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Best Coffee for Moka Pots (You’ll Be Surprised at the Difference It Makes)

Are you about to give up on your Moka pot after one too many bitter brews? Well, hold on just one second, because we’re about to blow your mind.

It’s not about the Moka pot; it’s about the coffee. 

Let us help you find the perfect beans to rekindle your love for this convenient stovetop brewer.

At A Glance: Best Coffees For Moka Pot

How to Choose the Best Coffee for Moka Pots

Moka pots have an undeserved reputation for producing bitter coffee, but that need not be the case. According to coffee expert James Hoffmann, it’s all about choosing the right coffee and preparing it correctly, no matter the​ type or brand of moka pot you’re using.

Put good coffee in, use it right, and you get a delicious drink.

So just what qualifies as “good coffee”? This buyer’s guide has the answers.

best coffee for moka pot
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The right grind is essential.

As with any coffee maker, the right grind is the key to optimal extraction. Too coarse, and you’ll end up with weak, watery, and overly acidic coffee. Too fine, and your coffee will taste bitter and burnt.

The best grind for a Moka pot is medium to medium-fine, coarser than you’d use for espresso but finer than for a drip coffee maker.

To achieve this, we recommend buying whole bean coffee and grinding it yourself. This ensures you can dial in just the right grind and guarantees that your coffee is always fresh.

That said, the Moka pot is a pretty forgiving brewer. Even if you buy pre-ground coffee that isn’t exactly the perfect size, the right beans will still brew up a tasty cup.

You can watch our fun and educational guide on brewing coffee in Moka pot here:

Opt for a roast you enjoy.

There’s a reason the Moka pot is also known as a stovetop espresso maker; it brews a concentrated coffee similar to a shot of espresso. For this reason, the same roast levels do well in both Moka pots and espresso machines. 

Typically, this means a medium to dark roast. These deeper roasts feature rich flavors of chocolate or toasted nuts, low acidity, a heavy body, and creamy mouthfeel. All of which is nicely highlighted by an espresso-style brew.

Because light roasts have a higher acidity, experts tend to shy away from their use in Moka pots, prone to uneven extraction (1).

Uneven extraction tends to highlight that acidity even more than normal, which may leave you with a coffee that’s too bright for your preference.

However, if you love the bright acidity and crisp flavors of a light roast, there’s no reason not to try it in your Moka pot. Use the best possible grinder to ensure consistent grind size, and pack the filter basket as evenly as possible.

Moka pot with parts
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Consider an Italian brand.

The Moka pot is an iconic Italian coffee maker, found in nearly every household across the country. It has become such a symbol of Italy’s coffee culture that you can find it even in modern art and design museums around the world (2). 

So if you’re still unsure about the most appropriate coffee for your Moka pot, consider opting for an Italian brand, such as Lavazza or Illy. You can trust that they’ve had plenty of experience brewing stovetop espresso.

Our Favorite Coffees for Moka Pot

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Best OverallBest Overall
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Sulawesi Kalossi
  • Medium roast
  • Whole bean
  • Indonesian origin
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SEE ON AMAZON
Runner UpRunner Up
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Lavazza Qualita Rossa Ground
  • Medium roast
  • Ground
  • Brazilian and African origins
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SEE ON AMAZON
Best DecafBest Decaf
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Lavazza Gran Filtro Decaf
  • Medium roast
  • Whole bean
  • Brazilian and African origin
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SEE ON AMAZON

A Moka pot brews up a strong, concentrated shot of coffee that can tend towards bitter with the wrong beans. We suggest a richly-flavored coffee, with a hint of sweetness or spice to temper any bitter notes, and we’ve got three great options.

1. Sulawesi Kalossi – Best Overall

Specifications

  • Roast: Medium

  • Ground or whole bean: Whole bean
  • Flavor profile: Fruit, nuts, chocolate, earth
  • Origin: Indonesia

Sulawesi Kalossi coffee is a single-origin arabica bean grown exclusively on the small Indonesian island of Sulawesi, near the town of Kaloss. You might also find it labeled as Celebes Kalossi coffee, as Celebes is the Dutch colonial name of the island. The coffee trees on the island are ancient, over 250 years, and produce only a limited supply each year.

