so most things I read say the common problem with a moka pot is a bitter, over-extracted brew, so I'm confused as to why I'm getting the opposite.

Here are the beans I'm using- http://www.coffeehunter.com/green_coffees/archive/costa_rica/finca_de_alejo_castro, so the decription implies some acidic/fermented tones, but my brew seems to be coming out quite unpleasant.

My moka pot is a Bialetti 1-cup.

My process:

Beans freshly ground with hand grinder (fine grind, comparison with google image results for 'moka pot grind' seem pretty close).

Hot water in the chamber (up to bottom of valve).

Lowest heat.


Getting a pretty fast flow, and no oily bubbles at the beginning of the process. Probably 5-10 seconds between start and end of the flow.

Very sour coffee.

I've tried adjusting my grind, and even when the grind is fine enough to produce quite a bit of sediment, there's no noticeable change in flavour.

  • What roast-level are the beans? Sounds lightly-roasted, which will give you a more acidic (sour) brew in general. Have you tried a different preparation, such as pour-over? 5-10 seconds for a brew is very fast, and probably part of the problem. Nice question!
    – hoc_age
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 17:02
  • Just grind finer, that's almost certainly your solution here. Also grind size is generally the first thing you want to change (applies more to espresso but would definitely transfer it to other methods as well). That is because it leaves your "recipe" (coffee-water ratio) intact and doesn't come with a cascade of necessary adjustments. If on the contrary you were to change your dose, you will have to adjust grind size as well.
    – avocado1
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 20:23

3 Answers 3


What I immediately notice is that you say the entire brew process takes only 5-10 seconds. Even for a 1-pot moka, this seems way too fast.

Vary some other parameters:

  • Start with cold water in the bottom chamber. While not the best way to brew with Moka in general, it might slow down the brewing process. You should want your moka brew to take closer to 30-60 seconds (my preference, for example). Longer time will allow the sourness to be offset by bitterness (compounds which are extracted after water has been in contact with grounds for a longer time).
  • Try brewing the coffee as pour-over. This will give you a more neutral preparation that will allow you to determine if the coffee itself is of good quality and too your liking.
  • 1
    Starting with cold water doesn't really make sense though. The water will only start flowing once it is hot enough anyways. You'll just add some extra time where the coffee is heated, but not in contact with water. The grind size is clearly to coarse in this case.
    – avocado1
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 20:25
  • @avocado1 I disagree. If the water is hot (as in straight out of the kettle) to start with, it sounds like it's all boiling very quickly. If you start with cooler water it will boil more slowly, giving a slower start to the process.
    – fredley
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 14:03
  • Maybe you could explain why you think that this is so? The water doesn't flow immediately. It starts flowing when it is boiling since the steam created when boiling is pressurizing the chamber and pushes the water upwards through the ground coffee. This process takes the same amount of time whether the water needs 30s to come to a boil or 3min. As long as the water is cold and in the chamber absolutely zero extraction is happening. And in any case even if there were some difference, the better way is to grind finer. That is the obvious problem here.
    – avocado1
    Commented May 26, 2018 at 15:03

In general when making 'Italian' coffee we don't put hot water in the chamber. In my experience this has some effect on taste. We just put room temperature water (remember, you are not making soluble coffee with a French press). Second, the taste might change if you use soap to clean your pot. Use only water.


Never. Ever think there should be boiling in a Mecca pot. It is the pressure build-up pushing the water up. This is why most people experience mocca pot coffee as burnt. So, cold water is great, as only the temperature difference matters, not the absolute temperature! Cooler brewing temp is better and safer. Try it: heat up as fast as possible, once you hear definitive noise, turn off stove, and let the pressure do its thing. Enjoy!

  • Hi, Robert. This answers seems a little incoherent. For example, the noise you describe in the last sentence is the water beginning to boil, which your first sentence says ought not to occur. Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 15:33

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