Skip to content

7 moka pot tips for better tasting coffee

After making a ridiculous amount of coffee in moka pots, we've learned a few things about how to improve the taste. These tips will help you get your moka pot coffee to the next level.

If your moka pot is producing really horrible tasting coffee you might have a bigger problem. Jump to the end of the article for how to solve really bad moka pot coffee problems.

1. Tweak the grind size

A stainless steel flat burr on a grey background

Coffee grind size chart

Find the correct moka pot settings for your grinder using our grind size tool

Using the right grind size is the most effective way of creating good coffee in any brew method.

For moka pot you should aim for a grind size of 360-660 microns — it should feel like table salt or ground pepper.

A very fine grind, like the grind size used for espresso, will choke the moka pot, and created an over-extracted, bitter coffee.

Too coarse a grind size will cause the coffee to under-extract — creating a thin, watery brew.

2. Stir the finished brew

Moka pot coffee, similar to espresso, brews in stages. At each stage different compounds in the coffee grounds dissolve and are forced up the central funnel and into the upper chamber.

Unless you mix them, these layers will remain partially separated in the upper chamber of your moka pot. The first part of your pour will be weaker and more bitter tasting than and the bottom layer which is much stronger and more acidic. By stirring these layers, you avoid having different cups of coffee tasting differently.

3. Fill the bottom chamber with boiled water

Crema coming up a moka pot funnel

A good temperature for brewing coffee is around 93 degrees Celsius/200 degrees Farenheight. That temperature is ideal for extracting the most flavour from the grounds — avoiding under or over extraction.

A moka pot filled with room-temperature water will begin brewing the coffee well below the ideal temperature. The water vapour produced by heating cool water creates enough pressure in the lower chamber to force cold water through the coffee — as low as 69°C / 156°C.

Pre-filling the bottom chamber with just-boiled water ensures the coffee is brewed at the correct temperature and not under-extracted.

4. Clean under the gasket

A moka pot with the gasket removed, revealing a lot of coffee stains

The idea that you should never clean your moka pot is just wrong — old, burnt coffee left inside the brewer does not taste nice.

You probably already rinse your moka pot after every use. But you should also occasionally check for the dregs of past brews trapped under the gasket. It can easily be forgotten.

You should also do a deep clean every 6 months (if you use it regulaly).

5. Use filtered water

A brita filter filling up the lowerchamber of an Bialetti Moka Express

Using water other than tap water may seem excessive, but when you consider that all coffee drinks are predominantly made of water in terms of volume (over 90%), it feels less absurd.

If you've never tried a blind taste test of filtered and non-filtered tap water, you should give it a try. You may be surprised by the difference in the taste. Using filtered or mineral water will make your coffee taste cleaner, less chemically, and sweeter.

Using filtered water also has the bonus of reduces lime scale build up in your moka pot.

6. Stop the heat immediately after the coffee starts coming out

A moka pot over a blue flame

Once all the water in the lower chamber of the moka pot has been brewed the moka pot will make a gurgling sound. This sound is steam escaping out from the lower chamber — when you hear the gurgling the brew is complete.

Continuing to heat the moka pot after the brew is finished will cause it to overheat. Once there's no more water to boil off — the only thing left to heat is the metal and the coffee waste in the funnel.

Overheating can burn the coffee in the funnel creating a fowl smell which can linger and stain the moka pot, ruining future brews as well. So make sure you stop the heat immediately after hearing the gurgling sound.

Overheating can also warp, stain, and even melt parts of the moka pot! (we have done this several times)

You can take this tip one step further by observing the coffee filling the upper chamber. Then stop the coffee before it the upper chamber is full — just before the gurgle. There will still be enough pressure in the lower chamber to push the rest of the water through.

For the same reason as above. Never reheat cold coffee in the moka pot! You should always transfer the coffee to a pot and reheat it in that.

7. Run the moka pot under cold water immediately after brewing

The final stage of the moka pot brewing process produces an astringent taste.

You can decrease likelihood of these flavours entering the final cup by ending the brewing process.

After taking the moka pot off the heat, walk it carefully to a sink and run cold water over the lower chamber immediately. This will instantly depressurise the lower chamber and stop the brewing process.

Why your moka pot is producing horrible coffee

If your moka pot is producing really horrible coffee, there's one of 3 things going on.

Your grind size is way off

You may be using the wrong size of coffee in your moka pot. If you're using pre-ground coffee make sure it's meant for stove top brewers or has a picture of a moka pot on it!

If you're grinding the coffee yourself, double check your grind size using our grind size tool:

A stainless steel flat burr on a grey background

Coffee grind size chart

Use this tool to find the right grind size for your moka pot

Your coffee is very old

Ground coffee in an open container will get stale really fast. If you're keeping ground coffee make sure it is in a sealed container and use it within a week.

Vacuum packed coffee like Lavazza will last around 6 months unopened before it loses flavour.

Your moka pot is broken

For the water to travel through the coffee in the basket, the gasket and funnel have to be perfectly sealed. If your gasket is damaged or worn, or your funnel is even slightly warped (especially in soft aluminium models), the water will bypass the coffee and you'll end up with very watery brew, or the chamber will not fill up all together.

Your moka pot is a bad moka pot

We've tested a lot of moka pots, and unfortunately some models (even popular ones) are just not capable of producing good coffee. Reasons may include the coffee capacity being too small, or the holes in the filter plate are unequal.

Read our reviews of the moka pots we tested to find a potential replacement for when your stovetop coffee maker isn't quite cutting it.

The Best Moka Pot — A Hands on Comparison and Review

Check out our comparison review here.