Best Coffee for Moka Pot – Our Top 6 And Tips On How To Choose

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best coffee for moka pot

Are you not getting the results you expected in your stovetop brewer? Or are you simply trying to change up your daily Moka Pot routine with some new beans? Either way, you’re in the right place. We had a look at the best coffee for Moka Pot to take your home brewing experience up a notch.

Conventional wisdom would recommend a classic Italian blend for the full Moka experience. But actually, you can afford to be a lot more free-ranging in your choices with this versatile brewing device. We found that the Chanchamayo Peruvian from Volcanica Coffee works exceptionally well for a complex and well-developed cup.

Top Picks At A Glance

Best Overall
  • Pros:
    • Medium Roast
    • Notes of lemongrass, plum & light nougat
    • Whole or ground
Best Blend
  • Pros:
    • Medium Roast
    • Notes of stone Fruit, dark sugars & chocolate
    • Whole or ground
Best Light Roast
  • Pros:
    • Light Roast
    • Citrus, floral and silky notes
    • Whole beans
Best Balanced Cup
  • Pros:
    • Medium Roast
    • Notes of citrus fruits, dark chocolate & caramel
    • Whole beans
Best Sustainable
  • Pros:
    • Medium Roast
    • Floral, peach & red fruit notes
    • Whole or ground
Best Premium
  • Pros:
    • Medium Roast
    • Fruity and floral notes
    • Whole beans
Best Overall
Pros:
  • Medium Roast
  • Notes of lemongrass, plum & light nougat
  • Whole or ground
Best Blend
Pros:
  • Medium Roast
  • Notes of stone Fruit, dark sugars & chocolate
  • Whole or ground
Best Light Roast
Pros:
  • Light Roast
  • Citrus, floral and silky notes
  • Whole beans
Best Balanced Cup
Pros:
  • Medium Roast
  • Notes of citrus fruits, dark chocolate & caramel
  • Whole beans
Best Sustainable
Pros:
  • Medium Roast
  • Floral, peach & red fruit notes
  • Whole or ground
Best Premium
Pros:
  • Medium Roast
  • Fruity and floral notes
  • Whole beans
Lasso Brag

The Best Coffee for Moka Pot — A Closer Look at Our Choices

The surest guide to success in finding a coffee you will enjoy in a Moka pot is your own preference. If you don’t generally enjoy dark roasted coffees, there is no reason to feel obliged to opt for one in your Moka pot. 

On the other hand, if you are a pure traditionalist looking for that Moka nostalgia hit, you will want something relatively dark with something close to the classic Italian profile. 

Best Overall

Volcanica Coffee - Peru Coffee

Roast: Medium
Origin: Peru, Chanchamayo
Flavor Profile: Lemongrass / Plum / Light Nougat
Bean: Whole or Ground
Check on Volcanica Coffee

Volcanica’s Peruvian coffee comes from smallholder farms in the Andean mountain region of Chanchamayo. Heavy and complex, this is a challenging and well-developed coffee.

The sweetness at the start is a subtle dance between an almost sharp plum skin and a slightly deeper nougat close to nutty. The stone fruit and caramelized sweetness couple to give a lingering impression of candied almonds. 

This is set against an exquisitely floral smokey backdrop reminiscent of Earl Grey tea. The finish is clear and faintly astringent, with an overwhelming sensation of herbal aromatics leaning toward citrus.

Brewed in a Moka pot, you get an intensified and deep sweetness from the body that you wouldn’t get in a pour-over. However, with this coffee, largely thanks to the washed process, there remains a clarity and a herbal bitterness.


Best Blend

Intelligentsia – Black Cat Espresso Blend

Roast: Medium
Origin: Brazil & Colombia
Flavor Profile: Stone Fruit / Dark Sugars / Dark Chocolate
Bean: Whole or Ground
Check on Intelligentsia

This blend from Intelligentsia is excellent if you’re after the iconic Italian Moka pot experience without settling for oily dark roasted beans. Full of all the deep chocolate flavors and complex sugars associated with second-wave Italian roasts, this coffee rewards on several levels.

Thanks to its relatively light roast, the Black Cat blend retains a fruitiness. It’s probably closest to morello cherry jam when prepared in this fashion.

Although it is marketed as an espresso blend, this coffee from Intelligentsia works just as well in a Moka pot. It has a full body and produces a rich cup that will fit your expectations nicely if you chase that Moka nostalgia hit.


