Can A Moka Pot Explode? Top Security Tips Before Brewing!

Can a Moka Pot Explode?

Moka Pots are known as Stovetop Espresso makers because they use pressure to brew a strong and robust coffee. But this pressure also carries some risks and leads many people to ask if a Moka Pot can explode.

Although it’s a rare occurrence, it is possible for a Moka Pot to explode. This happens when the Moka Pot builds up a lot of internal pressure and is unable to relieve it. There are various reasons excess pressure can accumulate, but the risks of explosion can be minimized if the Moka Pot is well maintained.

To learn more about why Moka Pots explode and how you can avoid this, keep reading!

Can A Moka Pot Explode?

Like all pressurized devices, Moka Pots can explode if they build up enough pressure without being able to relieve it.

This usually happens as a result of:

  • coffee grounds clogging your Moka Pot,
  • a Moka Pot that’s overfilled with water or
  • a limescale buildup is blocking the safety valve

Each of these scenarios occurs for different reasons, so we’ll focus on each one separately.

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Coffee Grounds Can Block Your Moka Pot And Make It Explode

Coffee grounds can become a problem if you don’t clean your Moka Pot often enough.

And since a Moka Pot is comprised of a few components, there are several places coffee grounds could clog up your brewer. Any one of these clogs could result in an accumulation of pressure and a possible explosion.

So, where do clogs normally occur?

Our favorite Coffees For Moka Pot

Brand Flavor ProfileImage
Coper’s Kenya AA
( Link To Cooper’s)
Medium dark roast with notes of honey
Flavorful and strong with notes and Molasses
Volcanica Cuban Coffee
(Link To Volcanica)
Dark roast with a bold flavor and chocolate and
caramel notes
Peet’s Coffee
Major Dickason’s Blend

(Link to Peet’s Coffee)
Dark Roast, full-bodied with rich flavor cranberries
Image: Table Of Moka Pot’s Coffee

Spirit Animal Coffee

Coffee Grounds Could Clog The Moka Pot’s Funnel

Coffee beans that are ground too small can slip through holes in the filter basket and obstruct the funnel. When this happens, water won’t be able to flow through the funnel which will cause pressure to build and may result in an exploding Moka Pot.

To make sure your funnel isn’t clogged with grounds, check it as we’ve done in the image below.

Can a Moka Pot Explode?
Image: Moka Pot’s Funnel

Tamping Your Coffee Grounds

Tamping is when you firmly pack your coffee grounds into the filter basket.

If you tamp your grounds, you’re making it more difficult for the water to flow through the coffee grounds. This situation may create internal pressure that’s too great for your Moka Pot to handle and cause your Moka Pot to explode.

Take a look at the image below. On the left, you can see the coffee is packed tightly. On the right, the coffee is loose, making it easy for the water to flow.

(If you want to learn more about what happens when you tamp a Moka Pot, we’ve got a whole post on it! Check out Should You Tamp A Moka Pot?)

Can a Moka Pot Explode?
Image: Tamped Coffee vs Lose Coffee

Coffee Stuck In the Safety Valve

It’s not unusual for small coffee grounds to fall into your Moka Pot’s lower chamber. When this happens, the coffee could easily end up clogging your safety valve which increases the chances of an explosion.

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Coffee May Clog The Spout

If your Moka Pot is in bad shape or isn’t assembled properly, coffee grounds could end up in the top chamber with your brewed coffee.

In this case, some coffee grounds may remain stuck in the spout and cause pressure to build in later brews.

The key to ensuring that water can flow freely through your Moka Pot is to regularly check these areas and clean out any coffee grounds you find.

Can a Moka Pot Explode?
Image: Clogged Moka Pot

In the image below, you can see coffee inside the spout on the left. On the right, the spout is completely clear. A clear spout is what you want to see.

 Can a Moka pot Explode?
Image: Clogged Moka Pot Spout vs Clear Moka Pot Spout

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Water Can Block The Safety Valve And Cause It To Explode

Every Moka Pot has a safety valve in the lower chamber. This valve releases steam when the internal pressure is getting dangerously high.

However, if you overfill your Moka Pot with water and submerge this safety valve, there will be no way to relieve the excess pressure.

Overfilling your Moka Pot doesn’t guarantee an explosion. But if there’s any buildup of pressure due to grounds clogging the system, it’s a likely result.

Can a Moka Pot Explode?

A Limescale Buildup Can Block Pressure From Escaping

If you brew your coffee with hard water, you could end up with limescale clogging your safety valve as well.

Limescale is a white buildup that results from boiling water that contains calcium or magnesium (a.k.a. hard water).

Over time, this limescale (calcium carbonate) will eventually spread if you don’t clean your Moka pot thoroughly.

Can a Moka Pot Explode?
Image: Limescale Buildup

What Happens To A Moka Pot When It Explodes

Most often, when the internal pressure of the Moka Pot is too great, both halves of the coffee maker will come detached and shoot in opposite directions at high velocity.

The hot coffee and coffee grinds will also explode out in all directions, potentially burning anything they come into contact with.

I can’t stress enough how dangerous an exploding Moka Pot is. It’s very easy for someone to be hurt or for something to be damaged by flying metal and coffee.

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Image: Spirit Animal Coffee

Coffee Can Explode From Your Moka Pot Like A Fountain

It’s also possible for the coffee in your Moka Pot to explode outward like a fountain. This happens when you forget to place the filter into place.

Although this is a different situation than when the Moka Pot itself explodes apart, a fountain of hot coffee can still be dangerous.

This generally occurs when people reassemble their Moka Pot after cleaning it. Since it’s easy to forget one or two components during assembly, the filter sometimes gets left out.

You’ll know that you’ve forgotten the filter because the initial coffee that comes out will be full of coffee grounds.

Can a Moka Pot Explode? 
Exploding Moka pot
Image: Moka Pot Sputtering

Signs To Look For During Brewing Process.

There’s usually no indication that your Moka Pot is going to explode before it happens. However, depending on what’s causing pressure to build, there may be some signs you can look out for.

Pay attention to:

  • How long it takes your coffee to brew
  • If steam is coming from the safety valve

Spirit Animal Coffee

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Pay Attention To The Brewing Time

First, pay attention to how long your coffee is taking to brew.

While a longer than average brewing time doesn’t mean something is definitely wrong, it could be an indication that the Moka Pot is blocked.

This is one of the reasons we recommend pre-heating your water, it makes your coffee brew much faster so you have more time to realize something is wrong.

(If you want to know more about pre-heating your water, we’ve got a whole post on it! Check out Should You Use Hot Or Cold Water In A Moka Pot.)

Check The Safety Valve

If steam is coming out of the safety valve, it means your Moka Pot is under too much pressure. It could be that you tamped your coffee grounds or that there’s a blockage somewhere.

Consider quickly running the Moka Pot under cold water to stop the brewing process. Then clean your coffee maker thoroughly to remove any blockages.

Moka Pot Check List To Avoid An Explosion

It’s a rare occurrence, but Moka Pots can explode under specific conditions. To prevent this as much as possible, make sure you do the following:

  • Check that your Moka Pot’s safety valve works properly before every brew. To do this, press the valve from inside the pot. It should move outward and then return to its original position when you release it.
  • Don’t use coffee grounds that are too small
  • Don’t pour water above the safety valve
  • Don’t tamp or overfill the filter basket with coffee grounds
  • Make sure you regularly give your Moka Pot a thorough cleaning
  • Replace parts of your Moka Pot if they’re worn out
  • Don’t buy a cheap Moka Pot from an unknown brand

Cheers Coffee Lovers!

Idalmis Holmes