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How do Moka Pots work?

What is a Moka Pot? 

Moka Pots are a great way to make the strongest coffee possible right in your kitchen. The Moka Pot was created in the 1930s in Italy by Luigi De Ponti and Alfonso Bialetti, and many people use them today as a stovetop espresso maker — even though it's not quite as strong as espresso. So how does it accomplish this right on your stovetop? Get ready for a physics lesson. 

A Moka Pot consists of three chambers: one for water (on the bottom), one for grounds (in the middle), and one for the finished blend (the top). When the Moka Pot is placed on the stove, it generates steam, which increases the pressure in the bottom chamber and forces water up through the chamber that contains coffee grounds.

Here's a breakdown of how a Moka Pot works: 

  1. The bottom chamber is filled with room temperature water
  2. The middle chamber is filled with fine ground coffee
  3. It's heated on medium heat 
  4. It starts percolating after about 10 minutes

The pressure that's built up in the pot's chamber only reaches 1.5 bars of pressure, nowhere near the 9 bars of pressure an espresso machine produces. But regardless, it still produces a strong, tasty cup of coffee. 

Related: Moka Pot: An alternative way to brew coffee

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