Is It a Good Idea To Use a Paper Filter In a Moka Pot?


Paper filter moka pot header image

A moka pot doesn’t come with a paper filter. Is it possible to add one and what happens if you do? Let’s find out.

It’s possible but not necessary to add a paper filter to your moka pot without issues. The resulting coffee will be a bit clearer because of the added filtration. At the same time the pressure is slightly higher which increases extraction. This will result in a cleaner but slightly stronger brew.

Keep reading to find out exactly how to add a paper filter to your moka pot and what happens.


Is It Possible To Use a Paper Filter In a Moka Pot?

Is it possible to use a paper filter in a moka pot? With some DIYing of a filter, yes it is possible. We’ll go into the results and if it’s a good idea below but first let’s look at how we can actually add a paper filter medium to a moka pot.

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Moka pots come with a metal filter basket and filter lid. They are not intended or designed to be used with a paper filter. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible though. It’s actually pretty easy but will require a minimal amount of DIY to get a paper filter to fit. Basically you have to cut one to get one that fits because nobody makes them.


Filter medium

We’ll get to the results later. First let’s look at how we can actually get a paper filter that works in a moka pot.  

So if you want to give it a try, what’s the best way to do it? There are no paper filters that come in the right shape for a moka pot. And it’s also complicated by the fact that not every moka pot has the same diameter filter basket.

So most of the time you’ll have to do some DIY to get the right sized filter. You don’t want it to big or too small. If it’s too big, the screw thread will tear it up. Too small will allow the coffee to go around the filter which makes it pointless. So you need something of the right size.

To get this, just take a paper filter for a cone like a Hario V60 filter (Amazon) and cut a circle out of it. If you have filters in your cupboard, just use those. Not need to get a special one just for this experiment. To get the right size, it’s quite easy. There’s no need to measure;

  • Take the empty filter basket of the moka pot you intend to use.
  • Put the rim of the basket on the filter paper.
  • With a sharp knife, cut about 1mm outside the rim of the filter basket

This will result in a circle of filter paper that fits your moka pot exactly. The 1mm extra helps with the seal.  

Paper coffee filters

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Aeropress filters are worth a look since they are in the ballpark size wise. Aeropress filters (Amazon link) are 63.5 mm/2.5 inch in diameter. For small to medium sized moka pots this is a perfect size. They’re not very expensive and work well. Although buying a whole pack if you don’t own an Aeropress might be a bit much. If you’ve got Aeropress filters laying around, try them in your moka pot, there is a good chance it fits fine.


Location

Now we have the filter medium but what about the location? In a machine that’s not supposed to be used with one, where can you add a filter? Well, the best location is somewhere around the grounds. Putting it before the grounds isn’t very useful. A paper filter is made to stop tiny particles from getting into your cup.

So to be effective it should be placed after the grounds. At the same time it shouldn’t be able to move much. In a moka pot there is one spot that’s actually perfect for this. It’s between the filter basket and the filter lid.

Here’s how to go about it;

  • Fill the boiler with water
  • Put grounds in the basket
  • Mount basket in the boiler
  • Add paper filter on top
  • Make sure the filter is centered
  • Screw on the upper lid/collector

That way it’s sealed between the filter basket and filter lid. It’s located downstream of the grounds and can’t go anywhere because the filter lid keeps it in place.

If you just want to use the paper filters to increase the resistance, you could use two: One on top and one on the bottom. The filter on the bottom won’t actually filter anything but does add some resistance. This extra resistance can increase the extraction slightly. It’s going to be a very small difference though.

Before putting the filters in, make sure to rinse the filters in some warm water to get rid of any paper taste.

You want the filter circle to be big enough so the silicone gasket will seal the paper filter between the basket and lid. If the filter is too small, the coffee will go around it and it’s not as effective. However, if you seal it between the silicone ring and the filter basket, the water has no way of going around the filter, only through it.

There is another option;

  • Fill the boiler with water
  • Put grounds in the basket
  • Mount basket in the boiler
  • Put the paper filter between the filter lid and the silicone ring. So from top to bottom: Collector, filter lid, filter, silicone ring.
  • Mount the collector +filter assembly on top of the boiler.

Both methods work. The first one uses slightly less paper filter. The second one is less likely to leak but uses a touch more paper. You also need quite thin paper filters to make the second method work well. If you use thicker paper the first method might be easier to do.


Possible problems

There aren’t many drawbacks to trying out. The only two things are potential problems. The first is that you just might not like the resulting taste and/or texture but that’s purely personal. Everyone’s taste is different and it’s just a matter of trying it out.

The second thing many people are afraid of is creating too much pressure in their moka pot and the potential side effects of that. This isn’t really a huge deal although it does depend on the filter medium you use.

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Filters for any kind of drip brewing methods provide very little resistance. In a drip filter the water just flows through without any pressure. The weight of the coffee is enough to permeate the filter so this type of filter really doesn’t create much extra pressure. It might slightly increase pressure but not to any significant degree.

If you use an Aeropress filter this might produce a bit more resistance but still not enough to worry about. In an Aeropress you generate 0.35 to 0.75 bar of pressure. A moka pot is capable of creating 1 to 2 bar of pressure. Unless you go with a super fine grind, this shouldn’t be a problem.

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With a filter for drip coffee, there’s no need to adjust the grind size. With an Aeropress filter you might want to start out a little coarser than usual since the Aeropress is designed to be used with a coarser grind than a moka pot and a smaller grind increases the pressure.


What’s the result of using a paper filter in a moka pot?

What’s the point of all this you might think. You’re not alone in wondering this. There are some results in taste and texture by adding a paper filter to your moka pot. Filters are made to keep things out of your cup not put extra things in.

Obviously the coffee particles that can get through a metal filter are much bigger than the particles that can get through a paper filter. So, adding a paper filter will change how much residue and other compounds you get in your cup. Paper filters don’t only filter pretty much all coffee particles but also most of the oils in coffee. And we all know oils give foods and drinks a lot of taste and texture. That means adding paper filtration will result in a much cleaner cup without residue but also a significantly changed taste that’s more like pour over coffee.

On the other side, the filter will increase the resistance which increases the necessary pressure slightly which can increase the extraction a little so you can actually get slightly stronger coffee. As a result of the higher pressure and resistance, the brew time will be longer as well. People

The result will be;

  • Less fine grounds in your cup
  • “Cleaner” coffee. A bit more clarity in taste
  • Less oily
  • More crema
  • Longer brew time+higher pressure -> Higher extraction -> Stronger coffee.

These things combined will result in (all other factors being equal), a cup of coffee that has a bit more clarity and most people find it more balanced.

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Is it a good idea to use a paper filter in a moka pot?

So now you know how and what the results are? Does that make it a good idea?

If you like experimenting a little with your coffee and don’t mind if you sometimes have some results that aren’t what you like, go for it. There isn’t much to lose except maybe some coffee.

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If you don’t like fines in your cup, definitely give this a try. It will change the taste a little. If you like that or not really depends on your taste so just give it a try.

For me personally, i like the thick mouthfeel you get from the metal filtration. If i want something cleaner, crisper and more delicate, I prefer just brewing a pour over.

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 it’s 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.

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