The Best Blend To Use In Your Moka Pot, According To A Barista Champion

Your cup of joe is only as good as the coffee you put in it, and the moka pot is exceptionally good at bringing out the full flavor of your grounds — for better and worse. In the interest of finding the best blend to use in a moka pot, we reached out to Andrea Allen, who is the co-founder and co-owner of Onyx Coffee Lab, the 2020 U.S. Barista Champion, and the 2021 World Barista Champion runner-up.

Allen told us, "My suggestion would be to utilize a developed specialty coffee blend from a respected roaster for an espresso-style beverage." Technically speaking, the moka pot doesn't make espresso, but it's as close as you can get without buying an expensive machine. That being the case, Allen is not alone in thinking that espresso grounds are the way to go. Although you could go for a cheaper store-bought brand, the moka pot is going to make the flaws in cheap coffees stand out even more since it tends to amplify flavors.

You should be able to tell from the packaging whether it's an espresso blend or a coffee blend. The difference between espresso and coffee comes down to how the beans are roasted and the grind size. If you're brewing coffee with big chunky pieces of coffee beans, that's a coarse grind. If the coffee grinds are extra small and look almost like a powder, that's a fine grind.

Moka pots aren't limited to espresso grounds

Even if moka pots are well suited for espresso-style coffee grounds, that doesn't mean you can't use them with other styles. "For a lighter, more adventurous coffee drinker," Allen went on. "I'd recommend a single-origin coffee from Ethiopia." Single origin is one of the many coffee terms that can be difficult to keep track of, but it means the coffee comes from one location. Terroir (which refers to the various characteristics of a place like soil condition and surrounding plant life) plays an important role in flavor. Specialty coffee suppliers retain the unique characteristics of a particular coffee farm's terroir by not mixing it with coffee beans from other farms.

Since moka pots are all about concentrating flavor to a higher intensity than, for example, pour-over, you can use them to make high-quality non-espresso coffee grounds even more flavorful. Whether you go for a light or a dark roast is up to you, though a light roast will have more unique characteristics to focus on. If you have a particular single-origin coffee that you like, it would be interesting to try the two versions side by side — one cup made how you normally make coffee and the other cup using a moka pot. Not only will you get to know your coffee better, you'll also be able to tell how the method of preparation affects the outcome.