Getting Crema with a Moka Pot: Tips and Techniques

moka pot

For coffee lovers looking to replicate the rich and velvety crema typically found in espresso shots, a moka pot can be a great alternative. While it does not technically produce espresso, a well-brewed coffee from a moka pot can exhibit a layer of crema that adds depth and flavor to your cup. In this article, we will explore tips and techniques to help you create crema with a moka pot.

Choosing the Right Equipment

First, it’s important to choose a high-quality moka pot. Stainless steel is recommended over aluminum, as the latter can introduce off-flavors into your coffee. Look for reputable brands like Lavazza’s Carmen Chita Moka Club, or consider investing in a pump brewer with an adjustable filter holder for more control over the brewing process.

Grind Size and Coffee Selection

The grind size of your coffee plays a crucial role in the crema. Aim for a medium-fine grind, similar to what you would use for a paper filter, or slightly finer. If the grind is too fine, the water may have difficulty passing through, resulting in under extraction or bitter flavors. It’s best to use fresh coffee beans and grind them just before brewing to preserve the coffee’s aromatic oils.

Water Temperature and Brewing

The right water temperature is essential for extracting the flavors and oils necessary for crema formation. While it is important to heat the water enough to create the necessary pressure, overheating can lead to over-extraction and bitter notes. Preheat the water to a temperature between 90°C and 96°C (195°F and 205°F) for optimal results.

To brew with a moka pot, follow these steps:

  1. Unscrew the base and remove the metal coffee filter.
    Fill the bottom chamber with cold water to the level of the safety valve.
  2. Replace the filter and add medium-fine ground coffee to fill the basket, leveling it with a knife edge or spatula.
  3. Screw on the top basket and place the coffeepot over a medium-low flame.
  4. After about 3 minutes, the coffee will begin to hiss and drip out of the holes in the top chamber.
  5. When a dark pool collects in the bottom chamber and the flow of liquid changes from a steady stream to a sputtering foam, turn off the heat to avoid burning the coffee.

Note: While some advanced mocha pot users tamp the grounds to create more intense flavors, this is not recommended as it can damage the rubber seal and result in burnt flavors.

Understanding Crema

Crema is the golden-brown foam that sits atop a well-brewed espresso shot. In a mocha pot, crema is thinner and shorter lived than espresso, but it can still enhance your coffee experience. It adds a touch of complexity and a pleasant mouthfeel to your cup.

How to Get Crema With a Moka Pot

If you want to make a delicious cup of coffee with a moka pot and achieve that coveted layer of crema, follow these steps:

STEP ONE: Prepare the Moka Pot

1. Fill the bottom of the moka pot with hot water, making sure the water level stays below the safety valve. Avoid using boiling water as this can cause over extraction.
2. Take finely ground coffee beans, almost as fine as those used in an espresso machine, and scoop them into the filter basket. Gently tamp down the grounds before reassembling the brewer.

STEP TWO: Brewing Process

3. Place the coffeepot on the stove over medium heat. It’s important to leave the lid open and watch the brewing process closely.
4. As the brewing process progresses, a steady stream of coffee will begin to flow. It will be dark brown at first, but you’ll want to continue brewing until it reaches a light honey color.

STEP THREE: Cool and Serve

5. When the coffee has reached the desired light brown color, or when the upper chamber is about 80 percent full, remove the moka from the heat source.
6. To prevent over-extraction and bitterness, wrap the bottom of the moka pot in a towel soaked in cold water. This quick cooling step is critical.
7. Finally, you’ll have a fresh cup of coffee with a beautiful crema, ready to enjoy.


  • Avoid overstuffing the grounds in the filter basket. Excessive tamping can restrict the flow of water and cause leaks or even damage to the coffeepot.
  • Remember that brewing coffee with a moka takes practice. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a crema the first few times. Experimentation and adjustments will help you perfect the process over time.
  • Enjoy the journey of brewing coffee with a mocha pot, and savor the delicious flavors and aromas that come with a well-made cup of coffee topped with that delicious layer of crema.


With the right techniques and attention to detail, you can create a delicious layer of crema with a moka pot. Remember to choose a quality moka pot, use fresh coffee beans, grind them to a medium-fine consistency, and brew with the right water temperature. While not identical to espresso, the crema produced by a moka pot can enhance your coffee enjoyment, allowing you to savor the richness and depth of the flavor.


Generating crema with a moka pot?

To get crema, advanced moka users fill the filter with coffee ground almost as fine as for a commercial espresso machine and tamp it before brewing. This might intensify the flavor, but I don’t recommend it, because you run the risk of burning out the rubber gasket.

Can you get crema from moka pot?

Moka pots don’t produce crema because the pressure inside the traditional Moka pots is not high enough to force water through coffee grounds quickly.

How do you get crema from Bialetti?

Quote from video: Grind your coffee into the basket to get a good crema always use freshly roasted beads. We like hundred-percent Arabica tap the basket to bed down the grinds.

How do you get crema on a stovetop espresso maker?

Quote from video: So we’re going to place the filter. Inside there but first you want to make sure you fill your water up. So see this little notch here on the front you’ll find the same notch on the inside there.

Is Moka coffee as strong as espresso?

Modern espresso machines brew using 8-10 bars of pressure. That’s 5-10 times the pressure of a moka pot, depending on the machine. Yes, the coffee that moka pots brew is strong and about as close as you can get to espresso without owning an actual espresso machine, but, by definition, it’s not true espresso.