How to Use a Moka Pot for the First Time
Making coffee at home can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. One of the best ways to do that is by buying a Moka pot. This way, you will be able to have a cup of Italian coffee at home every morning.
Before you start, there are a few things you should do. To make sure your coffee tastes great, you should make a few brews without any coffee. Then, throw away the first one or two that you make with coffee in the filter, and then you should be good to go. Keep reading to find out what else you should do before you drink your first coffee from your stovetop espresso maker!
How Do Moka Pots work?
The original Moka pot was invented in the 1930s by the Italian inventor Alfonso Bialetti. It didn't take long before it became common at almost every Italian home and an important part of Italian culture.
As a Moka pot uses steam pressure, somewhat like an espresso machine, it is also known as a stovetop espresso maker.
How a stovetop espresso maker works is very simple. You pour water into the bottom chamber (the boiler), and you heat it. Once it starts boiling, a lot of steam is produced. Then it pushes through the coffee in the filter, and the excess is released outside through the safety valve.
When the steam reaches the filter filled with coffee, it extracts that delicious coffee flavor and keeps going up to the tower. Then it pours into the upper chamber (the kettle) and voilà!
The name stovetop espresso maker comes from the Italian word for "pressed out". The Moka pot is called this way as the steam presses the brew out of the coffee grounds.
Before You Make Your First Coffee
When you get the box with your new Moka pot, you will probably be very excited to try it and make your homemade coffee. I would recommend you to have a little patience before the first time you use it.
It is good to take the stovetop espresso maker apart and wash all the separate parts in warm water. Even though most Moka pots go through thorough quality control, they are still made out of metal and by machines. This means that there might be some metal particles left behind.
To ensure you get all the production residue off the Moka pot, you should add a little baking soda to the warm water. It is excellent for cleaning and disinfecting. If you don't have any at home, you can also use a little vinegar, but it has a strong odor that can be hard to eliminate and might affect your coffee's taste.
What you should do next is go through a brewing cycle but without any coffee. Pour water in the bottom chamber to the edge of the safety valve. Then put the Moka pot on a stove and heat it. When the water starts boiling, the steam will go through the filter (where the coffee usually goes), up the tower, and into the kettle. This will clean any processing and metal particles. When you're done, pour the water out and repeat a few more times. This way, you will make sure there is no metallic taste in your coffee.
Before you can enjoy your first cup of stovetop espresso, the last step is to make one or two pots of coffee. The goal behind this is to make sure you get rid of the "new Moka pot smell". It is recommended to only fill the filter with coffee halfway. Once your brew is done, you should throw it away, as it will have a slight scent of metal.
While the coffee is being made, the oils and waxes in the ground beans will form a thin layer in the filter, the funnel, and the kettle. This way, it will act as an insulator between the metal and your coffee, giving your future brews the best flavor.
When you're done with the first two rounds of coffee, you are nearly ready for your first proper brew. Give your Moka pot a good wash and dry, and you are good to go. Now you know that your Moka pot will give you the aromatic Italian coffee that we all love!
How to Clean Your New Moka pot?
Cleaning your stovetop espresso maker is essential for keeping each coffee delicious and ensuring your Moka pot will continue working. If you neglect it and don't clean it correctly, the coffee you make might become bitter, and your pot might start sputtering.
After each use, a wash with warm water and just a drop of dish soap will be enough. Make sure you don't use an abrasive sponge, so you don't damage the surface. This is important for both a stainless steel and an aluminum Moka pot. This way, you will get rid of all the coffee grounds left behind and make sure they won't build up.
You should give the safety valve some special attention to make sure there are no coffee grounds inside. If any get stuck inside, they might stop the valve from releasing excessive pressure, which can be dangerous.
Another spot where coffee grounds might get stuck in the mount where the top and the bottom chamber seal together. Usually, water will get rid of these if they weren't left there for long.
What More You Should Know About a Stovetop Espresso Maker?
You should know a few things about a Moka pot before buying one and using it for the first time.
You’d be better off purchasing a high-quality model. There are a few reasons for that. A cheap Moka pot might not have a safety valve, and this can be dangerous. If you pour too much water, the steam it releases will have nowhere to go, and this might make your pot explode.
If you already have a stovetop espresso maker, you should know that:
- you shouldn't tamp your coffee. This will make it too compressed, which will ruin the flavor
- you should only pour water up to where the safety valve starts
- a Moka pot doesn't make authentic espresso, but it's still strong coffee. An espresso machine uses much higher pressure, though.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does My Coffee Taste Bland?
Try tapping the basket with coffee a few taps before you put it in the Moka pot. This will get rid of any air pockets. Do not tamp, though!
Why Is My Coffee Bitter?
You are probably using too much heat. Try lowering the temperature and use preheated water. Once the coffee is made, put the pot under cold water or cover it with a cold, damp towel.
Is Bialetti the only good stovetop espresso maker?
No, they are not. Even though the Bialetti Moka pot was the first, a lot of time has passed since then. Nowadays, there are a lot of brands that make great products. The original Bialetti pot was made out of aluminum, but a stainless steel one is better, according to most.
Using a Moka pot straight out of the box is not recommendable. As with any piece of kitchen equipment you put food in, you need to wash it first. Then, we recommend that you make a few brews with just water and then one or two with a bit of coffee, so you get rid of the metallic taste.
To be completely sure there will be no metallic taste to your coffee, you should buy a top-notch stovetop espresso maker. Check out our catalog and treat yourself to a high-quality Moka pot!