Stove-top Espresso or Moka Pot

Stove-top espresso makers (also known as moka pots) do not, despite their name, technically make espresso. They nonetheless have the potential to make a sweet, intense, heavy-bodied cup of coffee that is wonderful in its own way. Here are a few things that you can do in order to unlock the humble moka pot's potential.

1) Use a stainless-steel instead of an aluminum model. The latter tends to impart a metallic taste to the coffee, which can be minimized if the pot is seasoned with old, crusted-on coffee. This solution is not very appetizing.

2) Preheat your water. A moka pot's instructions will likely recommend using cold water--this is for liability reasons. If you use cold water, you'll obviously have to use more heat before the reservoir's water will shoot upwards; this additional heat will not do your coffee beans any good. Make sure to handle the pot with hot pads/gloves.

3) Do not use an espresso grind. Use something more like a medium drip grind. You may have to experiment. A bitter yield can be corrected with a coarser grind; a sour yield with a finer grind.

4) Cut the extraction short. A moka pot with preheated water set over medium-low heat will gurgle fairly quickly. The initial burst of coffee will be haphazard; then the stream will become steady. Once it does, take the pot off the heat and wrap the bottom with a cool towel. This cuts the extraction short. The brew-volume will be lessened but also sweetened. The coffee that would otherwise stream out at the very end is not tasty.

 5) Decant immediately. Coffee held in a moka pot is not so different from drip coffee held on a hot plate. It'll develop an overheated taste unless you transfer it. 

These are the key points I think.  A moka pot can be a great way to make coffee as long as you take a little extra care.

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