Guest writer: Geoff Faber
Read on my curious coffee drinker; you're about to learn how to use a stovetop Moka pot. Learn my favourite Moka pot café latte recipe, learn the history of Italy's home espresso maker and get answers to your most burning Moka pot questions. But first, two important questions must be answered...
How do you use a stovetop Moka pot coffee maker?
Simply add boiling water to the lower chamber. Put the filter, gently packed with coffee grounds, into the lower chamber and screw on the upper "collection" chamber. Place on the stovetop on high heat until the upper collection chamber fills with coffee and you no longer see coffee spitting out of the spout. You will see how the coffee goes from pouring out to spitting out as the water is used up. The result is a strong, rich brew ready to mix in your favourite latte recipes as an espresso substitute.
To replace espresso in recipes, use a 2:1 ratio. If the recipe calls for one shot of espresso use two shots of Moka pot espresso.
How does a stovetop Moka pot work?
A stovetop Moka pot uses pressure from steam to push water from the lower chamber through a small reversed funnel or filter full of coffee grounds into an upper collection chamber.
Does a Moka pot make coffee or espresso?
If we were to examine a Moka pot with x-ray vision you would find it uses steam to push water through coffee grounds. This process is the classification for espresso. For this reason, it is technically espresso. However, a Moka Pot can only muster 1.5 bars of pressure and the minimum for an espresso machine is 9 bars of pressure. The Moka pot brews like an espresso but tastes more like a very strong coffee.
How I Discovered the Moka Pot
I began my coffee drinking journey following a friend into McDonald's during one of their free coffee promotions. I fell in love with the sugary goodness of a double-double. I've never stopped enjoying coffee since that day! Although I now prefer my coffee black and from a local café.
I've come a long way from that first double-double and my coffee tastes have really changed. My journey has been marked by trying new things and perfecting recipes so I'm excited to share a Moka pot latté recipe with you! All this has also made coffee a go-to gift for loved ones.
On my 19th birthday, Christy bought tickets for us to go to a concert. We met up beforehand in an empty mall near the venue so I could open gifts. Unwrapping that box was my first encounter with a stovetop Moka pot. (since neither of us had a car I enjoyed the evening with the clunky coffee maker in my backpack!)
What is a Moka pot and where did it come from?
Not as old as pour-over coffee (1908), the Moka pot was invented by the Italian, Alfonso Bialetti in 1933. He came back from working in the French aluminum industry and wanted to create a machine for people to make coffee at home.
His brand, Bialetti, became a household name in Italy and his stovetop Moka pot became an icon in design. You can find a Moka pot in 90% of Italian homes. Alfonso Bialetti's designs are now displayed in museums.
The Moka pot espresso maker is a staple in the Italian coffee community. If you're looking for a rabbit hole please dive down Sunday Baker's article. It's thorough, to say the least.
Types of Moka Pots
All stovetop Moka pots use the same extraction process. The main difference between brands and models is design and size. For this reason, a more expensive pot does not mean better coffee. In our home sits a coffee-stained Gnali & Zani that Christy bought for me as a gift. I love it and think it looks great in the video we made!
I have found that Moka pots produce the best coffee when their filter is full of coffee so there's no space for the grounds to shift while water is being pushed through. To get a truly even extraction, where you get all the flavours out of your coffee, completely fill the filter whenever you use your Moka pot. All this to say, consider the size of your Moka pot carefully.
A bigger Moka pot will mean a bigger filter and more coffee. If you expect to mostly make coffees for 1 or 2 people choose a smaller Moka pot whereas a big one will be great for hosting a few people!
Here's a couple of GREAT Moka pots:
Bialetti Moka Express
I think this is the best as it's the original Moka pot. Not to mention, the Moka Express will add a lot of antique vibes and the class of an Italian home to your kitchen! It comes in two main sizes and the brand has added more designs and colours.
Photo from Bialetti.com.
