Moka Pot Mistakes That Can Wreck A Delicious Italian Coffee

These moka pot mistakes can destroy your delicious Italian coffee, so here are some tips on how to avoid this and enjoy your espresso every morning.

moka pot mistakes - dog

The moka pot, or any other stovetop espresso maker seems like the simplest of machines, so how can you make a moka pot mistake that will ruin your morning? You definitely can ruin your espresso and here is how to avoid it.

moka pot mistakes - alessi

How Do You Get The Best Out Of A Moka Pot?

Here are some recommendations for getting the best out of your moka pot:

  • Keep It Clean And Dry – using a dirty moka will impart bad tastes into your coffee, so make sure you get in there and give it a good cleaning after every use. For more information, check out my article on How To Clean Your Moka.

  • Use Good Water – This is generally not a problem for most people here in Italy as the water is amazing, but in the US, it is more common to have tap water with a slightly off flavor, which is why so many people prefer bottled water. If your tap water is a bit off, use filtered or bottled water for a clean taste.

  • Don’t Use Soap – I’ve seen people questioning this and even calling it a “myth”, which is weird. This is a recommendation, so if you want to use soap, go for it, but in my experience, dish soap can leave a residue that will influence the flavor of your coffee in bad ways. My recommendation is to use only water, or possible vinegar if needed.

  • Replace The Gasket – The newer silicone gaskets seem to last longer, but the older ones are made from a material that breaks down over time, so if it seems stiff and crumbly, buy a replacement. If you aren’t sure, try removing it and inspecting it a little closer.

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How Do You Use A Moka Pot Step By Step?

You can check out my previous article about making coffee in a moka pot, but if you are only looking for a high level quick read, then here you go:

  1. Make sure the moka is dry and the gasket and filter plate are completely assembled.

  2. Add clean water in the boiler up to the release valve on the side.

  3. Insert the funnel and add coffee. Make a little mound, but don’t tamp down the coffee.

  4. Attach the upper collection chamber and make it fairly tight.

  5. Make sure the lid is closed and put it on the stove.

  6. When you hear bubbling, wait until it stops and turn off the stove.

  7. If you are dividing the coffee into more than one cup, you should mix the coffee in the moka, but if it is for one person/cup, don’t worry about it because it will mix when you pour it out.

  8. Enjoy your stovetop espresso and reflect on your life.

How Do You Use A Moka Pot On A Stove?

Once you have assembled the moka following the steps above, you put it on the stove. If you are using a gas stove, you want to make sure the flame is low enough that it isn’t riding up the side of the moka, because this will get the handle too hot and possibly melt it.

How Do You Use A Moka Pot On An Induction Stove?

This is important because the common moka pots do not work on an induction stove, so you really have two options:

  1. Most induction stoves come with, or you can buy, a heating plate that will heat up and you simply put the moka on top of the plate.

  2. You can buy an induction-ready moka pot that will work perfectly well. It will also work just as well on a gas or electric stove.

What Are The Negatives Of A Moka Pot?

I love my moka pots, all of them, so I don’t typically dwell on the negatives of using them, but if I had to identify the problems, they would be:

  • Mokas brew with a lower pressure than a commercial, or very expensive home espresso maker, so the espresso you will get from a stovetop espresso maker isn’t exactly like espresso in a bar. You are relying on the ease of use of the moka pot for a great home version of espresso. Still, it makes going out to a bar a viable option because it is noticeably better.

  • You need to use a specific grind of coffee bean that is appropriate for a moka. If the grind is too coarse, like a US coffee grind, there won’t be enough pressure and the result will be weak. If the grind is too fine, you will clog the filter plate and the stream won’t release properly. The result will be an incomplete brew because the steam will release from the escape valve. If you have never heard steam escaping from the release valve, I can assure you that it is startling to hear that first thing in the morning.

What Not To Do With Moka Pot?

There are two things that I think are very important when it comes to using a moka pot. First, you need to make sure that you are using a coffee that is ground specifically for a moka pot. If you grind your own beans, this might take some trial and error, but if you are buying a proper Italian coffee, it should say it on the label.

The second thing I see people do incorrectly is tamp down the coffee in the basket. This is correct for commercial espresso makers because they steam the coffee at a much higher pressure, but it is incorrect for mokas. You fill the basket to a nice little mound and attach it to the top. There is no need to tamp down the coffee. 

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What Is Wrong With My Moka Pot?

Probably nothing, but read through this entire article to be sure.

How Long Does It Take A Moka Pot To Brew?

This is dependent on many factors, like: what type of stove you are using, how big was the burner you put it on and how high was the flame. However, if you need an average time, I would say that you should expect to hear the percolating in 6-8 minutes.

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How Do You Make Good Coffee In A Moka Pot?

If you think that this article is a bit too intense for something as simple as using a moka pot at home, then you might not be taking this as seriously as they do in Italy. Check out this video from an amazing bar in Naples called Gambrinus where their man is saving the day and showing how to make the perfect home espresso. I don’t follow it exactly, but even though it is in Italian, you can see how serious it is taken in Naples.

More Italian Stove-Top Espresso Maker Information

If you found this article about avoiding moka pot mistakes helpful, please check out some of these other articles that I think you will also enjoy:


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