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Should You Use Hot Or Cold Water In A Moka Pot?

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By Daniel Bruce

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Moka Pots: Hot or Cold Water?

Should You Use Hot Or Cold Water In A Moka Pot? Discovering the Ideal Water Temperature

Moka Pots are beloved by coffee enthusiasts for their ability to brew delicious coffee. However, there’s an ongoing debate about whether hot or cold water is best for these brewers. To settle the dispute, physicist Warren King researched the optimal water temperature for Moka Pots.

It was found that preheating your water to 70°C (158°F) produces the best coffee flavor from your Moka Pot. Certain desirable flavors aren’t fully extracted from the coffee grounds when the water is too cold or at room temperature. On the other hand, using water, hotter than 70°C can result in bitter and over-extracted coffee.

The Science Behind Water Temperature

As you heat a Moka Pot, the pressure inside the lower chamber increases due to the vapor pressure. Eventually, this pressure pushes the water up through the funnel and into the upper room.

Contrary to popular belief, the water doesn’t need to boil before brewing the coffee. King’s research revealed that the vapor pressure is strong enough to brew the coffee at just 67°C (153°F), slightly below the recommended preheating temperature.

However, the brewing process in a Moka Pot becomes more complex. When water is forced out of the lower chamber, the air inside expands to fill the space. This creates a suction pressure that makes it challenging for more water to leave the room.

Should I put hot or cold water in a moka pot

Think of it as drinking from a water bottle without taking a breath. The more you drink, the harder it becomes to keep the water flowing. The same principle applies to Moka Pots.

To overcome this suction pressure, the water needs to be even hotter. However, King’s experiments showed that the average extraction temperature is only around 69°C (156°F).

It’s worth noting that this extraction temperature is significantly lower than the recommended range of 90-96°C (195-205°F) suggested by the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

In conclusion, preheated water at 70°C (158°F) is ideal for brewing coffee in a Moka Pot. While the extraction temperature falls below specialty coffee standards, Moka Pots offer a unique brewing experience that coffee enthusiasts cherish.

If you want your Moka Pot to extract as many desirable flavors as possible, you’ve got two options:

1. Overfill your Moka Pot with room temperature water (this isn’t a good idea)

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One way to prevent under-extraction is to overfill your Moka Pot with room-temperature water. Adding more water minimizes the lower chamber’s airr, resulting in more substantial suction pressure. This causes the water temperature and vapor pressure to increase even more before the coffee gets pushed into the upper room. The hotter water brings you closer to the optimum extraction temperature. However, we don’t recommend this method because it covers the pressure release valve.

2. Preheat your water before brewing

The best option for achieving optimum coffee extraction is to preheat your water. If your water is preheated to 70°C before adding it to the Moka Pot, the average extraction temperature will be around 88°C. While this isn’t the optimum extraction temperature, it is close. As the Moka Pot’s temperature increases during brewing, the first bit of coffee will be at a lower temperature, while the last bit should be around 94°C. Preheating your water to 70°C allows your Moka Pot to get as close to optimum extraction as possible. Remember that a temperature lower than 70°C may result in under-extraction, while a much higher temperature may lead to over-extraction towards the end of your brew.

Other Benefits Of Using Preheated Water In Moka Pots

If achieving optimum flavor extraction isn’t enough, there are additional benefits to brewing with preheated water. Firstly, your coffee will brew much faster with hot water, reducing the risk of burning it. It also allows you to identify brewing problems more quickly. Secondly, as you heat your Moka Pot, you also heat your coffee grounds. Prolonged heating on the stove increases the chances of cooking and burning your coffee beans.

Why Do Some People Prefer Using Cold Water In Moka Pots

Despite the research, many people prefer cold water in their Moka Pots.

Is Cold Water or Preheated Water Better for Brewing Moka Pot Coffee?

The Controversy

There seems to be a divided opinion among coffee enthusiasts when it comes to brewing Moka Pot coffee. Illy’s website and Italy Magazine both recommend brewing with cold water, claiming that it enhances the flavor of the coffee. However, brewing with cold water means the coffee is extracted at lower temperatures than the recommended range of 90-96°C. On the other hand, some experts, like King’s research, suggest using preheated water for better extraction. We conducted our own experiment to settle this debate once and for all.

Should I use hot or cold water in a Moka pot

Our Experiment

We wanted to compare the results of brewing Moka Pot coffee using preheated, room temperature, and cold water. We used the Bialetti Moka Pot and Folgers Simply Smooth ground coffee for this experiment. Folgers Simply Smooth may not be ideal, as it has a milder flavor and a coarser grind than traditional Cuban coffee brands. However, we wanted to ensure that any differences in taste and appearance would be more apparent in our experiment.

  • First, we brewed a batch of coffee using preheated water. We preheated the water in an electric kettle and poured it into the Moka Pot below the safety valve. We added three and a half tablespoons of coffee grounds and closed the pot using a towel to prevent burns.
  • Next, we brewed another batch with room-temperature water. This process was more straightforward since we didn’t have to preheat the water.
  • Finally, we used cold water that had been refrigerated overnight. Again, this required no additional steps other than pouring the cold water into the Moka Pot.

