Can You Brew Moka Pot Coffee with Milk Instead of Water?

Moka pots make espresso and espresso is used for cappuccino. Think you found a life hack by using milk in a moka pot instead of water? Will you get cappuccino out of a moka pot? Here’s what you want to know.

Replacing the water in a moka pot with milk isn’t going to result in good coffee. The milk will curdle and the sugar in milk burns which leaves deposits that are hard to clean. The residue can also block the holes in the filter and pressure valve which is dangerous when the pressure gets too high.

If you want more information about why this happens and what you can do to make a cappuccino with limited equipment, keep reading.

What Happens When You Put Milk In a Moka Pot?

It might seem like a great idea, put milk instead of water in your moka pot and you’ll end up with cappuccino. A moka pot uses steam pressure to make an espresso like drink. To make cappuccino you need steamed milk and a shot of espresso.

So just adding milk instead of water seems like a good idea and a great time saver, right?

However, in reality, it doesn’t really work out like that.

A moka pot needs the water to boil to brew coffee. Boiling water turns into steam. Steam takes up more space than water which means the pressure in the boiler gets higher. That pressure is relieved because the steam can escape through the coffee grounds and then into the collector.

Milk is mostly water but there are fats, proteins and lactose which is actually a sugar. So yes, it will boil and turn into steam just like water. The problem is with the other parts of the milk that aren’t water. The lactose (sugar) will leave a rock hard mess everywhere. The milk will curdle and also leave residue. This is going to be difficult to clean. And on top of that you’ve burnt many compounds in the milk which will leave a bad taste in your coffee.

Besides leaving a residue that’s hard to clean, it can also block the holes in the filter and the pressure valve.  This can actually be dangerous. This means the pressure can’t go anywhere. And if you keep building pressure, at some point it will be more than the pot can handle and bad things happen.

If you replace the water with milk in a moka pot, the heat will burn the milk and leave residue all over the moka pot. This is very hard to clean up and might even block the holes in the filter basket and pressure valve. This can potentially be dangerous because pressure keeps building. You won’t get good coffee either.

If you want a good cappuccino or latte, it’s better to use a different method.

Are you not yet 100% sure on how to brew good coffee with a moka pot. click here to find a step by step guide.

different moka pot sizes

How could you make it work?

You could prevent most of the bad side effect by keeping the temperature below the boiling point. However, below boiling you really don’t get enough steam to brew a decent coffee in a moka pot. It’s also very difficult to control the temperature in a closed container.

Also, many compounds in the milk won’t actually move with the steam. So in the end you don’t actually get milk but mostly water. And if you did magically end up with cappuccino in the moka pot, the foamy milk wouldn’t fit in the collector and overflow making an even bigger mess than you already had.

Replacing water with milk in a moka pot is a bad idea and should not be done. If you want to make a cappuccino or other milk drink, prepare the milk separately.

How To Make Cappuccino With a Moka Pot?

Adding milk to your moka pot won’t create a cappuccino. So how can you create a cappuccino at home with a moka pot?

The proportions are very important for creating the perfect cappuccino: The best ratio is: ⅓ milk, ⅓ coffee and ⅓ foam. However, at home, you’re probably not all that picky and just want some milk foam in your strong coffee.

The coffee part of the cappuccino is not the problem. Just make coffee like you would as usual in your moka pot. A normal cappuccino uses one shot of espresso (+-25 to 30ml). Personally I like a double cappuccino which contains a double shot of espresso. Whatever you like, brew the amount of coffee you need. For cappuccino, make your brew strong.

A moka pot brews coffee that’s close to espresso but not exactly the same. However, if a moka pot is the only thing you have, it’ll do the job and it’s one of the closest ways you can easily get something like espresso at home. Use a fine to medium-fine grind size to make sure you get a well extracted cup.

Milk foam

Getting the milk and foam like in a real cappuccino is a bit trickier to replicate without a proper machine. However, professional coffee machines with milk steamers weren’t always available. Cappuccino became popular in the 18th century and you can imagine they didn’t quite have the same technology available as now. They had to prepare the cappuccino milk and foam by hand. That’s good news for people without a milk steamer because it means it’s possible to make foam without a fancy machine.

There are three options for making milk foam;

  • Wire whisk
  • Electric hand frother
  • French press

Almost everyone will have a wire whisk in their kitchen. Just heat up the milk (don’t let it boil) and go to town. It will take some effort to get your foam but it can be done. It won’t exactly be a relaxing experience though.

An electric hand frother does basically the same as a wire whisk but is a lot easier on your arms. Just push the button and wait until you are happy with the results. This is the easiest way to get consistent results. You won’t get exactly the same foam as from a professional espresso machine but it’s close enough for the vast majority of applications. They are pretty cheap as well.

A French press is a surprising tool that is really effective. The strainer screen in the French press is great at creating a dense foam. Just like with the other two methods, you want to heat up the milk until it’s hot but just before it boils. Then vigorously move the plunger up and down. If you’ve already got a French press, there is no need to buy anything extra. Both the hand frother and French press are both effective.

Alternatively you can get a combo that’s been designed to do both at the same time. Check out the SEVEN&ME moka pot and milk frother combo. It’s not cheap but it does exactly what you want in one appliance.


To get good cappuccino foam it’s important to use full fat milk, which really helps to create a soft, dense foam. It gives a fuller tasting drink overall as well.

If you just pour the milk and foam mixture from its container, you’re unlikely to get the 1/3rd milk and 1/3rd foam in the right ratio. When you pour from a cup or French press, you’ll get mostly milk. So use a teaspoon to get enough foam in the cup.

You’ll need about ½ cup of milk to make one cup of cappuccino.

Tap the container with milk foam on the countertop a few timer. This gets rid of the bigger bubbles but leaves the denser ones.

Favorite Moka Pot Products

You don’t need many things to brew good coffee with a Moka pot. Here are the few things you need to make the best possible coffee.

  • Moka Pot: Just buy a high-quality Moka pot from the get-go. The cheaper ones can be messy when brewing. Bialetti is the original and still one of the best with its classic looks. They cost a bit more than the cheap ones but these can last for decades and the parts that wear out are easily available for the Bialetti Moka pots. The 3-cup size is good for a single person (Amazon)
  • Beans: Good coffee starts with good beans. You can’t make bad beans taste good. Espresso roast beans are good for a Moka pot and will get you closer to that typical espresso taste. Peet’s Coffee does a great 100$ Arabica espresso roast. Give it a try, you can get it here on Amazon
  • Grinder: Using whole beans means you need to grind them at home. This improves the taste because the grounds are much fresher. A Hario Slim (Amazon) is a great starting point for the starting home barista. If you want a good hand grinder for a good price, check out the TimeMore C2 (Amazon)
  • Scales: To get consistent results, a set of accurate scales is essential. Check out this Apexstone scale (Amazon). I’ve been using it for more than a year and while it doesn’t look the sleekest, it’s cheap and just as accurate as more expensive coffee scales. It just reacts a little slower.


Welcome to CoffeeImproved! Since falling in love with coffee, I've been on a journey to improve my morning cup day by day. That means I've tried many different brew methods, beans and equipment and experimented with all of them to find what I like. This is where I share what I've learned with you.

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