Friday, September 10, 2010

Moka Pot: A Few Questions

During this week, I made a concerted effort to only use my Moka pot (generically known as a percolator) because in the past, I have often brewed rancid and bitter tasting coffee from it. Rejecting systemic defeat due to my own deficiencies, I researched, read some guides, watched Coffee Nate's Moka pot video, and did some tinkering.

This is not a step-by-step guide, you can find plenty of them around. Instead I posted a few questions or problems that I wanted to pose/expose hindering good moka coffee.

1. Pertaining to aluminum moka pots, people say that the aluminum imparts unwanted tastes giving a "metalliky" taste to the coffee. They recommend having a coffee film from previous brewings to accumulate. Is this film visible, dark like such:
Or would it be better to leave a thinner film that removes the thick coffee coating leaving the oils in place but a cleaner look?

2. A corollary to the first, how long does the coating last before it turns rancid?

3. The rubber O-Ring, pictured below, does it trap any unwarranted tastes that affect the coffee? If so, is there any specific way to clean it?
4. Finally, the bottom half that holds the water. I have noticed some coffee staining from coffee that hasn't percolated. Does this impart any taste, and is there a way to remove this, if it is necessary?

Conclusion: One concrete finding that supports many of the guides around the internet, is that through multiple brews the acrid, bitter taste goes away because of the coffee film building up. Today, I drank a lovely, full bodied brew with little bitterness. Yet, brewing everyday in the moka pot is: A. Gets boring B. Quite selfish of the moka pot.

The answers to these questions point to keeping the moka pot ready for the first brew without priming it. Is that possible?


  1. I've done some reading on the "cleaning the moka pot" debate too, and I am not 100% convinced it greatly changes the taste either way. In my experience it has to do a whole lot with how you brew the coffee.

    What is your brewing process?

  2. I admit the moka pit is "feast or famine". I can never predictably make good coffee from it. My brewing process is as goes.

    Add cold brita water, add a pretty fine grind just above espresso (though try courser nearer a middle grind. If its too fine, the coffee can be over-extracted causing bitterness. The flip side is a weaker coffee I believe.) Stand near the thing until it starts coming out. Once it nears the beginning part of the spout I turn off the heat. Pour once finished and quickly rinse the top with water as to not let the coffee sludge stick but still keep the coffee oils. Walah!