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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 on Amazon

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 in moka espresso grind
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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 coffee is medium to medium-fine, coarser than you’d use for an espresso machine but finer than for a drip coffee maker.

To achieve this, we recommend buying whole bean coffee and grinding it yourself. This helps make sure that 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 make sure that the grind size is consistent, and pack the filter basket as evenly as possible.

Don’t Feel Confined to Italian Brands.

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 it makes sense to consider an Italian brand, like Illy or Lavazza, as the most appropriate coffee for your Moka pot.

However, speciality coffee roasters are now found around the world. Don’t be afraid to explore and push the boundaries a little. Italian roasters are known for their mastery of crafting balanced blends, so look for brands and roasters with similar skills, Italian or otherwise.

The 4 Best Coffees for Moka Pot

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

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Best Overall Best Overall
PACT ZAROCA
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Pact Coffee Zaroca
  • Dark Roast
  • Whole bean
  • Brazil
Click to check price
Runner Up Runner Up
SIMPLY-BRAZIL
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James Gourmet Coffee Simply Brazil Espresso
  • Dark roast
  • Whole bean
  • Brazil
click to check price
Strongest Coffee Strongest Coffee
Big Dick's Original Blend
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Big Dick’s Original Blend
  • Medium Roast
  • Whole bean
  • Uganda and Peru
click to check price
Best Single Origin Best Single Origin
Perky Blenders Single Origin
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Perky Blenders Single Origin
  • Medium Roast
  • Ground or whole bean
  • Guatemala
click to check price

1. Pact Coffee ZarocaBest Overall

Specifications

  • Roast: Dark

  • Ground or whole bean: Either, with grind size options
  • Flavour Profile: Dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, toffee, apple
  • Origin: Brazil

Pact Coffee is one of the best coffee subscription services in the UK, largely thanks to their direct trade model. They pay their farmers an average of 55% MORE than is required by fair trade standards, and the result is that they are able to source the best coffee.

Our top pick for the moka pot is their dark roast Zaroca, a single-origin coffee grown at high elevation in Brazil. 

You’ll taste the classic dark roasted flavours of bittersweet chocolate and cocoa nibs, which is balanced by a mild apple acidity.

Because this coffee is naturally processed, it has an enhanced toffee sweetness and syrupy body. The mouthfeel is rich and creamy, perfect whether you drink your coffee black or prefer a splash of milk.

Even more impressive? Zaroca’s owner, Gilberto Basilio, is actively working against the environmental degradation prevalent in Brazil. He’s taken huge areas of his farm once used to grow sugarcane and reforested them, an eco-friendly initiative you can feel good about supporting.

2. James Gourmet Coffee Simply Brazil Espresso – Runner Up

Specifications

  • Roast: Dark

  • Ground or whole bean: Either, with grind size options
  • Flavour Profile: Ripe fruit, chocolate finish
  • Origin: Brazil

Here’s another Brazilian coffee on the list, which is no coincidence. Brazilian coffee, especially medium and dark roast, tends to have an excellent flavour profile for Moka pot brewing.

This option from James Gourmet Coffee certainly fits the bill. It’s a rich dark roast with bold flavours of chocolate, nuts, and ripe fruit. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with plenty of natural sweetness and just a hint of acidity. 

I found this one is especially delicious with a touch of milk or cream, which really enhances the sweetness. No sugar needed.

James Gourmet Coffee is a family-run company that sources exclusively speciality grade coffee. They pay farmers a premium in exchange for only the best beans, and it shows in the quality of their coffee. As the owners of the first eco-roaster in Europe, it’s clear this same attention is paid to their environmental footprint, 

3. Big Dick’s Original Blend – Strongest Coffee

Specifications

  • Roast: Medium

  • Ground or whole bean: Either
  • Flavour Profile: Smooth, rich, low acidity
  • Origin: Uganda and Peru

If you’re in for a long day, you might want to use your Moka pot to brew up something with a bit of an extra kick. That’s where Big Dick’s Original Blend comes in, offering a coffee with 50% more caffeine than average.

To achieve this feat, they use a 50/50 blend of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. Robusta beans have twice the caffeine of Arabica beans, but they’re rarely found in specialty coffees because of their reputation for poorer quality and flavour. 

But Big Dick’s has found the key to highly caffeinated coffee that still tastes great!

First, they source only the highest quality single-origin beans, Robustas from Uganda and Arabicas from Peru. Then they small-batch roast them “low and slow” to a medium roast, which leaves little bitterness or acidity in the flavour profile. Instead, you’re left with a sweet and smooth cup with a whopping 240 mg of caffeine. If that won’t jumpstart your day, nothing will.

4. Perky Blenders Single Origin – Best Single Origin

Specifications

  • Roast: Medium

  • Ground or whole bean: Either, with grind size options
  • Flavour Profile: Plum, dark chocolate, fig
  • Origin: Guatemala

I love pretty much any brand with a pun for a name, but that’s not why this coffee is on the list. Along with its clever moniker, Perky Blenders Single Origin, an ever-changing selection of the best of the current growing season, is a fantastic addition to your morning stovetop espresso routine.

Right now they’re offering a naturally processed medium roast from the famed coffee growing region of Huehuetenango, Guatemala. The plantation sits high in a valley between two mountains, where a specific microclimate and limestone soils provide a distinct terroir.

Expect to taste the nuts, chocolate, and tropical fruit flavours common to coffees from the region, but with enhanced acidity and a syrupy body courtesy of the unique growing environment. This coffee is naturally processed, which adds an additional sweetness that makes it ideal for espresso or Moka pot.

The Verdict

The Moka pot’s reputation for bitter brews is entirely undeserved. You just need the right coffee. Our top pick is Pact Coffee Zaroca, a single origin from Brazil with rich dark chocolate flavours, toffee sweetness, and a creamy mouthfeel.

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.

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 hot 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 traveling and working in various coffee establishments, and it was on my travels that my love affair with coffee began. I've been involved in every part of the coffee production process from farm to cup and love nothing more than sharing my knowledge of my favorite morning brew with the world.

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