how to make italian coffee

How To Make Italian Coffee: Steps To Delicious Moka Pot Coffee Brew

Craving Italian Style coffee? You don’t have to be an Italian to enjoy their coffee culture from the comforts of your home. I’ll show you how to make Italian coffee with a moka pot.

Italian stovetop percolators appear intimidating and complicated to use. But they’re really not! With a few easy steps and tips, you’ll be brewing your Moka coffee in no time!

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What is a Moka pot?

Moka pot is a stovetop coffeemaker that was invented in the 1930s by two Italians, Alfonso Bialetti and Luigi De Ponti.

This is an affordable alternative to espresso coffee makers and it resides in many homes all over the world. Back in the day, espresso was much weaker compared to what we know as espresso today, so Moka pot was a way to bring coffee shop espresso into your home

How do you brew coffee in a Moka pot?

Moka pot can be a bit confusing if you’re not used to it, but it’s straightforward and very easy to use.

Essentially, it consists of 3 parts: the bottom container, the filter basket, and the top container. Apart from that, you’ll need water and coffee.

make stovetop espresso

Have a look at the step by step process on how to make coffee in a moka on the stove (and excuse the not-so-clean maker):

1. Unscrew the Moka pot

2. Remove the bottom container and the filter basket

stovetop espresso

3. Fill the lower container with water to the safety valve

espresso valve

4. Place the filter basket into the bottom container

espresso bottom chamber

5. Fill the filter with coffee to the top of the filter. Gently pat it to level it with the filter, but don’t press the coffee down too much; that would build up too much pressure and cause coffee to spray everywhere

espresso filter with coffee

6. Place and screw the upper container tightly and straight

7. Place the Moka pot on the stove, over a flame that covers the bottom of the pot in width and not any wider

make espresso on the stove

8. Turn off the gas when you hear coffee bubble and gurgle.

9. Your coffee is ready when the top container is full of hot fragrant coffee and there’s just steam coming from the spout

how long does stovetop espresso take.

What is the best Moka pot?

Let’s have a look at the best espresso makers you can get. But before we’ll check the reviews and competitors, have a look at three important factors that you should pay attention to when buying your own Moka pot!

How many cups?

Believe it or not, these stovetop espresso makers can brew anywhere from 1 cup of coffee to multiple cups, up to 10! Before you buy it, take this into consideration: will you brew for yourself or for a crowd? After all, brewing multiple coffees several times with a Moka pot is extremely annoying, and I speak from experience. The bottom chamber is burning hot, the top is warm, you can’t remove the filter properly without making a mess in the kitchen…. So, # of cups matters!

Aluminum VS stainless steel

Moka pots are normally made of either aluminum or stainless steel. I have espresso percolators of both materials, but I prefer stainless steel much more, even though it’s much hotter to the touch (I’m a klutz!). I find it’s easier to clean and it seems indestructible. I’ve had this Bialetti one for more than 6 years now and while it’s too small to please a crowd, it makes great coffee.

The aluminum pots are also good, just make sure they weren’t made in China. They’re better for the clumsy people of the world who regularly burn themselves everywhere. They’re normally also cheaper than the stainless steel models.

Type of stovetop: gas, induction, electric

I have a gas stovetop, that’s what Moka works best with. It won’t work on an induction stove, but it should be okay on an electric burner. Since these pots don’t always work with an electric stove, make sure to check whether the pot you want to buy is electric/induction-friendly.  I’ve found reviews that claim their Moka works great on a glass-top electric stove!

Now, let’s have a look at the best stovetop espresso makers:

1.       Bialetti Espresso Maker

The all-time favorite classic, this Bialetti can make anywhere between a single cup to 9 cups (espresso-sized), depending on the model you choose. Its shape allows the heat to distribute around the chamber while brewing the coffee in under 5 minutes. it’s easy to clean (see tips on how to clean Moka pots below).


  • Various sizes available
  • Made in Italy
  • Brews coffee fast
  • A trusted classic


  • Made with aluminum
  • Not best for electric stoves

2.       Bialetti Elegance Venus 6-cup

This is a stylish coffee maker that’s made of stainless steel and easily makes delicious espresso-sized coffee under 5 minutes. This one is an easily portable brewer you can bring on hiking trips, camping, and when you move house.

While the handle is heat-resistant, don’t put it directly over the flame of your stove or campfire, as you’ll get burned. While the brewer isn’t dishwasher safe, that’s quite alright since you shouldn’t wash it with detergent anyway!


  • Portable
  • Stylish
  • Durable
  • Stainless steel
  • Works on induction


  • Not dishwasher safe

3.       Delonghi Electric Moka Espresso Coffee Maker

Okay, this one isn’t your classic stovetop espresso maker. It’s an electric one and you can easily avoid any extra coffee burning as this machine comes with an automatic turn off. What’s more, it can keep coffee warm up to 30 minutes after it’s done brewing. It’s easy to clean and you can choose from 3 to 6 cups.

Plus, if you’re not sure whether Moka pot is compatible with your stovetop, this one is a great solution! It can brew delicious coffee in minutes and you can bring the brewer with you, as it’s travel-friendly and lightweight!


  • Detachable base
  • Automatic shut-off
  • Easy to clean


  • Certain parts are plastic (BPA-free)

4.       Cusinox Roma 10-cup Moka Pot

If you need a Moka pot to please a crowd, Cusinox is a great choice! You can easily avoid the refilling and brewing coffee several times when you have people over. What’s more, it’s elegant, made of 18/10 stainless steel, and brews tasty coffee.

