Moka Pot - To Clean or Not to Clean

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Should you season a Moka pot?

Yes
3
75%
No
1
25%
Doesn't Matter
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 4

Moka Pot - To Clean or Not to Clean

Postby SpiralOcean » Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:52 pm

I'm surprised at how much conflicting information there is about whether or not to clean the Moka Pot (stovetop espresso).

I have an old Starbucks Vapore espresso maker that I stopped using because the coffee pulls were bitter and acrid. I tried cleaning with lemon juice, changing how I tamped, grinding the coffee just before pulling the shot, all to no avail.

So I gave up.

Went to drip coffee for a while, but don't like the paper filter.

Back to my moka pot, and again had acrid coffee taste.

In researching the web about cleaning moka pot, there seems to be a lot of suggestions for not cleaning it. Letting it build up a coating of coffee oils which people refer to as seasoning.

However, any post I have read about espresso making has stressed that the espresso maker must be cleaned of coffee oils.

Why would this not apply to the Moka pot?

Well, today I took the plunge and cleaned the Moka pot. Used a small wire brush to clean out the nozzle. Took off the gasket and cleaned the filter. The only place I couldn't clean was the inside of the coffee basket.

Made a batch and the coffee did not taste acrid.

Then went online to purchase some coffee cleaner for my espresso maker and Moka pot.

http://www.urnex.com/

I'm now a firm believer in cleaning. What's the most important aspect of making a good cup of coffee? Cleaning.

It would be a good test to have two Moka pots, make a serving of coffee in each of them every day, clean one and let the other build up a residue of seasoning, and see how the taste changes.

I have a steel Moka. Maybe the aluminum Moka pots need the seasoning to keep the aluminum taste at bay?

Does anyone have any thoughts about seasoning a coffee pot. Is it a myth? At some point does the seasoning make the coffee taste better?
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RE: Moka Pot - To Clean or Not to Clean

Postby zix » Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:52 pm

An aluminium moka pot needs to be seasoned every now and then when it has been out of use for, say, more than a day. In my experience, this goes for stainless moka pots too, in a way - even though they aren't at all as sensitive to being out of commission for a while as aluminium pots are, you can sometimes feel the difference when you put it on the second time.
However, this does not mean the moka pot should be kept in a dirty state.

Seasoning a moka pot means you brew once or twice (preferrably with just a little coffee) and just pour it out. Then, brew for real.
I find, every monday we need to season our moka pot at the job. Usually I just put water in, no coffee, as this is often enough. If I happen to have some old powder left in the grinder, might as well put that in too. It often needs to be done twice.
If I try to brew monday morning without doing this, the first batch is always, as you say, acrid tasting. The seasoning brew gets rid of the metallic/acrid/aluminium/whatever it is - taste.

Cleaning up, as you have already seen, is always important and has nothing to do with the seasoning brew. Always clean it up good after using it - since some aluminium is known to be a bit porous, it is probably best not to use a lot of washing-up liquid. I usually don't use any of that at all, unless the moka pot really needs it. Citric acid and the like is a no-no.
A stainless pot is much easier to clean, and you don't need to worry about cleaning agents sticking in the metal (sounds dirty to me ;))
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Postby SpiralOcean » Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:20 am

Thanks for the post zix.

Now I'm getting the picture. Mokka pots need to be cleaned weekly, and then seasoned by making a pot or two. I'll try this out and see how it works.

After spending some time on the internet trying to find out about how much time before coffee oil goes rancid, I've come upon this theory for the seasoning.

It's all about the oils. The first brew in a Mokka pot, the oils will adhear to the metal. Oil and water repel each other, and the oil would rather stick to the metal than be carried with the water. The second brew the oils will not stick to the metal as much because there is now an oily covering on the metal. This allows more of the oil to make it's way to the cup.

I've read some posts about cholesterol levels and the amount of oil in coffee. Which is why some people prefer paper filters, less oil gets into the coffee cup. At the same time, it's the oils that give coffee it's flava.

Just some theories I'm speculating on.
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Postby zix » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:58 pm

Yep, lots of volatile oils in coffee, and yes again, that is where the subtler taste sensations are at. These are not to be compared with food oil in general, of course. It is not like drinking a cup of coffee is equal to drinking a cup of olive oil - even though it sometimes sounds like that when listening to some people.
About cholesterol levels - well, I'd say we often worry about them in excess. Concerning the amount of cholesterol present in coffee - it really isn't all that much, unless one uses a spanner as a coffee cup. Lots more cholesterol in an egg, but that doesn't stop us from eating them. Also, our bodies can, and do, produce 5-10 times the amount of cholesterol we can eat. So if our cholesterol levels rise above normal, we might need to find the solution somewhere else. why is our body's cholesterol production racing? what disrupted the balance?
OT, but still interesting, sorry for rambling along.
‹• Bezzera B3000AL • Strietman ES3 • Chemex • Cona C size • Aeropress • Vev moka • Bialetti Brikka • Espro • Cezve • Bacchi Espresso • Arrarex Caravel •
• HG-1 • Lido 1 & E-T • OE Pharos •
• oven • hot air gun • Behmor •›
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