Best Light Roast

Counter Culture Coffee - Apollo

Roast: Light
Origin: Ethiopia
Flavor Profile: Citrus / Floral / Silky
Bean: Whole
Check on Counter Culture

A light roast might not be the typical choice for a Moka pot. But if you can get your variables dialed in just right, you will be rewarded with a uniquely interesting cup of coffee. 

In much the same way that light roast coffees can work well as an espresso shot, in the right situation, this one shines. 

We wouldn’t recommend trying this with milk, as you will lose some more subtle floral nuances. Either straight from the pot or diluted like an americano, you should find this as vibrant as any East African pour-over but with a little extra body.

Although a blend, the flavor profile in this coffee from Counter Culture is very much what you would expect from a good Ethiopian single-origin. It has a subtle sweetness evocative of lemon sherbert, transitioning into a bright hibiscus and a sharper citric acidity. 


Best Balanced Cup

Stumptown Coffee Roasters - Hair Bender

Roast: Medium
Origin: Indonesia / Latin America / East Africa
Flavor Profile: Citrus / Dark Chocolate / Caramel
Bean: Whole
Check on Amazon

With components from right around the coffee belt, it is no surprise that this blend from Stumptown Coffee is a well-balanced world tour of flavor in a cup. The sweet caramel and almost milky chocolate body hit you first, classic descriptors in Central and South American coffees.

Next, you will detect a bright and fruity lime zest that feels notably African. At last, you will land on the earthy cacao bitters, presumably courtesy of the Indonesian elements.

This coffee presents itself very much in the way you might expect from examining the bag. It finds a natural partner in the Moka pot, where a stronger brew ratio truly allows its diverse character to take center stage. 

We’d recommend taking the grind just a little finer than you typically would for your Moka pot, stopping when the bitters begin to overpower the enhanced sweetness.


Best Sustainable

Volcanica Coffee - Ethiopian Genji Challa

Roast: Medium
Origin: Ethiopia, Oromia
Flavor Profile: Floral / Peach / Red Fruit / Tea
Bean: Whole or Ground
Check on Volcanica Coffee

Grown at the Nano Challa Cooperative farm in the Oromia region of Ethiopia, the coffee cherries here are grown in a semi-forested production style. This means that a lot of the original biodiverse forest canopy above is preserved, and the coffee fruit ripens slowly in its shade. 

This farming method allows for the coffee to benefit from being shade-grown. Also, it adds the bonus of pest protection from the forest-dwelling bats and birds living above.

The predominant flavor throughout this coffee is an almost juicy berry and sweet peach. This is offset perfectly against the aromatic bitterness, which brings the tannic qualities of black tea to the table. 


Best Premium

Koa Coffee - Kona Natural

Roast: Medium
Origin: Hawaii, Kona
Flavor Profile: Fruity / Floral
Bean: Whole
Check on Koa Coffee

The Kona Natural from Koa Coffee is an excellent example of a highly prized bean. Grown on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano, these coffee cherries benefit from rich and fertile soil. Natural processing further allows maximum fruity sweetness to develop in the beans as they dry in their mucilage.

The flavor is typical for Kona coffee in some senses. Thanks to the natural process, it certainly has the sugars and fruit-forward character you would associate with Kona but with an almost fermented, tropical edge. 

When brewed in a Moka pot, this Hawaiian from Koa takes on a rich and deep mouthfeel. This makes for a very interesting take on Kona coffee which is usually much lighter. It almost feels like it has been laced with allspice syrup behind the exotic fruits.


What Is a Moka Pot?

The Moka pot was invented in the 1930s by the Italian inventor Alfonso Bialetti. The fact that it is commonly known in Italian as la macchinetta (meaning the little machine) should give you a clue as to its place in Italian coffee culture. It has been an iconic symbol of simple style for decades and remains popular in thousands of kitchens all over the world today.

The Moka pot relies on the pressure created by heating water to function almost like an upside-down filter coffee machine. As the water in the lower chamber approaches the boil, the pressure rises and forces water up through the coffee grounds. Brewed coffee then bubbles up through the stem in the center of the upper chamber, where it rests until poured. 

An Italian Classic

You will hear an unmistakable sputtering sound when the water has all left the bottom chamber, and it’s time to stop the extraction. For many, this has become not only a good indicator of the brew stage but also a sensory trigger bringing back memories — so evocative is the little Italian stove-top coffee maker.

