Have you been craving a great cup of espresso at home but don’t want to invest in an expensive machine? If you’re looking for an affordable, traditional way to make espresso-like coffee, look no further than the Moka Pot.
Moka Pots are excellent because they create espresso-like coffee that’s not as strong as espresso, but not as light as drip coffee. They’re the perfect hybrids to get that nice in-between flavor and vibe. Though it’s not true espresso, the Moka Pot brews about 2-3 times stronger than normal drip coffee, and will still satisfy any espresso craving.
The Moka Pot combines old-world charm with the new-world need for espresso-based coffee drinks. While the Moka Pot won’t duplicate a shot of espresso exactly as you’d find at a coffee shop, it does a pretty good job of getting close.
So no need to invest in an expensive espresso machine. Here’s how to make espresso in a Moka Pot without breaking the bank and right in the comfort of your own home.
What’s a Moka Pot?
Making espresso in a Moka Pot is both elegant and efficient in its simplicity. The Moka Pot traces its origins back to Italy. It functions very simply and is easy to operate, and is also a classic and sophisticated style of brewing. Not to mention just plain fun to do.
The Moka Pot makes the magic happen through two important variables: pressure and heat. The four main parts that achieve this are the base, the top chamber, the inner funnel, and the filter.
Using steam pressure to force water through a strainer, the Moka Pot produces a shot of espresso-like coffee. The Moka Pot is filled with water in the bottom chamber and finely ground coffee is placed in a strainer just above the water. Once placed on heat, steam is created, forcing water through the strainer creating a strong shot of coffee.
Making Moka Pot Magic
Ready to start making espresso in a Moka Pot? The process is pretty straightforward and easy to do, but before we begin, here’s what we need:
- Coffee Beans
- Coffee Grinder (we recommend an automatic burr grinder)
- Moka Pot
- Damp Towel
- A stovetop
Step 1 – Fill the Moka Pot with Water
Fill the lower chamber with cold water just below the valve. Overfilling will waterlog the coffee and affect the flavor, so make sure you don’t use too much.
Step 2 – Grind the Coffee Beans
Grind your beans to a fine consistency, until you have enough to fill the Moka Pot funnel with coffee. Again, you can use an Automatic Burr Grinder or have your coffee beans pre-ground at the store. Don’t use coffee that’s too finely ground as it will clog the equipment.
Step 3 – Add Coffee to the Moka Pot
Insert the funnel and fill it with ground coffee. Try not to overfill the strainer with coffee and do not tamp the coffee (that’ll create too much pressure in the Moka Pot). Remove any coffee grounds on the edge of the funnel.
Step 4 – Prepare the Rest of the Moka Pot
Tightly screw the upper part of the pot on to the base. When securing the pot, make sure you screw it on by holding the pot and not the handle as the pressure when tightening the pot could break the handle.
Step 5 – Heat the Moka Pot
Select a burner size that fits the bottom of the Moka Pot. For a gas stovetop, make sure the flame is not larger than the bottom of the pot (you don’t want to flame to come around the sides). Place the Moka Pot on the stovetop until the water boils and coffee begins to come out of the center post.
There will be a gurgling sound during this process. Take your time – in order to extract the full flavor of the espresso, you will want to heat it slowly. If the heat is too high, The coffee will start “sputtering” out as it pours, and may taste burnt. But have no fear! If this happens, re-do the brew and just heat the Moka Pot at a little lower temperature.
Step 6 – Check Coffee Levels and Stir
When the top of the Moka Pot is full of coffee and hazel brown foam begins to appear out of the spout, remove from the stove. This foam appears just seconds before the coffee is completely done, so as soon as it appears, your brew is done! Before pouring coffee, it’s optional to stir it in a little bit in the upper chamber with a small spoon.
Step 7 – Serve Your Espresso
Pour your coffee into a fancy cup and ta-da! If done correctly, you’ll have yourself a cup of boldly-flavored, robust, heavy-bodied coffee. For clean up, wash by hand with warm water and dry thoroughly with a towel. Make sure all the parts are completely dry before putting it back together.
Step 8 – Steam Milk For a Fancy Espresso Drink
To make a fancy espresso drink with your Moka Pot, heat some milk in a stainless steel pitcher until it steams and froth it with a frothing wand. Pour the steamed milk and foam over your espresso and you’ve got yourself a latte!
Other Tips & FAQs
After brewing your delicious cup of coffee, it’s very important to clean your Moka Pot before you brew your next one. If left unclean, the next time you brew you’ll contaminate your future cups of coffee with old, yucky coffee flavor.
Also, make sure to only wash your Moka Pot with warm/hot water. This is helpful because coffee has a lot of flavors and oils. We want to preserve whatever oils are leftover to enhance our next cup a little bit, but we also want to get rid of the already-extracted grounds.
To reach the inner funnel, one helpful tip is to take a straw, or something slim and long, wrap it in a thin cloth, and wipe the inside of it. This will get rid of the coffee build-up along with the inner, most difficult parts to clean. You don’t have to do this after every cup of coffee you make, but you should do it at least once a week to maintain a consistent and clean brew.
When heating the Moka Pot on the stove, make sure the flames on the stove aren’t surrounding or hugging the base of the pot. You want your flames to be small, fitting underneath the base of the pot.
If possible, try to place your Moka Pot closer to the outer rings of the stovetop. This will prevent the handle from becoming overheated and will decrease the risk of any accidental burns.
“How Long do Moka Pots Last?”
When cleaned and taken care of properly, Moka Pots will last decades.
This is probably one of the greatest benefits of this device. Other methods of making espresso, like an actual espresso machine, will last several years. However, these machines could cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to fix/replace. For the Moka Pot, if broken or damaged, it will only take about $20-$40 to purchase a new one.
“Can I Make Cold Brew With It?”
Since the Moka Pot operates through pressure and heat, it’s not best to make a cold brew with it. Making cold brew requires immersion and time to extract the delicious flavors in the beans. However, if you’re desperate, we promise we won’t judge if you just want to pour your brew into a chilled cup and plop a few ice cubes in it.
After you get the hang of the process, make sure you continue to test with different types of coffee until you find the perfect combination for your taste buds. The Moka Pot takes a little experimentation since it isn’t an automatic machine, but if you want to make a truly excellent cup of espresso yourself, the feeling the Moka Pot delivers makes the time and patience totally worth it.
There’s nothing like enjoying a great cup of espresso that you made with your own two hands and the Moka Pot is just one of several easy ways to pull off a shot of espresso at home. If you want to step up your espresso game without investing in an expensive machine, check out our guide to making espresso at home below.