How to Make Perfect Stovetop Espresso Coffee With a Bialetti Moka Pot

Updated on December 27, 2019
Redberry Sky profile image

I've been an online writer for over seven years. My articles often focus on beauty, health tips, and cooking.


Easy, quick, unfussy: Moka Pot Stovetop espresso is my coffee of choice every morning. From Italy—home of some of the best coffee in the world—the stovetop espresso maker is an inexpensive way to get wonderful, delicious coffee every time.

Although stovetop espresso is not strictly a real espresso—the pressure reached by the pot is not great enough to properly classify it as such—the coffee it produces is fabulous, and some afficionados think it is even better. Certainly, many Italian homes wouldn't be without their Moka Pot.

If you're new to moka pot coffee, and aren't sure how to make your classic coffee house favourites, I've written a quick and easy coffee guide that will take you through creating wonderful lattes, Americanos, mochas, and even the swish and velvety Irish coffee with your moka pot brew.

A Note on Troubleshooting Your Moka Pot

If you follow the steps below, and you're still having trouble with your pot, I've also written a guide on how to get round some of the most common problems of using a Bialetti—most of them are easily fixed.

Season Your New Moka Pot

The metal and protective factory coating on your new Moka Pot will make the first few cups of coffee taste foul, so if you don’t properly season your new pot before you start drinking the brew you make, you might get the (very wrong!) impression that stovetop espresso is less than beautiful. Seasoning your pot is easy—all you need to do is make a few pots using cheap coffee grounds and throw those first ‘trial run’ pots of coffee away.

First, wash the new pot thoroughly, with hot soapy water, and rinse it out.

Get some cheap espresso-grind ground coffee—you won’t be drinking this, so go for the cheapest you can find, and follow the instructions below to make several pots with this – four or five in succession, throwing the coffee away afterwards, and giving the pot a quick rinse in hot water between each pot.

Only ever rinse your Moka Pot, and use the soft ‘sponge’ side of a dish sponge when you clean it—using the abrasive side will scrub and scrape off your seasoning, and you’ll be back to square one! Over time, the inside of the pot will acquire a dark coating of coffee, and this is exactly what you want.

Fill the reservoir with water to about half a centimetre below the safety valve.
Fill the reservoir with water to about half a centimetre below the safety valve. | Source
Fill the basket with coffee grounds but not quite to the top - leave a little room for the grounds to expands as they get wet.
Fill the basket with coffee grounds but not quite to the top - leave a little room for the grounds to expands as they get wet. | Source

Making a Pot of Stovetop Espresso

  1. Rinse the pot out with hot water, including the underside of the ‘jug’ part of the pot where coffee grounds will stick to the filter. Make sure the threads on the jug and the reservoir section are clear of grounds, or the two parts of your pot won’t join properly and your pot can start to spit and hiss when it’s on the stove.
  2. Fill the reservoir with water up to the fill-line. If your pot doesn’t have a fill-line, or you can’t see it, fill the reservoir to about half a centimetre below the safety valve.
  3. Place the basket in the reservoir and spoon coffee grounds into it. You want the coffee to be quite loose, so don’t tamp it down—coffee expands when it gets damp, so it needs a bit of room to do this. Fill the basket about three-quarters full.
  4. Screw the jug part of the pot back onto the base, and put the pot on a low heat on the hob. If you turn up the heat too high, the coffee will boil in the pot and taste bitter.
  5. My own 6-cup Moka Pot takes about five minutes or so to make the coffee. Many people recommend taking the pot off the heat as soon as it starts to make gurgling noises, but if you use a very low heat, you may find that removing the pot too soon leaves the reservoir half full and the pot half empty. Using a low heat means that the coffee never boils, so you won’t have to worry about the coffee tasting bitter.

Tips on Getting the Best from Your Moka Pot

  • Use the best espresso grind coffee you can. I use Illy’s Dark Roast espresso for a lovely full flavour, but try a few different ones to find the taste you like. There are also special ‘Moka’ grinds of coffee that are not quite as finely ground as espresso, but these can be difficult to get in supermarkets, and espresso grind is perfectly acceptable.
  • A Moka pot is perfect for you if you drink coffee every day. With less regular use, because you’re cleaning it only with hot water and perhaps a gentle rub with a sponge, if it’s a few weeks between uses, the coffee coating that builds up in the jug can become a little stale. If you only use your Moka Pot once a month or so, give it a gentle clean with soap, hot water and a sponge before each use.
  • If, like me, you live in a hard-water area, be aware that the safety valve on the water reservoir can get clogged over time with mineral deposits. I’ve not been able to buy the reservoir separately as a replacement part, so it might be worth buying a water filter: Britta do an excellent range of counter-top filter jugs and pitchers for around £20–£30 ($20–$40).
  • Decaffeinated Coffee: If you fancy giving up or cutting down on caffeine, but you love the taste of coffee, a high-quality decaf espresso grind tastes wonderful made in a Moka Pot. I’ve found that Illy’s decaf espresso is the only one that tastes like a ‘real’ cup of coffee, but I’d love to know if anyone else has found any other delicious decafs.
  • Replacement parts: Over time, the rubber gasket seal will deteriorate, and the filter on the jug will become clogged so you’ll need to replace these. Packs of gaskets + filters are about £/$6–7.

