Moka Pot Brew Guide |Bialetti |Percolator

Did you recently buy a new Moka pot but are unsure about the proper way to brew coffee with it? No worries—here’s a step-by-step guide from start to finish. While using a percolator isn’t hard, there are some valuable tips and tricks that will help you get better coffee from the first try. Let’s dive in!

How To Brew Good Percolator Coffee

Here are my steps to making good coffee in a percolator. People’s processes can differ a little but this is what works for me. A Moka pot can be a bit finicky to get good coffee out of. If the first time doesn’t work out well, don’t give up immediately.

1. Gather What You Need

To brew good percolator coffee, you need a few things:

  • Moka pot
  • Heat source: Note: Induction doesn’t work with aluminum percolators.
  • Fine to medium finely ground coffee
  • Water
  • Optional: Scale
  • Optional: Aeropress filter

While a scale is optional, it can significantly enhance your coffee-making experience. Using a scale allows for precise measurements, ensuring consistency every time you brew. However, with a moka pot, achieving the correct ratio is relatively easy even without a scale—simply eyeball it. This method is notably more straightforward compared to other brewing techniques.

2.    Clean and prepare

To start off with, all the parts of the percolator should be clean and ready to go. Here’s what you need;

  • Moka pot. (With boiler, filter basket, filter lid, silicone gasket, and collector)
  • Coffee (pre-ground or fresh beans)
  • Grinder (if using whole beans)
  • Kettle
  • Kitchen scale (not necessary but makes your coffee more consistent)

It’s a good idea to somewhat disassemble the moka pot so you have three parts:

  • Boiler (bottom part)
  • Filter basket (where the coffee goes)
  • Collector with filter screen and gasket installed (top part)

If you have a new moka pot, it’s a good idea to break it in first. This basically just means brewing a few batches of coffee and throwing it out. This way the natural oils in the coffee cover the metal preventing any metallic taste.

Click here to find the full procedure and reasons for breaking in a moka pot.

3.    Boil Water

Heat your water, in an electric kettle to kickstart the brewing process. This provides time to prep your coffee grounds, with the water likely boiling by the time you’re ready to brew.

Starting with hot water in your moka pot enhances flavor by minimizing the risk of bitterness from burnt water. This is especially convenient with an electric kettle—just push a button for hot water. It also saves some time.

4.    Prepare The Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds

Now, let’s get into the most important part of brewing any type of coffee – the grounds. The quality of coffee beans and how they’re ground profoundly influence the end result so getting it right is key to getting tasty coffee.

You have two options here:

  1. Pre-ground coffee
  2. Whole beans

Both options are viable, but there’s a notable advantage in using freshly ground whole beans for a more flavorsome cup. If possible, opt for fresh beans. However, to transform them into grounds, a grinder is necessary.

a.     Weigh your coffee

Whether using fresh beans or pre-ground coffee, it’s a good idea to measure the amount. Moka pots are designed for a rough ratio, but relying on sight lacks precision. While a scale isn’t mandatory, it ensures accuracy, crucial due to differing weights per volume in various coffees.

The required grounds depend on your desired coffee amount, influenced by your moka pot’s size. The typical ratio ranges from 1:7 to 1:8, indicating 1 gram of coffee grounds for every 7 to 8 grams of water. This serves as a starting point, allowing for adjustments based on personal preference.

Read more about the correct ratio for moka pot coffee in this post.

b.    Grind

If you use whole beans, they have to be ground before using of course. For a moka pot you want to use a medium-fine grind. Just grind a bit coarser than you would use for espresso but finer than for pour-over drip coffee.

Click here to find out more about the best grind size for a moka pot.

5.    Pour Water In The Boiler

Once your water has reached a boil, the next step is crucial. Pour the hot water into the boiler—the lower section of the moka pot. Two methods determine the amount of water:

  • Visual Filling Method: Fill the pot to approximately 2 millimeters below the lowest part of the safety valve. This, combined with filling the filter basket to the top, gets you close to an ideal ratio.
  • Weighing Method: Place the boiler on a scale, reset to zero, and pour in the desired water amount. Consider the ratio and the grounds quantity, ensuring you stay within the 2-millimeter range below the safety valve.

