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Nov 30, 2009 10:06 AM

Moka pot brewing issues

I recently purchased a 3-cup Bialetti Moka Express, and am having trouble making a good brew. I followed the directions on Sweet Maria's (, but end up with a lot, and I mean a lot, of sediment. I think I'm doing all the steps right: I fill the filter without packing it, I put it on a med-high heat so that it takes about 5 minutes, and I remove the pot from the heat as soon as its full.

I'm using whole beans that I grind myself using a Magic Bullet. I tried doing a coarser grind, but still end up with a lot of sediment. The Magic Bullet doesn't give a consistent grind---is this the problem? Should I be using an actual coffee grinder? What kind of coffee grinder should I get? What type of grind do I need for a Moka pot?

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  1. Hi ashleysigh, you're correct about the grind quality from a blade/chopper-type grinder. I used a Braun blade grinder for 20 yrs before buying a Solis 166/Starbucks Barista conical burr grinder. This is a good grinder for $80 new from BJ's:
    Another good option is a $70 refurbished grinder from Baratza:
    Either of these will improve your moka & create less sediment. They'll also improve your drip coffee (If you make any). I can't recommend the Cuisinart conical burr grinder. After using it at work for the past month, I don't find it any more consistant than my Braun blade grinder.

    My Slois grinder came set up to grind reasonably fine, but I've heard that not all come that way. The best way judge is to start maybe half-way between the middle & finest settings, & see if that "chokes" the moka pot (basically, too fine to allow proper brewing). If it "chokes," go one or two clicks coarser & try again. Repeat until it can brew OK. If it doesn't "choke" on your first try, make the grind one click finer & give it a go. Repeat until you find the "choke" spot & back it off one or two clicks.

    I always over-filled the filter basket & gave it a light packing with the back of a spoon. That doesn't leave any room for the grounds to expand once they get wet, so you may not want to try it. It might, however, trap more sediment from migrating thru the filter screen & into your cup.

    Another thing to try is carefully pouring the coffee into your cup & leaving the last 1/2 oz (with the sediment) in the pot.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Eiron

      So basically I want the grind to be as fine as possible without it choking? I just made another pot and made the grind finer, and I still got the same amount of sediment.

      1. re: ashleysigh

        The blade grinder produces both fine and coarse stuff. It's that powder that is passing through the filter.

        As an experiment, try a preground espresso coffee from Italy, one that specifically mentions the Moka pot on the label. This will give you a feel for a realistic amount of sediment. There always will be more than with a paper filter, but it should be less than with a French Press.

        1. re: ashleysigh

          Sorry about the confusion.

          No, it's not just about grinding finer, it's about creating a more consistent grind size. paulj explains it well. Just grinding finer with your MB will create more powder, when what you really want is more-evenly-sized grounds. You'll have a difficult time getting that from your MB.

          What a decent burr grinder will give you is grind size consistency. Once you have that, you can THEN dial in the correct grind fineness.

          Is this explanation any more helpful?

      2. why don't you shake your ground coffee through a fine mesh sieve?

        1. Too late too response!! Stove top How to and what to USE?

          Ashleysigh>> Recommended Coffee Grind is Fine to Medium if using a blade grinder you will not get the consistent ground. In other words Don't use coffee that has been ground too finely. Do not press the ground coffee when placing it in the filter. Instead, mound the coffee high in pyramind shape. Before screwing on the top chamber, wipe off the rim of the bottom chamber to ensure a tight (but not too tight) seal.

          Make certain that the pot is not placed over high heat but rather over medium or just less than meduium heat. Once the water begins to boil, the espresso brewing process is rapid and the coffee could become overextracted and bitter if it overheats.

          Great grinder for Stovetops are the Capresso Infinity, Baratza Virtuoso, Krups Burr Coffee Grinder GVX2 (Canadian Version)

          1. I've been using a Moka for years and have invented my own method for brewing from it after trying many other methods that I would recommend. First fill the bottom chamber with cold filtered water and put it on your stove on high. While that is warming up, grind your beans to between medium and fine and scoop them into the filter chamber and tamp lightly with your finger trying to create a more or less level surface. (I find it you do too much of a pyramid shape it sometimes won't compact enough and you might get coffee out the sides when you try to screw the top on and brew.) When the water in the base is just starting to bubble, drop in the filter, screw on the top (use oven mitts) and turn the heat to low. In about 1-2 minutes depending on your stove the coffee will slowly trickle out and you'll have a bit of good foam on top if you're using fresh beans.

            I find this method is a hair faster than the traditional method, but more importantly it seems to produce a smoother less bitter coffee. I play around with a lot of different methods when I first started brewing with the Moka. Try an A/B test against just putting the pot over medium and see what you think.

            Also, try an iced Americano with your Moka. Something about the moka coffee makes a delicious rich iced Americano.