Moka pots are a popular option for many coffee drinkers seeking a more flavorful cup of joe. But when you’re shopping for the best coffee for a Moka pot, you need to understand that this particular brewing method is slightly different from others. They are often promoted for their ability to create brews similar to espresso. But they’re also a somewhat more forgiving master as you can use a wider range of coffee grounds and still make a tasty cup of coffee.
While it’s a great coffee maker for people who either don’t need the bells and whistles of an electric coffee maker or have limited space in their kitchens, the coffee you choose will directly impact the quality of your finished brew. You can use pre-ground coffee, but it needs to be a medium or medium-fine grind, which is finer than you’d need for a drip coffee maker. And freshly ground coffee will taste better than pre-ground. You’ll also want a medium to dark roast.
Keep reading our best coffee for a Moka pot buying guide to learn more. And for other types of brews, check out our best coffee maker buying guide.
Top Coffees for Moka Pot
#1 Illy Classico Ground Moka Coffee
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is a popular brand of ground coffee that is milder than strong. It is available as a pack of one, six, or twelve and is also very smooth.
- Rich caramel flavor with hints of orange blossom and jasmine
- No bitterness
- Can is recyclable
- Doesn’t come with a lid
Made by illy, this 250g can of ground coffee is a great choice for coffee lovers who want to entice their taste buds with mild notes of caramel and a hint of orange blossom mixed with jasmine. The ground coffee is of 100% Arabica Bean signature descent and is available as a pack of one, six, or 12. Unfortunately, a lot of previous consumers have complained that it does not come with a lid.
The ground coffee is also very smooth and has also been praised for not having any bitterness to it. It is also very popular in coffee shops across Italy, and its can is also recyclable.
#2 Dead or Alive High Caffeine Ground Moka Coffee
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is highly caffeinated and has a robust taste that is not for the faint of heart. It also has no bitterness or acidity.
- Highly caffeinated
- No bitterness
- No acidity
- Might be a health risk for people with high blood pressure
This Dead or Alive packet of Ground Coffee promises to be a favorite for coffee drinkers who want to stay alert and on high energy since it is highly caffeinated. It has about 1197mg of caffeine for every 12 oz cup, making it extra strong. It can be described as having a smoked oak flavor, but it does not have any bitterness or acidity. Still, it might be a health risk for people with high blood pressure because of its brew strength.
The ground coffee can be used to make espressos, a moka or cappuccino, and consists of a blend of 95% robusta and 5% arabica beans
#3 Mondo Moka Ground Coffee
Award: BEST FOR CHOCOLATE TASTE
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a predominantly chocolate taste, and its packaging is done well enough to keep its aroma fresh.
- Great for chocolate lovers
- Packaging is well sealed
- Finely ground texture
- Slightly lower quantity
This Moka Blend Ground Coffee from Mondo is an excellent choice for users who prefer a nutty, chocolatey flavor infused with vanilla. Its packaging is vacuum-sealed and nitrogen-infused so as to retain a fresh aroma, and its beans are finely ground for optimal extraction. Each package has about 7oz, which is just under 200 grams. Some people might have an issue with this quantity since it is slightly lower than what is offered by other brands.
The ground coffee has been praised for having no bitterness and a taste that is also quite thick and bold.
#4 Bristot Moka Oro Ground Coffee
Award: BEST FOR SPICE LOVERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a spicy taste that spice lovers will likely appreciate. It also has a relatively high intensity.
- Spicy taste
- High intensity
- Medium roasted
- Not everyone will appreciate its spicy flavour
This packet of Brisot Moka Oro coffee is great for lovers of Italian Espresso. It has a spicy taste and dark chocolate undertones and is ideal for drinkers that can handle its high strength. The ground coffee is medium roasted and is made out of 70% Arabica and 30% Robusta beans. Still, its spicy flavor might not be for everyone.
One bag of this ground coffee holds about 8.8 oz, which is just shy of 250 grams. The coffee is ideal for a Moka, a French press, or even a Pour-over coffee maker.
#5 Equator Coffees & Teas Decaf Roasted Fine Ground Coffee
Award: BEST FOR DECAFFEINATED COFFEE
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is excellent for users that just want to enjoy the taste of coffee and avoid the effects of caffeine. It has a black cherry and cedar flavor and can be used to brew Moka or espresso coffee.
- Mild cherry flavor
- Large packaging
- Has acidity
This Decaf coffee blend from Equator is a great option for users who prefer a black cherry flavor, with hints of cedar and nutmeg, and since it has no caffeine, it is a great way for drinkers to enjoy it without any added side effects. The ground coffee is of medium-dark roast, and its beans originate from Sumatra, Colombia, and Kenya. Still, some may not like it because it has acidity.
The coffee is packed in a 10.5 oz bag, which is roughly around 285 grams, and the manufacturer recommends that buyers measure two tablespoons of coffee for every six ounces of water.
