We bought a pack of coffee and had it ground on site, like many times before. The new sales girl must have misunderstood something and used a too-fine setting, finest (for espresso) instead of second finest (for my moka).

Now if I use it, I get many grounds in the top container and basically have to discard about a quarter of the brew each time as its just a grainy sludge at the bottom. Not the end of the world, but rather unpleasant.

Is there a kind of "hack" how I could still use the perfectly fine coffee?

6 Answers 6


In this case, my usual pre-coffee tiredness solved the problem:

I had planned to mix the espresso grind with my usual grind to minimize the total amount of grounds in the cup. The idea was

1/2 too-fine grounds -> 1/2 the amount of dregs in the coffee.

Being tired, I only remembered this when I had already filled the moka more than half-way with the too-fine grind, so I just topped it up with the other kind and coooked my coffee.

But lo and behold: There were no coarse grounds in my pot - just some super-fine ones that weren't noticeable. I have since repeated the experiment a few times and can confirm that a top layer of "just right" grounds seems to be able to hold back most of the too-fine crumbs, especially those responsible for the "gritty" mouthfeel.

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A top layer of 1/4th to 1/3rd of the correct grind proved sufficient as "filter" in my experiments.

Also, there is no excess clogging of the moka, causing the valve to trigger or hot steam/water escaping round the gasket. The pot works just as usual. Of course one may not compact the coffee grounds in the brewing chamber, but that's standard procedure.

  • But of course!.. And is there any noticeable difference in taste or body from the 100% right grind preparation, now that the sludge is gone? Feb 2, 2017 at 1:03
  • @IvanKapitonov I can't say with absolute precision b/c we are cafe au lait drinkers, so some masking of taste is included, but in general, I taste mostly the too-fine kind of coffee. Which isn't surprising as it's a) the major ingredient and b) has per se a bolder and more assertive taste that the top layer (different brands). That said, I think the too-fine gives a somewhat "fuller" taste than the same brand, ground right.
    – Stephie
    Feb 2, 2017 at 6:54
  • It's a nice solution to filter the coffee by another layer of coffee itself. :)
    – MTSan
    Feb 2, 2017 at 17:33

Try using a more controlled heat source.

I find that brewing with a Moka pot on aggressive heat source that deliver high heat very quickly tend to produce high pressures in the chamber which, in your case, can be causing it to carry the coffee grounds upwards also.

If you brew on a lower heat and bring up the heat gradually, the pressure will build up slower and may reduce the amount of grounds shooting up into the collection chamber.

Good luck!


Use a simple mortar to make it finer before each cup (to keep it as fresh as possible and also to minimize the pain) and go for Turkish.

  • It's already fine enough for Turkish (I think). Now I just have to find my pot... and convince hubby, that the grounds in his cup are ok.
    – Stephie
    Feb 1, 2017 at 6:42
  • @Stephie If you see any residue on the edges of a fine porcelain, then it is not fine enough. If grounds stay at the bottom of the cup without any grounds sticking on the edges of the cup, you're good to go.
    – MTSan
    Feb 1, 2017 at 10:10

I don't think there's really a solution to your problem, except minimizing the sludge by pouring it in your cup really carefully.

I can think of one thing which would be quite hacky and might build up too much pressure in your stove top coffee maker. It is something I would try but would not recommend to anyone else. I have seen moka pots that weren't closed properly and almost exploded or that lacked the mesh filter inside and just kind of clocked up and then erupted a big fountain of hot coffee like a volcano. It's not pretty and rather dangerous. However I would put an aeropress like round paper filter (or any other thin paper/cloth filter cut into the right shape) inside on your coffee grounds or under the mesh filter. That would keep out the fines, but might lead to said increase of pressure (a Bialetti stove top has a pressure valve for security reasons, I've never seen it do it's job though). There's no guaranty that this would work or that no one gets hurt though, so I'm not suggesting you do it.

  • And I won't try the filter - I did once and it wasn't pretty. Suffice to say that the valve does indeed work.
    – Stephie
    Jan 29, 2017 at 16:17
  • Then there's not much you can do I think except using the ground coffee with some other preparation method or filtering the coffee after brewing with the stove top through a prewet paper filter. That might be the easiest solution.
    – avocado1
    Jan 29, 2017 at 16:53

You could try to do a version of cold brewing it or a toddy method. Although those use a coarser grind so you might have to guess at sitting time. It would definitely be an experiment

  • 1
    I doubt it would work well, the filtering would take crazy long through paper or cloth with such a fine grind. This happened to me once with a Toddy, had to throw out the whole batch because the filter clogged up completely.
    – avocado1
    Jan 30, 2017 at 9:09

You can use a proper filter. I've been doing so for a slightly different use case (in the bottom of my espresso filter basket to prevent fines clogging the filter, making up for a somewhat subpar grinder).

Of course, you won't find many filters for this purpose, but you can make do with a round paper filter of roughly the size of the basket. For espresso, I use AeroPress filters which I soak under the sink before applying them to the filter basket (before adding grounds).

In your moka pot case, I'd also suggest wetting the paper and applying it on top of the grounds. Given that the grounds are a bit finer than you prefer, I woud use a bit less grounds and push the paper filter onto the grounds before screwing the top on.

The paper filter should ensure no grounds make it into the drink but it may impact also impact the mouth feel of the drink. When I make espresso with an added paper I still get crema, but I'm not sure how much of the oils will get through without the espresso-level of pressure.

Edit: I see another answer also suggested this and focuses on the danger of clogging up. I think that's a valid concern given the finer consistency. If that's something you're really worried about, it's easy to solve by mixing in something coarser that doesn't affect your drink. That way, contrary to mixing in coarser coffee (which you may not have, and may lead to uneven extraction), you could add some inert grainy stuff. I'd suggest some sort of sand, but you'd have to be sure that it's food safe. By goolging, I've found that there are some food-grade sands out there and if you have that on hand it might be an interesting experiment.

  • As I commented under another answer: tried it, wasn’t working, unfortunately.
    – Stephie
    Nov 13, 2019 at 16:58
  • @Stephie I see, I've added a workaround that might solve those concerns, not entirely sure though. Maybe I'll try it myself sometime if I find something suitable to add, either clean sand or maybe crushed up egg shells after cooking. Should make for an interesting experiment, though possibly too much of a hassle for a morning cup. ;p
    – JJJ
    Nov 13, 2019 at 17:03

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