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When brewing coffee with a moka pot, I often leave the lid open so I can better tell when the coffee is ready. Is having the lid off affecting the brewing process in any significant way?

I imagine leaving the lid on will cause the water to heat up faster as the hot air inside the chamber cannot escape as easily, and I wonder if this affects the flavour or general coffee experience.

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So what I've been taught is that you should keep the lid open while brewing. This is so you can watch the progress of the extraction, and cut the heat at the appropriate time. It gives you much more control over your brew this way - for example, I cut the heat (and run the base under the cold tap for larger pots) as soon as I see the coffee running from the spout turn lighter, rather than waiting for the gurgle.

However, as for lid open/closed during brewing, I don't imagine this has any effect on the extraction. The amount of heat lost will be tiny in comparison to other variables.

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    Yes, leaving the lid open is a good learning exercise to know what is going on and where the cycle is at any point. But after awhile I learn to hear what is going on so I don't leave the lid open any longer — but I agree... whether the lid is actually open or closed makes little difference in the process itself. – Robert Cartaino Apr 24 '15 at 16:05
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If you just keep the fire at low levels, and the lid open, you won't spill coffee all around. That's what I do :)

I also noticed a difference in the layer of creme on top of the coffee, with the lid open, for some reason, it produces more creme. Which doesn't make much sense as it reduces the atmospheric pressure.

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Not sure about the effect on the brewing, but I found out a good reason for the lid. I was brewing some coffee on the stove and had the lid open. The liquid started pouring into the top chamber. "This is great!" I thought, "Why would anyone ever close the lid, you're missing the best coffee fountain show ever?" Then at that moment, the 'last gasp/sputter' of coffee happened and sprayed hot coffee all around the pot and onto the stove top. That's one good reason for the lid.

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