Grosche Moka pot
Another brand worth mentioning is Grosche. Grosche is the next best stovetop Moka pot to the original Bialetti. Grosche has two main designs and a lot of size options. All are good. Bialetti has never changed and Grosche has entered the market as a well-thought-out design. A great choice.
Photo from Grosche.com.
Special Edition Alessi Moka pot
Since we're shopping for your new Moka pot, please take a moment to enjoy the design of this David Chipperfield Moka pot! As I said, the Moka pot is a design icon, so it is worth enjoying people's take on it.
Photo from Ssense.com.
Moka Pot Vs Other Coffee Makers
Many people want to know the difference between coffee makers. After all, there's Aeropress, French press, pour-over, Chemex, Moka pots and espresso machines. It can all get a bit confusing so I've broken down the two most common comparisons below.
Moka pot vs French press
A Moka pot and a French press are different because a Moka pot produces espresso and a French press produces coffee. A Moka Pot uses steam, the main format for espresso drinks. The French Press uses the courtship of hot water and coffee grounds, the main format for pour-over or drip coffee drinks.
Because they brew so differently the taste is different as well, a French press tastes like coffee, it can be a little stronger and the texture can be thicker. And Moka pot coffee tastes like really strong coffee or weak espresso.
What is similar between these two is their long history. A stovetop Moka Pot and a French Press are some of the oldest ways to make coffee in the world.
Moka Pot vs. Aero Press.
Both the Moka Pot and Aero Press use pressure to push water through coffee grounds. The Moka pot, however, uses steam and the Aero Press uses physical strength. The result: the Aero Press caps out at about 0.75 bars of pressure and the Moka pot can manage 1.5 bars.
It's also fun to note the design history behind the two. Where the Moka pot was born out of the industrial revolution and a need to make coffee more accessible at home, the Aero Press was designed by a chemist claiming he had developed the best possible way to make coffee.
At the end of the brew, these two coffee makers brew in the same way but the Moka Pot is a stronger coffee and the Aero Press brings out more subtle tasting notes and delicate flavours to be found in coffee.
How to clean your stovetop Moka pot
The key to keeping your Moka pot clean is cleaning it out as soon as it has been used and has had time to cool down. This is as easy as dumping out the coffee grounds and rinsing each component with water.
If your Moka pot seems especially dirty, you can clean the upper collection chamber and metal filter with soapy water and a good rinse.
For the lower chamber, treat it like a kettle and run vinegar through it a couple of times before running hot water 3-5 times as well.
Other Moka Pot Coffee Questions
What is the best coffee for the Moka pot?
Because the Moka pot is technically an espresso format coffee maker, use espresso or dark roast beans. I suggest going to your local cafe and asking them what they would suggest for a Moka pot or espresso and typically, they will have a specific espresso roast for you.
What is the best coffee grind size for Moka pot coffee?
The most technical way to talk about coffee grind size is in microns. Micron is a measurement of the coffee particles in one-thousandths of a millimetre. For a Moka pot, you want to use anywhere between 550-850 microns.
In layman's speech, this means finer than regular coffee but not as fine as your grinder will go. If your grinder has an espresso setting you've gone too far. I have a Baritza Encore and set it to '9'. You can experiment with different grind settings as you are looking for coffee that will pack nicely but not produce a brew that's too strong or bitter.
Can you use a Moka pot on an electric stove?
Yes! The Moka Pot can be used on any stovetop. You can even use it over an open flame while camping!
Can you use a Moka pot to make a latte?
Yes you can! You can use a Moka pot to make espresso and then heat and froth milk to complete your delicious latte. Add finely-ground coffee to the Moka pot filter and boiling water to the bottom before screwing it together and heating it up on the stove until it bubbles. Then heat some milk separately, forth it and combine ⅓ espresso and ⅔ frothed milk.
Can you make an Americano with a Moka pot?
Yes. You can make espresso in your Moka pot and combine it with boiling water to make a delicious Americano!
