Picture of Make espresso coffee with a moka pot
Couple of weeks ago I bought a moka pot to my father for father's day present. So far I have been the only person using it, mainly because I have made coffee with it when I'd like to have a cup of espresso, and from the same pot everyone else got their espressos too if they wanted.

What I have searched on instructables, I haven't seen any instructable (only) on making coffee with moka pot. There's how to use a moka pot in some instructables, but they were like just one step. So I thought that this wonderful drink would need an instructable of it's own!

Be sure to comment about anything: what was good, what wasn't, if there's some misspelling or anything you would like to know (I'll do my best to answer). Let me know what you think!
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Step 1: What you're gonna need

Picture of What you're gonna need
You're going to need just a couple of things:

-Moka pot
-Espresso grind coffee*
-Espresso cup

*If you have a coffee grinder, then I would prefer just espresso coffee beans and grind them at home to a very fine grind, but I don't happen to have a coffee grinder so I am going to use already grind beans. Both will work fine.

Then you will need water of course, but that's kinda obvious so I propably don't have to put it on the list above.

Step 2: Water

Picture of Water
Pour water to the bottom part of your moka pot. For full (in my case) six cups fill it to the pressure valve, but don't let the water surface touch the pressure valve (the little button looking thing). I don't know could you really make for example two cups with this six cup maker, but in the real world you'd just simply put only two cups of water in there and little less coffee grinds. I make (nearly) always two cups. And you can't make just one cup very well, because all of the water just won't come up through the coffee grinds.
Bill_Weaver2 months ago

PS Getting truly satisfying coffee from moka pots (especially the great quality Stella ones I was given) has kept me from forking out for an expensive true espresso machine all these years... though I have been tempted and research them from time to time.

Bill_Weaver2 months ago

Many years of trial and error have led me to the following technique, a mixture of quality and convenience. Briefly, the vital parts are slow extraction - low heat for most of the process, and remove from heat THE MOMENT the coffee starts to spurt or splutter out the nozzle. And always use a full pot - if you don't need much, get a smaller pot. Partial filling doesn't work well. I generally get 4 cups out of a "6 cup" unit; two of which my wife & I drink straight away, the other two go in separate containers in the fridge for an afternoon iced coffee hit. I pre-boil the water in the kettle to save time (who's got all day when you need your heart-starter?), while grinding the beans - enough so that if you placed the beans in the dry basket they'd overfill a bit. For me it's 4 very full breakfast spoonfuls. Despite purists saying only a burr grinder is acceptable, I use a spinning blades one but have learnt when the grind is right by a combination of the strong aroma being released and the tone of the grinder rising a semitone indicating less resistance to the blades. Too fine is as bad as too coarse unfortunately in a moka pot. After putting boiled water in the pot (it'll start the process at just close to boiling, ideal) I put some in the cups to pre-heat them. The ground coffee should over-fill the basket. I do tamp it down flat, just with the spoon, and make sure the pot is screwed up tight. To save time & get the water moving I usually put the pot on high heat (gas ideally) just for a few moments then turn to medium, but turn to lowest the moment the coffee starts to appear out the top. If I have time & patience (rarely) then start on lowest heat. I do the whole process with the lid up so I can see what's going on. Anyone old enough to remember the scene at the start of The Beverley Hillbillies when the old guy shoots the ground and oil comes out? That's what it should look like. Texas gold! Thick and oozing. During this I pre heat some milk in the microwave, two big splashes, 20 seconds, pour the hot water out of the cups and put a teaspoon of sugar in each (I like it super strong but balanced out with a single sugar. Despite being fussy about my coffee I'm definitely not a purist as a purist would burr-grind, wouldn't have milk or sugar, or might demand a proper steam milk frother to create microfoam. As I said, take OFF the burner (but leave it on, more on that soon) the moment it starts to spurt and splutter. The coffee that comes up after this if left on the heat is thin and bitter. Some might say you're getting a ristretto this way rather than an espresso, though the pressure isn't high enough for true espresso anyway.) Pour the coffee right onto the sugar of each cup. I'm no chemist, but this seems to caramelize it and integrate the sweetness right into the coffee much better than adding it later. Alternate pouring a little in each cup till it's used up. If you pour one then the other, not only might you misjudge and make them uneven, but they'll taste different as the coffee is different thicknesses at different levels of the pot. Don't expect big cupfuls! Also, I hate mugs. Way too big, makes your serving size look stingy, and the shape of a mug seems to make a beverage stay too hot for too long then go cold, rather than cool down linearly. Add the hot milk. The coffee should stay rich very dark brown as it pours if it's the right strength; I stop just as it starts to go light brown. You'll have used less than half of the water in the pot, but the rest isn't completely wasted. Turn the burner off just before placing the pot back on it. This residual heat seems to be just enough to bring up another two shots worth of quite reasonable coffee (in a 6 cup pot) over the next few minutes. Often you can really see the oils in these with the tiny caramel coloured bubbles, that's OK. I have a bunch of small plastic containers for these... I put a sugar in each of two and split the still-hot remaining coffee between these, close them, shake them around a bit to dissolve and leave out forr a while, then put in the fridge for the afternoon iced-coffee. There'll still be some water left in the pot but that can be thrown out. I know it's very personal and subjective, but though it's not true espresso, this technique gives me a more satisfying coffee than most of the ones I get from cafes. It is a black art though, and from time to time I just can't seem to get it right, chuck it out and start again. Sometimes it's the wrong grind, or the rubber seal needing to be replaced. Too fine and the water [pressure seems to be able to break fissures in the coffee, making paths where it's flowing straight through without extracting any caffeine. Sometimes if it comes up thin and light brown I'll open up the pot and see "cracks" in the coffee grinds rather than it being a solid "puck". Discarded coffee grinds can be good for the garden too, but that's another discussion.

