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Bialetti Moka pots - oxidation

I was considering an expensive espresso machine a while back.. but I decided to go with a 3-cup Bialetti Moka Pot. I've been using it daily for a few months and I'm very pleased.

When I first got it, I would rinse it, shake out the water, and set it in the dish drainer. One day I had white aluminum oxide in the bottom water chamber. I got it out by boiling a solution of water and baking soda in it, but I've been careful to wipe the inside chamber dry with a paper towel ever since.

My question is this: is the aluminum oxide dangerous to me or is it detrimental to the taste of the coffee? If not... can I just let the inside oxidize and not worry about wasting the paper towel every time I use the pot?

On an unrelated note, I know Illy makes a Moka grind specifically for the Bialetti pots. How fine is the grind?

Thanks, all.

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  1. I doubt it was aluminum oxide -- considering ion activities, pH of boiling water, etc. Most probably it was just calcium carbonate.

    1. I don't think that corrosion is harmful to your health, but it's visually unappealing, at least. I scrub my boiler out with a Chore Boy after every use. Works great.


      1. Everyone here realizes that the Italians never wash any component of their moka pots, right? That's "seasoning" so to speak.

        You know how worked up we get about our cast iron cookware here in the U.S.? Just ask an Italian about their seasoned moka pot!

        11 Replies
        1. re: Joe Blowe

          So the boiler chamber gets seasoned with water? Coffee never touches it.


          1. re: Jim Washburn

            Seasoning is in quotes! ;-)

            Most would argue that no detergent should ever touch the water chamber, let alone a harsh scrubber. I've never *washed* my Bialetti Brikka 2-cup -- just rinsed...

            1. re: Joe Blowe

              There was a time when most people would have argued that the earth was flat. I really want to know why I shouldn't scrub out the boiler chamber of my moka pot.


              1. re: Jim Washburn

                Ask an Italian. Or Google 'detergent' and 'brikka' or 'moka' -- there's plenty of superstition out there, but I honestly don't see any reason to mess around with cleansers of any type. It's a waste of my time, IMO, and if you use it enough there shouldn't be any worries of pathogens messing up your cuppa...

                1. re: Joe Blowe

                  BTW... the Italians moka pots are stainless steel, not aluminium.

                    1. re: joscho

                      Bialetti original moka pots are aluminum, I believe

            2. re: Joe Blowe

              When my family saw me pick up dishwashing liquid they charged me and I got the lecture about the "seasoning".

              1. re: itryalot

                Well, there ya go!

                I'm not makin' this stuff up, people ;-)

            3. I understand the "seasoning" concept of the moka and I've been following that advice - only rinsing with hot water.

              My question is whether it's necessary to completely dry the inside of the water boiler to prevent whatever the white stuff was.... or do your "seasoned" moka pots have white deposits on the inside of the water chamber?

              1. Why the baking soda? If your problem is related to hard water, baking soda is a poor choice IMHO. Water and Cream of Tartar solution, is a better alternative in aluminum, if you prefer not to use deliming chemicals.

                I also consider aluminum not suitable to make finished beverage from. In other words, I feel it is okay to boil the water in aluminum, but not making some hot - flavored beverage in it. Sooner or later beverages starts tasting metalic.

                1 Reply
                1. re: RShea78

                  If you're going to use a detergant to clean your moka pot, there really is one product that is head and shoulders above anything else. And It's perfectly food safe also.


                2. I just swipe and rinse with water not because I am superstitious but because it vastly improves the gasket life to keep it out of the D/W

                  1. I had a very long email conversation with a Bialetti rep last year, unsuccessfully trying to find out what was that powdery build up in the lower chamber. I had purchased the Moka Express in France. She suggested that it was because I didn't thoroughly dry it after use, whereas I had always seen them simply rinsed and air dried. In the end the company just sent me a new one, I used it until it started showing signs of build-up and then relegated it to the back of the cupboard.

                    My family in Italy and France has used these and other models daily forever, and although they all eventually show staining, none has developed this very unappetizing powdery build-up. I blame it on something that is put in the water here.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: cassis

                      It's calcium deposits from hard water.

                      1. re: poser

                        Exactly. It's nothing "put in the water", it's what's naturally present or not present. Europe is blessed with soft water, and the U.S. generally has hard water (high mineral content) throughout the country.

                        Install a whole house water softener (or an undersink reverse osmosis filter, and add a small amount of tap water back for flavor) and watch your troubles disappear. Literally.


                        1. re: Joe Blowe

                          Yes, except that I already use filtered water from my fridge dispenser...

                          1. re: cassis

                            An inline filter will NOT remove mineral content.

                    2. Yea, so your post is ages old but the answer is: it's your water. It's hard water staining. I use bottled water when I make coffee so I don't have this problem. However, mine STINKS to high heaven so I'm trying a baking soda solution to get rid of the rancid smell.

                      Illy does make a Moka grind and it's basically a touch coarser than a typical espresso grind. Whatever grinder you're using, whether at home or wherever you buy your coffee, just turn it down a bit from the espresso setting, but not quite to the cone filter setting.