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11 common questions about the Moka pot answered

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Common mistakes put the Moka pot in a bad position. Find the answers below to some of the most common questions about the Moka pot.

The Moka pot is widely misunderstood and a few widespread mistakes put this Italian original in a bad position.

Find answers below to some of the most common questions about the Moka pot.

1. Can a Moka pot explode?

YES. And it’s very dangerous when it does.

Nobody wants a flying hot pot bouncing inside their kitchen.

It isn’t as harmful as a weapon, but it can spray everything around it with aluminum fragments, boiling water, and scorching hot coffee grounds.

It’s messy, dangerous, and dirty 😱
Fortunately, avoiding such an accident isn’t too difficult:

– Use coffee with a medium-fine grind size. If coffee is too fine it can clog the filter. The Moka pot’s valve releases some pressure, but sometimes it isn’t enough
– Never tamp the coffee. Proper tamping is crucial for espresso, but a Moka pot can’t deal with a compact coffee cake. If coffee is finely ground and tamped inside, then the Moka pot is very likely to explode.
– Clean your Moka pot properly and periodically. Below I will describe how, step-by-step.

2. Does Moka pot coffee taste burnt?

It doesn’t need to be that way but Moka pot coffee can taste burnt, even with medium roasts. Assuming you’re not using an overly dark roast, this can happen for a few reasons:
The collector chamber is too hot when the coffee pours over it
Coffee grounds spend too much time inside the filter basket and burn before and during the brewing process
Not filling the bottom chamber to the required level. The valve is the appropriate measure and it’s important to consider it when making coffee with your Moka pot.
If you aren’t sure about the best way to prepare Moka pot coffee, you can read our guide. We tell you all the steps you need to brew a perfect cup of coffee, free of burnt taste and undesirable bitterness!

3. Can Moka pot make espresso?

Not really. Some manufacturers have called it stovetop espresso maker, but it isn’t completely accurate.

Moka pot brews a rich and full-bodied cup of coffee, but it’s different from espresso. A cup of espresso is more concentrated.

To do so, an espresso machine delivers 9 nine bars of pressure -at a minimum- to dial a tiny cup of coffee. In comparison, a Moka pot can deliver between 1 and 2 bars maximum, serving between 1 and 18 cups of coffee, depending on its size.

Because of this, Moka pot coffee is significantly less concentrated so pressurized water can safely pass through the coffee bed.

Another difference is the grind size, as an espresso machine typically uses a fine grind size while a Moka pot requires a medium-fine grind size.

Finally, dialing an espresso takes between 25 and 35 seconds. On the other hand, Moka pot coffee is ready after 4 to 6 minutes.

4. What are the parts of a Moka pot?

Moka pot is a simple, yet elegant brewing device . The parts can have different names in English, but I chose the most common ones. It’s easier to find them in the picture below:
– Lid
– Handle
– Filter basket
– Collector
– Bottom chamber
– Tank

Picture identifying Moka pot parts
Moka pot is a simple, yet elegant brewing device. Picture credit: Johanna Baricot

5. How does the Moka pot work?

When the water in the bottom chamber boils, the steam goes through the filter basket.

The pressure builds up until the water goes through the coffee grounds and into the top chamber, where it pours.

Check below a CT scan of a video of a Moka pot in use. It shows how the water transforms into coffee, traveling from the bottom chamber to the collector. It’s amazing!

Credit: BAM (Germany) shared under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

6. When Moka pot coffee is done?

The coffee stream will change to a lighter, golden color. Additionally, it will start to come out in short bursts, instead of a consistent and slow flow.

As soon as you notice it, remove the Moka pot from the stove.

Golden like honey. It’s the sign you need to remove the Moka pot from the stove. Photo: Johanna Baricot

7. Is Moka pot a percolator?

Brewing devices types extract coffee in different ways. A percolator will brew coffee by dripping hot water over a coffee bed. Additionally, the brewed coffee boils again after its first extraction.

It doesn’t use pressure for extraction at all, but it’s easy to understand why it offers such a bitter coffee as it’s basically designed for over extraction.

On the other hand, the Moka pot uses pressure to brew coffee and can give a delicious cup of coffee.

In short, they’re completely different, although their appearance may mislead anyone.

Credit: UnknownFerret – Black-Label-Coffee, CC BY-SA 3.0

8. Which is the best coffee grind size for Moka pot?

Medium-fine grind size is the best for Moka pot coffee.

A finer grind size will result in an over-extracted cup of coffee, unpleasantly bitter. If the grind size is too coarse, you will notice because it will taste sour and, in some cases, bland.

Coffee brands tend to use a medium-fine grind size because it’s the best for home coffeemakers and Moka pots. Still, if you aren’t sure, check if your ground coffee feels like table salt to touch.

Espresso and Turkish-style blends are ground extremely fine. For this reason, they aren’t appropriate for Moka pot if they come ready to brew.

9. Can Moka pot be used on induction?

Most Moka pots aren’t suitable for induction stoves because they’re aluminum-made.
Aluminum and copper cookware don’t work on induction stoves. This includes the Moka pot and the Ibrik or Cezve.

However, some manufacturers like Bialetti have designed Moka pots that can work on induction stoves using stainless steel for the bottom chamber.
In any case, if you have an induction stove it’s better to check if the manufacturer offers an appropriate model for it.

10. How to clean a Moka pot?

Cleaning a Moka pot is so simple that most people can do it wrong. Let’s check some simple steps, as recommended by most manufacturers:

1. When cool unscrew the top section from the bottom chamber. Wash in warm water and dry carefully.
2. Don’t use detergent when washing the aluminum models. Detergents can taint aluminum and alter the coffee taste.
3. Avoid using steel wools or any kind of abrasive products to clean your Moka pot. They will damage the surface of the pot and can destroy the protective coat that impedes metals from brewing along with your coffee.
4. Never reassemble while the parts are wet. Moka pots are hard to rust, but they aren’t indestructible.
5. Bear in mind that the Moka pot is NOT dishwasher safe.

⚔️ Stainless steel models only

Some manufacturers suggest that it’s OK to use a mild detergent to clean stainless steel models.

Arguably liquid chrome polish is OK to be used to keep the stainless steel looking new. Just be sure to pick a food-safe product.

What do mean Moka pot sizes?

11. What do mean Moka pot sizes?

Don’t let cultural differences mislead you. Manufacturers use the standard espresso cup as a reference, not the typical cooking measure.

A Moka pot cup of coffee only has two fluid ounces or 50 ml. If you think about it, a 6-cup Moka pot serving is the most appropriate for couples. Or even singles if they’re like to drink a lot of coffee.

Espresso cup
An espresso cup holds 2 fluid ounces or 50 ml. That’s is a 1/5 of a regular mug.

Do you want to learn more about Moka pot coffee?

I wrote an easy-to-follow guide to perfect Moka pot coffee.

Just pick the best coffee available and get ready for a delicious brew 😉

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