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Stovetop Moka Pots are popular in many parts of the world, but they have a reputation for making strong, bitter coffee. This bitterness is caused, in large part, by how you set your temperature. So, what’s the ideal Moka Pot temperature, and just how hot should your stove be?
In general, stovetops should be set to medium heat for Moka Pot coffee. Setting the heat too high will burn your coffee grinds and brew the coffee too quickly. By contrast, low heat will prevent your grinds from burning, but the brewing process will take too long which can cause over-extraction.
While setting your heat too low or too high can cause problems, there are also some things to look out for when setting your stove to medium heat.
If you want to learn more about figuring out your ideal Moka Pot temperature then keep reading!
How Hot Should My Stove Be For Moka Pot Coffee?
As a general rule, you should set your stovetop to medium heat when brewing Moka Pot coffee.
Why is medium heat the best?
Because it strikes the right balance.
Moka Pots work by using pressure to force hot water through the coffee grinds. You want there to be enough heat to move the water, but not so much heat that it burns the coffee.
Medium heat generally does this best regardless of which type of stove you have. So, let’s look at a few different stoves and see how you can find the ideal temperature setting on each.
Setting The Right Temperature On An Electric Stove
A quick way to test if your stove is on medium heat is by carefully placing your hand 2-3 inches above the heating element.
If you don’t feel the heat, it’s on low. But if the air is too uncomfortable to keep your hand there for more than a few seconds, the setting is on too high.
Electric stoves typically have knobs with various heat levels. For example, a stove may give you the option to set your heat from 1 to 10.
Most people would conclude that 5 is medium heat, and in most cases this is correct.
However, over time your stovetop may become uncalibrated and the actual heat may be higher or lower than what’s indicated by the knob.
Setting the Right Temperature On A Gas Stove
Similar to an electric stove, gas stoves typically have various heat levels. When you turn the knob to a higher level, the flow of air and gas increases which increases the flame.
Because you can see the flame itself, a quick look can tell you if the stove is on low, medium, or high heat.
- low heat – the flames will be small like a candle and barely be higher than the burner.
- medium heat – on medium, the flames are higher, and they hug the outer edges of the burner.
- high heat – on high heat, the flames are spread fairly wide, almost like the petals of a flower.
Keep in mind that over time, a gas stove can become dirty or clogged which can impact the appearance and level of the flames.
What Happens To My Moka Pot Coffee If The Heat It Too High?
It’s tempting to just turn on the high heat when you’re preparing to make Moka Pot coffee. After all, hotter heat means quicker coffee.
But there are a few problems with this method.
First of all, you’re not just heating up the water, you’re also heating the coffee grinds that are inside the Moka Pot. If the heat is too high your grinds can easily burn, which will result in burnt and bitter-tasting coffee.
Second, Moka Pots use pressure to brew coffee. Hotter heat means higher pressure, and high pressure forces the water through the grounds too quickly to extract all the desirable flavors.
Lastly, if the heat is too high, your Moka Pot will make a sputtering sound at the end of brewing. This sound basically means that steam is being forced through the coffee beans, which results in over-extracted and bitter flavors.
Simply put, don’t set your stove on high heat.
What Happens To My Moka Pot Coffee If The Heat It Too Low?
Setting your stove to low heat may not seem as bad as putting it on high, but it can also cause problems.
For starters, it takes a long time to brew Moka Pot coffee on low heat. And if you don’t have enough time to wait around, it might not work out.
Secondly, while low heat is less likely to burn the coffee grinds, the amount of time they’re over the heat can affect the flavor to some degree. It’s better to limit the amount of time your grinds are over the heat source, but with low heat, you’re maximizing that time.
Lastly, the pressure in the Moka Pot builds slower, so the water moves into the top chamber at a slower rate. This means the water is interacting with the grinds for a longer time, which can result in over-extraction.
So, you’ll want to avoid low heat as well and stick to medium.