The resulting Sulawesi Kalossi coffee has a heavy body and creamy texture, with a lighter flavor profile than the usual Indonesian coffee.

With this classic medium roast, you’ll taste predominantly fruit, nuts, and chocolate. A slight earthiness backs this, but less so than typical Sumatran beans.

2. Lavazza Qualita Rossa Ground – Runner Up

Specifications

  • Roast: Medium

  • Ground or whole bean: Ground
  • Flavor profile: Chocolate
  • Origin: Brazil, Africa

Lavazza is one of Italy’s most famous coffee brands, so it’s no surprise that their coffee excels in a Moka pot. 

The Qualita Rossa is a classic medium-roast, with a rich chocolate flavor. It’s a 70/30 mix of Arabica and Robusta beans. The robusta adds a bit of earthy depth to the flavor and makes these beans higher in caffeine than 100% arabica alternatives.

The Qualita Rossa is pre-ground, which is convenient if you don’t have a grinder at home. While we always recommend buying whole beans and grinding them yourself, this vacuum-packed grind maintains its flavor well and is a suitable grind size for the Moka pot.

3. Lavazza Dek Filtro Decaf – Best Decaf

Specifications

  • Roast: Medium

  • Ground or whole bean: Whole bean
  • Flavor profile: Roasted cereals, oats, spices
  • Origin: Brazil, Africa

Just because you don’t love that jittery post-caffeine feeling doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy great coffee, so we’ve tracked down this delicious decaffeinated option, the Dek Filtro. Also, from Italian roaster Lavazza, this medium-roast decaf brew has a unique combination of flavors with surprising complexity.

The beans are 60% Brazilian arabicas paired with 40% African robustas, carefully blended and roasted in Italy. The result is a flavorful coffee with notes of oats and roasted cereals, with a spicy aromatic finish. If you thought all decafs were bland and one-note, these beans are here to change your mind.

The Verdict

The Moka pot’s reputation for bitter brews is entirely undeserved. You just need the right coffee. Our top pick is Sulawesi Kalossi coffee, a single origin from Indonesia with rich chocolate and fruit flavors and a creamy body.

If you’ve banished your Moka pot to the back of your cupboards, pick up a bag of these beans, and bring it back from exile. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

“Sulawesi
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BEST OVERALL

“Lavazza
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RUNNER UP

FAQ

No, you shouldn’t tamp a Moka pot because the pressure is much lower than in an espresso machine. If the grounds are too compact, the water will make its way through too slowly, resulting in over-extraction.

Moka pot coffee can be bitter for several reasons. The most common are low-grade or stale coffee beans and over-extraction.

Espresso beans are still just coffee beans, but you can roast them in a way that makes them well suited to espresso. You can safely use espresso beans for coffee and coffee beans for espresso.

  1. Coffee Talk: Our Coffee Expert Says. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.drinktrade.com/coffee/best-brewed-with/moka-pot
  2. Storr, T. (2019, November 8). How The Moka Pot Influenced Coffee Consumption. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2019/11/how-the-moka-pot-influenced-coffee-consumption/
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My world consists of coffee, Travel, water sports and Dogs...sometimes all at the same time! I spent years as as a travelling barista where I learnt the art of brewing-coffee-on-the-road. I'm a bit of a street art fanatic, and my favourite type adventure usually ends at a coffee plantation.

Comments

    • This is all B.S. just buy a can of Madaglia d’oro ground espresso, use the funnel to scoop the coffee into itself, screw everything together and don’t let the flame come up the sides. This is the way Italians in America have been doing it for 80 years.

      Reply
  1. I live the flavor from the moka pot but not the sludge in the coffee so I use a paper filter wetted and stuck to the under side of the metal filter. It increases the time the water is in contact with the grounds so I use a course grind closer to french press size over medium heat and only takes 10-12 min to brew.

    Reply
  2. This is great info! Thanks for sharing! Will have to try the coffee you’re recommended. My husband and I are fairly new to this and have recently discovered the moka pot coffee brewing. So far we’ve been using temple coffee beans. We would grind them up on almost fine setting. It turns out delicious but now I’m curious to try your coffee:)))

    Reply

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