Nowadays, Bialetti is the best-known company to produce Moka Pots. They have a variety of models, from the classic aluminum Moka Express to the Fiametta, which is compatible with induction hobs.

Stovetop brewers are also available from other manufacturers with glass tops to watch your coffee as it percolates. Arguably, though, you will get the best build quality and the full Moka experience with the original.

How To Choose the Best Coffee for Moka Pot

When looking for the best coffee for Moka pot, you should consider what you like in other brews with similar characteristics. Moka pots produce heavy-bodied and strong coffee, so think about what you might enjoy as an espresso

Ultimately your best beans for Moka pot will be unique to you, informed by your personal tastes and preferences.

There Is No One Best Origin

italian coffee moka pot

As with all brewing methods, your choice of origin will undoubtedly impact the end result. That being said, no one origin is intrinsically more suitable for the Moka pot than any other. Being an Italian device, you could opt for an Italian brand. This could be an advantage as a lot of blends are geared towards Moka pot brewing or espresso.

Keep in mind that Italy is well out of the coffee belt and therefore doesn’t have the proper growing conditions for coffee beans. However, they do have a lot of experience in roasting and preparation techniques.

If you’d like to venture a bit further from the homeland of the stovetop brewer, you might try something like a Brazilian single-origin dark roast. It will have the same chocolate-heavy profile without the oily robusta. Or, if you want something vibrant and fruity, try an East African. The typical general profiles apply the same here as with most brewing methods.

Go Light Roast If You Want

coffee roast

The traditional bean brewed in Moka pots is a very dark roast, similar to espresso. This gives you a cup with a heavy body and rich chocolaty, and nutty flavors. While there is nothing wrong with using dark roasts in your Moka pot, you shouldn’t feel constrained by it.

You have far more choices these days, so feel free to experiment with lighter roasts. If you’re not a big fan of dark roasts, there is no reason to brew dark roast Moka pot coffee. In the same way, as light roasts can work with espresso, they can also work with Moka pot. Counter Culture’s Apollo is an excellent example of a clean, vibrant light roast bean with a little extra body brewed in your stovetop brewer.

To Blend or Not To Blend?

Again this is very much down to personal preference. There is a sentiment in some circles of specialty coffee that blends are inferior and that only single-origin coffees are worth your time. 

In our opinion, this is absolutely wrong. While trying different single-origins will give you a good handle on the flavors you can expect from different growing conditions, blends often make more balanced cups.

You should let your preferences be your guide. When you are comfortable with how a roaster uses flavor descriptors, aim for tasting notes that sound like your sort of thing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Am I Getting Bitter Coffee From My Moka Pot?

As the brewing process is pressurized, it can be very easy to over-extract in a Moka pot. Excess bitterness can be addressed in three ways: Don’t grind too fine; run the base under the cold tap to cool off as soon as your coffee stops bubbling through; opt for a lighter roast.

Can You Make Espresso in a Moka Pot?

No. You can’t make true espresso in a Moka pot. It isn’t an espresso machine and doesn’t reach the same pressures. However, it’s a good substitute for espresso, as it’s suitable for making milk drinks that you might use espresso for.

Are Aluminum Moka Pots Safe?

Moka pots are broadly considered safe. While there are concerns over particle migration from aluminum vessels to foods and drinks, studies have found no health risks associated with the use of aluminum Moka pots. [1] Alternatively, stainless steel variants are also available.

Will My Moka Pot Explode?

Most likely, no. As long as you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when replacing parts and keep your pot clean, you will be fine. Care should be taken not to fill water beyond the pressure release valve, though, as this can lead to difficulties.

Our Verdict

When shopping for your best coffee for Moka pot, there are no hard rules you have to follow. Instead, let your own preferences guide you. We really enjoyed the medium roast Peruvian from Volcanica Coffee for an intense body and flavor characteristic of the Moka pot.

Best Overall
Volcanica Coffee - Peru Coffee

A real crowd-pleaser, this coffee from Volcanica comes from smallholder farms in the Peruvian Andes. Brewed in a Moka pot, you get an intensified and deep sweetness from the body that you wouldn’t get in other brewing methods.

Check on Volcanica Coffee
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Author
Aidan is a former barista and coffee industry professional, turned writer and passionate home brewer. He never travels anywhere without his emergency coffee kit (hand grinder, scales, and v60).

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