Recommended Moka Pots:
|Bialetti Moka Pot||6 Cups. Aluminum.Gas stovetop compatible|
|Bialetti – New Venus||10 Cups.Stainless Steel.Suitable for all types of Hobs|
|Bialetti Moka Pot||2 Cups. Stainless. Induction stovetop compatible|
What’s The Brewing Temperature When My Stove Is On Medium?
It’s difficult to determine your Moka Pot’s exact brewing temperature for a few reasons.
- Different stoves generate different amounts of heat.
- Moka Pots made of aluminum conduct heat differently than stainless steel Moka Pots
- Your brewing temperature is affected by your water’s starting temperature
Let’s go through each of these factors and see just how they can affect your brewing temperature and Moka Pot coffee.
Heat Settings Vary From Stove To Stove
The temperature generated by a stovetop varies depending on a few factors.
- Gas stoves radiate most of their heat into the air, while electric stoves transfer most of their heat directly to the Moka Pot.
- The heating elements in electric stoves aren’t all the same wattage. The number of watts is directly related to the heat your stovetop can generate.
- Stoves with glass or ceramic tops conduct heat slower than the coiled metal heating elements
There are more differences between those three, but the main takeaway is that the heat on one stove doesn’t always equal the heat on a different stove.
And this affects how hot your water can get.
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What Material Is Your Moka Pot Made Of
Most Moka Pots are made of either aluminum or stainless steel. And these metals have levels of thermal conductivity and different heat capacities.
So, depending on what kind of Moka Pot you have, your water may get hotter or may take longer to heat up.
When you consider that your stove’s temperature varies from other people’s stoves, and your Moka Pot varies from other people’s Moka Pots, you can see how difficult it is to determine your exact brewing temperature.
However, since Moka Pots use pressure to brew coffee, the actual brewing temperature
(If you want to read more about the differences between aluminum and stainless steel Moka Pots, we’ve got a whole post on it! Check out “Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Moka Pots“.)
How Do I Know When My Moka Pot Temperature Is Ideal?
We recommended putting your stove on medium heat, but at the same time, you don’t know what temperature corresponds to “medium heat”.
So, you may be wondering how you can tell when your water reaches the ideal temperature of 195-205°F as recommended by the National Coffee Association?
Unfortunately, there’s no real way to measure the water temperature inside your Moka Pot without using specialized equipment. But the good news is that researchers have already looked into this problem! (Check out the research on Laboratory MSC)
Essentially, what the research found was that preheating your water to 70°C (158°F) before pouring it into the Moka Pot will give you the ideal brewing temperature.
(If you want to read more about this check out our post “Should you use hot water or cold water in a Moka Pot?“)
Besides that, there are two things you can look for to know if your Moka Pot is too hot.
- the brewing time
- and how fast the coffee is spurting out of the Moka pot.
Watch Your Moka Pot’s Brewing Time
One of the best ways to tell if the heat is too low or high is to watch the clock.
In general, you should expect your Moka Pot to brew between 4 and 5 minutes. (Assuming you preheated your stovetop).
If your brewing time is much less than this, your heat was too high. On the other hand, if your brewing time stretches past 5 minutes, the heat was probably too low.
How Fast Your Coffee Is Coming Out Of The Spout
Another tip is to pay attention to how fast coffee is coming out of the spout. If the coffee is dribbling out slowly, you know the heat is too low.
However, if the coffee is coming out fast and aggressively, you know the heat is too high. In this case, you can lift the Moka Pot off the heat and hold it a few inches above the heating element.
- When brewing Moka Pot coffee, set your stove to medium heat
- If the heat is too hot, your coffee grinds will burn and the water go through the grounds too quickly
- If the heat is too low, the brewing process will take too long and the coffee may be over-extracted
- Preheat your water to get the best brewing temperature
- Lift your Moka Pot a few inches above the heat if your coffee is brewing too fast
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Idalmis is co-owner of Coffee Break Lovers. She is a Cuban coffee enthusiast that is passionate about coffee and coffee culture.