Moka Pot aka Mocha Pot

The moka pot is how coffee is prepared in many Italian homes, they use “la moka” which is a 3 piece metal contraption. The bottom part holds the water, the middle part is a funnel shaped filter holding the ground coffee, and the top part receives the coffee. The top part screws tightly (air tight actually) onto the bottom part holding the filter in between. When properly filled and assembled, the moka is put on the stove, the water boils, pressure increases in the bottom part, pushing the water through the coffee into the top reservoir. As the last of the water makes its way with vapor in the top part, it makes a rumbling noise which warns you that coffee is ready. A moka pot makes very good strong coffee.

To brew coffee using a moka pot you will follow the following steps:
1 . Place water in the bottom section of the pot to the level of the valve.
2. Fill the filter basket with ground coffee. Do not tamp it. As the water reaches the grounds they will expand effectively tamping your coffee for you.
3. Put the unit together and place on a medium heat. Brewing should take approximately 5 minutes. If it takes longer use a slightly higher heat.

A warning is in order. Many of the moka pots that are available in the United States are if cheap aluminum construction. Aluminum may leave a distinct bad flavor in your coffee as the coffee reacts with the aluminum. My best advice is to spend the extra money and get a good food grade stainless steel pot if you are going to use a moka pot. As has been commented some people may not notice the aluminum taste so this may not be an issue for everyone. Even for people who notice the flavor a protective layer will eventually form that will block most if not all aluminum flavor. I still prefer steel but will say that aluminum is probably an option.

Even though moka pots are often called stove top espresso machines the coffee they produce is not what is typically thought of as espresso. The entire process is different since while it is steam pressure that pushes the water up to the top chamber very little pressure is involved in the moka. A moka pot has a release valve to assure that excessive pressure does not build up. If you ever happen to see a moka pot without a pressure release valve run away.

0 thoughts on “Moka Pot aka Mocha Pot”

  1. moka v. percolator

    We use a moka pot on the stove to make our coffee and typically use Italian roast beans…or as dark as possible. I’m trying to keep my caffeine intake below 300mg, and I’m wondering how the brewing process (and extraction of caffeine) of my moka pot compares to an espresso machine, or percolator.

    1. RE: moka v. percolator

      Let me state for the record I am not 100% sure on this but I
      believe that moka should be similar to a strong cup of coffee. Not
      the same as the thin swill you will get a the diner but similar to a
      good strong cup of coffee. To stay under 300 mg I’d
      stick to one mug a day.

      Don’t forget that other foods and drinks have caffeine so
      coffee is not your only intake. So you might even want to step back
      to a single cup instead of a mug.

      This all assumes you are making a proper cut of coffee. If
      you are using a two tablespoons of coffee for a whole pot (the
      approximate amount used in my office) then the dishwater you get will
      have less caffeine (and flavor).

      1. sounds reasonable

        You’re right…it’s like really strong coffee…I fill up the little basket with coffee grounds, and put the requisite amount of water in the bottom, so, no, it isn’t like dishwater swill generally found in some places….my husband is Swiss and he’d die before drinking weak coffee. I generally don’t drink a mug-full…it’s like 2-3 oz of coffee, and then lots of milk…a latte, if you will. If I want to drink some in the afternoon, I’ll take a smaller amount of it in the AM and save most of it for the afternoon. I suppose if I wanted to drink more of it, I could mix half caffeine grounds with half decaf, but husband might complain.

        1. Aluminum and Strong Coffee

          I came here looking for information if the aluminum is bad for use. I had an aluminum stove top I use every day; it is scary looking in the base of it where the water goes. It is dark and corroded in there. and that is where the water goes that makes my coffee.

          If your husband likes strong coffe, the Illy brand expresso will yield a cup of coffee that will last him about four days. A little expensive to buy but literally there is nothing like it. They should legalise hard drugs and outlaw the Illy espresso.

    2. I like my coffee 🙂

      I personally drink about 3 to 4… 32 oz cups a day. I like my coffee! It is my main source of water 🙂

  2. Quantity of coffee


    My Moka makes enough for two cups of coffee when the water is up to the mark and the basket is mostly full. Can I make just enough for one if I use half the amount of water and coffee. The Bialetti booklet doesn’t say and everything seems to assume that I always want two cups. (I have got the 2 cup version!)


    1. They only work properly for

      They only work properly for the number of cups they are made for. Lots of people will have several. Eg a 1 Cup, 3 Cup and a 6cup.

  3. Aluminum vs. Stainless

    Actually, the aluminum, in a well-kept and well-used moka will not affect the flavour of the coffee. It must be “seasoned” properly, though, forming a protective layer of aluminum oxide over parts exposed to the water and coffee. Making several pots of coffee and letting them sit all day will effectively kill the “aluminum” taste. As with any seasoned cookware, soap should not be used when cleaning, as at best it’ll strip the seasoned layer, and at worst it’ll impregate the seasoned layer and add unpleasant soapy flavours to your coffee.

    The history of the moka is wrapped around the history of aluminum in Italy, so they’re not made of aluminum just because it’s “cheap”.

  4. Coffee and aluminum

    I can honestly not taste this very distinct bad flavor. I’ve been searching the web for information regarding coffee’s reaction to aluminum and i haven’t found anything that supports the claim that “Aluminum will leave a very distinct bad flavor in your coffee as the coffee reacts with the aluminum.”

    Best regards,


  5. cleaning damaged moka pot

    I made the mistake of putting the top section of my Bialetti moka pot into the dishwasher–and of course the result was a ruined finish to the pot. Does anyone know if there is a way to clean the pot and restore something close to its original shine?

  6. Faux Stainless

    I have been looking into getting a Moka pot for my office but I dont have a stove. Have you heard any good things about the electric ones? Delonghi has one that seems really nice.

  7. To tamp or not…

    IMHO, tamping is still important. Well, not a strong one, just a light one to flatten the coffe ground and make it even.

  8. Moka material

    Contrary to commonly held beliefs, aluminum will oxidize just like most metals. When it is severe it might flake like rust. Once it does this it can not ever be used for food or drinks. Aluminum oxide is toxic.
    When you open the Moka pot, look into the bottom chamber to see if the aluminum had oxidized. If it has, just throw it away.

  9. 1 Bar

    1 Bar is equal to atmospheric pressure so clearly it cannot be less than 1. For the pressure chamber in a Moka pot I would suggest less than 2, but likely 1.5 Bar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *