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How Not to Brew with a Moka Pot

February 04, 2012



Once again, I had to share a video that made me laugh. These guys from an Italian machine shop had to deal with an electrical outage when coffee break time rolled around. Sometimes ingenuity pays off really well. Sometimes... see for yourself.








I love moka pot coffee for drinking, but I've never tried heating it with an acetylene torch. Now I know better than to try it. The worst thing I've ever done with a moka pot is forget to put water in the base. Oops. Let me just say that it may be possible to scrape burnt rubber off the metal (and this one was an older stainless steel model!) but you'll NEVER get rid of the smell of burnt rubber. On the other hand, I've learned a few things that aren't usually covered in basic instructions on using a moka pot over the years. (and still can learn more... I'd never thought of letting coffee pre-infuse as someone here posted about a couple of weeks ago. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm going to have to -- some night when I remember to set it up before I go to bed). Here are a few tricks that go beyond the basics:



If you like your coffee very strong, grind your coffee for espresso. Otherwise, dial it in between drip grind and espresso grind. Unless you're an Americano fan. In that case, use fairly coarse -- not quite as coarse as you'd use for a press, but coarser than auto drip.



Fill the filter basket to just below the rim. Tap the bottom lightly on a tabletop to settle the grounds, but don't tamp them.



Run your fingertip or a damp cloth around the rim to remove any stray coffee grounds.



Before you screw the top on, wipe the bottom of it to make sure there are no stray coffee grounds left on the screen and rubber gasketfrom the last pot. If you're meticulous about cleaning your coffee equipment after you use it, you can skip this step, but if you're not the only one who uses the moka pot ALWAYS assume that the last person who used it didn't clean it off.  My boys love coffee from the moka, but they're notorious for not cleaning the pot well.



If you're heating it on an electric burner, use a diffuser ring, or place the pot off center so that the entire bottom of the pot is over the heating element. Make sure that the handle is NOT over the heating coil or element.



If you're heating it over a gas flame, use a low-medium flame. It should be just high enough to heat the entire bottom without flame showing around the sides of the pot.



Remove the moka pot from the heat as soon as the coffee stops spilling down the side of the stem. If you let it sit too long, you'll be boiling your coffee. If you can smell the coffee from the other room, it's already burnt. Trust me on this. I don't leave the room while my moka is brewing anymore. 



Quick and very easy way to clean out the coffee grounds -- let the moka pot cool to room temperature. Unscrew the base, take out the filter basket. Turn the filter basket upside down over your knock box or the trash and gently blow through the stem. My son discovered this one -- and it works like a charm every time. The puck drops right out and leaves the filter basket almost perfectly clean.



Any moka pot tips from others? I'd also love hearing about your coffee disasters. Can anyone beat the exploding moka pot?






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