How to Use a Moka Pot

One Methods:Troubleshooting

A Moka Pot is a steam-based stovetop espresso maker that produces a dark coffee almost as strong as regular espresso. It is sometimes called a "stove-top" espresso or "Espresso Kettle" or even "poor man's" espresso.

Moka is produced using only steam’s natural pressure, but if you are looking for a way to produce espresso inexpensively, this technique is for you.


  1. 1
    Understand the parts of a moka pot. They have three chambers, one for water (A), one for grounds (B) and one for the finished product (C).
    • The bottom chamber is for the water. It usually has a pressure valve as well.
    • The middle chamber is for your finely ground coffee. Pack it in lightly.
    • The top chamber is the collection point for the brewed espresso / coffee.
  2. 2
    Clean or condition your moka pot for the first time by boiling up some old grounds as a test. Throw the product away. This step is only to clean the machine and test the function of the pressure valve. Repeat this three times to ensure that all the parts are clean.
  3. 3
    Brew your coffee:
    • Add water to the bottom chamber. It should be filled to half an inch or 1 cm below the valve.
    • Add medium-fine grounds to the basket. Do NOT tamp! Make sure that there are no grounds at the edges of the funnel and the bottom chamber.
    • Place the filled basket in place and screw the top on snugly.
    • Place the moka pot onto the heat source, and adjust the temperature to the maximum level, such that the flame, if (using a stove), does not extend beyond the edge of the pot. The steam valve should not point toward you. Turn off the heat source when espresso,(black coffee),stops, and allow cream to come out. If you do not turn off the heat source, the coffee, especially if dark-roast, will be burned by the steam in the bottom chamber.
  4. 4
    Pour your coffee and enjoy. Do not let children touch the pot when it is still hot. Allow fifteen minutes for pot to cool, or run it under cold water, before cleaning.
  5. 5
    Clean the pot as soon as it cools. Do not use a dishwasher; instead wash it out by hand without soap.


  1. 1
    Possible problems (and their fixes) are:

    • Steam leaks—tighten the seal better before brewing, make sure it is clean and the threads are engaging properly.
    • Steam not getting through the grinds—either the grinds are too fine, or the grinds are too tightly packed.


  • Boil up some vinegar every few weeks to remove calcium deposits and stains.
  • Filtered water can improve the flavor significantly.
  • Keep the water level below your safety valve to prevent stove top leaking.
  • If you grind your own beans, grind them slightly coarse to prevent them falling through the basket holes and into your brew.


  • The "threat" of aluminum seems to be a US based bias. Most other countries, including Italy, use aluminum. Not because it's cheaper, but the coffee coats the aluminum which adds subtle flavors to the coffee.
  • Purchase only stainless steel moka pots. Aluminum pots are cheaper, but the aluminum leaves a bad flavor in your coffee.

Things You'll Need

  • Moka Pot aka "Stove top Espresso Maker"
  • Coffee
  • A stove
  • Water

Article Info

Categories: Coffee Makers and Espresso Machines