Coffee Commandments: The Moka Pot

Coffee Commandments: The Moka Pot

The Moka pot was invented in 1933 by Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti. They work by boiling water in a bottom chamber, producing steam. As the quantity of steam increases it takes up more room in the chamber, creating pressure. This forces the water up the spout up through the coffee in the chamber above, and in turn, out of the spout at the top!

Moka pots really seem to evoke a sense of nostalgia. There is just something about the suspense and general fun they bring to a morning brew! Whilst the hardcore espresso nut may say “it’s not espresso,” the coffee made from a moka pot can easily hit the same spot. It should be smooth, strong but maintain the nuance and delicacy of your chosen coffee! Whilst many brew methods require precision in terms of weight of coffee and water I have found the moka pot much more suited to volumetric measurements. This is why you will find no ratios of weights on this brew method! But for those who are interested, Moka pots are designed to brew a roughly, 1:10 ratio. 

A couple of little dos and don’ts!

  • NEVER fill the bottom chamber past the pressure release valve as it could explode! (boom!)
  • Clean your Moka pot straight after use with hot water! (no harsh soaps or dishwashers)!
  • Store dry and loosely assembled to prevent unnecessary degradation of the gasket.
  • Always enjoy yourself! Coffee is fun!
You will need:

The method:

Step 1: First, boil a kettle of nice fresh water and set your hob to a medium heat. I like to use boiled water as it reduces the time that the dry ground coffee is on the hob for reducing any burnt notes. Also take a bowl of cold water and place it to the side of the hob. (A neat tip from our very own Andrew Mundy, after the acute observation that running to the tap with a boiling hot Moka pot was POSSIBLY a poor suggestion)!


Step 2: Pour water into the bottom chamber up to the bottom of the pressure release valve.

Step 3: The coffee should be ground fine but not as fine as an espresso machine. You will need to adjust this according to the taste of your coffee if you are grinding your own! If you are tasting excessive bitterness you are too fine. If you can taste hollow, sour, acidic notes then you are too coarse!

We chose our Daily Bread blend, used in house at Pilgrims Coffee! Select the stovetop option if you don't have your own grinder. 

Step 4: Take a spoon and fill the chamber for ground coffee. Don’t shake it to level it or compact it simply use the handle of the spoon to swipe off the excess and you should be left with a perfectly level, well distributed mass of coffee! Place this into the bottom chamber and then screw on the top of the pot using a tea towel to hold the bottom as IT WILL BE HOT!

Step 5: Place onto your pre heated hob and wait for that sweet elixir to dribble out of the spout. If you get spitting and overly aggressive flow, the heat is too high. If it takes a long time (i.e. more than 2 minutes) to emerge the heat is too low.

Step 6: As soon as you hear the slightest gurgling sound, you must wake yourself from your mesmerised state of wonder induced by the sheer beauty of your coffee brewing prowess, and take the pot off the hob and dip it into your bowl of cold water next to the hob! (Thank you Andrew)

Step 7: Clean up and enjoy your coffee! 

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