Buying Guides

The Best Coffee For Moka Pot


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Are you convinced that the Moka pot deserves its reputation for brewing bitter coffee? We aren’t, either. Doing so can be tricky, but using a stovetop espresso maker to create a tasty brew is possible. You’ll need a foolproof brew strategy and quality coffee grounds. 

Read on to learn how to make the most of your Moka pot, plus check out our picks for the best coffee beans to use in this brewer.

At A Glance: Best Coffee For Moka Pot

Best coffee for Moka Pot

Meet the Moka Pot

Let’s start by digging into what a Moka pot is. This coffee brewing method (designed in 1933 by Luigi De Ponti for Alfonso Bialetti, by the way) comes from Italy. For many coffee enthusiasts at the time, using a Moka pot was and still is the only way to get an espresso-like beverage from the comfort of their own homes. 

How it works

Moka pot brewers last a good long while, and since these stovetop coffee makers tend to be stainless steel or aluminum, they can withstand high heat and avoid water damage or rusting. So, if you’re a coffee lover looking for an affordable, durable tool to help you brew espresso grounds, one of these might be a wise choice for you.

The water or bottom chamber is the bottom part of the pot. It’s situated closest to the heat source to allow water to heat up, evaporate into steam, and enter the coffee basket. This process creates a significant amount of pressure, and that’s why many compare the resulting rich, concentrated coffee to espresso. Your Moka pot also has a safety valve to release excess pressure. 

As its name suggests, the coffee basket holds a bed of ground coffee. Above it is a filter screen that allows the brewed coffee to flow through a funnel and into the upper chamber while keeping gritty grounds out. The built-up pressure disperses, and the Moka pot collects your brew and keeps it warm until you’re ready to enjoy a cup of coffee. 

Maintenance

If the amount of upkeep involved with espresso coffee machines turns you off from getting one, a Moka pot is a worthwhile alternative for you. It’s almost as easy to care for as an Aeropress. All you have to do is disassemble the components described above, dispose of the used grounds, rinse each part of the brewer, and towel dry.

Quick Summary: Best Coffee For Moka Pot

rc2-table__imageLifeboost Espresso Coffee
  • USDA Organic
  • Darkest Roast Coffee
  • 100% Arabica Bean
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rc2-table__imagePORTLAND COFFEE ROASTERS GOOSE HOLLOW BLEND
  • Deliciously Sweet And Luxuriously Full-Bodied
  • Notes Of Caramel
  • Medium-Dark Roast
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rc2-table__imageKLATCH COFFEE FRENCH ROAST
  • Dark Roast
  • Roasty And Smoky
  • Simple Chocolate, Molasses, Smokey
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rc2-table__imageREVELATOR COFFEE COMPANY PALE RIDER DECAF
  • Well-Balanced Chocolate And Red Apple Sweetness
  • Dark Roast
  • Sweet And Smooth
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rc2-table__imageCITY OF SAINTS COFFEE ROASTERS WOODSMAN BLEND
  • Dark, Rich, And Uncompromisingly Bold
  • Dark Roast
  • Comforting And Rich
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rc2-table__imageREVELATOR COFFEE COMPANY 9 TO 5 HOUSE BLEND
  • Notes Of Black Cherry And Caramel
  • Perfect Companion To Get You Through Your 9 To 5
  • Roasty And Smoky
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rc2-table__imageSPARROWS COFFEE HIGH FIVE BLEND
  • Rich And Comforting
  • Chocolaty Sweetness
  • With Merest Hint Of Orange Acidity
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rc2-table__imageCUVEE COFFEE KARMADILLO DARK ESPRESSO ROAST
  • With Incredible Depth And Chocolaty Sweetness
  • Comforting And Rich
  • Handcrafted
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Nicoletti Coffee Espresso Roast Beans 2.20lb (Made in Brooklyn NY since 1972)Nicoletti Coffee Espresso Roast Beans
  • Fresh Roasted Espresso Beans
  • Light Roast Level
  • Very Light Roasted In Small Batches In Brooklyn NY
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AROMISTICO | ROMA - Smooth Medium/Dark Roast | Mellow, Sharp & Nut-Like | Premium GROUND Coffee | Small Batch Hand-roasted | Italian Family-Run Artisan Roastery | El Salvador & Guatemala BlendAromistico Medium-Dark Roma Selection
  • Finest Smooth Aroma
  • Sugar Free
  • Medium Roast Level
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How to Choose the Best Coffee for Moka Pots

