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How to Use Stovetop Coffee Maker

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Updated August 29, 2022

If you’re looking for the best coffee maker, you shouldn’t forget about stovetop models. Sometimes called a stovetop espresso maker or Moka pot, this device uses a similar brewing process to a stovetop coffee percolator. So, if you’d like to try this coffee brewing device, we can show you how to use a stovetop coffee maker.


  • Place medium-grind coffee in the filter basket and screw it on the filter funnel.
  • Pour boiling water into the boiling base and assemble the coffee maker.
  • Set your stove to medium heat and place the Moka pot on the stove. Remove it from heat once you hear gurgling or bubbling water.

A stovetop espresso machine uses steam pressure from the boiler base to push hot water up the central tube and through your coffee grounds. Espresso fans like this brewing method because it creates a stronger coffee than an automatic drip coffee maker. In contrast, the brewing process is more complicated than using a drip coffee machine, with only a few more essential steps to flavorful, fresh coffee. And if you happen to run into any trouble while making your coffee, you can check out our article on what to do if your stovetop espresso maker is not working.

If you want to try a different type of brewing method while still using your stovetop, we have an excellent guide on how to brew coffee in a Moka pot. Just remember if you are going to be shopping for a new one, you need to know what size Moka pot to get. Alternatively, if you want iced coffee, check out our guide on how to use a cold brew coffee maker.

Insider Tip

Let your cup of coffee cool for a few minutes, but don’t wait too long. Your strong coffee will develop a bitter taste as it cools.

How to Make Stovetop Coffee

Tools: Stove coffee pot, just-boiled water, coffee grounds, wet towel

STEP 1 Disassemble the Coffee Maker

Unscrew the top from the base and unscrew the filter basket from the upper chamber.

STEP 2 Grind your Coffee

Use a coarser grind than you would for traditional drip coffee. That said, you can buy ground coffee from the store, but make sure it isn’t too fine. Fill the coffee chamber with your grounds, but do not tamp them down.

STEP 3 Boil Water and Fill Bottom Chamber

Use an electric kettle or your stove to boil water. Pour the just-boiled water into the water chamber, but do not fill past the pressure release valve.

STEP 4Assemble the Coffee Maker

Place your coffee chamber in the boiler base and screw the upper section in place. Make sure everything is secure to avoid leaking.

STEP 5Place Unit on the Stove

Place the unit on your stove and use medium-low heat.

STEP 6 Let it Brew

Your coffee should only take a minute to start flowing into the upper chamber. So wait for a few minutes and move on to the next step.

STEP 7Remove the Espresso Maker from Heat

Once you hear bubbling or flowing water from the pot, remove the coffee maker from heat. The residual heat from the stove will make the aluminum pot very hot, so use the handle.

STEP 8 Enjoy

Carefully pour your cups of coffee and use a wet towel to protect your hand from the hot metal.

Now that you are familiar with the basics of your machine, you may want to learn how to make different types of drinks. We have a great guide on how to make Cuban coffee with an espresso machine if you are curious.


Do not start brewing with cold water. While your heat source will eventually heat the water, it will also cook your coffee grounds. This will result in very bitter coffee.


How do you keep coffee grounds out of a percolator?

If you want to avoid coffee granules in your mug, try using an additional filter in the coffee grounds basket. In addition, use a large grind size that won’t seep through the filter plate. For more advice, see our guide to using an electric percolator.

What is the best coffee for a percolator?

For best results, use a medium roast coffee bean and use a coarse grind. Unless you are a coffee aficionado, the bitter flavors of a dark roast might be a bit too much, especially with a strong brew.

How to clean Moka Pots?

Soapy water will work well most of the time. Still, you can also use a vinegar-water mixture to clean your stainless steel or aluminum Moka pot.

STAT: In a survey of 1,009 adults aged 18 and older, 74% of 55+ Americans reported drinking at least one cup of coffee per day. (source)

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