How to Make Bialetti Moka Pot Coffee

Ever wonder what the deal with Bialetti and moka pots are? Maybe you’re missing out on an ingenious Italian coffee maker that makes DELICIOUS coffee similar to true espresso.

We have a few guides coming up:

  • what moka pots and the Bialetti brand are
  • how to use moka pots to make great coffee
  • other tips including how to clean your moka pot

They’re not too hard to learn. In fact, moka pots are quite affordable and rather easy to make amazing coffee with. So there’s no reason you shouldn’t get one and try brewing with it NOW.

What is a Moka Pot? What is Bialetti?

First, let’s start with what a moka pot is. It’s a stovetop coffee maker that pressurizes boiling water. Then it uses that water to brew ground coffee.

So why the “Bialetti?” That’s because the moka pot was popularized by the genius Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti under the brand Bialetti Moka Express. And the company Bialetti still sells the Moka Express today!

the Bialetti Moka Express

How to Make Bialetti Moka Pot Coffee

Follow our simple guide to make coffee with a moka pot, whether it’s a Bialetti Moka Express or any other brand.

Step 1: Add Water to the Base

Add warm or hot water to the base of the moka pot. We don’t like cold water because then you’ll brew longer AND it’s easier for you to BURN the coffee.

How much water? We recommend you experiment, but be careful not to fill above the safety valve. (The safety valve is the small metal knob in the picture below.)

safety valve of a Bialetti Moka Express

We personally prefer a ratio of 1:8 – coffee to water though.

Step 2: Add Ground Coffee to the Filter Basket

We recommend medium or dark roasts for the best flavor. And a medium-fine grind size to prevent clogs or too much pressure.

Don’t tamp the coffee but you can level it with a finger or spoon. We want the coffee to expand and not extract as much as with espresso.

level coffee with your finger but don’t tamp

Step 3: Put Together the Moka Pot on the Stovetop

Insert the filter basket into the base and then screw on the top chamber tightly. With pressure we don’t want any chance of leaks.

Make sure there isn’t remaining coffee grounds, oils, or particles anywhere on the pot.

Then follow these tips depending on what type of stove you have as the heat source:

  • Gas stove: use medium-low heat and make sure the flame doesn’t go above the base of the moka pot
  • Electric stove: preheat on high for a few minutes before placing your pot on top, then lower to medium-low heat
  • Induction stove: ONLY use with stainless steel or induction base moka pots, with medium-low heat

Did you notice? DO NOT use high heat! You would put your coffee and your moka pot at risk.

Step 4: Pay Attention

this is your moka pot brewing correctly

Watch and listen for gurgling: this is the pressure pushing hot water through the coffee into the top of the moka pot.

We don’t recommend you open the moka pot fully to look though (you can open slightly for a quick peek if you must). You could mess up the extraction or the crema on top, which could ruin your coffee.

Instead, pay attention for steam escaping the moka pot’s valve. Steam means the water has evaporated and you can remove the moka pot from the stovetop.

Step 5: Serve the Coffee and Clean Soon After

Finally we can enjoy the coffee.

Feel free to try these tips to enhance the coffee:

  • stir the coffee to mix the crema flavor evenly
  • don’t like strong coffee? add some warm or hot water into your mug before adding the coffee
  • of course: you can add milk and cream
  • or even use the coffee as if it’s espresso for lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas
how to make Bialetti coffee that looks like a latte

Follow our quick 2 step guide below to clean your moka pot. No way you should risk ruining your future morning coffee by being lazy!

How Does a Moka Pot Work?

Bialetti’s moka pot is a symbol of Italian culture and coffee. It’s a form of modern art and design.

But form wise the moka pot consists of 3 main parts: the base, filter basket, and top chamber. When you place the moka pot on your stove, it heats water inside the base. Then steam pressure rises up through coffee grounds in the filter basket and brewed coffee collects inside the top chamber.

The most common sizes are 3, 6, or 9 cups of finished brewed coffee.

Does the Bialetti Moka Express pot make espresso or coffee?

The Bialetti Moka Express – like other moka pots – makes coffee similar to expresso machines. We’ll define the difference between espresso and coffee though:

  • Espresso: force high pressure and very hot water through fine grind coffee inside portafilters – which control the stream of water
  • Coffee: more generic term for any beverage from brewing ground coffee

So while the Bialetti Moka Express brews coffee that’s very similar to espresso, there are some key differences:

  • the Moka Express uses lower pressure and temperature
  • Moka coffee is less better, acidic, and concentrated than espresso
  • Moka coffee tends to have delicious “crema” on top
  • a moka pot takes longer to brew than an espresso machine and has less control over water flow

You can see that moka pot coffee actually differs from espresso coffee in many ways. But since the overall flavor is similar, some people call moka pot coffee “moka espresso.” And some call their moka pot a “stovetop espresso maker.”

Either way it’s great and not too bitter coffee!

Other Tips for How to Make Bialetti Coffee

Here are some quick pro tips and things to remember for your Bialetti Moka Express or other moka pot:

  • Use fresh coffee beans with a medium or dark roast
  • Grind the coffee beans to a medium-fine grind size
  • Use filtered or bottled spring water for best results
  • Preheat the moka pot by rinsing with warm water
  • Don’t tamp the coffee like you would with espresso, since you want room for the coffee to expand and overall less pressure than espresso
  • Remember: medium heat at most and definitely don’t use high heat
  • There’s more risk of burning coffee with a moka pot, so be careful!

How to Clean Moka Pots

Do you want optimal brewing and coffee flavor? Then you need to clean your moka pot!

But avoid soap and rough sponges when cleaning. Instead you should follow our quick tips below to maintain your moka pot in top form:

Step 1: Take Apart and Rinse Your Moka Pot, Remove Coffee Grounds

Do this as soon as possible after brewing your coffee. Otherwise you could burn coffee inside the moka pot and cause stains..

You want to unscrew the upper chamber from the lower chamber and take out the filter basket. Rinse everything with hot water. Then use your fingers and a soft cloth to remove leftover coffee grounds and oils.

Step 2: Dry and Put Back Together the Moka Pot

Use a paper towel or another soft cloth to dry every part. Make sure the inside of the base and filter basket are fully dry.

most moka pots have tough spots to dry

This prevents rust and mold, which I’m sure you don’t want!

Then do the opposite of before to put together the moka pot: insert the filter basket and screw on the upper chamber loosely. Or not at all, because you want airflow which helps keep the moka pot fresher.

And then lastly store the moka pot somewhere without too much heat and moisture. That’s all!

(Also check out our quick daily guide on how to clean any coffee maker!)


Use a Bialetti branded moka pot to to brew delicious coffee without an espresso maker. Or needing lots of money or time.

It doesn’t take much work and you’ll be finished brewing and cleaning in a short amount of time. You’ll get strong, flavorful coffee similar to espresso.

Lexi Han

Lexi is happily married to Bryan and works as an internet marketing consultant. As a lifelong believer of frugal living, she constantly strives to satisfy Bryan’s high-quality food and drink cravings while on a budget. Her favorites include (discounted) pumpkin spice lattes and Costco polish dogs.

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