Pro Tip: If your moka pot’s brewing time exceeds approximately 1.5 minutes, even with hot water, incorporate an extra preheat cycle. Pour hot water into the boiler, let it sit for about 20 seconds, discard it carefully, and immediately add freshly boiled water. This preheating minimizes metal absorption of heat, speeding up the brewing process.

6.    Put Grounds In The Filter Basket

Untamped grounds in a moka pot

I prefer filling the basket before placing it in the boiler. While experiences may vary, holding the basket in hand during filling is easier for me and simplifies cleanup in case any grounds miss the basket.

Pour, scoop, or use your preferred method to get the grounds into the basket without spilling. The goal is to achieve a flat bed of coffee grounds—avoid a mountain-like shape. Use your finger to smooth out the coffee mound gently, avoiding excessive pressure that could lead to heightened pressure in the moka pot, resulting in a lack of brewed coffee.

You really don’t want to compact the grounds because this could cause the pressure in the moka pot to become too high and you end up without coffee.

7.    Mount The Basket In The Boiler

With the grounds in the basket and the water in the boiler, you’re nearly set to start brewing. Gently place the filter basket into the boiler, ensuring a snug fit. While there are no specific tricks, be cautious not to spill any grounds during this step.

Note that some individuals prefer scooping grounds into the basket while it’s already in the boiler. This method may vary in cleanliness from person to person. Choose the approach that suits you best and aligns with your preferences.

If you want to add an Aeropress filter, put it on top of the basket now.

8.    Make Sure The Filter Lid Is In Place

Although seemingly minor, the filter lid plays a vital role. Mount it in the collector before proceeding. At this stage, three parts of the moka pot remain:

  1. Collector
  2. Filter lid
  3. Silicone gasket

Hold the collector upside down and place the filter lid, ensuring the indented part faces downward when assembled. Next, position the silicone gasket just above the screw thread, securing the lid in place. The inner hole in the gasket should align with the intent of the filter lid. This assembly makes sure the pot won’t leak.

9.    Screw On The Collector

Proceed by screwing the top collector onto the lower boiler.

Caution: Handle with Care Due to the use of hot water in the boiler, avoid touching its exterior directly. Utilize a towel or oven glove to grip the lower part securely. The top part remains cool, allowing you to screw it on with bare hands.

Tightening Instructions: Screw it on firmly but not excessively. When twisting the collector, avoid using the handle. Instead, wedge your fingers against the side of the pouring spout and the handle mount for a more secure grip.

If your moka pot leaks from the seam, twist it on a bit tigher or click here to find a solution.

10.    Put The Percolator On The Heat

With all components assembled and water and grounds in their designated places, it’s time to start the brewing process. Place the moka pot on the heat source. Despite having heated the water previously, the objective now is to generate steam. Sustaining steam production requires additional heat.

Put the moka pot on a medium heat and keep the lid open.

Can you use a moka pot on an electric stove? Find out here.

11. Wait until the coffee is done

After a few minutes the coffee will start flowing out of the tower into the collector.  The coffee should flow and not shoot out like a jet. If it shoots out, the heat is too high.

It’s usually necessary to manage the heat to keep the flow rate similar throughout the brew process. After the coffee starts flowing, turn the stove to the lowest setting or even turn it off completely and boil the rest of the water off the residual heat.

Once the flow becomes light in color and the tower starts bubbling and hissing, the coffee is done.

Find out more about how to know when your moka pot is done brewing by clicking here.

12.  Serve

That’s it, your coffee is done. All that’s left is to serve and enjoy. Moka pot coffee is quite strong so a mug is probably not the right vessel to drink this brew.

A smaller cup is a better option. An espresso cup could do the trick but it depends how much you want to drink in one go.

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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