How to Use A Stovetop Espresso Maker at Home( The Moka Pot ): A Guide

Posted by LaShawn Wiltz on

Storytime: I was a casual coffee drinker up until I moved to Miami and was introduced to Cuban coffee by the nurses on the L&D unit I worked on. I was OBSESSED.


How to Use A Stovetop Espresso Maker at Home

The first time I learned about a Moka Pot was working the night shift in a Miami L&D. A nurse brought in her little Moka pot to make coffee in the unit kitchen. For someone who never made coffee at home because it seemed too complicated, The Moka Pot was a revelation! I got my first one at a little flea market in Miami and it has led to my obsession with brewing a great cup of coffee at home.


So, What Is a Moka Pot?

Invented in 1933 by Alfonso Bialetti in Crusinallo, the Moka pot has a wrongly earned reputation for making bitter coffee. That's because most of us, just don't know how to use it!

The Stovetop Coffee Maker ( AKA the Moka Pot) is one of the most popular coffee makers because it's one of the easiest brewing methods for coffee lovers. Simply put: it makes a good strong cup of coffee. The beauty of a Moka Pot is that you can enjoy your espresso-like coffee without having to invest in an expensive espresso machine at home. That is how the Moka pot got its nickname " the Stovetop Espresso Maker". It's the next best thing!

But notice that I said, "Espresso LIKE". Espresso is a method of brewing, not a type of bean or strength of coffee. True espresso is a method of brewing, not a type of bean or strength of coffee. Moka Pots are stovetop coffee makers that make a very strong brew. The heat of the stovetop creates pressurized steam that eventually forces boiling water upward through the grounds, making great coffee.

So, if you want to make lattes and sweet coffee shop like coffee drinks at home, the moka pot really is the next best thing to an espresso machine.

So let's learn how to use it!


How to Use A Stovetop Coffee Maker

 What you need to make delicious coffee in your Moka Pot:

  • A Stovetop coffee maker (In this guide, I am using the Moka Pot from the March Pouring over Books Box)
  • Freshly ground coffee
  • Boil water
  • A heat source


Step 1 Take apart and Separate your stovetop espresso maker into three parts: The top chamber, the filter basket, and the bottom chamber.

Step 2 Fill the bottom reservoir of the Moka pot with hot water up to the bottom of the safety valve.


Step 3 Fill the filter basket with ground coffee. If you are grinding your coffee beans fresh, make the coffee grinds a consistency halfway between espresso and drip grind. Not too fine and not too coarse. Make sure you do not overfill the basket or tamp it down.

add coffee to basket of the moka pot

Step 4 Remove any stray coffee grounds around the lip of the filter. Place the filter basket in the lower chamber and screw the base and the top chamber together tightly.

Step 5 Place the Moka pot on a stovetop at medium-low heat (lower if using a gas stove.) and wait.

Step 6 After 5-10 minutes, steam pressure will push the water through the filter and coffee grounds and the brew should start oozing into the upper chamber. When this starts to happen, wait and listen.

coffee percolating in moka pot

Step 7 Remove the Moka Pot from the stove top to cool it down as soon as you start to hear a gurgling sound or the flow comes faster.

Step 8 Pour your coffee slowly and leave some coffee at the bottom of the pot. It is usually muddy.

coffee in moka pot

Now you can drink your Moka coffee! Many people just use the moka pot to make their everyday "espresso" at home.

You can make Starbucks like espresso drinks like a latte( froth and add milk) or a Cafe Cubano ( my favorite and first love) with sugar.

Or if the Coffee is too strong for you, you can always make an Americano ( 50/50 ratio that is half coffee, half water) .

Tips for Making Perfect Stovetop Espresso


 1.Make sure you fully fill the filter basket

 You should entirely fill the filter with ground coffee. If you don’t fill the filter completely, there will not be proper extraction of your coffee. Which will produce under-extracted coffee that has a sour taste.

 2.Start with hot water.

 To help to reduce the bitterness and brewing time, start with hot water. When you use cold water, you not only heat the water, but you are heating your coffee too. Which will make the coffee taste just a little bitter. If you use cold water, while you’re heating your water, you’re heating your coffee too. In this case, the coffee will taste a little bit more bitter.

 3.Make Sure your coffee grind size is correct.

Even though we call this a stovetop espresso maker, we do not need the fine grind of espresso. For Moka Pots, use a coarser grind.

Don’t grind the beans super fine as we use for an espresso machine. For Moka pots, we need to use a coarser grind.


That's it friends! The moka pot is a fixture in most Italian households and should be in yours too. It's perfect for home use and makes excellent coffee. Coffee drinkers who like strong coffee and want to make good coffee at home, get yourself a Moka Pot!


Have fun!

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