Before we jump into our buying guide, let’s discuss some key factors to keep in mind as you shop to get the best coffee beans possible, even if you decide to ignore our suggestions and do some exploring of your own. 

The Grind

Regardless of the coffee maker you’re using, make sure you’re using the perfect grind size. For a Moka pot, you’ll need medium or medium-fine grounds. These are slightly finer than the beans you’d throw into your drip machine but not as powder-like as those used in a real-deal espresso machine

The beans have to provide enough surface area for optimal flavor extraction, but you don’t want them so finely ground that the water can’t flow through them. 

With all that said, we want to note that some people prefer a coarser grind (similar to what one would use for pour-over coffee), while others like to use an espresso grind. We tend to lean toward the middle ground, but keep in mind that because Moka pots are pretty forgiving, there is some wiggle room here. That’s why we think it’s best to buy whole bean coffee and a grinder so you can experiment with grind sizes. 

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The Roast

A dark or medium-dark roast is the most common choice for espresso coffee connoisseurs. Moka pot lovers tend to opt for darker roasted beans, too. They offer rich and deep flavor profiles that stand up well to the pressurized brewing process. 

Roasty Rankings: Our Picks for the Best Coffee for Moka Pots

Lifeboost Coffee Espresso Coffee

Lifeboost Espresso Coffee
Lifeboost Espresso Coffee
Our rating:

Your cup of Lifeboost Premium Espresso dark roast Coffee comes from coffee beans that have been individually hand-selected as the premium bean(s) of a harvest. Your coffee beans are lovingly cultivated by local farmers, after being grown slowly to full maturity in mountain shade. Your beans are hand-picked — one at a time to provide the highest in Gourmet blends — and then fermented for 26 hours so the skin can be carefully removed without damaging the seed.

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There’s a wide variety of coffee beans out there to choose from, and one of our favorite batches of joe comes from Lifeboost Coffee. We love this brand because of the dedication and selectivity given to the cultivation and roasting process. From closely monitoring the beans as they’re planted and harvested to steadily concentrating during the washing and roasting processes, Lifeboost goes the extra mile to ensure it sells nothing but perfect beans. 

Since a darker roast is best for the Moka pot, we recommend Lifeboost’s espresso. The first thing you’ll notice about this coffee is the overwhelmingly pleasant, sweet, and tempting aroma that will immediately get you in the mood for joe. It also has a nice medium to low acidity, making it tolerable for almost every coffee enthusiast. Expect rich and bold flavors with hints of chocolate and caramel, plus a fruity finish.

Portland Coffee Roasters Goose Hollow Blend

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Portland Coffee Roasters Goose Hollow Blend
Our rating:

Deliciously sweet and luxuriously full-bodied, with notes of caramel complementing its roasty profile.

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Portland Coffee Roasters’ Goose Hollow coffee blend was named after a Portland neighborhood. But no worries; even if you’ve never found yourself in Oregon, you can still enjoy a cup of this medium roast. The Goose Hollow blend is known for being inviting and comforting, making it a perfect choice when you want to pull out your Moka pot and enjoy a slow, easy morning. 

These beans from Cerrado, Brazil, and Oaxaca, Mexico, come together to create a delightfully full-bodied brew. The coffee’s complex flavor has notes of dark chocolate and caramel, making for a cozy and sweet cup of joe. 

Klatch Coffee French Roast

Klatch Coffee French Roast
Klatch Coffee French Roast
Our rating:

Bitter or sweet? No need to decide—this one’s both: the bitter of French roasting and the sweetness of coffee that can handle that kind of heat.

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You don’t have to be a coffee expert to know French roasts aren’t for the faint of heart. They’re known for their intense flavor profiles, so you probably won’t be crazy about Klatch Coffee’s French roast if you tend to steer clear of particularly strong-tasting coffees. 

The French roast is the darkest coffee on Klatch’s product roster. But, despite the long roasting process, it’s not an overwhelmingly bitter brew. The bitterness for which French roasts are known pairs beautifully with these beans’ chocolate and molasses notes. The resulting brew manages to be both smoky and sweet and has a rich body and creamy mouthfeel — so good!

Revelator Coffee Company Pale Rider Decaf

Revelator Coffee Company Pale Rider Decaf
Revelator Coffee Company Pale Rider Decaf
Our rating:

With well-balanced chocolate and red apple sweetness, this decaf is ready to ride at any time of day (or night).

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Our Moka pot coffee buying guide wouldn’t be complete without a decaf option, would it? Fortunately, Revelator Coffee Company’s got a decaffeinated coffee perfect for use in a Moka pot. Picking up a bag of these beans means you enjoy something flavorful and rich without worrying about catching the caffeine jitters. 

The Alabama-based roaster’s beans are Swiss Water processed, which means there are no chemicals used during decaffeination. Most decaf lovers prefer the Swiss Water Method because it leaves all of the coffee’s original flavors intact. That means none of this Nicaraguan joe’s notes of caramel and fudge get left out with the caffeine. 

City of Saints Coffee Roasters Woodsman Blend

City of Saints Coffee Roasters Woodsman Blend
City of Saints Coffee Roasters Woodsman Blend
Our rating:

Dark, rich, and uncompromisingly bold. This robust roast offers up plenty of sweetness, as well as a full, slick body that’ll take your favorite milk in stride.

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Those who love starting their day with a dark and bold joe need City of Saints’ Woodsman blend on their countertops. Use your Moka coffee pot and a few scoops of these grounds to make a brew loaded with hints of caramelized sugar, cocoa nibs, and tobacco. Then, sip the robust roast on its own or with a splash of milk or creamer

City of Saints (named after Harar, Ethiopia) sources South American, African, and Indonesian coffee beans to create the Woodsman joe. According to the New York roaster, this is the perfect blend for “brooding, conspiring, scheming, and other tomfoolery best done in the solace of one’s innermost self.” So, if you’ve got a Moka pot and are prone to taking long, contemplative coffee breaks, you might keep this blend in mind. 

Revelator Coffee Company 9 to 5 House Blend

Revelator Coffee Company 9 to 5 House Blend
Revelator Coffee Company 9 to 5 House Blend
Our rating:

With background notes of black cherry and caramel, this roasty buddy is the perfect companion to get you through your 9 to 5.

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If Revelator’s Pale Rider beans caught your eye, but you’re looking for fully caffeinated coffee grounds, check out the brand’s 9 to 5 House Blend. Then, you can experience one of the roaster’s dark roasts without sacrificing your beloved energy boost. 

Though it’s called “9 to 5,” this dark roast coffee brew is enjoyable at any hour of the day, thanks to its roasty, smoky flavor profile and notes of caramel and black cherry. But be warned: these beans are the darkest of Revelator’s coffee products. So, if a super-duper dark roast isn’t exactly your jam, you should either mellow out this coffee with milk or reach for something on the lighter end of the spectrum. 

Sparrows Coffee High Five Blend

Sparrows Coffee High Five Blend
Sparrows Coffee High Five Blend
Our rating:

With its huge body, chocolaty sweetness, and merest hint of orange acidity, this coffee’s ready to become your own personal cheerleader.

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The next time you put your handy little Italian coffee maker on your stove, consider cracking open a bag of Sparrows Coffee’s High Five blend. The medium-roasted coffee beans are deep and sweet, marked by hints of toasted nut and baker’s chocolate and creating a delicious way to kick off your day. 