SantjieV2 months ago

Thanx, I had a pot but was not sure how to use it and how it worked. I have a stainless steel one and it works perfectly on my induction stove.

thalass2 years ago
Regarding cleaning: I have a (fairly cheap) moka pot, and every time i get it out to use it, it has white powdery crud all through the inside. I assume it's something in the water used to clean it, but i'm wondering if you've had the problem and what you do about it?

Thanks for the article. I've had my pot for a while but mostly blundered through learning to use it.
Gelfling6 thalass3 months ago

The white powdery crud, is usually aluminium Oxide. If you leave ANY water in the cheaper non-anodized pots, it will break down the aluminium.. I've run into this many times.. It's touch to get all of it out, and it won't dissolve in water, or boiling water. I'm now in the market for a replacement for the one I have, the gasket is embedded with black mold that I cannot get out, and the last pot I brewed, gave me the worst case of food poisoning! The price for a good 6-cup pot runs anywhere from $19.99 to as high as $60.00 (Just saw on a Bed Bath & Beyond webpage, a plain silver (actually anodized aluminium) Bialetti 6-cup going for $34.95)

Sounds like that might be calcium build up. If it's hard to remove, it probably is. The easiest way to remove calcium is with vinegar. However, that might affect the flavor of your coffee. There are cleaning kits for espresso machines you can get that do the same thing with a neutral taste effect.

NasheedF5 months ago

Disastrously our cleaning lady (against all my warnings) washed our lovely stainless steel coffee pot with fairy liquid. I only discovered when I tasted the result. What can I do to get rid of the awful soapy taste? Help please! Thanks.

TizianaZ NasheedF3 months ago

Ouch that is bad!! Never use any soap with it, only water, she did a very bad thing!!! D:
Anyway you have to use the moka again and the again, in order to eliminate the taste of soap and create a thin layer of coffee inside it. First of all wash your moka with just water, use a brand new sponge and wash it and rinse it carefully with a lot of water. Then make some coffee that you won't drink. You can reuse the same powder more than once, because as I said, this coffee is not for drinking. You can even add some of this coffee to the water in the bottom part (be careful to filter the coffee to be sure there is not powder in it). You should make this coffee 5 times minimum and try and taste. When I buy a new moka I always use this technique to eliminate the taste of metal and it works. Then hide your moka from the cleaning lady or a dishwasher!!

jazz.hustler4 months ago

Very useful, thanks! I bought an electric Moka pot today in Taiwan, and although there are English instructions, it doesn't explain how much water or coffee grounds to use, but your page has helped a lot.

bdenis4 months ago

the lid must be open, the stove on medium, medium to low temperature (for slow extraction), finaly the water must be boiled, dont wait when apear that sound of extraction( in this case the caffe can have a burned smell and taste )... you must take off the mokka pot before the caffe spout with that sound, and you'll obtain the best from simple mokka pot.

Thank you for those awesome instructions : )
stalker1425 months ago

thanks for the instruction. i have one i hadn't used - and i blundered through making a cup the other day but wish i did my research first. in my research i found one which site said to preheat the water - the rationale being that you don't want to burn the grounds in the process. it seems to me there would be no down-side to preheating the water, and the upside - that you won't burn the grounds - is significant. thanks.

You got a couple of things wrong:

a. The stove should be medium and not highest temperature

b. The lid should be kept open

Hope it helps.

valeg3 years ago
I'm Italian and I've grown up using a moka coffee maker, and there's only a couple points that I'd contest in your instructable. One is to not let the water reach the safety valve. you should have enough water to reach the valve, just not go over it.

Secondly, you can brew coffee at high temps, but usually it's done at the lowest heat you can have. It's slower, but it's better coffee.

And third -- that's all the coffee you're using?! I usually make a small mountain, and then let the top part press it for me. But then, I like my coffee strong...
Jodex (author)  valeg3 years ago
Thanks for the comment!

