How to obtain a better coffee with the Moka Pot

The Moka pot is one of the most classic methods to prepare coffee and is found in almost every coffee lover’s home. However, it is a coffee maker that is loved and hated since it is a percolation method that produces a very intense coffee.

With the Moka pot, it is necessary to consider some things when using it to obtain very good results. For those who like espresso coffee, this is a very good and economical option, which imitates it much better than many “espresso” coffee makers that can be found in some stores.

Types of Moka Pots

When it comes to buying a Moka, we can find a lot of varieties and different prices. The more expensive ones are better, or are we simply paying for the brand?

Moka pot
Moka pot

At first glance, all Moka pots are made of aluminum and are very similar to each other, so the impression may be that we would only pay for the brand by buying the more expensive ones.

However, you can tell the difference once you try the more expensive ones. A good quality Moka will be more expensive, but it can feel much more robust, better built, and with better materials. And when it comes to brewing coffee, good results are much easier to obtain, especially in terms of the consistency of the beverage.

There is also the stainless steel Moka pots, which, a much more resistant material, can last longer and are easier to clean. Aluminum, being more porous, stains much more.

Sizes of Moka pots

Moka pots come in various sizes, with a capacity to prepare from one to twelve cups of coffee. What you need to know is the size of these cups is the size of an espresso cup. Italians are used to drinking in espresso size, and these coffee makers are designed with this size in mind.

The moka pot
The moka pot

An Italian espresso cup has a capacity of approximately 60 ml, which is measured in the reservoir where the water is placed. Then, it must be taken into account that when the coffee is prepared, it will retain a little of this water, so to calculate how much coffee the machine produces, it is necessary to subtract a little from this capacity.

The great disadvantage of the Moka pot is that it is absolutely necessary to fill the basket with coffee to obtain a good result. Therefore, we cannot, for example, buy a 9-cup coffee maker and want to prepare only 3 cups.

If we do not fill the coffee basket, the water will pass through very quickly and will not have enough resistance or contact time with the coffee to extract it correctly; therefore, we will obtain a very watery beverage without a body and a little bit sour. Before buying the coffee maker, it is necessary to know how much coffee we will want to prepare regularly.

How to place the coffee in the basket of a Moka pot?

And since we are talking about filling the basket, we should know that it is very important to know how to place the coffee in it. It is necessary to place it without crushing or compacting it, without hitting it, and only fill the basket to the top.

So that the coffee does not remain piled up in the center with the finger or anything else, we even it out a little, only moving the coffee towards the sides to have a complete cylinder.

How to place the coffee in the basket
How to place the coffee in the basket

If the basket is full to the brim and there is still some coffee left over, it should be discarded. So it would be convenient if you had a scale at home to weigh the amount of coffee and always use the same amount so that nothing is wasted.

How to put the water in the Moka pot?

Once the coffee is ready in the basket, the next step is to place the water in the coffee pot. Starting with quality and filtered water is essential. It is very important to place the water already hot and boiling in the tank of the coffee maker.

If you do not want to heat the water separately, you can heat only the lower part of the coffee pot with the water until it boils. Then place the rest of the coffee pot, that is to say, the basket with the coffee and the top part, being very careful not to burn yourself (use a cloth to hold the base of the coffee maker).

Fill with COLD water, just below the safety valve
Fill with COLD water, just below the safety valve

What we want with this is that the coffee beans are in the fire for the least amount of time possible. If we add cold water to the container and place everything together on the stove, the coffee pot will increase its temperature and generate unpleasant flavors.

This does not mean the coffee will burn, but it generates very bitter flavors, especially if we use medium or dark-roast coffee. Once the water is boiling, the coffee basket and the top of the coffee pot should be placed on the lowest flame possible. This will ensure that the extraction of the coffee is even.

Why do you not obtain good preparations with your Moka pot?

As we mentioned before, to obtain good results with a Moka pot, we need that the coffee flow is continuous, without splashing or spitting, that the jet falls directly through the walls of the duct to the bottom, and that it remains like this during the entire extraction.