© 2012 Redberry Sky


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      13 months ago

      I grew up drinking espresso made with these machines.

      Better to fill the filter up to the top with coffee and then compact the coffee down a little bit.

      Then top again with coffee and and compact again, this will increase the pressure and make a stronger espresso!

      Enjoy just like mama used to make!

    • profile image

      Auntie Em 

      22 months ago

      I have a new one and I can't get it to make the full amount like the old one did. When it's finished, there is still a lot of water in the bottom that won't rise up. Advice?

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      So ... How much coffee grounds to use per cup!!

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Hello, would the seasoning need to be done for a Bialetti Venus also? I am assuming it's similar to just their standard moka espresso maker

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Hi! I ah e a question..... I have a stainless steel Bialetti - the Kitty - 6cup. I'm the only one that drinks a cappuccino in the house. Can I just make a 2 cup using this size? In other words can I fill it with less water and less coffee and still achieve a good cup of espresso??? Pls help!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hi Redberry Sky, yes it's inside the bottom pot. I didn't want to scrub because people seem to say that cleaning the bialetti all the time is bad and we don't want the metal taste either. thank you!

    • Redberry Sky profile imageAUTHOR

      Redberry Sky 

      5 years ago

      Sonya - it's normal; all my bialettis have a burned look on the outside, particularly around the bottom of the pot. (if you mean on the inside of the top pot, it's a coffee build-up that will come clean with a bit of a scrub with a dish sponge; if you mean on the inside of the bottom pot - the water reservoir - I'm not sure what it is, but my pots get this and I think it might be limescale from the tapwater, coloured by coffee dripping down, and it's harmless)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hi, I was wondering if the dark buildup on the bottom of bialetti is normal or if it's the metal that is oxidizing? I have a photo but i can't post it here in the comments. :/ thank you

    • stuff4kids profile image

      Amanda Littlejohn 

      5 years ago

      I'm with you on this! I got one of these while I was on holiday in Italy and I am totally addicted to making my coffee this way now!

      I would only add that you should always get a steel one rather than aluminum as they don't discolor or leave that white mineral deposit on the inside.

      Hmm, time for a cup... :)

    • Redberry Sky profile imageAUTHOR

      Redberry Sky 

      8 years ago

      Cheers vespawooand MrsLMMc :) Moka coffee really is stunning and so easy to make ... I think I'll just go and put a pot of it on the stove now ... :)

    • MrsLMMc profile image


      8 years ago from Maryland

      As an avid coffee lover, your advice is right on target! Espresso in a Moka Pot is a wonderful way to go. I have a fairly expensive steam espresso machine I received as a gift over 20 years ago. It still works wonderfully. However, pulling the machine out for daily use can be cumbersome. The footprint of the espresso machine is just too big to stay on my counter top -- I like clean surfaces. Between my Moka and my French Press -- my coffee is satisfying and fits the need. As a coffee snob, this says a lot! Congrats on your nomination!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      Vespa Woolf 

      8 years ago from Peru, South America

      My husband uses this type of coffee pot to make our morning coffee, so I'm going to share your helpful instructions with him. Congrats on being nominated for HubNuggets!

    • Redberry Sky profile imageAUTHOR

      Redberry Sky 

      8 years ago

      Cheers Ripplemaker :)

      Appreciate the work you and the rest of the HubNuggets team put into it. 'tis fun to be nominated :)

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hmmmmm...smells good. So this is a Moka Pot..interesting.

      Congratulations on your hubnuggets nomination. This link will take you there and check your email too. Have fun!

    • Redberry Sky profile imageAUTHOR

      Redberry Sky 

      8 years ago

      Cheers molometer :) I'm so jealous of your freshly-ground coffee beans, I think I'll make a grinder my next investment.

    • molometer profile image

      Micheal is 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      How interesting.

      I just had a great cup of coffee from just this type of pot. I used my new coffee grinder to grind new beans too. Just finished when I came across this great hub. Some good tips thanks. I am off to make some

      Voted up and interesting.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)