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How Does a Moka Pot Work?

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Updated August 25, 2022

Many coffee fanatics hear conflicting stories about Moka pots, so they may wonder, “how does a Moka pot work?” This type of coffee brewer features several parts to keep the best coffee maker running.


  • Moka pots use 1-1.5 bars of pressure and heat to brew a pot of coffee for your morning cup.
  • For the best result, grind your coffee beans immediately before brewing to a grind size between that of espresso and a pour-over.
  • The resultant coffee should feature a strong and bold flavor but also contain sweet notes.

If you want to make a bold cup of coffee on your stovetop, Moka pots are the way to go, so be sure to read about all the highest-rated Moka pots. Additionally, this coffee seems to be stronger than a drip coffee cup and we have a guide for you to learn how to brew coffee in a Moka pot. To determine the best time to take your pot off the stove, find out how does my coffee maker auto shut off and try to emulate this process.

How a Moka Pot Brews Delicious Coffee

Moka pots use pressure from steam to brew your coffee, just like a steam-based espresso machine. However, the entire process differs from an espresso maker, and the device uses less than nine bars of pressure. Although coffee lovers often refer to this model as a stovetop espresso maker, a Moka pot does not brew espresso drinks. If you want a small-scale alternative to a drip coffee machine, learn how does a pod coffee maker work.

Insider Tip

Preheat your water to avoid that burnt, hot coffee flavor.

When you make a cup of coffee with a Moka pot, you need each of the parts, including the water tank, filter basket, and upper chamber. After brewing your pot of coffee, you expect your cups of coffee to be bold and sweet.

How Does a Moka Coffee Pot Work?

After loading your filter basket with your medium-grind coffee grounds, you place your Moka pot on the stove. The stovetop warms the water inside the water tank, building steam pressure within.

The 1-1.5 bars of pressure forces the hot water through the filter basket with the ground coffee beans. The liquid with the extracted flavors and caffeine bubbles up into the upper chamber of the coffee pot. This portion of the product holds the coffee before you serve it. Alternatively, if you need to make more than a single cup on the stove, you can read about the best stovetop percolators.

Using a Moka Pot

  1. Preheat the water. To complete this step, pour cold water in the water reservoir found at the bottom of the Moka pot or in a separate kettle. You should start with cold water when making coffee because it picks up flavors and minerals better during coffee extraction. However, don’t assemble the Moka pot completely yet, avoiding over-extraction and a burnt taste.
  2. Grind your coffee beans to a medium grind size while the water heats. This setting should result in beans between the sizes used for espresso drinks and pour-over cups of coffee. The ideal coffee-to-water ratio rests at 1:7. Level off the beans but don’t tamp them.
  3. Once the water reaches a temperature of near-boiling heat, assemble the Moka pot. If you preheated the water in the water reservoir, use an oven mitt or other heat protector. Make sure to fill to just below the line in the brewer, leaving the safety valve open. Then, add the filter basket with your quality coffee grounds to the Moka pot. Screw the top and bottom together, avoiding overtightening.
  4. Place on your stovetop burner for brewing for a short time on medium heat. To avoid over brewing, remove the Moka pot coffee after a short time once the model starts making a gurgling sound. Then, run some cold water over the bottom part of the coffee pot, cooling it off and reducing the pressure. This process should help to relieve some of the bitter taste associated with the last portion of the brew.


If you decide to heat your water in the water reservoir, handle it with an oven mitt or towel to avoid burning yourself.


Can you use a Moka pot on an electric induction stove?

You cannot use a Moka pot on an induction stove because it most likely is made of aluminum. However, if you really want to, you can put a pan made of metal that works with the stove under the Moka pot. This method remains less efficient and tricky to use.

Should I start with cold or hot water?

You should preheat your water to avoid over-extracting the coffee and getting a burnt quality.

Is the Moka pot an espresso machine or not?

A Moka pot is not a true espresso machine, even though it is called a stovetop espresso maker. Espresso machines use nine bars of pressure instead of 1-1.5 bars. However, Moka pot coffee brews stronger than coffee maker pot coffee.

STAT: The last 10% of your Moka pot brew is usually the most extracted and most bitter. (source)

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