If you’ve just bought a new moka pot and realized your coffee tastes horrible, relax! Without proper seasoning, new mokas often give your coffee a metallic or chemical aftertaste.
Luckily, seasoning a moka is quick and easy and will have your coffee tasting great in under 30 minutes.
The simplest way to season your moka pot is firstly to boil some water and salt to sterilize it, then heat some strong coffee several times to coat the inside of your moka with a thin layer of coffee. This prevents any foul metallic taste from seeping into your coffee.
In this article, we’ll look at the step-by-step process you can follow to properly season your moka pot and get that smooth, authentic Italian-tasting coffee every time.
How To Season a Moka Pot (Step By Step)
If you just want to know how to season your moka pot step-by-step, here are some simple instructions for you.
The entire process takes about 30 minutes and will last forever (or until you wash your moka pot with strong detergent). These instructions work on both stainless steel and aluminum moka pots.
1. Rinse Your Moka Pot with Clean Water
Remove any old coffee grounds, any particles of dust or dirt that got into your moka during transit.
2. Fill Your Moka with Salt Water
Fill your moka until it’s ful and add a tablespoon of salt. This helps to sterilize your moka pot so it’s ready for your fresh coffee.
Moka pots are usually made from aluminum or stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about the salt causing rust.
3. Boil the Salt Water and Empty It Out
Put your moka on the stove and heat it up until the salt water is boiling. (You don’t have to wait until the water evaporates, as soon as it’s boiling you can empty it out)
This stage is important as there can be industrial residue from the manufacturing process that can taint the taste of your coffee. Things like grease and anti-oxidation paste used in Aluminum manufacturing.
Be careful of the hot water. Don’t hold your moka pot by the top handle when you’re unscrewing it, it can break easily.
4. Brew a Regular Coffee
Once you’ve tipped out the salt water, it’s time to make your first brew. Add your beans and create a regular pot of coffee with your new sterilized moka.
This process lightly coats the inside of your moka pot with the natural oils and waxes found in coffee beans, helping to insulate your future brews against any metallic taste coming from the walls of the coffee pot.
5. Tip Out the Coffee (Do Not Drink!)
The sole purpose of the first couple of pots is to impregnate the porous aluminum on the inside of your coffee pot with waxes and oils from your coffee beans.
Although your first pot of coffee will be safe to drink, it will have a metallic aftertaste since it’s being made on completely raw aluminum so it’s better to tip it out.
If your curiosity is getting the better of you, try a spoonful just so you can experience the taste improving as the seasoning process progresses.
6. Brew and Tip Out Two More Pots of Coffee
Repeat steps four and five again, brewing coffee and tipping it out. Although this seems wasteful, if you try the coffee before you tip it you will realize it’s a necessary evil.
Used coffee grounds have multiple uses around the house, so you can feel less bad about wasting coffee.
Once you’ve boiled the salt water and two or three coffee brews, your moka should be perfectly seasoned and ready for you to use.
By this point, the oil and wax from the beans will have created a very thin film on the surface of the inside of your coffee pot, preventing any metallic taste from transferring to your future coffee.
How Does Seasoning Affect The Flavor of your Coffee?
Seasoning doesn’t directly make your coffee taste any better, but it does prevent any unwanted flavors leftover from the manufacturing process or the metal from transferring to your coffee.
Think of it like wearing sunscreen on vacation. Sunscreen doesn’t make your vacation fun, but without it you will end up with sunburn and your trip will be ruined.
How To Break In a New Moka Pot
You can break in your new moka pot by seasoning it. This involves boiling some salt water in the pot to sterilize it, then brewing and discarding two or three initial pots of coffee to lightly coat the aluminum interior of the moka pot with oils and waxes from the coffee beans.
The breaking-in process for a new moka pot involves cleaning out any industrial residue left over from the manufacturing process or transit and brewing a few pots of coffee to get rid of any metallic aftertaste a new appliance sometimes gives your coffee.
Do You Have To Season a Moka Pot?
You don’t have to season a moka pot if you don’t want to. Without seasoning, the first few pots of coffee might taste bad, but it’s still safe to drink.
Bialetti recommends that you discard the first two or three pots of coffee, this is effectively the seasoning process as the first few brews get rid of the metallic taste and create a thin seal of coffee oil and wax on the interior of the moka pot.
Whether or not you make a conscious effort to season your moka pot is irrelevant. It will become seasoned anyway as you continue to use it.
If you’ve just bought a new moka (or you’ve thoroughly cleaned your existing one with detergent) it’s probably a good idea to season it. Both aluminum and steel moka pots need to be seasoned since both metals confer a metallic taste into your coffee on the first few brews.
What Happens if you use an Unseasoned Moka Pot?
There’s no serious risk to using an unseasoned moka pot, the only effect is that your first few pots of coffee might taste bad.
Even if you decide not to take the time to season your moka pot, the taste of your coffee will improve over time as the pot becomes seasoned naturally the more you use it.
How Often Should You Season your Moka Pot?
It’s only necessary to season your moka pot once when you first buy it. After that, it won’t need seasoned again unless you use strong detergent to clean it. (Don’t do that!)
To avoid having to reseason your moka pot, avoid using strong detergents when you’re cleaning it.
There are a few options for cleaning your coffee maker without using detergents, including the baking soda and water method, and the vinegar method.
Check out my guide to cleaning your coffee maker with vinegar, where I explain how to do it and the benefits of using vinegar compared to detergents.
How Long does it Take To Season a Moka Pot?
The entire seasoning process for a new moka pot only takes about 30 minutes in total. Most moka pots take between 5 and 7 minutes to make a pot, so you’re looking at around 20-30 minutes in total to boil the salt water then make and discard 3 pots of coffee.
To sum up, seasoning your new moka pot is an important step that shouldn’t be skipped, otherwise you may end up with impurities in your coffee from the manufacturing process, or a metallic taste in your brew.
Seasoning your moka pot is a simple task, and shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes in total.
To season your new moka pot, simply boil some salt water in it to sterilize it, followed by two or three cups of coffee. This will coat the inside of your coffee pot with a very fine layer of wax and oil from the coffee beans, insulating your coffee against any unwanted metallic taste.