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How to make stovetop coffee using a Bialetti Moka Express

A traditional Italian home coffee maker, the stovetop uses steam pressure to create a strong brew similar to espresso.

Did you know our Founder, Dean Merlo, makes his first coffee of the day each morning using a stovetop and our Espresso blend coffee?

A well-made stovetop coffee is deliciously strong and sweet and can be prepared in less than five minutes. 

The stovetop coffee maker was invented by Italian Renato Bialetti in 1933. The resulting device, referred to as the Moka Express, quickly became a staple in almost every kitchen across Italy, due to its cheap price and excellent durability. 

In the nearly 90 years since its introduction, the design of the Moka Express has hardly changed and its popularity has spread across the world. 

Learn how to make incredible stovetop coffee using a Bialetti Moka Express in the written and video guides below. 

Written guide - how to make stovetop espresso

Equipment

  • Stovetop coffee maker. We recommend the Bialetti Moka Express which is available in a variety of different cup sizes.

    As a general guide, the Moka Express produces two ounces (60ml) of coffee per cup. For most people, the three cup Moka Express is perfect for making coffee for one or two people. 
  • Freshly ground coffee (5.1 grind rating). We recommend our Private BlendEspresso Blend and Forza Blend for stovetop coffee. Learn more about the different grind ratings here

    Or try our new Sample Pack which contains 4 x 250g of our favourite coffees.

    If you don't have a grinder at home, we can grind your coffee to this rating instore or online

  • Gas or electric stove. The standard Moka Express does not work on induction cooktops because they are made from aluminium. Induction specific models can be purchased but are not available from Merlo. 

Step 1

Pour filtered water into the base of the stovetop so it sits just below the pressure release valve. Super important – do not overfill your stovetop or it can explode!

Step 2

Fill the basket to the top with ground coffee (5.1 rating). Level off the top, so the coffee is even. Do not tamp the coffee down. 

Step 3

Place the filter basket in the bottom chamber, then attach the top section. Make sure this is screwed on firmly. 

Step 4

Place your stovetop on a gas or electric stove on a medium heat setting.

Step 5

Remove your stovetop from heat when the top chamber begins to splutter and gurgle, which is a sign that the water in the bottom chamber is running out. Use an oven mitt or tea towel as the Moka Express will be hot.

Step 6

Warm your cups with hot water and pour the coffee straight away. 

Tips

  • Experiment with pouring hot water into the Moka Express to start with, especially if your coffee tastes bitter. This will shorten the brew time. Use hot (but not boiling) water. 
  • Vary the heat setting on your stovetop and see the impact this has on your brew, but be careful, as a higher heat is more likely to burn the coffee.
  • For a lighter, sweeter and more acidic brew, try one of our light (filter) roasts like Colombia or Ethiopia Guji Muda Tatesa. Light roasts are roasted for less time than our normal espresso roasts, making them suitable for use in devices with a slow extraction time like the Moka Express.
  • Hand wash your Moka Express with warm water and ensure it is completely dry before using again. Do not use detergent or a dishwasher. 

Video guide - how to make stovetop espresso

Watch to see how Merlo's founder, Dean Merlo, makes his morning coffee using a Bialetti Moka Express. 

 Remember, when making coffee at home:

  • Fresh is best when it comes to coffee – we recommend buying your coffee in smaller quantities, more frequently. Whole beans tend to go stale after about six weeks and this process is quicker for ground coffee. 
  • We custom-grind for all brewing methods – just tell our staff how you make your coffee at home, or select your brewing method when you order online
  • Use filtered water where possible.
  • A Merlo subscription is an easy way to make sure you never run out of coffee again. Save time and receive bonus beans with every 6th order, plus easily cancel, update and manage your subscription at any time.

Shop Merlo's range of coffee and brewing equipment