#6 Bristot 100% Arabica and Moko Ground Espresso
Award: BEST FOR DIVERSE BREWING OPTIONS
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is ideal for coffee drinkers who do not mind exploring their options and trying new things.
- Mild brew strength
- Medium roast level
- Can be used for brewing with a Moka, a French Press, or a Pour Over
- Diverse tastes might not be for everyone
The Bristot Medium roast 100% Arabica Coffee has a taste likened to that of biscuit and toasted bread, while that of the Moca Oro leans towards being spicy. The manufacturer recommends a 2:1 water to the coffee ratio for both and advises that the shots should be thick and syrupy. The ground coffee can be used on a Moka, a French Press, or a Pour-over coffee machine. However, the diverse tastes might not be for everyone.
Bristot is a company that has been roasting coffee for more than 100 years, and so they have a wide range of options that coffee lovers are encouraged to try out.
Beginner’s Guide to Coffee for Moka Pots
What is Coffee for a Moka Pot?
Moka pots are stovetop coffee makers that brew coffee like percolators. They’re often considered a more user-friendly stovetop espresso maker because it’s possible to create a brew similar to espresso without a more serious machine that’s complicated to manage. With that, it’s a good idea to know what type of device you need so you’ll find the right coffee maker.
But unlike true espresso makers, Moka pots are more forgiving with the size of coffee grounds that you use, although you still want a medium to dark roast. While espresso makers will create weak or terrible-tasting coffee if you use too coarse coffee grounds, this isn’t the case with a Moka pot. Although true coffee fans know that you should use medium to medium-fine coffee grounds in a Moka pot, you can use larger or smaller coffee grounds if you’re willing to engage in a bit of trial and error during the brewing process.
Alternatively, if you have the right coffee that you like, you’ll want the right device to match it. In that case, check out our comparison of stainless steel vs aluminum coffee makers.
Coffee for Moka Pots vs Other Types of Coffee
While the beans used for Moka pot coffee don’t have to vary from those used with other coffee makers, you’ll need to be mindful of your grind size. Moka pots are fairly goof-proof in that you can still use larger or smaller grinds outside of the medium to medium-fine range. But usually, you may need to shorten or extend the brewing phase to avoid creating a bitter taste or a brew that’s too weak or strong.
As the best coffee for espresso machines, baristas recommend using whole beans and freshly grinding your coffee before adding it to the funnel component which holds the coffee grounds. Yet, you can also use pre-packaged ground coffee with a Moka pot. Likewise, you’ll find that serious coffee aficionados will recommend using espresso-grade coffee beans.
Depending on who you talk to, “espresso beans” can be considered a misnomer. All this phrase means is that you’re opting for medium to dark roast beans, which will be more flavorful and offer a better aroma than light and medium roast coffee beans. Dark roast beans tend to contain more natural oils, which help create bolder coffee with a more nuanced flavor profile.
But unlike espresso that’s limited to fine grind sizes, you have a wider range of grind sizes. More importantly, you don’t tamp down the coffee grounds in the Moka pot filter, unlike with espresso maker portafilters which must be tamped. And keep in mind that while Moka pots are often promoted as simplified espresso makers, they cannot create the critical crema because they don’t achieve the same pressure levels during the brewing process.
How Coffee for Moka Pots Works
To understand why the coffee you pick for a Moka pot matters, you need to know how this coffee maker works. Moka pots were invented in Italy in 1933 by the engineer Alfonso Bialetti. Incidentally, Bialetti is still a very popular Moka pot brand. Moka pots are simple stovetop coffee brewers that rely on steam and pressure to make coffee. If this sounds familiar, that’s because pressure-based coffee brewing is a hallmark of espresso machines. Because of their straightforward design, they’re considered incredibly user-friendly — even for first-time coffee makers.
Moka pots have three components: an upper chamber where the brewed coffee collects, a funnel that holds the grounds, and a bottom water chamber. The funnel nests inside the bottom chamber, and the top compartment features an internal vertical spout where the brewed coffee flows into the container.
When placed over a heat source (usually an open flame), the water chamber heats up, converting the water into steam. As pressure builds, a vacuum is formed, and the steam creates moisture that saturates the coffee grounds in the filter. The steam brewing process creates the liquid coffee, which lifts through the spout and enters the upper chamber’s container. If you don’t need such a complex device, you might want to look at coffee makers for an RV or camping trip instead.
Because it’s a pressure-based brewing process, using quality coffee is essential to ensure you’re getting the best flavor. A medium to medium-fine coffee grind is ideal to ensure that all grinds are properly saturated by the moisture the steam creates. More importantly, you’ll want medium to dark roast beans or pre-packaged ground coffee as these tend to offer the best flavor.