I think it's okay to say that the water level shoudn't reach the valve, but it might be okay also if it touches it. I can make just a half a pot (they say you shoudn't) and then the water isn't nearly up to the valve.

Your second point must also be correct. I myself just always make it with the highest temperature and it has seemed to work well. Lower temp would be pretty slow, but I must try it to see the difference!

And finally, the amount of coffee is pretty much everyone's personal choise, I have used about that much (maybe a little more) and it has been about a good amount in my opinion.
etiago Jodex7 months ago

Hi Jodex,

To be honest, I think the water discussion doesn't really matter all that much.

However, the quantity of coffee very much does. Any Italian will tell you exactly what valeg told you: you should make a pyramid of coffee that goes well above the brim of the filter. While you don't manually press it with a spoon, you then simply allow the top to press it in when you're screwing it on (which means it's very important to screw it as tightly as you can). This will make it so that the coffee is extremely pressed in place and there are no holes or cavities of air (besides the normal air between the grinds).

If you manually press it or even adjust it with a spoon, there will be a huge gap of air between the "coffee grind level" in the filter and the filter in the top part. This will make it so that the water requires WAY less pressure to climb to the top container thus making the coffee taste washed out and even carry a lot more ground coffee with it.

Of course, it is always down to personal preference but for the way a moka was originally envisioned to be used, the "pyramid method" is the way to go by maximizing the pressure required/used to make the water evaporate through the grinds and thus having more flavor and body in the resulting coffee.

mschipperheyn9 months ago

I bought one yesterday that looks exactly like the photos here. So far, the problem is that it just seems to produce vapor. I'm used to another model that works just fine. Mine uses a rubber ring to seal the filter for the top part. Could it be that the coffee grind is too fine or could it that the pot simply doesn't seal the pressure bottom properly?

Panamaboob3 years ago
I bought some "espresso" coffee in a bag in Costa Rica recently...actually two different brands, El Rey and Britt. El Rey is the most wellknown coffee in the country and Britt seems to have the tourist as the target.

Well, surprisingly, El Rey Espresso was the better of the two, mainly, I believe, because they grind their coffee very fine, and not like regular drip coffee, which Britt seems to not have caught on to.

To me, any "espresso" coffee that is not finely ground is just plain coffee, even if it is a dark roast. The fine grinding really allows the flavor to move out. All the coffees that are "espresso" that I have tried in Italy, Germany and Panama....which also makes outstanding espresso (Duran), have been fine ground.

That's why I no longer grind my own...I can find a decent reasonably priced grinder that really grinds fine.
dianam19763 years ago
Good Instructable!
I have been using the Bialetti Mocca machine for more than ten years, and if i may . Ii would add that if anyone is going to invest in a mocha machine make surre to get the reall stuff like the Bialetti (seen on your pics). It is more expensive than a regular one, but it is well made and doesn't brake easily or have your handle melting :):) i heard numerous stories with cheapone that have literally exploded like a bomb !!!
Also while in Italy, i found out from a local lady that they don't wash it with washing up liquid, because the aluminium absorbe the taste and therefore you next coffee might taste a bit like water only is best :)
Finally If you are going to groung your coffee yourself, make sure that you don't grind it to the powder stage, have it slightly coarse if you are going to use on the mocca machine..the coffee taste better for some reason.
kpieslinger3 years ago
Aside from cleaning it "by hand" every time, I also clean it say once every six months with white (alcohol) vinegar. I put a mix of water and (again, white!) vinegar in the pot and make it run. After the mix boils and fills the upper compartment, I throw the hot water mix and let the pot cool down.

I have used the same technique on espresso machines. Sort of a maintenance, "unclog" process.

Also, FWIW, this would not be "espresso coffee" but "moka coffee". The difference between espresso and moka would be in the water pressure. For an "espresso effect" you would need 3 times more vapor pressure than you get with these stove-powered things!
Jodex (author)  kpieslinger3 years ago
Thanks for your comment! I'm always happy to get corrections and improvement ideas.

Cleaning your pot better every once in a while is a good idea.

Yes, I know there's a difference between "real" espresso and moka "espresso", but I used the word espresso here, because I have seen it being used quite a lot in the internet.
rvalotta4 years ago
Your description of how it works is a little off... As the water vaporizes it expands int he void above the water pushing the water up through the grinds into the pot.

Nice instructable. The only thing I've ever done different is put the grinds in so there is a mound that comes above the top of the filter. Then put the top on and allow it to slightly press the coffee grinds down. It's all a matter of preference on how strong you like your coffee
Jodex (author)  rvalotta4 years ago
Thanks for the comment! I might fix that water thing soon!
Jodex (author)  Jodex4 years ago
Yes, now it's good. I checked out and you were right. Thanks for the correction!