It’s safe to use this stovetop espresso on all cooking surfaces. The only issue many have is that it’s made in China and not in Italy, even though that’s becoming more and more common.


  • Stylish design
  • Sturdy
  • Suited for all cooking surfaces
  • Extra gasket and reducer included


  • Expensive

Best coffee for Moka pot

Believe it or not, but the type of coffee you choose with severely influence the final result. Yes, coffee grounds matter when it comes to Moka pot and they matter a lot. You can tweak and test your brewing skills all you want, but if you don’t have the correct coffee for this Italian percolator, you might as well pour it down the drain.

But I don’t want to you do that (being rational with money and all), so we’ll have a look at the best coffee for Moka pot.

First of all, the grinds should be fine; somewhere between the grinds, you use for drip machines and those for an espresso machine.

Secondly, you can opt-in for medium or dark roast coffee.

And thirdly, which type to choose?

  1. Lavazza Qualita Rossa

This Lavazza coffee for the coffee pot you can’t go wrong with. It’s great for beginners and everyday use. Since it’d already pre-ground, you don’t have to worry about coffee grinders. And, it will give you a perfect coffee experience cup after cup.

  1. Kicking Horse Coffee

Whole bean coffee with chocolate and blackcurrant aroma will bring complexity and smooth finish into your cup. You’ll need a good burr grinder the get the right consistency but it’s aromatic and it’ll easy elevate your Moka pot game to a whole new level.

  1. Illy Moka Ground

A classic from Italy, Illy ground coffee is packed in an air-free container that won’t let any of the aroma escape. This is perfect for Italian percolators; it’s s good flavor and grounds. And it surely something you’d find an Italian family drinking in the morning to kick start their day.

Moka pot vs espresso

Moka brewers don’t make the real espresso. Yes, you can get Moka pot crema with your brew, but if you’re a die-hard espresso-machine fan, Moka will probably not do for you. Espresso makers brew coffee with 8-10 bars of pressure. While Moka pot also brews coffee based on pressure, it comes nowhere near the real espresso maker.

By definition, Moka is a stovetop percolator more than it is espresso brewer. It makes strong coffee (more concentrated than drip), but the espresso shot is creamy, intense, and very flavorful. Moka, not as much. It can be balanced and fragrant, but not as rich and complex as espresso.

On the plus side, Moka pot is more affordable, accessible, and easier to use and clean. It makes good coffee, but if you’re looking for the rich, complex flavors, go for espresso.

Moka pot vs French press

The French press has a richer taste. Coffee is brewed by steaming whereas in Moka pot, it’s brewed with pressure. They’re both quite easy to use (even though coffee to water ratios can be a nuisance with a French press). You have some level of control over a brew with both of these and they are in a similar price range.

So, which one is the one for you? Moka coffee comes with a stronger taste in terms of flavor, where the French press is more full-bodied. It also contains sediments. There is definitely a difference between these two, but the preference is up to each user individually.

FAQ on Moka pot coffee

First use moka pot

You got your first Moka pot. Awesome. Now, before you brew your first cup of java, here’s what Bialetti recommends you should do:

  1. Fill the bottom chamber with fresh water (up to the safety valve)
  2. Fill the filter halfway with stale/old coffee grounds
  3. Close the pot well and place it on the stove
  4. Brew that old coffee
  5. Pour the coffee and the grounds away
  6. Repeat the process once or twice more
  7. Then, wash the Moka pot with hot water and let it dry

Now your Italian stovetop espresso maker is ready for use

Moka pot extraction time

Extraction time for Moka pot means the time when you first see coffee coming from the spout until it stops brewing (before the gargling part).

This time depends on many factors:

  • the size of your coffee pot
  • size of coffee grounds
  • the temperature of water in the lower chamber

What’s more, make sure that the pot is closed well and secure and that the pressure isn’t escaping. Also, don’t tamp the grounds when filling up the filter. This isn’t a real espresso machine; fill up the grinds but gently push them down a bit.

What I’m trying to say is that the time of extraction can be different. But overall, the coffee should brew within 5 to 10 minutes.

Moka pot grind setting

The best ground for Moka pot is fine ground coffee, but just slightly finer than drip coffee. If you think your coffee is too bitter, try a bigger grind size, namely medium-fine.

Moka pot coffee taste

Okay, let’s get one thing straight: Moka pot coffee isn’t espresso. It’s similar, but not the same. It uses pressure when brewing coffee but the taste isn’t as compact and, well, typically rich and creamy espresso.

But the brewer is flexible enough and if you have the will to play around with it, you can make it taste however you want. Moka pot makes good coffee on a budget and it’s very practical.

How to clean Moka pot?

There are three rules when it comes to cleaning espresso Moka pot:

  • No soap or detergent
  • No dishwasher
  • Yes, water, hot water

For a more visual idea on how to clean it, see the video below:

3-cup Moka pot: how much coffee

For a Moka 3-cup size pot (6.5oz) you’ll need 26g coffee and 200ml water

6-cup Moka pot: how much coffee

For a Moka 6-cup size pot (10oz) you’ll need 40g coffee to 300ml water.

Moka pot coffee: a recap

Brewing coffee in a moka pot is easy. What’s more, Moka pot is a great alternative for all who can’t afford a barista-style espresso machine or those, who like to keep things simple.

This small brewer is easy to clean and if you look after it well, it will a long time. Follow the steps on how to use it, and it’ll continue to give you a delicious coffee day after day!

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