The Results

After each brew, we rinsed and cooled off the Moka Pot completely to ensure that the brewing time of the next batch was not affected. The results were interesting when we compared the taste and appearance of the coffee brewed with different water temperatures.

Although Illy and Italy Magazine recommend brewing with cold water, preheated water results in better extraction, the coffee brewed with preheated water had a fuller flavor and a more decadent aroma than the other two batches. However, the coffee brewed with cold water still tasted pleasant, and the brewing process was more straightforward, with no risk of burns.

To Brew or Not to Brew with Cold Water?

In conclusion, while brewing Moka Pot coffee with cold water may be a personal preference for some coffee lovers, using preheated water is likely to give you a more satisfying and flavorful cup. If you’re looking for the best extraction and a robust coffee experience, we recommend using preheated water. But ultimately, trust your taste buds and experiment to find your perfect cup of Moka Pot coffee.

Testing the Brewing Process of Moka Pot Coffee

Preheated Water vs. Room Temperature Water vs. Cold Water

The coffee brewing process can significantly affect the flavor, aroma, and overall quality of your cup of joe. With this in mind, we decided to test the impact of different water temperatures on the brewing process of Moka Pot coffee. We compared the results of using preheated water, room temperature water, and cold water to see how they influenced the taste and appearance of the coffee.

Preheated Water

The first test involved using preheated water, commonly recommended for brewing Moka Pot coffee. We watched the coffee begin to brew rapidly, reaching a sputtering and gurgling stage at an impressive 2 minutes and 44 seconds. The result was a cloudy coffee with visible oil extracts. Surprisingly, it wasn’t bitter and had a dense, heavy mouthfeel that many coffee lovers enjoy.

Preheated Results:

  • Brewing time – 2 minutes 44 seconds
  • Cloudy appearance
  • Balanced flavor and heavy mouthfeel

Room Temperature Water

We used room-temperature water instead of preheated water for the second test. We added an equal amount of coffee and allowed the brewing process. This time, the coffee took a minute and a half longer to brew than the preheated water method. The resulting coffee had a more transparent appearance, indicating a lower extraction of oils. It tasted sharper and had an astringent quality lacking in the first batch. However, it didn’t have the burnt taste that was anticipated due to the heating process during brewing.

Should I use hot or cold water in a Moka pot

Room Temperature Results:

  • Brewing time – 5 minutes 22 seconds
  • Clear appearance
  • Watery with a sharper taste

Cold Water

Should I use hot or cold water in a Moka pot

In the final test, we decided to brew Moka Pot coffee using cold water refrigerated overnight. Like the room temperature test, we added three and a half tablespoons of coffee and water just below the safety valve. Surprisingly, the cold water method resulted in a more watery and less flavorful coffee than the preheated and room temperature methods. Although it didn’t taste burnt, it took the longest time to brew.


  • Brewing time – 6 minutes and 9 seconds
  • Clear appearance
  • More watery than room-temperature coffee
  • Less flavorful

Should I use hot or cold water in a Moka pot

In conclusion, the temperature of the water used in the brewing process can significantly impact the taste and quality of your Moka Pot coffee. Preheated water yields a heavier mouthfeel and fuller flavor, while room-temperature water results in a sharper taste and lower extraction of oils. Cold water, on the other hand, produces a more watery and less flavorful cup. Choose your preferred brewing method based on your desired taste experience, remembering that preheating the water usually leads to a more satisfactory outcome. So, experiment with different water temperatures to find the perfect cup of Moka Pot coffee for your palate.

Optimize Your Moka Pot Coffee Extraction with Preheated Water

Brewing Tips from a Coffee Expert

Should You Use Hot Or Cold Water In A Moka Pot

Using a Moka Pot can take your coffee experience to a new level. This classic Italian coffee-making device produces a robust and flavorful brew that many coffee enthusiasts love. However, to truly unlock the full potential of your Moka Pot, there is one crucial factor to consider – the temperature of the water you use.

1. Preheated Water: The Key to Optimum Extraction

To achieve the best results with your Moka Pot, it is recommended to use water that has been preheated to around 70°C. This temperature range allows for optimum extraction of the coffee grounds, bringing out the rich flavors and aromas that make Moka Pot coffee delightful. By using preheated water, you are ensuring that every sip is bursting with flavor.

Should I use hot or cold water in a Moka pot

2. Say No to Cold or Room Temperature Water

While using cold or room-temperature water may be tempting to save time and effort, it will result in under-extracted coffee. Cold water fails to adequately extract the flavor compounds from the coffee grounds, leading to a weaker and less satisfying cup of coffee. Avoid this disappointment by preheating your water for the perfect Moka Pot brew.

3. Another Perk of Preheated Water: Quick Brewing

Besides enhancing the taste, using preheated water has the added benefit of faster brewing. The heated water can produce the necessary pressure to push the water through the coffee grounds more efficiently, reducing brewing time. This is especially handy for those busy mornings when you need your coffee fixed quickly.

Now that you know the importance of using preheated water in your Moka Pot, it’s time to put this knowledge into practice. Following this simple tip, you can elevate your coffee experience and enjoy a rich, flavorful cup of Moka Pot coffee every time. Cheers to all the coffee lovers out there!

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