How to Make A Simple Moka Pot Latte
Put on your kettle. You will need enough water to fill the bottom chamber of your Moka pot.
Next, as the water boils heat the milk in a separate pot on medium heat until bubbles start around the edges (not a boil, this is called scalding the milk).
Meanwhile, grind 30 grams or enough coffee to fill your filter and lightly pack.
To pack the filter pour a little in and push it down and then do this again and again till the filter is full.
Next, pour the hot water into the Moka pot's lower chamber, up to the same metal steam valve. Don't cover this valve. Then place the filter inside and screw on the top (the bottom will be hot so use an oven mitt).
Put the Moka pot on high heat and wait until you hear the coffee coming through the filter. Monitor it until it begins to hiss and then watch closely until no more coffee is coming out. Then remove from the heat.
Pour the hot milk into a milk frother and froth the milk (we use a hand frother but any device you have will work).
Pour espresso into a mug and then top with the hot milk. I suggest a 1:4, espresso to milk ratio but try what feels best to you (I like it strong)!
Save this Moka Pot Latte recipe to Pinterest for later!
Recipes to make to go with your latté
- Peanut Butter Swirl Black Bean Brownies
- Gluten-Free Buckwheat Flour Brownies
- Double Chocolate Banana Bread
- Healthy Spelt Cinnamon Buns
- Spelt Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Learn how to make pour over coffee
I also created a recipe for pour over coffee using whatever dripper and kettle you have available, it doesn't even require a scale!
Simple Moka Pot Latte Recipe
Simple Moka Pot Latté
- Moka Pot
- Milk Frother
- 1 ½ cups milk 3.8%, for best flavour
- 30 grams coffee dark roast
- 2 cups boiling water
- Put on your kettle. You will need enough water to fill the bottom chamber of your Moka pot. (In my Moka pot this is 1 ½ cups of water)
- Heat the milk in a separate pot on medium heat until bubbles start around the edges.
- Grind 30 grams or enough coffee to fill your filter and tightly pack. To pack the filter pour a little in and push it down and then do this again and again till the filter is full.
- Pour the hot water into the Moka pot’s lower chamber, up to the same metal steam valve.
- Then place the filter inside and screw on the top (the bottom will be hot so use an oven mitt).
- Put the Moka pot on high heat and wait until you hear the coffee coming through the filter. Monitor it until it begins to hiss and then watch closely until no more coffee is coming out. Then remove from the heat.
- Pour your espresso in a mug and then top with the hot milk. I suggest a 1:4, espresso to ratio but try what feels best to you (I like it strong)!
If you make this latte recipe please leave a comment and give this recipe a rating! I aim to respond to every single comment. I am so grateful when you trust me and try one of my recipe creations in your own kitchen. I love to hear how it went! Let’s connect on Instagram and tag me in your food pics!
'Till next time,
This is so helpful! I always put ice cold water in the lower chamber. So I've been doing it wrong this whole time
Christy Faber says
Glad that this post will help improve your coffee game!
Heather Gifford says
Is there any reason you can't heat milk in the frother for less dishes? I have a stainless steel one similar to the one you have used.
Christy Faber says
If your frother is stainless steel and able to be used on the stove top then definitely go for it! Just use an oven mitt in case the handle gets hot. 🙂
Mark Beahm says
Aren't Moka pots so neat?! Great and informative article! Thanks for the mention 🙂
Christy Faber says
Thank you so much for the kind comment. Your post was a great reference and a fun read!
Oooh I love my moka pot but need to slow down and use it again for a cozy moment! Thanks for the good info coffee king!
Christy Faber says
Love a latte at home! I had a great tahini latte this summer. I recommend trying that for a cozy fall day!
Debbie Jasper says
What size mocha pot should I get for making one latte? Thank you!
Christy Faber says
Thanks for the question! A 3 cup size mocha pot will do the trick! I own a 6 cup and it makes enough for two.