Make Espresso Coffee With a Moka Pot




About: Tinkerer

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

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

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.

Step 3: Coffee Grinds

Next put the filter (funnel looking thing) in place like you may see from the pictures. Then you'll just have to put there your coffee grinds. For full pot put it full of coffee grinds and little bit over (the pictures will be good again). When I make two cups, I usually put about two very heeping teaspoons of coffee grinds or something like that. You'll get it right with couple of tries. And the amount may vary on the coffee brand you're using - some might taste better with little less or more grinds.

They say that you shouldn't tamp the grinds at all, but I like to just smooth the surface with very little pressure. Be sure that the coffee grinds are only in the "funnel" part, not on the threads. Do not tamp like you'd do with the other kind of espresso makers.

What do you call those..?

Step 4: The Top

Then you need to screw the top part on. Screw it on pretty tight, but you really don't have to twist as hard as you can, just so it stays on well and won't leak. And before screwing on, you should check is the gasket on the top part okay. If not, you should buy new one. They might have those gaskets there where you have bought your moka pot. This part is really the easiest, but I just wanted to write more than "Screw on the top".

Step 5: Stove

Turn on your stove to the highest temperature. Place your moka pot on the stove with the pot's lid closed. Any stovetype works, except induction stoves. For them you'll need a special moka pot.
After a little while you will start hearing a little "noise" which is the water boiling and distilling through the coffee grinds and up to the top. When the noise gets louder take the pot off the stove. Now your espresso is ready.

You shouldn't have your lid open like on my second picture below, because the coffee can squirt from there, and it's hot. So be careful. Actually when coffee starts comming up, it propably (by my experience) won't squirt at all, but when the louder noise starts up, it may and will come out "violently". Anyways, keeping the lid closed won't do anything bad to you - you really don't need to see there, the sound tells it all.

Step 6: Ready

Pour your finished espresso into your espresso cup or froth some milk and make a cappucino or a latte. You'll find instructions for those from somewhere else.

Enjoy your delicious espresso! Next how to wash a moka pot.

Step 7: Washing Up a Moka Pot

Do not put your moka pot into washing machine. You'll need to wash it up by hands, literally. You're gonna use only water and your hands. Simply:

1. Open your pot
2. Throw away your used coffee grinds
3. Wash the filter part under running water
4. Do the same to other parts too
5. Dry

Do not use dishwashing soap. It might eat away your pot. If your pot gets somehow very dirty, you could use boiling water and some sort of brush and maybe just a tiny bit of dishwashing soap. If (and propably is) your pot is made of aluminium, you could use some aluminium washing soap (made for dishes).
Seriously, I think using soap won't really eat a way your pot immediately, but they say that it's not good for it so I wouldn't use it anyway.

Step 8: How Moka Pot Works?

The way a moka pot works is fairly simple: water boils and vaporizes and the water vapour forces the not vapourized to rise up through the coffee grinds with a little pressure and then travels its way up. I drew a "great" demonstrating picture. Not the greatest, but I think you can figure out how it works from this text and the picture below.

Thank you!

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    33 Discussions


    1 year ago on Step 3

    Hi! You did almost everything right except for a couple of (small) things.

    First of all, an "Espresso" comes from a high pressure machine, this is a "Moka" coffee. Coffee producer love to write Espresso on their packages just because it makes a little bit of cream on it but, believe an Italian, tastes are completely different.

    2) make the filter full with coffee, don't leave empty space in it. If you like your coffee a little bit stronger, just put another spoon in it and press gently.

    3) The lid has to be always closed, leaving it open can reduce temperature inside (you'll wait longer). Also, the coffee that already came up will be cold faster.

    4) NEVER wash your moka except for the filters (and with water only). Never use sponges or similar to clean it. If it looks brown inside, it's not dirty, it's not ok, it's PERFECT.

    Another little "grandma" tip for preparing your brand new aluminium moka (no need if stainless steel): before making any coffee, fill the moka with milk instead of water, no coffee inside and let it cook normally until it came up. Repeat this procedure 2-3 times and then wash it with warm water: now you can have your first coffee! This will remove metal/rubber tastes from your coffee ;)

    Hope it helps! :)


    Islam Slimon

    1 year ago

    Lovely - just had this Moka pot and never know how to use it - and now i regret i didn't knew earlier :)


    1 year ago

    this was a very helpful tutorial, thank you for making this!


