What Is a Moka Pot? | A Complete Guide - The Finest Roast (2024)

The moka pot has been around for years and is a very popular coffee brewing device in Italy. At first glance, it looks strange and old-fashioned, and when coming to use the device, it can feel like a science experiment. Once you get the hang of using it, the moka pot can actually produce a great-tasting coffee in no time at all.

Nowadays everyone is looking for new and innovative ways to brew their coffee, although the moka pot isn’t very new, it is still a popular choice for coffee brewing at home. It is also used as a method for brewing coffee when camping, it can be opened up to be compact, and just needs to sit over heat.

Let’s have a look at some more information about the moka pot.

Related article: Best moka pots

What Is a Moka Pot?

A moka pot is a stovetop coffee brewing device created in Italy in the 1930s. It is made primarily of aluminum, which helps conduct and retain heat when brewing coffee.

The moka pot uses pressure, much like the Aeropress, to push boiling water through coffee grounds and extract the coffee flavors. They come in many different sizes, with some big enough to make coffee for the whole family.

The device can be easily taken apart and consist of three separate chambers. There is one for the water, one for the coffee grounds, and a final chamber where the brewed coffee is collected.

A moka pot has become a quintessential design in modern industrial art since the 1950s that you can see one or two Moka Pots displayed in design museums such as the Museum of Modern Art.

Related: French Press vs Moka Pot.

How to Use a Moka Pot

Using a moka pot is simple and requires very few steps, however, if done incorrectly, you can ruin the coffee. Some have complained of a “burnt” taste when using the moka pot. We have a recipe guide below, but in short, this is how to use a moka pot:

  1. Grind your coffee beans to medium-fine. Or use pre-ground coffee (more popular).
  2. Add the coffee to the smallest compartment, ensuring that the coffee doesn’t touch the top edge.
  3. Lightly spread the coffee in that compartment, don’t compress them down.
  4. Add water to the bottom compartment and put the coffee section of the top.
  5. Screw the top compartment on and then leave over the heat.

How Does a Moka Pot Work?

A moka pot works by combining pressure and steam to create an aromatic and flavorful coffee brew.

When placed over heat, the bottom section containing the water begins to boil. Due to the unique design, the steam produced has nowhere to go and creates pressure in the chamber. This also condenses and begins to force the water to rise up through to the top chamber, resulting in your coffee brew.

It can appear to be very complex at first, and even a little intimidating, but it is very simple to use once you try.

The Rich History of the Moka Pot

An Italian engineer heavily influenced by contemporary designers like Hoffman, Genazzi, and Puiforcat who also has a passion for metalworking, Antonio Bialetti was able to create one of the most iconic coffee-making devices in 1933. Bialetti was able to create and complete his design for the aluminum moka pot.

The moka pot has become an iconic design that was even cited in the Guinness Book of World Records. moka pot became a game-changer not only because of its design but because of the material used. The use of aluminum to create household appliances was a new concept for people in the 1930s since it was not regarded as a traditional “domestic metal”.

What Is a Moka Pot Used For?

Before the moka pot was invented, people turned to espresso machines to brew a strong, full-bodied cup of coffee. But because espresso machines were expensive and massive to be kept as a household appliance, drinking coffee was mostly enjoyed in local cafes.

A moka pot is used to brew perk-me-up coffees close to espresso drinks that produce high-quality strong coffee. The process of producing coffee from a moka pot is not like the other coffee-making devices because it uses a process called percolation.

With other coffee-making devices, water drips down through the coffee grounds but the percolation process uses the opposite. The water is heated until it boils and water is forced up by the pressure through the coffee grounds passing the filter and finally to the top chamber.

The Inspiration for Moka Pot’s Design

Legend has it that Bialetti got his inspiration for the moka pot design from the old washing machines. Back in the day, washing machines were made out of tubes that had central conduits inside. Dirty laundry was then placed inside the tube and the central conduit would draw soapy boiling water up through the conduit and spreads it across the opening.

5 Things to Keep In Mind When Brewing In a Moka Pot

Brewing coffee is just like creating art. Not only do you have to take note of the kind of paint you use, or make sure that you have a good quality canvass and paintbrush but you also have to take note of the strokes and painting techniques you use.

When brewing coffee using a Moka Pot, in order to create a perfect, full-bodied strong cup of coffee, you have to remember 4 things.

1. Make Sure to Use Hot Water Instead of Room Temperature Water

Why is it important to use hot or pre-heated water at room temperature? This is because you don’t want your coffee to stay in the pot for a very long time. The trouble with letting it brew for a long time is over-extraction and when coffee grounds are being over-extracted, the coffee comes out very bitter than it should be.

2. There is No Need to Tamp the Coffee Grounds

Just because some people refer to moka pot coffee as Stove-top Espresso doesn’t mean that you have to tap the grounds. The reason why there is a need to tamp the ground coffee in espresso machines is that it uses pressure to extract the coffee. With a moka pot, hot water is needed for the extraction.

3. Cold Towel Can Come in Handy

Now although a cold towel is not mandatory when using a moka pot it does its job of keeping the moka pot from over extracting and because moka pots are created from metal materials, in order to stop the coffee from still brewing you need to wrap the device with a cold towel.

4. Coffee Grounds Should Be Finer Than a Pour Over Coffee Maker

Another factor that you should keep in mind is that the coffee grounds that you use should be finer than a pour-over but coarser than an espresso machine. You want your water to be able to rise and pass through the chamber with no problem at all.

How to Make the Perfect Moka Pot Coffee

What Is a Moka Pot? | A Complete Guide - The Finest Roast (1)


How to Make the Perfect Moka Pot Coffee

Make the perfect coffee using your moka pot and avoid making a bitter, horrible tasting brew by following this guide.

Prep Time10 minutes mins

Total Time10 minutes mins

Course: Drinks

Cuisine: Italian

Keyword: moka, moka coffee, moka pot

Yield: 3 Cups

Cost: $5


  • Moka Pot

  • Coffee Grinder (Optional)

  • Coffee Mug


  • 12.75 Grams Coffee Grounds
  • 1 Cup Water


  • Grind your coffee beans. Make sure to use freshly ground coffee in order to get the full-bodied flavor. Avoid using pre-ground coffee since the freshness and the full flavor of coffee is already lost, but you can if you only have that available.

  • Fill the bottom chamber with pre-heated water up to the valve. After pouring the water, place the coffee ground receptacle into the pot. In case you see water entering the receptacle, pour it out to remove the excess.

  • Once you have the coffee ground receptacle in place, fill it with coffee grounds. Make sure to just level the coffee grounds and not tamp it.

  • Screw the top chamber in place and put the moka pot on the stove over medium heat.

  • Wait for a gurgling or hissing sound, this means that your coffee is done. Remove the moka pot from the stove and let the coffee continue to stream up for a few seconds before covering the moka pot with a cold towel.

  • Pour and serve the coffee.


Use a fine grind size for coffee beans.

3 cups – 12.75 g (2.0 tbsp)

4 cups – 17.00 g (2.5 tbsp)

6 cups – 34.00 g (5.0 tbsp)

The Best Moka Pots to Buy

Here are 3 of the best moka pots that you can buy to make great tasting coffee at home:

1. Coffee Gator Moka Pot Stovetop Espresso Maker

What Is a Moka Pot? | A Complete Guide - The Finest Roast (2)
  • Includes 2 Stainless Steel 3oz Coffee Pots.
  • 6 Cup (12oz) Brewing Capacity.

2. Bialetti Express Moka Pot, 6 -Cup & Coffee, Aluminum Silver

What Is a Moka Pot? | A Complete Guide - The Finest Roast (3)
  • Makes 9. 2 ounces of coffee.
  • Free sample pack of ground Coffee.

3. GROSCHE Milano Stovetop Espresso Maker Moka pot 3 espresso Cup

What Is a Moka Pot? | A Complete Guide - The Finest Roast (4)
  • Available in 3 cups, 6 cups, 9 cup sizes.
  • Made in Italy.

The Final Sip

The moka pot is a unique and popular coffee-making device, especially across Europe. It originated in Europe, Italy, and is found in most households. It can be intimidating to use and seem complex, but it is a simple and easy method to brew great coffee.

What Is a Moka Pot? | A Complete Guide - The Finest Roast (2024)


What Is a Moka Pot? | A Complete Guide - The Finest Roast? ›

A Moka Pot

Moka Pot
The moka pot is a stove-top or electric coffee maker that brews coffee by passing hot water driven by vapor pressure through ground coffee. Named after the Yemeni city of Mocha, it was invented by Italian engineer Luigi Di Ponti in 1933 who sold the patent to Alfonso Bialetti, an aluminum vendor.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Moka_pot
is a stovetop coffee maker that consists of three parts: a base, a boiler, and a filter holder. The base is filled with water, the boiler is filled with coffee grounds, and the filter holder is placed between the base and the boiler.

What is the best roast for a moka pot? ›

Moka pot. Ideal roast level: Medium - Dark. The Moka pot is sort of a less potent espresso. Because of the material of the device, dark roasts are a risky bet, the same way that medium roasts tend to be underwhelming.

