So you just bought yourself a moka pot or a moka pot mini and you’re all geared up to make kick ass stovetop espresso.
Awesome. You really can’t beat how cost effective stovetop espresso is – considering its strength and depth of extraction for the amount of money you pay to get started in it. It won’t need repairs, it’s pretty hard to mess up, and it requires pretty much no maintenance at all.
*Side Note – lately I’ve been in the habit of rinsing out the top and bottom compartments, I still don’t wash it with soap or put it anywhere near a dishwasher, but I do find that a simple rinse after use keeps it ‘seasoned’ and good without running the risk of getting grimy.
So let’s talk about the seasoning procedure for a moka pot. Without proper seasoning you won’t get stovetop espresso that tastes right and you might even end up with a metallic taste. We don’t want a metallic taste, we want a well extracted cup of espresso.
So it’s important that we season this beast to bring out his true character. Here’s how.
- Before anything else you should run salt through it. This is mainly because it will clean out the ‘pipes’ so to speak. It’s quick and efficient, just pour some salt in the metal filter, fill the bottom compartment with water, screw it all together and run it on the stove like you would to make espresso. It will fill up with delicious salt water – wait, not delicious, just salt water (don’t drink this, seriously). Once it’s finished brewing, just pour out the salt and water.
- Next it is time to start seasoning the moka pot with real coffee. I use the most horrifically horribly coffee for this (assuming I have some
on hand). I don’t think it is important to use good quality coffee when you are first seasoning a moka pot, and since it takes quite a bit of seasoning to get it right I prefer to waste coffee I don’t mind pouring down the drain. This is a great use for pre-ground cheap coffee from a grocery store. You can buy a small bag or tin of it strictly for seasoning moka pots – at least this is what Cicero and I do.
- I typically run about six to eight bouts of cheap coffee through the moka pot before I move on to quality coffee. This gives it a chance to begin seasoning and you will notice that the extracted coffee looks and smells a little better each time (even though you’re using cheap, pre-ground coffee – pretty amazing, huh?).
- Once I’m done with that I start moving on to freshly roasted, freshly ground espresso. As is typical of the project vvlgar crew, we just tighten down the grind on our trusty Hario Skerton, grind up the beans and go. As long as the grind is fine enough on the Hario Skerton it will make great coffee (we aim for about one rotation away from the adjustment mechanism being completely closed when we are grinding for stovetop espresso).
- We do this three times before we start drinking the coffee. Yep. Six to eight renditions of cheap, pre-ground, store bought coffee grounds followed by three renditions of quality, ‘hate to pour it down the drain’, freshly roasted and freshly ground coffee.
Once all that is done we are finally ready to use our moka pot to make delicious stovetop espresso.