Regular pre-ground coffee can be used to successfully brew moka pot coffee. However, it has a grind size that is a little too coarse for moka pots and will likely produce a weaker tasting coffee. It’s best to buy whole bean coffee and grind it yourself with a burr grinder.
This article explores what the best coffee options are for brewing a tasty moka pot coffee.
What is regular coffee?
For the purposes of this article, we will define regular coffee as being a medium roast, blended coffee that is purchased from a grocery store and pre-ground. Here are a few things to consider with this type of coffee when brewing with a moka pot.
What roast type is best for moka pot coffee?
Most people agree that darker roasts tend to taste a little better in moka pots because they produce a more balanced flavor. This is because dark roasted coffee develops more sweetness and lower acidity.
Light roast coffee is more difficult to extract and contains higher acidity. Moka pots have a harder time overcoming these characteristics because the brew duration is much shorter than drip methods, such as pour overs.
Most traditional espresso roasts are dark roasts. You will often find store-bought coffee beans marketed with an “espresso roast” which is what you should look for. If not, look for a dark roast or even a medium roast would be fine.
Is grocery store coffee good for moka pot coffee?
Grocery store coffee tends to have the right blend and roast level that’s best for moka pot coffee. The biggest drawback of purchasing from a grocery store is that most of their coffee products are not freshly roasted.
Many of the commercial coffee brands have been roasted many weeks or months before showing up on your local shelf. This means the beans are likely somewhat stale and will not produce a very fragrant or tasty moka pot coffee.
We recommend buying coffee that has been roasted within the last 2-4 weeks if possible. Local coffee roasters happily advertise their roast date on packaging labels. If you don’t see a roasted on date then it’s best to locate freshly roasted beans from your local cafe or roastery.
Many coffees will have a best before date, which is different from a roasted on date.
Is pre-ground coffee good for moka pots?
Pre-ground coffee is subpar for moka pots and other coffee making methods. Once ground, the coffee has a substantially larger surface area for which oxidation will occur. This oxidation turns organic coffee beans compounds that provide aroma and flavor into other compounds.
We recommend buying whole bean coffee and grinding fresh before each brew. If time is a concern then you can buy an automatic burr grinder that makes freshly ground coffee easier at home.
You can certainly buy pre-ground coffee though if time is essential and you have no other means to grind the beans.
What coffee can you use in a moka pot?
You can use whatever coffee you’d like in a moka pot coffee maker. But most moka pot enthusiasts prefer a blended coffee that is ground finer than drip coffee and slightly more coarse than espresso coffee. This allows the moka pot to achieve an optimal extraction yield.
Why is blended coffee better for moka pots?
Coffee blends help coffee lovers brew a more consistent and balanced tasting coffee. This is because the blended beans have complementary flavors and textures with each other, which makes the coffee simply taste better overall when brewed with certain brewing methods.
Moka pots create a strong espresso-like beverage that accentuates the flavor profile of the coffee beans being brewed. In other words, both the pleasant and unpleasant characteristics of a particular coffee bean will come to light.
Single origin coffees, or coffees sourced from individual producers in a single country, have very unique but often unbalanced characteristics. This type of flavor profile often doesn’t taste as good when brewed under pressure, like in moka pots and espresso machines.
Blended coffees take beans from several different countries and mix them together. Each coffee contributes a different taste or texture, creating a more balanced and consistent experience. This tends to produce a better tasting moka pot.
Why does grind size matter for moka pot coffee?
The grind size affects how much surface area the coffee beans have. Finer grind sizes have a larger surface area, which means the beans will dissolve more quickly in the water.
If the grind size is not set correctly, an undesirable amount of coffee bean will be dissolved into the beverage. If it’s below or above a certain extraction yield then the moka pot coffee may taste sour or bitter or otherwise unpleasant.
The Specialty Coffee Association suggests that coffee tastes best when it has an extraction yield of 18-22%. This means that 18-22% of the soluble coffee bean compounds have been dissolved into the beverage.
A coffee is considered under-extracted if it has an extraction yield below 18% and over-extracted if it’s above 22%.
Why is a regular coffee grind size not optimal for a moka pot?
Most pre-ground coffee has a grind size that is intended for drip coffee making methods. This method uses gravity to pull water through a bed of ground coffee. This process usually takes 3-4 minutes to complete.
Moka pot forces water vapor through a bed of ground coffee into an upper chamber. This is done under slightly higher pressure than regular drip coffee. This slight pressure causes moka pots to brew more quickly.
As a result, moka pot coffee needs to be ground more finely to accommodate for this changed brew duration. Otherwise, the coffee would not achieve the optimal level of extraction, which would likely cause it to taste dull and possibly sour.
What’s the best coffee to use in a moka pot?
The best coffee for moka pot coffee is one that has a blend of beans from multiple origin countries with an espresso or dark roast. These coffees have a more balanced flavor profile that is important for brewing with a moka pot method.
Can you use Folgers in a moka pot?
You can use Folgers coffee in a moka pot but it will likely taste a little sour due to under extraction. Pre-ground Folgers coffee is intended for common household drip machines, which benefit from a more coarse grind than moka pot coffee makers. This causes the coffee to extract a little less than what is optimal.
How do you grind coffee for moka pot coffee?
We found that the best moka pot grind size was slightly finer than table salt but slightly more coarse than an espresso grind. Standard pre-ground coffee is a litte more coarse (about the second from the left in the image below) to adjust for the longer brew duration of drip coffee.
Can you use instant coffee in a moka pot?
It’s possible to brew instant coffee in a moka pot but it likely won’t produce the same full-bodied texture or flavor as freshly ground and roasted beans.A moka pot will not brew instant coffee differently than if you were to use a regular kitchen kettle.
We recommend buying freshly roasted coffee and grinding it right before brewing your moka pot. This will produce the best experience.