It’s an excellent option for anyone looking to have a warm and comforting coffee-drinking experience. We think the High Five blend lives up to its name, as sipping a mug of this stuff is like giving your tastebuds a high-five, and a Moka pot filled with this joe will put you in such good spirits, you’ll be offering a hand to everyone you meet.

Cuvée Coffee Karmadillo Dark Espresso Roast

Karmadillo Dark Espresso Blend
Cuvee Coffee Karmadillo Dark Espresso Roast
Our rating:

For those among us who live la vida mocha: here’s your go-to. With incredible depth and chocolaty sweetness, this one packs a wallop you won’t soon forget.

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Since Moka pots are known for brewing a strong coffee concentrate that closely resembles espresso, we don’t think any beans are more appropriate for the Italian-born brewer than a dark espresso roast. Enter Cuvée Coffee’s Karmadillo roast. 

This blend of coffee beans from Sumatra, Ethiopia, and Central and South America pairs perfectly with the Moka pot because it has intense depth and notes of chocolate — two things most coffee fans want from a shot of espresso. 

Nicoletti Coffee Espresso Roast

Since we brought up espresso roasts, we may as well continue the conversation with Nicoletti’s espresso roast. But let’s get one thing out of the way: though the label says espresso roast, this Brazilian, Indian, Costa Rican, and Guatemalan coffee bean blend is a light roast. So, if you prefer dark coffee, you probably won’t be fully satisfied with this product. 

If a lighter roast level doesn’t bother you, we think this combination of robusta and arabica coffee (75 percent arabica and 25 percent robusta, if you were wondering) will give you the jolt of energy you need to push through the day. Since these beans are small-batch roasted in Brooklyn, and each bag has its roast date stamped on it, you don’t have to wonder whether or not you’re getting fresh, flavorful coffee. 

Aromistico Medium-Dark Roma Selection

Aromistico’s combination of arabica and robusta beans creates a nice and mellow brew perfect for anyone who likes something right in the middle of light and dark joe. However, if you want something with a less traditional taste, consider choosing the brand’s lighter Venezia beans and their sweet, berrylike flavor. 

We think this coffee was made for the Moka pot, as this El Salvadorian and Guatemalan coffee blend boasts a luxurious yet sharp, nutty flavor, smooth aroma, and a serious caffeine kick. Aromistico’s coffee is hand-roasted in small batches in Lake Garda, Italy. Because these beans are produced by the Pelliconi family of Italian artisan roasters, you know they’re one of the high-quality coffee choices out there.

Lavazza Crema e Gusto Classico

We don’t know about you, but we at Roasty think it’s a good idea to trust an Italian brand — like Lavazza, for example — to produce Moka pot-worthy beans. Though there are plenty of beans to choose from on this company’s product roster, we recommend Lavazza’s Crema e Gusto Classico blend. Brazilian, African, and Indonesian coffee beans create a dark roast that’s intense, spicy, and fit for any espresso (or espresso-like coffee) machine. 

Those who prefer medium roasts should give the Italian brand’s Qualità Oro blend a chance. Six arabica bean varieties from Central and South America and Africa make a fruity brew with a smooth flavor perfect for Moka pot enthusiasts seeking something slightly less intense than the Crema e Gusto blend. 

Brewing Tips

How to Brew with a Moka Pot

For a full breakdown of making Moka pot coffee, check out our full article on the process. If you don’t feel like doing much reading, though, we’ve got the short version below:

  1. Fill the bottom chamber with water.
  2. If you didn’t buy pre-ground beans, now is the time to grind the coffee. 
  3. Add the dark roast ground coffee to the basket.
  4. Assemble the device. 
  5. Put the brewer on your stove, and turn up the heat. 
  6. Check coffee levels and stir your finished brew. 
  7. If you want to make a classic latte, steam some milk. Otherwise, enjoy your java!

