Back in the 1930s an Italian, Alfonso Bialetti blessed us with a wonderful invention, a moka pot. It gives us the ability to make espresso-like coffee without a fancy coffee machine. Cool, right?
However, like with most things you have to clean your moka pot often to keep it in good condition. Not only will it keep your pot pretty, it will also ensure that the coffee that you make always tastes perfect. Sounds like a great plan to me.
Different Kinds of Moka Pots
Stainless steel moka pots and aluminum models can be cleaned in the same way.
It is true a stainless steel moka pot can take more than an aluminum moka pot, but it shouldn’t be necessary to use abrasive products to clean it if you clean yours on a regular basis.
In fact, a great way to protect your stovetop espresso maker is to clean it after each use. It will also make your life easier because you will never have to struggle to get a really dirty moka pot cleaned.
What to Use For Cleaning Your Moka Pot
I don’t like to use harsh chemicals for cleaning in general, especially not when it comes to things that I use for food and drink. I feel that if there are natural products that can do the same job, I’d rather stick to them.
Also, sometimes a bit of the detergent or whatever remains in the pot, and that can influence the taste of the first cup of coffee that you make after cleaning the pot. I mean, do you really want to ruin a great, strong cup of coffee with the taste of detergent, or whatever?
How Often Should You Clean Your Moka Pot?
The short answer is, preferably every time that you use it. Of course, I don’t mean you have to deep clean it after every single cup of coffee that you make. I mean, seriously. For some of us that would be like a gazillion times a day and it is really unnecessary.
After Each Use
Okay, so after each use you should give the pot a good rinse. This will help ensure that you don’t end up with a pot with a lot of old grounds and coffee oils stuck everywhere.
I’ll go into detail in a minute.
Occasional Deep Cleaning
From time to time it is a good idea to really clean your moka pot properly. You can do it once every two or three months depending on the water in your area and how often you use your pot.
If you use hard water to make your coffee you’ll have to deep-clean and descale it more often. Something that you can do to help prevent such mineral buildup in your pot is to make your coffee with filtered water.
If you are uncertain as to if you should clean your pot, clean it. Rather clean it more often and be sure that it is clean.
If you start to see mineral build-up or a decrease in your pot’s performance, you should definitely deep-clean it.
Simple Steps Clean a Moka Pot
Cleaning a Moka pot is a relatively simple process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you clean your Moka pot effectively:
1. Take It All Apart and Discard the Grounds
Once the pot has cooled down, unscrew the top and separate all three parts. Now discard the coffee grounds like you usually would.
2. Rinse Away
Now give all the parts a good rinse using hot water. It is important to use hot water because of the oily residue. Cold water won’t remove that.
If there are bits that the water doesn’t wash away on its own, you can use a damp cloth to wipe it away. A soft-bristled brush like a toothbrush will also do the trick.
Make really sure that there is no coffee residue left under the rubber gasket.
Many people recommend warm soapy water, but I really don’t think it is necessary.
3. Let It Dry
Many people say that you have to dry it yourself with a paper towel or something similar, but I never do. I honestly think it’s fine to let it drip dry. Especially because you are using warm water to rinse it. It will ensure that it dries really fast ready for your next cup of moka pot coffee.
Deep-Cleaning Your Moka Pot
As I said, sometimes you want to give your moka pot some extra love to ensure that it keeps producing excellent coffee.
Check your pot for mineral deposits, especially in the safety valve. The valve is there for a reason. There is a lot of pressure building up in the water chamber while you are brewing coffee. If the pressure becomes too much it needs an outlet and if it is clogged up with mineral residue, what is the use that it is there in the first place?
So, if you start seeing said build-up, you need to descale and deep-clean your moka pot. Here are the steps for descaling your moka pot:
1. Water, White Vinegar, and Baking Soda
The first step would be to mix water, baking soda, and white vinegar. It should be one part vinegar and one part water. A tablespoon of baking soda. should be enough.
Just be careful it will make a lot of bubbles when mixing it all together. Be sure to pour really slowly. When bubbles start to form stop and wait for it to get less before you continue.
You can also try lemon juice. The basic idea is that acid will break down the mineral build-up. I just like the vinegar and baking soda solution because the baking soda will also remove burn stains.
Put the solution inside the pot’s bottom chamber, and make sure that the water goes over the safety valve. This is pretty much the only time ever that you should cover the safety valve with water.
There should be enough solution in that when you put in the coffee filter basket and screw on the top chamber, the filter plate at the bottom of the top chamber will also touch the solution.
Let it soak for at least two hours, but you can leave it overnight too.
2. Let it Soak
Let it soak overnight. The solution will build up pressure and work it’s way up to the upper chamber.
This will make sure that the solution really cleans all the small places that you cannot reach.
3. Pop Out the Filter Plate and Rubber Gasket
After this most if not all of the residue will be gone. But if might also be a good idea to pop out the filter plate and rubber gasket to make sure that there is no residue there either.
If there is, it should be easy to wipe away with a clean cloth or a soft toothbrush because you soaked it in the water, baking soda, and vinegar solution.
Now, give all the parts a good rinse and put Humpty together again.
It might be that a little bit of the solution will still be stuck in the pot and that the first time you use it again, it will change the taste of the coffee. In that case, you can just “brew” it again with normal water to make sure that everything is out.
Final Thoughts: How to Clean a Moka Pot
A clean moka pot is key to brewing great coffee with your moka pot. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily and effectively clean your moka pot by removing coffee residue and mineral buildup.
Remember to clean it after each use, perform deep cleaning when necessary, and descale as needed to keep your moka pot in top shape. With proper maintenance, your pot will continue to deliver aromatic and flavorful cups of coffee for years to come.