Moka pot grind size: A complete Guide

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Correct and consistent grind size is likely the single most important factor in making a good cup of coffee, regardless of your brew method.

While a moka pot is more forgiving than some other methods, such as espresso or pour-over, it is still important to get the correct sized coffee granules in order to extract the desired flavour and aroma from the coffee beans.

In this article, we step you through exactly how to make sure you’ve got your moka pot grind size dialled in, so you can sit back and enjoy the goodness of your delicious Italian stovetop espresso.

Finding the right grind size for a moka pot

For making espresso with a moka pot, you want your coffee ground to a similar size as table salt.

This is considered medium-fine to fine coffee grind size and sits in between the fine grounds you would use for espresso and the medium grounds you would use for pour-over or drip coffee.

Supermarket pre-ground coffee isn’t going to cut it for your moka pot. Either purchase a grinder and grind your own coffee beans at home right before you brew (best option for freshness) or ask your local roaster to grind your beans for moka pot and they’ll know what to do.

Do not use a fine espresso grind as this may clog the coffeemaker.

– Bialetti

How to tell if your grind size is wrong

Your coffee does not come into the upper chamber

This can indicate a wide range of issues including a clogged or worn filter plate, the funnel not sitting snuggly in the bottom chamber, or another issue with the seal causing pressure to escape, rather than forcing your coffee upwards.

However, it can also indicate that your coffee grounds may be too coarse or too fine. A too fine grind will clog up the holes and won’t allow water to pass through.

RELATED: Bialetti Brikka vs Moka

Your coffee comes up fast and is weak

Weak, watery coffee indicates that the water in your stovetop espresso maker was able to pass up through the ground coffee too quickly.

This means it was unable to generate the correct amount of pressure (1-2 bars) to extract oils, flavour, and aroma from the ground coffee. If this is happening, try a slightly finer grind.

Your coffee is bitter

There are a few reasons your coffee may taste bitter, but it usually means either you used stale beans or over-extracted the brew. Try using a slightly coarser grind or lowering the heat when brewing. You can also try removing your moka pot from heat a few seconds earlier to ensure you don’t over-extract.

How to Use a Moka Pot

Bialetti Moka Pot
  1. Grind your coffee beans using a good quality conical burr coffee grinder. Aim for a consistency that looks like table salt. It shouldn’t be so fine it looks like a powder, but it shouldn’t be so coarse that it looks like granules of sea salt.
  2. Ensure your moka pot is clean and free from debris.
  3. Fill the base chamber with water to just below the safety valve. Don’t pour in too much water, because air trapped between the water and the filter is what heats up and forces the water up through the coffee. If there’s too much water, the coffee will come out over-boiled and bitter.
  4. Insert the funnel (filter basket) into the bottom section of the moka pot.
  5. Spoon or pour your ground coffee beans until they reach the top of the filter basket but don’t tamp it down. Be sure to clear any loose coffee grounds from the edge of the funnel or outside the filter basket on the base.
  6. Screw the top part of the moka pot firmly onto the base.
  7. Place the moka pot on your heat source and turn on low to medium. You can use gas, electric and ceramic hobs for all moka pots, and induction for stainless steel models.
  8. Your coffee should take between 3 and 6 minutes to brew. This will mostly depend on which size moka pot you have.
  9. When first using your moka pot, keep a close eye on the upper chamber and remove from the heat source as soon as it is full. Once you get a hang of it, you can listen out for the bubbling noise that indicates water is running out and use this as your cue to take the coffee maker off the heat.

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Moka pot FAQ

Is Moka pot coffee as strong as espresso?

This is a common question as moka pot is the most espresso like coffee available aside from the real thing. Gram for gram, espresso is stronger than coffee from a moka pot, both in terms of taste and caffeine content. This is because it uses a finer grind and more pressure (9 bars vs 1-2 bars) during the extraction process. However, this is offset by the fact that people usually drink a lot more coffee from a moka pot than they would from an espresso machine, so in reality, you may be consuming more caffeine from your stovetop coffee.

Does moka pot make crema?

Moka pots normally create around 1.5 bar of pressure, while you generally need at least 6 bar of pressure to create a crema. However, there are some moka pots with a special valve that helps with this. Some users do, however, report success with achieving crema without the valve. To improve your chances of getting crema, you should use freshly roasted and freshly ground coffee beans, cook over low heat, and ensure your grind size is perfect.

Can you make latte with moka pot?

You’re never going to make a proper latte with a moka pot because you don’t have proper espresso. You can, however, create something that comes pretty close. Here’s how: Brew your coffee on the stove top as how you normally would and pour around 60ml into the bottom of a coffee glass. Warm up some milk on your stovetop or in the microwave and then use a handheld milk frother to aerate it slightly. Pour the milk on top of the coffee and enjoy!

Can I put milk in moka pot?

Putting milk in a moka pot isn’t a good idea. It will burn, curdle and leave a mess that will be hard to clean. Also, the residue deposits may block up the filter and the pressure valve which is dangerous. But even if it worked, you don’t want boiled milk in your coffee.