Homegrounds is reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.


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

Even though drip coffee makers & high-tech espresso machines are more ubiquitous, the joys of brewing a perfect cup of espresso the old fashioned way – over a stove top – have not faded.

Since its introduction back in the 1930’s, the stovetop espresso maker (AKA 'the Moka pot' or the 'cowboy coffee') is still used to brew coffee in many cafes and (home or commercial) all over the world.

Why? Because it's simply an easy and quick way to brew a damn strong cup of joe.

So what's the secret to brewing a perfect cuppa Joe using a Moka pot? 

Easy - besides a few lessons in technique, it comes down to using the right type of coffee & the perfect grind!

Best Coffee for Moka Pots

What Makes The Moka Pot​?

Before we answer that it would help to understand the design of a Moka pot, and how it works.

Using that knowledge will help you to understand how you can achieve best results when using one of these devices.

At first glance, a stove top espresso maker is very much like a traditional percolator that is used in many homes on electric or gas-lit stoves to brew their espresso or any blend of coffee. It has four main components:

  1. The Bottom Chamber: In which it holds the water that will be boiled to create the coffee

  2. The Top Chamber and Tube: Which comprises of a tube and chamber that collects the coffee once it's brewed
  3. The Tube and Basket: The basket is positioned above the bottom chamber, and holds the grounds, with a tube that goes down to the lower chamber where the water resides
  4. The Filters: Yes, plural! A Moka pot comprises of two filters – one in the basket which has the grounds in it, and the other in the top tube
Moka pot with parts

All of these individual components of the Moka pot work together to push the brewing process forward. Once placed on a stove top, the pot uses steam, which is produced by the boiling water, to transform the coffee grounds of your choice into your favorite coffee or espresso brew.

After all the boiling and bubbling is done, water from the bottom chamber "magically" appears as coffee in the top chamber, leaving soaked grounds in the basket. Both filters act to prevent stray grounds from entering into the coffee that’s been brewed.

So Then What Makes the Perfect Brew?​

There’s more to brewing that perfect cup of coffee using your stove top espresso maker.

And while some of that lies in the science of what makes the Moka pot itself (its construction), a large part of Moka success lies in the art of choosing the perfect grind.

Achieving The Perfect Grind

Regardless of the​ type or brand of moka pot you're using, if you don’t use the most appropriate coffee, your efforts to brew that perfect cup of espresso or full-bodied coffee will fail!

So what type of coffee grind is the best for brewing great cup of coffee on a stovetop espresso maker?

The Perfect Coffee for your Moka Pot:

  • The rule of thumb is to make use of grinds that are slightly finer than that used by a drip coffee maker, but coarser than that used to feed an espresso machine. This is the type that’s best suited for the Moka pot design discussed earlier.
  • Moka pot espresso-making is not an exact science, so you will need to go through a "discovery" process. Start with grounds that are less than 250 grams, and then experiment from there.
  • A 5 pound bag of Sulawesi Kalossi (Whole Bean Coffee) is a great choice if you are craving for dark roast coffee that’s strong and full-bodied. It’s low acidity makes it ideal for best results using in a stove top espresso maker.
  • If you are in the mood for decaf, then consider using Lavazza Gran Filtro Decaffeinated - Whole Bean Coffee. Using a stovetop espresso maker you’ll produce coffee that offers an intense, sweet and smooth flavor.
  • For your every-day, no-frills coffee experience, try Lavazza Qualita Rossa Ground with your Moka pot. You’ll experience a strong yet naturally sweetish flavour that’s rich and well rounded

Closing Thoughts...

What you don’t want to do is use a grind that’s been sitting around on your kitchen shelf for too long.

If you are aiming for that perfect cuppa, then make sure your coffee – whatever beans you end up choosing – is not pre-ground for too long before it gets into the moka pot.

Ideally, use coffee that’s been ground immediately before using it. That’ll give your brew a fresh and flavourful taste. You’ll even salivate with the aroma of freshly ground coffee as you wait patiently for the moka pot to do its thing.

Occasionally, you may also use coffee that’s been ground within a day or two of its use. Any longer than that and your espresso will inherit a stale and bitter taste.

The trick is to ensure you store the pre-ground coffee in a cool, dark place, and use a moisture-proof, air-tight container.


Alex is the Founder and Editor of Homegrounds.co. He is passionate about brewing amazing coffee at home, and teaching others to do the same.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 8 comments
Michael - April 16, 2017

Hmm. seasoned it, ground it fresh, my Moka pot (aluminum) still tasts like metal and, frankly, not very pleasant. Any other suggestions before I ship it back ?

    michael - October 1, 2017

    heres a suggestion, using a channel cutter or a vegtable peeler, add a piece of lemon zest to the top chamber. Also medium heat work better to brew the coffee then full blast. Once the coffee starts to come up urn the heat off and let the coffee finish brewing. Finally, make sure that you use the correct coffee grind. It should have the symbol on the side of the package that matches (looks like) you coffee pot. Enjoy!

    Kevin - May 31, 2018

    Some thoughts: Try the stainless steel version; don’t over clean the coffee pot between uses (just rinse); consider changing water source (chlorine can impact metallic taste with aluminum

kevin - July 19, 2017

Hope you didn’t ship your pot back yet. Need to season it again. And again. And maybe again. No kidding. For all this buy a very inexpensive coffee. No need to drink it as it’s just to get the Moka pot ready for your real coffee.

Nick - December 18, 2017

I agree with Kevin. When I got mine, it smelled like the inside of Pep Boys’ tire center. Literally, that was what everyone agreed it smelled like. It took 5 or 6 rounds of coffee and 10 or so rounds of handwashing with a ton of Dawn, and soaking, etc, to get the smell/flavor out. I started to wonder whether it would ever clean up. But it’s great, now! No residual taste or smell at all. I’ve had it for about a month and it was probably 3 or 4 days before I could really enjoy it.

    Ola - January 23, 2018

    Sounds disgusting. Was it an original pot? As far as I know you are not supposed to use detergent with a moka pot. Mine didn’t smell very badly and was ok to use after 2-3 brews.

    VACoGrl - February 1, 2018

    You are never ever supposed to use soap on a moka pot. It’s the same idea as seasoning a cast iron pan. I’ve had my moka pots for many years and have never used soap on them, they are supposed to be seasoned with the film of many past cups of coffee.

      Andrew - August 3, 2018

      Hello there, let me share my 2-year experience with different types of moka pots.
      First of all, cleaning a moka pot without any soap is a myth (it doesn’t matter if you are using a stainless steel or aluminum pot). Without cleaning it properly, you are drinking the residuals of the past coffees, mostly fat contained in the coffee beans. As you know, fat is a awesome carrier of taste so the coffee will taste bitter and harsh… the same as any old, oxidized fat. To sum this point up, hygiene is the key to a tasty moka coffee. When cleaning, clean the pot manually and use soap as you would use when normally washing other types of dishes.
      Secondly, use hot water to fill the water container of the moka pot. There is a tremendous difference in the final taste of the drink between using cold vs. boiled hot water to fill the lower part of the pot. Remember to use a heat resistant glove when assembling the pot, as the lower part will be filled with hot water and you could easily get burned.
      Next, when preparing the coffee in the moka pot, brew at a bit more than a medium heat, nothing more. Aluminum is a great heat conductor an if you will go full throttle… You don’t want to burn your coffee, do you?
      Finally, be fearless. Try those tips mentioned above and those will change your whole moka-pot coffee game.


Leave a Reply: