Why Does My Moka Pot Coffee Taste Bitter?

Why Does My Moka Pot Coffee Taste Bitter?

So you just got your first Moka pot, and your first cup was somewhat overwhelming? You think the brew is too bitter for your taste, and now you're wondering what went wrong. Well, there are a few things that could have gone wrong. It could be due to the wrong coffee grind size, over brewing, or too much coffee, among other things. Keep reading to find out how you can get it right next time!



What Makes the Coffee Bitter?

One of the charms of a Moka pot brew is that it's not just pressing a button. There is a learning curve to it, so most people's first cup comes out bitter. There are a few reasons why this can happen.

The most common ones include low-quality or stale coffee grounds or over brewing. You should also be careful with the water temperature. Last but not least, it could be because you left your brew in the Moka pot for too long after the brewing is done.

How to Make Sure Your Coffee Doesn’t Come Out Bitter?

Use the Correct Coffee Grind Size

Even though a Moka pot uses steam pressure like an espresso maker, it's not that high. That's why it is essential to make sure you're using the right grind size.

While you need finely ground coffee to make espresso, it doesn't have to be that way for a Moka pot. Actually, if it's too fine, water won't go through it evenly, and the brew will come out bitter.

It comes down to personal preferences but in general, using a fine grind is not the right approach. To avoid bitter-tasting coffee, you should consider using a coarser grind. Not too coarse, though. There shouldn't be any lumps and boulders. This would make your brew watery and bland.

The rule of thumb, in this case, is to use the same coarse grind that you would use for a drip coffee maker.

Don’t Tamp Your Coffee

There is one more case where a Moka pot coffee is different from espresso. While you need to tamper your espresso to ensure its good taste, it's important not to do that with Moka coffee. 

The pressure a Moka pot produces is lower than the one an espresso machine does. If the coffee grounds are too compressed together, you will end up with bitter coffee. The steam won't extract the taste from the coffee grounds if it's too dense. This is why it's important not to tamper the coffee in the filter.

Keep Your Brewing Time Short

To get the best taste out of your Moka coffee, you need to be around it. A Moka pot gets very hot, and even if the brewing is done, if the coffee stays in the brew tank, it will burn.

It is very important to keep an eye on the Moka pot during the brewing process. It usually takes a few minutes. Especially if you're using pre-heated water. Once you hear gurgling, your coffee is made.

To make sure you avoid over-extraction, take the Moka pot off the stove and cover it with a cold towel. If the towel is cold enough, it will stop the coffee extraction process, and your coffee will taste just right. If you forget to put a towel in the freezer beforehand, you can always dip the bottom chamber in cold water, and it will also cool down the Moka pot.

Use the Right Amount of Coffee

Just like in the previous tips, this depends mainly on your taste. It also depends on the type of coffee you use and the grind. The general rule here is to use around two to three tablespoons of coffee for a 250 ml Moka pot. 

This is just a starting point, of course, and you can experiment. The more coffee you put in, the more bitter your brew will be. The less you have, the weaker the coffee will be.

Keep Your Moka Pot Clean

Keeping your Moka pot is essential to making the perfect brew. After every use, there is a bit of leftover coffee. If you don't wash that soon after use, it will dry out and be very hard to get rid of.

If that happens, your coffee's taste will change. It will become more bitter, and it will ruin your experience.

Leftover coffee in the upper chamber is not the only issue, though. If you have coffee grounds on the seals, it won't let them close tight and will cause your Moka pot to sputter.

Use a High-Quality Moka Pot

Cheap Moka pots are not made out of quality metals. No matter if it's an aluminum model or a stainless steel one. The problem is that tiny particles of metal get chipped off the Moka pot and get in your coffee. If this happens, the bitter taste will be the slightest issue you'll face. Metal particles are definitely not something you want in your brew.

To find high-quality Moka pots for 3 or 6 cups of coffee, head over to our catalog!

Should You Use Hot or Cold Water? How Much Should You Use?

Pouring the right amount of water can be crucial for making the perfect cup of morning coffee. There isn't much you can get wrong here. All you need to do is to pour water up to the safety valve. DO NOT cover it. This can be dangerous as it's there to release excess pressure.

Should You Start With Hot or Cold Water?

In the best case, you should start with pre-heated water. It doesn't have to be boiling hot, but it should be close to that. How this is going to help you is, the brewing process will start sooner. 

This way, you will save time and ensure the Moka pot doesn't "cook" the coffee grounds before the brewing process begins. 

Recipe for a Brew With a Perfect Taste

Making the perfect cup of Moka coffee can be a bit intimidating at first. You should take care of many different things, and the recipes online can be a bit overly complicated. Here's a beginner-friendly one that will help you get the best flavor of your brew:

  1. Throw a damp towel in the freezer.
  2. Depending on your Moka pot, heat around 250mm to the boiling point.
  3. Pour it into the bottom chamber of the Moka pot, right up to the valve, WITHOUT covering it.
  4. Put your medium-fine coffee grounds in the coffee filter, and DON'T tamp them.
  5. Put the filter on the bottom chamber and close the top part.
  6. Put the Moka pot on the hot stove and stay around
  7. Once you hear the gurgling sound, your coffee is made. Now you can take the Moka pot off the stove.
  8. Take the towel out of the freezer and put it around the upper part of the Moka pot to cool it down.
  9. Enjoy your perfect cup of Moka coffee.


Making coffee in a Moka pot can be a bit hard to get right at first. You should be careful with how much water you put in, what coffee you're using, you should keep track of the temperature, and more. Now you know what could be the reason behind a bitter cup of coffee. One of the issues might be an old or low-quality Moka pot. Head over to our catalog to find beautifully designed, high-quality stainless steel Moka pots for the perfect brew!

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