Should You Start With Hot or Cold Water In a Moka Pot?


Should You Start With Hot or Cold Water In a Moka Pot header image

Maybe you think you can’t do much about the coffee brewing process in a moka pot. There are actually quite a few factors you can influence that affect the final result. The starting water temperature is one of those. Should you start with hot or cold water in a moka pot or does it not matter at all?

For the best coffee from a moka pot, starting with boiling water is better. This is because you are less likely to burn the grounds, which has bad effects on the taste. Boiling water in an electric kettle and filling the moka pot with this works well. A faster brew time is another benefit.

There are a few more benefits and drawbacks of starting with hot water in a moka pot. Check them out below.


Starting With Hot Or Cold Water In A Moka Pot

Is hot or cold water better to start with in a moka pot and why?

Hot water is better in most situations. I’ll go into more details about the benefits and drawbacks below. Starting with hot water tends to result in better tasting coffee. This is the biggest reason to go through the trouble of boiling your water before pouring it into the boiler of a moka pot.

It also speeds up the brewing process quite a bit. you can boil the water while prepping the other things you need so there is no real time lost there.

We’re all looking for that elusive “perfect” cup of coffee. And while it’s unlikely that you’ll create that perfect cup with only a simple change like water temperature, it will get you closer.

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The perfect cup tastes different for everyone but in general burnt and bitter tastes aren’t the taste notes people are looking for. Starting with hot water can reduce those notes which brings you closer to your perfect cup. And even if it isn’t perfect, it will be better than before.

First let’s take a look at why we can use hot water in a moka pot. It’s pretty simple and self-explanatory but here’s how to do it.

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moka pot mountains

How To Start With Hot Water In a Moka Pot?

Before we get to the benefits, let’s see how you can actually start with hot water. It’s very simple to make this simple change to your moka pot brewing process and get yourself a better cup of coffee.

There are two ways you can do it;

  • Boil the water in an electric kettle.
  • As soon as the water boils, pour it into the boiler of your moka pot (have everything ready to go). You can prepare your moka pot and coffee while the water is boiling.
  • OPTIONAL: Pour out the hot water and fill it again with boiling water. This way you get the moka pot the hottest before putting it on the heat.
  • Assemble the moka pot as normal. However, since the boiler is now very hot, use oven mitts or something similar to protect your hands.
  • Put it on the heat.

So it’s really as simple as just pouring boiling water in the moka pot and just using it as usual after that.

If you don’t have an electric kettle, you can also just heat it up in the boiler of the moka pot. Leave the filter and collector off so you only have the lowest part of the pot. Put it on the stove and heat up the water. Once it starts boiling you can assemble the rest of the pot. Once again, be careful because you’re dealing with hot metal and water.

That’s a good way to do it when you’re out camping for example.

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What Are The Benefits Of Starting With Hot Water?

Why is it recommended to start with hot water? There are a few benefits that make it worth boiling your water before starting the brewing process;

  • Lower chance of burnt coffee: The most important reason to start with hot water is that it’s likely to produce better coffee. The grounds in a moka pot are in the aluminum basket.
  • Faster brewing: You spend less time on just heating up the water. This knocks a few minutes off the total brew time which is always nice. Since you need steam to brew coffee in a moka pot and you have to bring water to a boiling temperature to create a significant amount. You just have to heat the water a lot less if you start with hot water.
  • Easier to see if something is wrong: If you start with cold water, you expect it to take a while for coffee to start flowing through the tower. However, if it doesn’t start flowing and the safety valve doesn’t open, you could have a dangerous situation on your hands. If you start with hot water, things should start happening faster and you will be able to get an idea of when things are not right more easily.
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  • You can keep your attention: A moka pot is best not left unattended. If you know that the coffee should start brewing pretty quickly, it’s easy to keep your attention focused on it. If you start with cold water you might walk away for a few minutes, forget about it and you might come back to a messy kitchen.

So as you can see the better tasting coffee isn’t the only benefit of using hot water. The only drawback is that you have to perform an extra action because you have to boil the water separately. However, during that time you can get together all the parts of your moka pot and grind your coffee.

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Of course you do have to be careful when assembling the moka pot because the bottom part will be boiling hot.


What Are The Benefits Of Starting With Cold Water?

There still are a few benefits of starting with cold water in a moka pot;

  • You don’t have to be careful when assembling the pot: Because the boiler is still cold, there is no need for oven mitts or other ways of protecting your skin to assemble the moka pot.
  • It’s easier: There are fewer actions required to start brewing coffee which is perfect for in the morning when you’re still a little groggy.
  • You don’t need any other appliances in your kitchen: There is no need for an electric kettle so you can keep your coffee making setup smaller.
  • It’s safer: Everything will be cold so there is no chance to burn yourself. While it’s unlikely, you could forget the lower part is hot and burn your hand which is unpleasant.  

As you can see there are benefits of starting with cold water although these benefits have to do with ease of use and comfort. However if you’re shooting for the best possible coffee, starting with cold water isn’t the best option.

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So while there are some benefits to using cold water, most people will be looking to create the best coffee they can. And using hot water in your moka pot is one of the ways to make your brew taste better.

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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