Why Did My Moka Pot Turn Black?


Moka pot coffee is a great start for anyone's day. While it's not quite as strong as espresso, it still gives a good kick. 


A Moka pot made out of aluminum can be a little hard to look after, though. You should always make sure it's clean after each cup of stovetop espresso coffee. Wash it with hot water, and don't put it in the dishwasher, or it might oxidize. Keep reading to find out why that happens and how it can be fixed!






What Is a Moka Pot?


Moka pots have been around since the 1930s, and most can agree that they make great coffee. Also known as stovetop espresso makers, they are the preferred choice for a daily brew for many. 

 

After Alfonso Bialetti invented and patented the first Moka pot, it didn't take long before it spread around Italy and the world. There are many reasons why the Moka pot is liked by so many. Among them are that It makes excellent, strong coffee and is very easy to use.

 

How the Moka pot works is pretty simple. You start with water which is poured into the bottom chamber (boiler). When it starts boiling, a lot of steam is released. Sometimes even too much of it, and this is when the excess is released through the valve. When there is enough steam, it forces its way through the coffee in the next section, which is the coffee filter. Now your coffee is starting to brew. When this is done, it builds up and goes into the top chamber (kettle).

 




What Moka Pots Are There?

There isn't much variety when it comes to a Moka pot. They're made either of aluminum or stainless steel. You can also find electric Moka pots that can be a great solution if you are usually in a hurry in the morning or can't be bothered to go through the entire brewing process manually.


Here we are going to look into the two types of manual Moka pot.



Aluminum Moka Pots

The original Bialetti Moka pot was made out of aluminum. It had a beautiful polished white design and was very light. Other than these qualities, aluminum is also a great heat conductor, so your coffee will be finished faster, which is always a plus for a coffee maker.


The excellent conduction is useful because this way the Moka pot heats up evenly. This means that the coffee will be evenly brewed and it’s not going to be bitter. While this is an advantage, the aluminum Moka pots also have some disadvantages compared to stainless steel ones.


  • It won't work equally well on all stoves. It can get easily burnt on a gas burner and won't work at all with induction. Aluminum is not as robust as stainless steel, so the open flame of a gas stove could burn it.

  • Induction stoves work with big electromagnetic coils that need a magnetic metal to work. Aluminum is not one of them. 

  • Also, it's not recommended that you put a Moka pot made of aluminum in the dishwasher or clean it with strong detergents. Most manufacturers recommend just rinsing it with hot water.

  • Another disadvantage of an aluminum Moka pot is that you have to "season" it before your first use. If you don't, your coffee will have a metallic taste. How you do the seasoning is you simply brew a couple of rounds of coffee and throw them away.

 So, in conclusion, you have to be careful what you're doing with your coffee maker.





Stainless Steel Moka Pots

A stainless steel Moka pot is significantly more resilient than an aluminum one. The high-quality models can be washed in a dishwasher, and you can clean almost all models with regular dish soap. 


Stainless steel is a heat insulator, which in some cases might mean that your coffee preparation is going to take slightly longer. Because of that reason, it will stay hot for longer after a brew, so if you need to make more cups, you won't need as much time. 


As stainless steel is a magnetic metal, you won’t have to worry when using it with induction. You just turn on the stove and start brewing your coffee.




How to Clean a Black Moka? 

If you own a Moka pot made of aluminum, you should be careful when washing it. One of the most significant flaws of aluminum is that it oxidizes easily. When aluminum oxidizes it loses its shiny gray color and gets black. 


Oxidation can occur if the top layer of aluminum is damaged. This can happen if you use strong detergents or if you put your Moka pot in the dishwasher. If you already did that, keep reading to know how you can fix it.



Why Did the Pot Turn Black?

If your Moka pot has turned black, it has oxidized. Oxidation usually occurs because of the usage of strong detergents. This can happen if you scrub too hard with an abrasive sponge and then use dish soap. Usually, a high-quality Moka pot is less likely to have that problem, but a dishwasher is still not recommended.






There's another reason why a Moka pot would turn black. If coffee has built up that wasn't washed properly, it will burn with future brews. This is why it is essential to keep your Moka pot clean. You should make sure there's no coffee left on it. Here you have to find the balance between leaving too much coffee on the surface of the Moka pot. If you clean it too much, you will lose the seasoning, and your coffee will have a metallic taste.


If you just got a new Moka pot after your old one started turning black, here are a few tips you can follow so it doesn't happen again:

  • If it's an aluminum one, only wash it with warm water. 
  • Do not wash it in the dishwasher. This will most likely ruin it.
  • If you feel like warm water is not enough, just a little bit of dish soap and use the weakest one you can find.
  • Do not use an abrasive sponge. This is dangerous for the top layer of the aluminum.
  • Keep your Moka pot clean. This will prevent coffee from building up and burning.


Does Every Pot Oxidize?

Any Moka pot made of aluminum can turn black if washed wrong enough. That wouldn't happen with a stainless steel Moka pot, though. Stainless steel is nonporous so that it won't rust. 



How to Clean a Moka Pot that Has Turned Black?

There are a few ways to clean a pot that has turned dark. 



White Vinegar and Water

  1. Prepare a 1:1 solution of warm water and vinegar
  2. Dip a small cloth in it, soaking up some solution
  3. Rub the oxidized parts of the Moka pot until they are clean. Don't overdo it, though.


Lemon Juice and Water

This method is the same as the vinegar and water one, but the ratios of the solution are different.


  1. Prepare a 1:3 solution of lemon juice and water.
  2. Dip a small cloth in the solution and then rub the oxidized parts of the Moka pot.


Baking Soda and Lemon Juice

  1. Mix up a 1:2 solution of baking soda to lemon juice. How you know that you got the correct ratio is if it becomes a paste.
  2. Rub the Moka pot with the paste until the black bits turn lighter or disappear.


Use Bar Keeper's Friend

Bar Keeper's Friend is a less abrasive detergent that can help get rid of corrosion. 

  1. Apply a little of the detergent on the Moka pot.
  2. Clean the oxidized parts with a cloth or a sponge.

All of these methods are supposed to help you get rid of any oxidation on your Moka pot. It is essential that no matter which one you try, you give your Moka pot a good clean with generous amounts of water before making coffee.




Frequently Asked Questions


What Coffee Should I use?

The coffee you use is mainly up to you. What you should know is that the grounds should be medium-fine.


Why Does My Brew Taste Bitter?

There are a few reasons your coffee might be bitter. There might be grounds stuck on the seals, or the coffee might be burning. Also, check if the grounds you're using are not too fine or too coarse.




Final Thoughts


Moka pots make great coffee, but they can be a bit difficult to look after. Especially the aluminum ones. You should make sure that you clean yours with warm water after each use, so it doesn't oxidize.


If you love Moka pot espresso but don't want to take the extra care with an aluminum one or just want a stainless steel Moka pot, head over to our catalog! There you can find our high-quality stainless steel Moka pots that come with a lifetime quality guarantee!