Moka Pot Troubleshooting 101

Moka Pot Troubleshooting 101

Your Moka pot is not working properly? There's water coming out of the safety valve? Or maybe it turned black after a cycle in the dishwasher? No matter which of these issues you're facing, it's important that you make sure you fix it soon, or your Moka pot might become dangerous. Read this article to find out what are the most common issues a Moka pot owner may face and how to fix them.

8 Most Widely Spread Moka Pot Issues and Questions You May Have 

Even though the Moka pot is one of the simplest coffee makers out there, there are still some things that could go wrong. The most important thing you can do is make sure the safety valve of your coffee pot is intact.

Steam Shooting Out Where the Two Chambers Connect

If there's a flow of water coming down from the upper chamber or where the heating chamber and the coffee chamber connect, then one of these things has happened:

  • The rubber (or silicon) seals have worn out. This is an easy fix, as you can effortlessly get new ones and replace them yourself.
  • If the silicone seal is intact, then there are probably loose coffee grounds that are giving you an imperfect seal. If that's the case, you'll simply want to take the Moka pot apart and clean it.

Steam Coming Out of Moka Pot

If you see steam shooting out of your Moka pot, you might not have a reason to worry. The water chamber on most stovetop espresso makers is equipped with a safety valve designed exactly to let some of the steam out.  

The brewing process of these coffee makers starts by generating a lot of pressure and then pushing it up through the coffee grounds in the filter basket. What may happen sometimes is there may be a few bars of pressure too many. This is when the safety valve steps up and releases all the excessive pressure out of the pot.

If you've noticed just a little steam coming out, your Moka pot is working well. If there's a jet of steam coming out, then one of these things might have gone wrong:

  • You might have filled the bottom chamber above the bottom edge of the safety valve. If that's the case, you'll have to be more careful in the next brewing cycle.
  • The safety valve is clogged with coffee grounds. In that case, you'll want to take the Moka pot apart and thoroughly wash the bottom chamber. Make sure there are no loose grounds.

The safety valve is malfunctioning. If none of the previously mentioned solutions works, you'll want to send it back to the seller and get a new one.

Moka Pot Turned Black After Dishwasher

If your aluminum Moka pot turned black after washing it in the dishwasher, you'll have to get a new one. Aluminum is an anodized metal, and the dishwasher's hot water and strong detergents might ruin its surface. This is why it's always best to clean your pot with warm water and weaker dish soap.

Coffee Tastes Funny

If your cup of coffee has an odd taste, it might be because of the coffee pot or because of the coffee grind you're using. To ensure it's not the Moka pot, you can try:

  • Taking it apart to ensure there is ground coffee stuck in the coffee basket. You'll also want to ensure there is no buildup inside the tower.
  • If you own an aluminum Moka pot, you might have washed off the seasoning. This could be giving your brew a metallic taste. You fix it by going through the entire brewing process a few times and throwing away the coffee. This will build a thin layer and prevent your Moka pot from changing the flavor of your brew.

If you've tried both of these and still find your coffee still tastes bitter or sour, it's probably the coffee beans:

  • If your coffee has a sour taste, they're probably old and going bad.
  • If the coffee is bitter, it may be stale. The best way to fix that is to buy freshly ground coffee and try again.
  • If your coffee is bland, it could be because you're using coarser coffee grounds than recommended for a Moka pot. The best grind size is fine to medium.

Water Left in the Bottom Chamber After Brewing

Normally, some water is left in the Moka pot after making coffee. This is actually a feature that protects you from heating your pot in a dry state, which can be dangerous.

Handle Is Getting Hot

If the handle of your Moka pot is getting hot while you're brewing coffee, it could be a design flaw or that you've set the stove on a setting that's too high. 

Moka Pot Is Sputtering

If your Moka pot is sputtering when making coffee, it could be because of a loose seal or a faulty safety valve. Either way, you'll want to fix it before your next brew.

Moka Pot Is Getting Burn Marks

Most Moka pots are designed to be heat resistant. If burn marks start to appear on its surface, it could be because:

  • You're using too much heat. Just like with a handle getting hot, here the solution could be to simply turn down your stove's heat (or flame).
  • You're leaving the pot on the stove for too long. To avoid getting burnt marks on your pot, you might want to start brewing with hot water. This will lower the brewing time, and your pot won't stay on the stove for that long.

Brewing Tips for Delicious Moka Pot Coffee

Here is our favorite recipe that will always give you delicious coffee:

  1. Throw a damp towel in the freezer. This is essential to stop the brewing process when your coffee is made.
  2. Heat some water. Using warm water from the tap won't work, as you need it to be boiling to decrease the chances of your coffee burning in the filter basket.
  3. Pour the water into the bottom chamber of your coffee pot. Make sure it only gets to the bottom edge of the safety valve. If you cover it, there will be no way out for the steam, which may get dangerous.
  4. Add the coffee to the filter basket. The perfect amount of coffee depends on the basket size, but you should ensure it's full and that you DON'T tamp it.
  5. Put the Moka pot on the stove. You can use a stainless steel Moka pot on any burner, including an induction and a gas stove. Aluminum pots, unfortunately, are not as versatile. They won't work at an induction stove, as those only work with magnetic metals. Additionally, the open gas flame may ruin the surface of the metal more easily.
  6. Wait for the gurgling sound. When you hear it, take the pot away from the heat.
  7. Cover with the cold, wet towel. This will stop the coffee extraction, ensuring your coffee isn't over-extracted.
  8. Enjoy!

Final Thoughts

Moka pots are pretty simple coffee makers. There are still a few things that may go wrong, though. To ensure your Moka pot lasts you for years to come, it's best to invest in a high-quality stainless steel model. Get yours now.

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