Common Moka Pot Mess-Ups

Brewing with a Moka pot can present a few unique — but not unconquerable! — challenges. Here are some of the common pitfalls you might face while perfecting your brewing routine, plus a few tips for avoiding them.

Bitterness

Bitterness is a common complaint across many brewing methods, and over-extraction is usually the culprit. Over-extracting means the grounds were exposed to too much hot water or brewed too long, causing the coffee’s flavors to degrade. 

If bitterness is standing between you and perfect coffee, try one of the following remedies: 

  • Preheat the water. Doing so reduces the amount of time your Moka pot is on the stove. 
  • Reduce brewing time. Cut down the time you keep the Moka pot on the stove. 
  • Go coarser. As we mentioned before, the beans’ grind size plays a role in the extraction process. If you notice most of your brews are bitter, try experimenting with coarser grind options to reduce surface area and slow down extraction. 
  • Turn down the heat. A frequent error when brewing stovetop espresso coffee is turning your burner up too high, resulting in a burnt, bitter brew. Try a cooler temperature. 

Weak Coffee

On the opposite end of the Moka pot mess-up spectrum is under-extracted, or weak, coffee. Correcting this issue involves doing the opposite of what we listed above. For example, you may consider increasing the brew time or using finer grounds. Make sure to distribute the coffee in the basket evenly. 

Leaky Valves

One of the most concerning issues of the Moka pot brewing experience is a leaky pressure release valve. If steam starts seeping out of the valve, the device has built up too much pressure. This pressure build-up occurs for several reasons, from an overfilled coffee basket to tamped grounds to too much heat. 

If you notice a leaky valve, take the stovetop brewer off the heat source and adjust your grounds. 

FAQs

What is the best pre-ground coffee for the Moka pot?

If you’re a longtime Roasty reader, you already know we think grinding your own beans is always the way to go. However, not everyone has a burr grinder lying around or wants to shell out the extra dollars to buy one; that’s why pre-ground beans exist. 

Coffee drinkers who prefer the ease and convenience of already-ground joe should consider picking up a can of Illy coffee. The brand’s Classico Moka blend is specifically designed to be used in the Italian coffee maker. The medium roast has a delicate flavor, complete with notes of caramel, jasmine, and orange blossom. 

Is pre-ground or whole the better choice?

Though we understand coffee grinders aren’t always the most convenient choice (especially when you’re running late for work and need to make a cup of coffee as quickly as possible), we think going the whole bean route is the best choice, regardless of your brewing method.

Grinding your own beans gives you complete control over the size of the coffee grinds, plus it gives you the freedom to experiment and adjust them for optimal extraction. 

Is Moka pot coffee as strong as espresso?

Since a Moka pot doesn’t meet Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) guidelines, the resulting brew isn’t truly espresso. However, Moka pot coffee is strong enough to satisfy an espresso craving in a pinch and makes a pretty darn good espresso substitute in drinks like lattes, flat whites, and cortados

Why does my Moka pot coffee taste burnt?

The most likely culprit for burnt-tasting brew is a heat source turned up too high. The next time you use your Moka pot, turn the stovetop burner to a lower setting or pre-heat the water before pouring it into the brewer’s bottom chamber (this reduces brewing time). 

Don’t forget to remove your Moka pot from the burner once your coffee has been made and immediately pour the joe into another container. Prolonged exposure to the heat source or the hot aluminum of the Moka pot will almost always result in a burned brew.

Wrapping Up

So, is the Moka pot the right brewing tool for you? Consider these questions:

  • Are you looking for a tool that makes espresso-like brews for your morning cup, but you aren’t an espresso purist?
  • Do you want to save money rather than drop all your cash on a real-deal espresso machine?
  • Are you worried other tools might fill too much counter space or won’t have a place in your kitchen?

If you said yes to any of the above questions, then you and the Moka pot might be a match made in coffee heaven. In that case, we hope this guide helps you choose the best coffee to pair with your shiny new tool or up your pre-existing Moka pot coffee game!

Happy Caffeinating!

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