What is a Moka Pot and how does it work
- Steven Hodel
- November 27, 2014
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A moka pot a.k.a. espresso maker is based on steam pressure distillation. It consists of three parts: the water container, the filter and the top piece of the pot. Heating produces steam and, by using pressure, the water is being pressed through the filter into the top piece of the pot.
How it works
The moka uses pressure to force hot water through ground coffee, and the cleverly shaped pot lets the resulting syrupy liquid bubble up into a top chamber through a chimney. It comes in three main parts: The bottom section holds the water for boiling. The top section will receive the coffee. In between is a metal funnel with a perforated disk set into it.
This is where you put the coffee grounds, before dropping the funnel into the mouth of the water boiler and letting the thin end of the funnel submerge.
When the water boils, the pressure forces the water up through the funnel tube and through the coffee, and then out through the chimney and into the pot.
How to brew coffee using the Moka Pot
1) Fill the bottom chamber with cold filtered water in line with the release valve – the water should not seep through the holes of the filter (use the scales to memorize the amount of water used, for future reference). The number to aim for is a ratio of 1:11 coffee to water, which delivers a solids vs soluble yield of approximately 13.5%.
2) Making sure it is clean and bone dry, insert the middle chamber funnel in the bottom chamber, set on the scales and take off. Add 15gr of coffee. -Resist the urge to pat down with a spoon! Instead set on a flat surface and carefully knock the bottom chamber to level out the coffee and achieve a uniform dosing in the filter. As a rule of thumb, if scales are not available, heap the filter with coffee to form a coffee dome (not a pyramid) and knock on a flat surface to level out the coffee grounds (for other Moka Pot sizes 6-9 etc., work with the 1:11 brew ratio). Twist the upper chamber in place, again making sure that is clean and bone dry (especially the lower mesh part that will come to contact with the coffee grounds).
3) Set over a low to medium heat on the hob. Make sure the burner is not wider than the Moka pot base. The times it takes the water to reach the upper chamber depends on the size of your Moka pot.
4) Start your timer -The coffee should begin appearing in the upper chamber after approximately 5 minutes, if using a 3 cup Moka. If this happens more quickly, you are not using enough coffee or your grounds are too coarse. If it happens more slowly, you are using too much coffee or your grounds are too fine.
5)You know your coffee/espresso is ready when you hear a “gurgle” coming from the bottom chamber. That means the water is exhausted and your coffee is ready! Pour it and enjoy!
The total time from the very first drops of coffee appearing in the upper chamber, to the coffee reaching optimum yield (approx. 110ml), should not exceed the 1 minute mark ( max 1’10″).
Too quick? Your coffee is too coarse or you have not put in enough coffee, resulting in a flat, watery sour brew.
Too long? Your coffee is too fine or you have put in too much. resulting in an astringent, over-extracted ashy brew.
I hope you will have much fun with your moka pot and create your own unique coffee/espresso recipes with it. It’s a fast and cheap way to brew your favorite beverage and due to the size you can also take it with you to work using an electric hotplate.