Brewing the best cup of coffee isn’t just about the right device. You also need to ensure everything is done right--from the coffee bean grind size to the correct temperature.
The same thing goes with brewing using a Moka Pot. Even if you invest in the best Moka Pot and the best coffee grinder for your beans, you'll still produce a bad-tasting cup if you don’t know the right grind size for this brewing device.
To ensure you brew the perfect cup of coffee every morning, read this guide to find out the right Moka Pot grind size.
Moka Pot Coffee (Stovetop Brewing Overview)
The Moka Pot is an Italian-based brewing device invented by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933. It is a stovetop espresso maker that works using steam, which produces an intense coffee that tastes and looks like it was made with a traditional Espresso Machine.
However, many espresso lovers will argue that the coffee produced by a Moka Pot is not real espresso. This is because espresso machines use water at very high pressure and temperature, forcing it to move through a compressed base of ground coffee to extract the intense flavor and aroma from each grind.
On the other hand, Moka Pot, also called a Stovetop Espresso Maker, doesn’t use high pressure and temperature. Instead, it utilizes the natural pressure produced by the steam from the pot.
This creates a well-extracted cup of coffee compared to other manual brewing methods. At the same time, it’s also an affordable way to extract the intense flavors from your favorite coffee bean.
A Moka Pot has three chambers: the top, middle, and bottom chambers. The top section holds the final product of the brewed coffee after the brewing process is finished. Next, the middle chamber is where the funnel or the coffee basket holds the ground and roasted coffee. Lastly, the bottom part is where the water is placed before the brewing process. This also usually has a pressure valve.
These three chambers are responsible for creating an intensely flavorful coffee. Since the water is stored in the first chamber, which is mainly sealed, it creates a lot of pressure. The pressure the water produces shoots up water vapor to the coffee grounds, starting the brewing process. But that’s not the whole thing.
The same pressure forces the liquid coffee to the top chamber from the middle part. The water is no longer pressurized when it spills out from the funnel, filling the chamber smoothly.
Because of the strong cup of coffee it produces, many people prefer this brewing device. If you are one of them and still haven’t bought one for yourself, it’s best to get one made of stainless steel. This will be more expensive than other types, but it will give you more value for your money, especially if you want to avoid producing a weird-tasting cup.
What Grind Size Is Best For A Moka Pot?
To brew the best coffee cup from your Moka Pot, you need to use the right grind size. If you don’t, you won’t achieve the intense flavor that resembles an espresso cup. The best grind size for this brewing device is a little coarser than what you would use for an espresso machine.
So, if it’s standard practice to use a fine grind on an espresso machine, you need to use a medium-fine grind size for Moka Pots. The size is similar to table salt. Slightly smaller than that is also acceptable.
If you grind your own coffee, you can set your grinder before the most refined setting.
For lower quality grinders that can’t achieve the superfine espresso grounds, you can set it to the almost finest setting.
This will get you to the right ballpark size. But remember, only do it if you have a cheaper grinder.
For high-quality ones, always set it to medium fine.
Another thing to keep in mind is that everyone has a preferred taste for coffee, and to achieve this taste, you have to brew each cup differently. This means there isn’t an exact grind size that will magically brew your perfect cup. So, if you have your own grinder, try to experiment a little and see which grind size achieves the taste you like. But if you buy pre-ground coffee, this wouldn’t be an option.
You should also note that if the grind is too large for your Moka Pot, the water will quickly flow to the top chamber and produce a weaker cup. In some cases, it results in a sour taste. An overly ground bean may result in a more bitter flavor. To get the most of your Moka Pot, you need a grind that allows the water to flow to the top slowly and won’t produce a too bitter or too sour cup.
However, getting the right grind size won’t be much of a problem if you own a high-quality grinder. Just put the grinder to one or two steps above the finest setting, and it should produce a good cup.
Why Does Grind Size Matter For Moka Pot Coffee Brewing?
Unfortunately, many people are still unaware that grind size plays an integral role in your coffee cup, especially when it comes to taste. So, if you have had a Moka pot for quite some time now and still can’t get the right taste you want, finding the right grind size might answer your problem.
But the grind size isn’t just determined by the brewing device. You also need to know the brewing process extraction rate, contact time, and flow rate. Here’s how these three factors affect the correct grind size for a Moka pot: extraction rate, contact time, and flow rate.
The extraction rate refers to the amount of time the flavors leave the beans. The surface area of the grounds affects the rate of extraction. Finer grinds cover more surface area, so the extraction rate is higher. Coarser grounds have less surface area, which will have a slower extraction rate. The Moka Pot requires an intermediate extraction rate, which is why a medium-fine grind size is a good choice.
Next is the contact time. This describes how long the grounds are in contact with the hot water. The longer you expose the grounds to the hot water, the more extraction will occur. A shorter contact time extracts less coffee.
Lastly, flow rate describes the speed of how water passes through the coffee filter during the extraction and pre-infusion stage. Controlling the speed of the flow will allow you to extract as much flavor as you can from the grounds. If you use a finer grind, the flow rate will be slower since it has to pass through denser-packed coffee grounds.
Basically, finer grinds will extract the coffee flavor faster, so they should be used for brewing methods requiring a shorter period. In comparison, coarse grinds are better for immersive brewing methods since you need to steep the coffee for several minutes.
Compared to other brewing methods, a Moka Pot requires a shorter period. That's why you need to use a relatively fine grind so that the water can extract as much flavor from the beans in a bit of time. If you use a coarser grind than what it's supposed to be, you'll get a weak, watery, sour-tasting cup of coffee. If you use finer ones, your cup will taste bitter burnt from over-extraction.
This is also the same reason why some people who brew pre-ground coffee using Moka Pot fail to produce the taste this brewing device can offer. So, it's best to grind your own beans when you use a Moka Pot to find the right grind size that produces the best flavor of coffee you want.
Moka Pot Grind Size FAQs
Is espresso grind too fine for a Moka Pot?
Yes, espresso grinds are way too fine for Moka Pots. If you use this type of grind for your Moka Pot, you'll produce an overly bitter-tasting cup.
What is the Moka pot grind size at Starbucks?
You need to look for a fine grind size if you want to use a Moka pot with your Starbucks beans.
Is Moka grind the same as espresso?
No, they’re not. While most people think these two are similar, espresso requires finer grinds than Moka pots.
Can you grind coffee in a Moka pot?
No, you can’t. You need a separate grinder if you want to grind your own coffee.
Moka Pots undoubtedly produce great-tasting flavor coffee cups. However, if you think that your cup of coffee is missing some flavors, your grind size may be the reason why. That's why it's essential to use the correct grind size for your Moka Pot, or you'll be wasting the potential of your brewing device.