You simply can't get your Moka pot coffee to taste right? The reason might be that you're using the wrong grind. The perfect Moka pot grind is medium to fine but there are a few more things you should know. Let's look into them.
Perfect Grind Size Means Fantastic Moka Pot Coffee
If you're a hardcore coffee enthusiast or are just used to brewing your own coffee at home, you probably know that the grind size is very important. It can actually make the difference between a good cup of Moka pot coffee and a bad one.
Here we should mention that there's an important difference between a high quality and a budget Moka pot. If you go for a high quality stainless steel Moka pot you won't have to worry about seasoning it or having an uneven extraction. Go to our store and buy your high quality LuxHaus Moka pot now.
Many beginner coffee brewers often neglect the size of the grind they're using and find themselves drinking bad coffee. This is understandable though, especially if you don't know how exactly your coffee maker extracts coffee from the beans.
Most coffee makers brew coffee by running hot water through coffee. This is the case with a Moka pot, an espresso maker, a drip coffee maker and nearly every other kind out there. This means that the water temperature, the grind size and the pressure are crucial if you want to brew a delicious coffee.
The rule here is that the higher the pressure you're going to use to brew coffee, the finer the grind should be. This might sound a bit counter intuitive but it actually makes sense. if you have water under a higher pressure, it'll stay in contact with the coffee for less time. This means that the extraction should be more effective and how you do that is by having a finer grind.
Generally the highest pressure is generated by espresso machines - around 9 bars. Then comes the Moka pot, which as you know, is a pretty simple device, that naturally doesn't generate as much pressure - around 2 bars. How does the Moka pot work though?
You start off pouring water in the bottom chamber of the pot. It's best if you start with hot water as this time you make sure you won't end up with burnt coffee. Another thing we should mention is that the water should only be up to the safety valve of your Moka pot. When you have the water in the pot, you can add the coffee. There are a few general ideas of what the perfect size is for a Moka pot and we'll look into each of them in the next section.
The last step to making the perfect Moka pot coffee is to turn on the stove, put the pot on it and get brewing. You'll know your coffee is done brewing by the gurgling sound your Moka pot will make.
How Does the Coffee Grind Affect the Coffee Taste?
You might be interested to know how the grind size is going to affect the taste of your coffee. No matter if you have your own grinder and grind your own coffee or you buy it already ground, whether you go for fine grind or for a coarse grind can make a very big difference.
The main idea behind having a fine grind is the larger surface area. For your Moka pot this means that the water will have more time to heat up and build pressure. That's why it's important to have your water only reach the bottom edge of the safety valve. It's there to release the excessive pressure.
As the pressure and the temperature gradually rise, eventually the water will find its way up through the coffee in the filter. As it's going through the coffee it'll extract more of it. While this is good if you want to reduce sourness, it'll also make your coffee more bitter.
There are a few things that can go wrong when brewing more finely ground coffee in a Moka pot.
- The water finds a softer spot in the coffee. If that happens it'll flow through there and your coffee won't be evenly extracted. This is called channeling as small channels form in the coffee. If that happens your brew will be uneven and will be bitter and weak at the same time.
- The safety valve opens and relieves the pressure. If that happens you'll have steam coming out of your Moka pot and no coffee.
- The Moka pot explodes. If none of what we mentioned above happens your Moka pot might blow up and you might have to clean coffee off your ceiling. This is an extremely unlikely scenario as most Moka pots come equipped with a safety valve and the excessive pressure will be released.
You might be wondering why can grinders give you such a fine grind if it's potentially dangerous. That's because it's used for other brewing methods.
If you make your coffee in an espresso machine you'll need a fine grind. Espresso machines are designed to brew coffee at a significantly higher pressure and that's why they're designed for it. In fact, most of the pre ground coffee you're going to find in stores is a fine grind.
The consistency of this grind is similar to the one of table salt. This way your espresso machine will extract the most taste out of your coffee.
Medium grind works best for a Moka pot according to most coffee drinkers. This is the middle ground (pun intended) between the grind you'd use in an espresso machine and the one you'd use for a French press or a cold brew.
The medium grind ensures an even extraction of coffee which in a quality Moka pot will give you a fantastic brew. Here we should mention that everyone drinks their coffee a little differently. If you have your own grinder you have the freedom to experiment with different settings until you find the perfect one for your coffee.
Something important that you should know is that even if you own a grinder there's a difference between the different models. If yours is not of very high quality it won't be able to grind your coffee as finely. This means that if you want coffee for a Moka pot you might want to put it on the fine or espresso setting.
It's a similar story with pre ground coffee from the supermarket. While the best grind is between espresso (fine) and filter coffee (medium to coarse), even the packs that say espresso are not that fine.
This is because you'll only need a fine grind if you own a high quality espresso machines. As most coffee drinkers who buy pre ground coffee don't, the coffee doesn't need to be as finely ground. In fact, low-tier espresso machines make better coffee with a slightly coarser grind.
What happens if you keep keep increasing the size of your grind? It's arguably going to get worse as:
- There will be less contact area between coffee and water. As the grounds will be larger, the water will be in contact with them for less time compared to a medium or a fine grind. This will give you a weak and sour coffee as the extraction will be too long.
- Your coffee will be more acidic. Due to the longer extraction time you can expect your coffee to have a worse taste.
To simplify everything we just said, the extra coarseness of your grind will mean you're actually using less coffee for your brew. This is because you can pack a fine grind more tightly in the filter. That's why it's best to weigh your coffee and experiment.
A coarse grind usually resembles sea salt when it comes to size of the grounds. It is usually used in a French press, a perculator or coffee tasting. If you have extra coarse grind (that resembles ground peppercorns), you can use it for cold brew or cowboy coffee.
Blade vs Burr Grinder
No matter if you want to brew coffee in a Moka pot, an espresso machine or a simple drip coffee maker, you will want to get a grinder. That is if you don't own one yet.
Grinding your coffee is the best way to make sure it stays fresh until you brew yourself a cup. You've probably heard coffee aficionados say that the coffee is stale. While when saying this they may mean brewed coffee, they may also mean the grounds.
The coffee you buy from the store takes a long time till it gets in your Moka pot. First it's grown, then harvested, dried, roasted, and if you're buying whole bean coffee, packed. If you buy pre-ground coffee, it goes through the grinder first. Grinding it so much in advance may ruin its taste though.
If you're looking into buying your own grinder in pursuit of the perfect coffee brew, there are a few things you should know. One is that there are two main types of grinding your beans: in a blade grinder and in a burr grinder.
A blade grinder is significantly cheaper than a burr grinder. It works by chopping the beans into coffee grounds, which you then put in your Moka pot or another coffee maker. Unfortunately, though, most grinders of this kind will only ruin your beans.
By now you probably know that the perfect coffee is all about consistency. This is not what a blade grinder will give you. It will only turn your beans into a chunky dusty mess that's going to give you a part over extracted, part under extracted cup of coffee.
There's one more con to using a blade grinder. This is the heat and friction created when grinding. They can and probably ruing your coffee overcooking it on the way.
A burr grinder, on the other hand, is significantly more refined. These models use two burrs to crush the beans, resulting in a much more consistent grind. The downside here is that such a grinder will set you back a lot more than a blade grinder. It's definitely worth the investment if you're serious about your coffee though.
While having a burr grinder is crucial for a perfect cup of coffee in any coffee maker it's especially important for a Moka pot and an espresso machine. This is because the force with which each of these pushes water through coffee is significantly higher than other methods.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is Moka Pot Coffee Finer than Drip Coffee?
The answer is simple: pressure. Drip coffee basically drips water on your coffee, achieving a significantly lower extraction. That's why you don't need your coffee as finely ground.
A Moka pot, on the other hands generates a few bars of pressure which means you need more finely ground coffee for the perfect cup.
Is Espresso Grind Too Fine for a Moka Pot?
Generally yes. You should experiment, though. A more finely ground coffee may give you a bland bitter cup of coffee but if you get it right, it'll simply be stronger.
The size of your grind can give you an awful or a fantastic cup of Moka pot coffee. That's why you should always make sure your grounds are medium to fine, as this will achieve optimal extraction.
No matter how perfect your grind is, if your Moka pot is of low quality, your coffee might still be bad. That's why you should invest in a high quality Moka pot like the LuxHaus pot. Get yours now.