For best results, you should clean your Moka pot after each use. Depending on your source, some experts say not to use soap, while others recommend using it. In some cases, it’s a good idea to use the best coffee maker cleaner to remove residue that might degrade the brewing process over time.
Why You Should Buy Coffee for Moka Pots
Whether your kitchen is as big as a matchbook or you simply don’t want to clutter your countertop with a large electric coffee maker, Moka pots are a great option for brewing an amazing cup of coffee with minimal effort.
Is Coffee for Moka Pots Worth Buying?
- You Own a Moka Pot: As with any other kind of coffee maker, if you own a Moka pot, you’re going to need to buy coffee if you plan on using it.
- You Love a Good Cup of Coffee: Considering that Moka pots are treated like lightweight espresso makers, there’s good reason to be particular about the type of coffee you use. Whether you prefer to grind your beans fresh or have a preferred pre-ground brand, a Moka pot can help you make a perfect cup of coffee every time.
- You Like the User-friendly Brewing Process: Moka pots have a practically flat learning curve, unlike traditional espresso makers. While there are some common troubleshooting errors that some people experience, you’ll experience far less trial and error than with an espresso machine or a complicated pod coffee maker.
Why Coffee for Moka Pots May Not Be for You
- You Prefer True Espresso: Moka pots are often promoted as simplified espresso makers, but their brews lack that signature crema layer. If your palette refuses to be fooled, you’re not in the market for a Moka pot.
- You Dislike Coffee: Unlike other coffee makers, Moka pots are genuinely a one-trick pony. Brewing espresso-like coffee is the only thing they do. So, if you don’t care for coffee, this kitchen gadget isn’t for you.
- You Prefer Brewing Larger Quantities: Traditional Moka pots are very compact and are essentially designed to replicate a petite demitasse cup of espresso in both taste and quantity. Even Moka pots that claim to make multiple cups of coffee will still make significantly less coffee than other typical coffee makers. If you like to brew large quantities of coffee in one session, a Moka pot isn’t for you.
How Long Will Coffee for Moka Pots Last?
If you’re purchasing whole coffee beans, they’re considered shelf-stable, which means that, in theory, they don’t have a shelf life. So, you don’t have to be concerned about the coffee beans going rancid. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t get a drop in quality as time progresses.
The reality is that even though the beans are still technically safe to consume, with exposure, they lose freshness and flavor thanks to off-gassing. As coffee beans are exposed to the air, they release carbon dioxide (CO2), which causes flavor molecules to dissipate. This off-gassing can happen faster if you’re not storing your beans in an airtight container.
Coffee lovers that use whole beans for their Moka pot will want to use them within three to four weeks of opening the bag. And for best results, only grind what you need for each brew session. Once you grind coffee beans — or if you use pre-ground coffee — you’ll have roughly two weeks from the date of grinding or opening the container before you might notice flavor loss.
For best results, store your coffee beans or grinds in an airtight container. Look for containers that are opaque to prevent light from degrading your beans. Also, keep that container in a dark, cool location where humidity or warm temperatures won’t alter the coffee flavor. And unless you know that you have a home or office full of avid coffee drinkers, don’t buy beans or grounds in bulk.
How to Choose Coffee for Moka Pots
Unlike espresso machines, Moka pots are more forgiving if you purchase coffee that’s not considered top-tier. Still, you’ll want to be mindful of a few factors as you shop for coffee.
Best Moka Pot Coffee Key Factors to Consider
1. Do you want to grind your beans?
Moka pots are truly user-friendly. This means that if you’re a budding coffee drinker, you don’t need to feel like you have to use whole beans. But if you’re focused on rich flavor, opting for beans over pre-ground coffee is a better choice. Still, keep in mind that unlike fully and super-automatic espresso machines, Moka pots are simplified coffee makers, and they don’t come with grinders. So, if you want to upgrade to using whole beans, you’ll also need to shop for a coffee grinder.
2. What kind of roast do you prefer?
Similar to espresso makers, Moka pots make the best coffee when you use medium to dark roast beans or pre-ground coffee. This is because this range produces more oil from the roasting process, which translates to better flavor. Again, Moka pots rely on pressure to brew coffee. So, more flavor is going to be released during the process.
3. What grind do you want?
Unlike espresso makers, Moka pots can work with a wider size range for coffee grounds. In most cases, you’ll want to stick with coffee that has a medium to medium-fine grind size, and this allows for better saturation during the brewing process. But in some cases, if you’re willing to engage in a bit of trial and error during the brewing process, you can work with finer or coarser grinds.
4. Do you want a single-origin or a blend?
This question comes down to your drinking preferences. A single-origin simply means that you’re either drinking only Arabica or only Robusta coffee that was grown in one region or from one grower. In contrast, a blend will feature a combination of either Arabica or Robusta that are grown across multiple regions or a blend featuring both bean types.