The Moka Pot – The Purist Guide

—The Brikka—

A variation on the Moka, the Brikka features a modernised weighted pressure valve, which essentially acts as a pressure cooker. This means less vapour is released from the valve, so that pressurised water reaches the upper chamber at a much lower temperature. This lower brew temperature is similar, and perhaps slightly lower than the 92/94 degrees widely applied to pour overs and opens a new world of possibilities for this old-fashioned charmer.


Follow the tips below, try not to be greedy with the liquid yield, and remember not to leave it to overgrew on the hob.


A pre second crack roasting level is desirable. In our tests, we used a Panama Hacienda La Esmeralda and Ethiopia Hachira N2 (£10 for 227 gr) both by Grumpy Mule Roasters. Good results are also achieved by combining a roast that is rich in chocolate tones ( see La Bottega ‘Classica’ £5.95 for 250gr), like an Ethiopian Harrar or Sidamo, with a more floral Ethiopian or a fruity Kenyan.


Between Aeropress and Espresso. The grounds should have the consistency coarse sand (not powdery).


The desirable minimum is 36 hours from roast, but feel free to experiment with younger coffee.

Ingredients for 3 cups – serving.

-15gr fresh coffee beans

-Cold** filtered water, approx 160ml (allow for different hardness and total dissolved solids TDS in regional waters, consider using bottled water).


-3 cup stainless steel Moka pot.

-Good ceramic-burr hand grinder or domestic grinder.

-Scales (you own some right?!)


-Electric/Gas hob or burner (aluminium Mokas cannot be used with induction hobs)
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-Small basin with ice water for an ice bath (or place in the sink with the cold water running)


-Prepare ice bath, or be prepared to have a sink running cold water towards the end of your brew.

-Fill the bottom chamber with cold filtered water, in line with the release valve – the water should not seep through the holes of the filter (use the scales to memorise the amount of water used, for future reference). For brew ration enthusiasts the figure to aim for is a ratio of 1:11 coffee to water, which delivers a solids vs soluble yield of approximately 13.5%.

-Making sure it is clean and bone dry, insert the middle chamber funnel in the bottom chamber, set on the scales and tare off. Add 15gr of coffee.

-Resist the urge to pat down with a spoon! Instead set on a flat surface and carefully knock the bottom chamber to level out the coffee and achieve a uniform dosing in the filter. As a rule of thumb, if scales are not available, heap the filter with coffee to form a coffee dome (not a pyramid) and knock on a flat surface to level out the coffee grounds (for other Moka Pot sizes 6-9 etc, work with the 1:11 brew ratio). Twist the upper chamber in place, again making sure that is clean and bone dry (especially the lower mesh part that will come to contact with the coffee grounds).

-Set over a low to medium het on the hob. Make sure the burner is not wider than the Moka pot base. The times it takes the water to reach the upper chamber depends on the size of your Moka pot ( Note I have not said ‘boiling water’ as pressurised steam from the bottom chamber pushes almost boiling water through the coffee into the upper chamber).

-Start your timer

-The coffee should begin appearing in the upper chamber after approximately 5 minutes, if using a 3 cup Moka. If this happens more quickly, you are not using enough coffee or your grounds are too coarse. If it happens more slowly, you are using too much coffee or your grounds are too fine.

Does this process sound familiar? It should do, brew trouble-shooting with the Moka Pot is no different from any other coffee brewing method.

-Check time. The total time from the very first drops of coffee appearing in the upper chamber, to the coffee reaching optimum yield (approx 110ml), should not exceed the 1 minute mark ( max 1’10″). Too quick? Your coffee is too coarse or you have not put in enough coffee, resulting in a flat, watery sour brew. Too long? Your coffee is too fine or you have put in too much., resulting in an astringent, over-extraceted ashy brew. Does this process sound familiar? It should do, brew trouble-shooting with the Moka Pot is no different from any other coffee brewing method. The trick is to stop in time and not overgrew. As a general rule, never wait until all the liquid has stopped coming out of the bottom chamber, for chances are it’s too late. If you have made a mistake, go back, change a few details and pursue what a great coffee coffee tastes like to you.

-As the coffee reaches the 1 minute mark (max 1’10″), from its first appearance in the upper chamber, immediately remove the Moka pot from the heat and plunge in the ice bath or under cold running water (just the bottom end..) This cools down the bottom chamber & mass, thus killing extraction – so there is less chance of over-brewing.

-Stir and serve, without adding any water.


As for all coffee equipment, keep very clean, and wash the different parts as soon as you can after brew. Replace the inner gasket every 6 months of medium use, if dark in appearance and flaky, replace immediately. In order to maintain the shower screen unblocked and clean, drop it in Puly powder and hot water after every other brew. Many people believe you should not wash the moka pots completely, as leaving a thin layer of coffee oil prevents the coffee tasting metallic. I don’t agree. Aged coffee oils is always bad news,anywhere, anytime. Just keep your moka squeaky clean, and if you have any doubts, purchase a stainless steel model.

To conclude, I’d say that when used correctly, the Moka Pot is a very rewarding brewing technique. It produces a velvety, full-bodied cup not as clean as a V-60 or Aeropress, but with richer notes and mouth feel. Just keep an eye on that timer.

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