    2 years ago

    Great article! I'm planning on doing a review of my Bialetti moka pot at and will be sure to mention this how-to when I do!


    3 years ago

    You dont want to put the burner on high because you'll burn the beans


    3 years ago

    It's a very clean and simple explanation, loving it :)

    Use this brewer all the time myself and loving it :D just a FUN although MESSY FYI:
    Do NOT forget the filter keeping the coffee from flowing up with the steam through the collector. This will clog up the pipe and You will have a "coffee explosion". The pot itself didn't explode but coffee came out (I think, was standing on the balcony when i heard the boom) at the screwed together part and well, just say I had a bit of cleaning to do, had stains all over the kitchen even approximately 4 m away :)


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the instructions and while they are perfect, for some reason I've been having an issue. I have the "6 cup" Moka and I can never get the brewed espresso to fill the top chamber completely. It will only fill 1/4 - 1/2 of the way before the light brown foam starts. I don't understand what I'm doing wrong. I fill the lower chamber up with cold water till its just barely touching the bottom part of the valve. I don't tamp it but I do just kind of "tap" the unit down on the counter to get the coffee even, then smooth out the top with my finger. I then put it on my burner which is at max heat. By the time it's done, I will only have enough espresso to make one and a half cups. I've tried everything but nothing seems to work. If anyone could help I'd greatly apprecate it.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Your burner is too high. Use medium heat instead--too high and it doesn't extract well as you've seen while if the burner is too low, the water is either slow to boil or never brews.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is directly off of the Bialetti website regarding the Moka. I am sure others have their ways of making it but this is the official "proper" way. Best to start out this way and tweak your methods to find what works best for you.

    Before First Use
    1. Remove all labels and packaging.
    2. Hand wash all parts with warm water.
    3. Rinse all parts thoroughly to remove any soap residue.
    4. Make 2-3 pots of coffee to season the pot. Follow to use instructions below for each cycle.
    To Use
    1. Fill the lower chamber with cold water just below the valve.
    2. Insert the funnel and fill it with ground espresso (do not tamp). Remove any coffee grounds on the edge of the funnel
    3. Tightly screw the upper part of the pot on to the base. Avoid using the handle for leverage.
    4. Select burner size to fit bottom of pot. For gas stovetop, make
      sure the flame is not larger than bottom of pot. The flame should not
      come around the sides of the pot.
    5. Place pot on the stovetop until the water boils and coffee
      begins to come out of the center post. There will be a gurgling sound
      during this process.
    6. When the top of the pot is full of coffee, remove from stove.
      Hazel brown foam appears just seconds before the coffee is completely
    7. Before pouring coffee, stir it in the upper chamber with a small
      spoon to equalize all the different coffee layers for optimum flavor.
    • Wash by hand with warm water.
    • Dry thoroughly with towel.
    • Do not reassemble the product until all parts are completely dry to avoid oxidation.
    • Do not use soap or detergent.
    • Do not use in dishwasher.
    • Do not use steel wool or other abrasive products.
    • Use coffee ground specifically for a moka coffee maker. Don't use too fine ground coffee.
    • Periodically check the funnel, the filter plate and the washer for wear. Over time, they may need to be replaced.
    • Never use the pot without water.
    • Never use other contents besides coffee like teas, cacao powder or instant coffee as it will clog the filter plate.
    • If the heat is too high, coffee may have a burnt taste. Getting
      the optimum temperature for brewing may take some trial and error.
    • Store coffee grounds in airtight container, away from sunlight.
    • Use filtered water for best coffee flavor.

    4 years ago on Step 8

    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.


    4 years ago on Step 8

    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.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    7 years ago on Step 7

    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.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Step 7

    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)


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    4 years ago on Step 7

    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.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    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!!


    4 years ago on Step 8

    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.


    4 years ago on Step 6

    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.


    4 years ago

    Thank you for those awesome instructions : )