Moka pot preparing coffee
Moka pot preparing coffee

If the coffee does not come out at all, or if small droplets are splashed out, this could be due to one of the following reasons:

  • The coffee you are using is ground too fine. The water has a lot of resistance; it is difficult to pass through the coffee and remains in contact for a long time. The taste of this beverage is going to be very bitter and astringent.
  • You did not screw the two parts of the coffee pot together tightly enough. If you leave it a little loose, the pressure can escape, and not enough pressure is formed to make the water rise to the top container, so you have to make sure to screw it on tightly.
  • The coffee comes out spitting but immediately. It may be because the coffee you are using has too coarse a grind, and the water passes through it too quickly. It can also happen because the fire is too high and the coffee overheats too much.
  • You have placed less coffee in the basket. The beverage we get is very watery, without body, and sour, as mentioned before.

What happens when there is little water left in the water tank?

There will always be a little water left in the container; it will never be empty. Especially if you make cold water shot to cut the extraction and prevent the coffee from being over-extracted.

However, if we see a lot of water left in the reservoir, this will indicate that something was wrong, that the grind is too fine, or any of the above reasons. But keep in mind that there will always be a minimum of one centimeter of water left in the tank.

The main thing we have to look for is, of course, that the coffee is tasty. Based on this, you can modify, for example, the coffee bean grinding size a little finer or a little coarser until you find the ideal flavor.

If whatever you do, you cannot obtain a good result with your Moka pot, or you feel a very bitter or burnt taste in your coffee, this can be due to two main reasons:

  1. The coffee maker lacks cleanliness, which is very important.
  2. The type of coffee you are using is not the right one. Remember that the quality of the coffee is the most important thing. In the cup, you will obtain the result of the quality of the coffee you are using. There is no technique or trick to improve it, so always use the best coffee.

How to consume this coffee that we obtain from the Moka pot?

If we add water or milk to the coffee that we obtain from the Moka pot, it will be much less intense, and surely the traditionalist fans of the Moka would not agree.

Espresso is five times more intense than the coffee produced by the Moka. This is very different because of the pressure exerted by the espresso machine, which allows us to have a much silkier body and an explosion of flavors that we cannot find with the Moka. It reminds me more of the coffee prepared with the Aeropress.

The Moka pot is more similar to preparing coffee with any filtered method but more concentrated, which means we cannot feel all the flavors this coffee has.

Just as we prepare an Americano or long black with the espresso, we can add hot water to the preparation with the Moka to reach an intensity that is pleasant to our palate and to be able to feel well all the flavors of the exquisite coffee that we are using.


Some may be wondering if we add water at the end of the extraction, why choose the Moka over some other coffee maker, such as the Chemex? The main reason is its speed, in less than a minute we have the coffee ready, it is very fast.

In addition, not having so much control over the variables produces a lot of consistency in the results we obtain. This is great for all beginners or anyone looking to get something tasty, fast, and easy without learning much about coffee.

If we buy one of these coffee makers’ larger models, we can prepare many cups simultaneously by making this concentrated coffee. In addition, they are very economical and can be found everywhere, so they seem to be a very good option for many.

In short, I always encourage using a coffee bean of the best possible quality, ensuring a great flavor in the cup, and then drinking it as you like it. If you like it intensely, then great; if you like it a little softer, add a little hot water at the end. Just enjoy it; that is what coffee is all about.

Written by Pablo Barrantes Nevado
I am Pablo Barrantes, a coffee lover. I decided to start this website to solve all the doubts that arise every day when preparing our favorite drink: coffee. I am an industrial engineer by profession, but I have worked in coffee shops for many years, where I have learned all the secrets about coffee machines and coffee. My passion for coffee has led me to investigate and study beyond the obvious, and thanks to this, I can offer solutions and give news about coffee and coffee makers. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I research, document and write here.

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