser than an espresso grind. If you order from our shop and you don’t have a grinder at home, that’s not a problem. We grind fresh coffee beans right before shipping them to you.
- Filtered water – for more information about why filtered water is the best for brewing coffee, head here!
Next up? Work out how many cups you’d like to make.
Balance Coffee Brewing Scale:
- For 1 cup (15g of coffee to 250g water)
- For 2 cups (30g of coffee to 500g of water)
- For 3 cups (45g of coffee to 750g of water)
- For 4 cups (60g of coffee to 1000g or 1L of water)
- Boil your filtered water in a kettle and fill the bottom half of your Moka pot with water.
- Insert the filter basket into the bottom of the pot.
- Fill the basket with coffee and give it a shake to settle the grounds evenly. Make sure not to pack down or tamp the grounds, you want them loose.
- Screw on the spouted top. The bottom half of the Moka pot will be hot, so make sure you use a tea towel or oven gloves!
- Put the brewer on the stove and use moderate heat. Make sure that the handle is not subjected to heat, and leave the top lid open.
- You’ll start to hear the water boil in the base – at this point, lower the heat! You’ll hear a puffing sound as the coffee oozes out of the spout on the top half, a bit like honey. Once the stream of coffee is honey-coloured, remove it from the stove with a tea towel (it’ll still be hot!) and close the lid.
- At this point, the coffee will stop bubbling out. Pour it into your favourite mug and enjoy!
How to overcome common coffee-brewing problems:
“My coffee is too weak” – use less water, use more coffee, or use a finer grind
“My coffee is too strong” – use more water, less coffee, or a coarser grind
“My coffee is too bitter” – you’ve over-extracted the coffee, use a coarser grind
“My coffee is too sour” – you’ve under-extracted the coffee, use a finer grind
If you’re using an electric stove or a hot plate, we would advise that you start heating the element whilst the kettle is boiling. This is because electric takes longer to heat up than gas, and you want to limit the amount of time your coffee is sitting on the stove, not brewing. If it just sits there as the Moka pot warms up, the coffee can end up tasting burnt.
Secondly, we always recommend listening to your Moka pot. In many ways, this will tell you more about the state of your coffee than just looking at it! For example, if your stove is too hot, the coffee will quickly and loudly push through the spouted top. But if it’s not hot enough, you’ll hear slow, sluggish bubbling. And you’ll know when the coffee is done when you hear a hissing, bubbling sound.
Finally, when taking the Moka pot off the stove when the coffee is ready, you can also cool it down by wrapping it in a cold, wet towel, or running it under a cold tap. This will help stop the brewing process, and will lead to a sweeter brew.
And if you’re not sure if the Moka pot sounds like it’s for you, then check out our other recommended home equipment. You can also read our ultimate guide to the Hario V60, the Cafetiere, the Chemex, and the Aeropress.
Enjoy this article? Sign up to our Balance Coffee Club newsletter below for monthly recipes, tips and hacks that’ll improve your coffee game!