What is the fine ground coffee for a moka pot? ›

Use a consistent fine to medium-fine grind size. You shouldn't go all out and use espresso-fine grinds. Those could clog the filter screen and generate a dangerous amount of pressure. Go for coffee that's just a little finer than your average drip coffee grounds.

What kind of coffee does a moka pot make? ›

The Moka Pot is meant to be an alternative for espresso coffee and when brewed correctly creates a cup that's closer in taste to an Americano or Long Black than it is to filter coffee. With this in mind you want an espresso roast ideally.

What is the purpose of a moka pot? ›

The moka pot is a stove-top or electric coffee maker that brews coffee by passing hot water driven by vapor pressure through ground coffee. Named after the Yemeni city of Mocha, it was invented by Italian engineer Luigi Di Ponti in 1933 who sold the patent to Alfonso Bialetti, an aluminum vendor.

Should I use espresso roast for moka pot? ›

You can use any coffee you like in a moka pot—the coarseness of grind matters more here than the roast. The grounds should be coarser than is necessary for an espresso machine, but finer than you'd use in a drip coffee maker. A “fine” or “medium-fine” grind will do the trick if you're using a burr grinder.

Is pour over coffee better than moka pot? ›

Pour over coffee gives you that clean and subtle flavor. A lighter roast and a medium coarse grind are usually used with pour-overs. To put things succinctly, Moka pots coffee is about three times stronger than pour-over coffee. It's a Stalemate here, you choose your winner based on personal preferences.

Is espresso too fine for moka pot? ›

The grind for a Moka Pot needs to be coarser than espresso. If the grind is too fine, the coffee will struggle to extract resulting in a very bitter and strong taste.

What is the best coffee ratio for a moka pot? ›

Moka pots (sometimes referred to as a stovetop espresso maker) vary in shape and size by brand and manufacturer. It is a classic brewing method with strong Italian roots. We use a coffee to water ratio around 1:10-1:13. For this recipe, we'll consider the classic Bialetti using 28g coffee to 300 g water to make 6 cups.

How to make moka pot coffee less bitter? ›

How to avoid a bitter taste when brewing coffee in a moka pot. If your coffee tastes a bit bitter, don't worry: it's an easy fix! You can either try a slightly coarser grind, pre-heat the water, brew it on lower heat, or remove your moka pot from the stovetop a few seconds earlier.

Should you tamp a moka pot? ›

Coming from an espresso machine, you might be tempted to tamp, don't. Moka pot doesn't have enough pressure to punch through that and if you do so, you will slow the flow down and overextract, yielding bitter cup. Measure how much your moka filter basket holds and grind to exact next time so you don't waste coffee.

Should you start with hot or cold water in a moka pot? ›

Should I Start With Cold Or Hot Water? I highly suggest starting off with hot, pre-boiled water. This reduces the amount of time it takes to brew the coffee and keeps the hot moka pot from getting so hot that it “cooks” the grounds before the brewing begins. Cooked grounds taste metallic and bitter.

Why is moka pot coffee so good? ›

Why? Because it's an easy and quick way to brew a full-bodied cup of coffee that is rich in aroma. This particular method of coffee brewing produces an intensely-flavored brew with exceptional body and richness reminiscent of espresso. Moka coffee can be enjoyed any time of the day.

Can I use milk instead of water in a moka pot? ›

The answer to this riddle can be found in the instruction booklet, which specifies that the Moka must only be used with water. Overflowing foam and a clogged valve: this is why it is better not to put milk in the Moka boiler instead of water.

What is another name for a moka pot? ›

The charmingly octagonal Moka Pot, sometimes also called a caffettiera, a macchinetta or stovetop espresso maker, carries with it a strong, sludgy cup of historical significance in coffee. As a design piece, it's internationally renowned, rivaled perhaps only in comeliness by the Chemex.

Can you use a light roast in a moka pot? ›

Lighter roasts are harder to extract than darker roasts and so need a finer grind. Dark or light, you're definitely way finer than you would grind for a V60 or cafetiere, but nowhere near espresso fine. If you're buying pre-ground coffee, your roaster should be able to choose a good grind for you.

How do you make strong coffee in a moka pot? ›

You can either try a slightly coarser grind, pre-heat the water, brew it on lower heat, or remove your moka pot from the stovetop a few seconds earlier. If, on the contrary, your coffee tastes too weak, it means it's under-extracted: tap the grounds properly or try a slightly finer grind.

What is the ratio for medium roast in a moka pot? ›

In general, the rule of thumb for a moka pot is to use a 1:12 coffee to water ratio. This will yield a strong espresso-like concentrate of about 6.5 ounces. A good place to start is with 13 grams of coffee and 170 grams of water. For those looking to brew a specialty cup of coffee (not espresso), use a ratio of 1:15.


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