Can A Moka Pot Explode? Know The Facts

By Evelina •  Updated: 05/18/22 •  12 min read

Have you ever placed your Moka Pot on the stove and as time went by, and you were waiting for your coffee to brew, you started to wonder if your Moka Pot could explode?

Moka Pots are designed to withstand high temperatures and pressure, so it is very unlikely for them to explode. However, if the Moka Pot is not used properly, there is a small chance that it could blow up.

And now you are probably thinking, how you could use your Moka Pot improperly and cause it to explode.

Thankfully, we are here to help. In this article, we will go over some of the things you should avoid doing with your Moka Pot to prevent it from exploding.

Can A Moka Pot Explode?

can a Moka pot explode

A Moka Pot can explode under the right (or in this case wrong) circumstances. If you take a minute to think about how a Moka Pot works everything will start making sense.

A Moka Pot is designed to be placed on a stovetop where the heat will eventually build up enough pressure to force the water from the bottom chamber all the way up to the filter basket and eventually the top chamber where your coffee will be waiting.

It is an espresso machine, without the fancy price tag, that uses steam and pressure to brew coffee. Espresso machines though, use around 9 bars of pressure to brew a shot, while Moka Pots only use 1-2 bars.

1. The Pressure

So, this is where the first reason why a Moka Pot can explode comes into play and that is because of the pressure.

If the Moka Pot is not put together correctly, or if something is blocking the safety valve, the pressure will continue to build until…boom.

When we say boom, we don’t mean that your coffee maker will explode into thousands of pieces, but rather the pressure will cause the top of the Moka Pot to fly off, spraying boiling water and coffee grounds everywhere.

2. The Grind Size

The Moka Pot grind size that you are going to use is important for one reason, and that is because if the grind is too fine it is going to block the filter basket.

If the grind is too fine, and the water can’t get through, the pressure will start to build until eventually…you guessed it, the Moka Pot will explode.

Imagine having a car and the breaks are not working. You’re going to go fast, and eventually, you’re going to crash. The same thing happens with a Moka Pot if the grind is too fine and the water can’t get through, or in our example, you can’t stop your car.

I know this may sound a little bit far-fetched, but we have seen it happen before. So, please, for the sake of your Moka Pot use a medium to fine grind, and if you’re not sure, err on the side of a little bit coarser.

3. The Tamping

Tamping your coffee grounds is essential to making coffee with an espresso machine. But with the Moka Pot, it can do more harm than good.

We tamp our coffee grounds in an espresso machine to help promote an even extraction.

However, with the Moka Pot, if you tamp your coffee grounds, it can actually block the filter basket and again, the pressure will build until…you know what happens next.

Don’t get me wrong, tamping is a good way to help make sure all the coffee grounds are extracted, but with the Moka Pot, you don’t want to go too crazy with it.

Just give the coffee grounds a light tap to help level them out, and you should be good to go.

4. The Safety/ Pressure Valve

All stovetop espresso makers come with a safety valve that is designed to release the pressure if it gets too high.

However, if the safety valve is not working correctly, or is damaged, the pressure will continue to build until the Moka Pot explodes.

If you have an older Moka Pot make sure to check it every now and then to make sure that the safety valve is still working correctly. If it doesn’t you need to replace the valve or get a new Moka Pot.

5. Getting A Cheaper Alternative

The original Moka Pot was designed by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 and if you are a coffee fanatic, especially with Moka Pot coffee its history is old news to you.

But what you may not know is that there are now dozens of companies that make their version of the Moka Pot.

I’m not saying that these alternatives are not good, but you need to be aware that some of them are not made with the same quality as the original Bialetti Moka Pot.

Cheap materials and bad design are something that can’t be overstated enough. So, if you are looking to get a Moka Pot to make sure to do your research and don’t just buy the first one you see.

Your best bet is to go with a classic Bialetti coffee pot, but if you can’t find one or you’re on a budget there are other options out there.

6. Putting The Filter Upside Down

This isn’t for everyone out there, but some people don’t use the classic filter basket that comes with their Moka Pot.

There are other filters, like the Competition Moka Pot filter that are designed to extract more flavors and aromas from your coffee.

However, if you’re using one of these filters, you need to make sure that you put it in the Moka Pot the right way. If you don’t, in some cases, your pot may explode.

Read Also: Can You Use A Paper Filter with A Moka Pot?

Bialetti Brikka Explosion

The Bialetti Brikka is just like any other Moka Pot out there in terms of design and materials. So, if you have one and are interested if it can explode, the answer is yes.

The Brikka can explode, for the same reasons that any other Moka Pot can. It’s all about the pressure building up inside the pot and not being able to release.

If you have a Brikka, make sure to check it regularly for any damage or wear and tear. If you see any, it’s probably best to replace it before it’s too late.

Related Read: Bialetti Brikka vs Moka Express: Is There Any Difference?

How to Prevent Your Moka Pot from Exploding

Moka Pot coffee maker explode

We talked about the reasons that a Moka Pot can explode, but what can you do to prevent it? Here are a few things that you can do:

1. Clean And Descale Your Moka Pot Regularly.

This is going to be the most important bit of maintenance that you can do for your Moka Pot.

You need to make sure that you are cleaning it after every use and descaling it regularly. If you don’t do this, coffee grounds will start to build up and they can clog the safety valve.

When this happens, the pressure will start to build up and your Moka Pot will likely explode.

2. Use Fresh Distilled Water or Bottled Water.

Water can also affect the longevity of your coffee maker. If you only use tab water with your Moka Pot the minerals and chemicals in it will build up over time and clog it.

To prevent this from happening you should only use distilled water or bottled water. This water is basically pure H2O and will not cause any build-up in your coffee maker.

Note: Distilled water can remove a little bit of taste from your coffee since it removes all the minerals. If you want to keep the taste in your coffee, use bottled water instead. It’s up to you to decide.

3. Use A Timer To Prevent Overheating.

If you are a beginner with the Moka Pot, it’s very easy to forget about it and let it boil for too long. This is a surefire way to cause an explosion.

You can use the timer on your phone or the built-in timer on your stove to make sure that you don’t forget about your coffee maker. The recommended brewing time is between 3-5 minutes, so set your timer for 4 minutes to be safe.

4. Don’t Overfill The Bottom Chamber with Water.

The metal valve inside the bottom chamber of your Moka Pot is there for a reason. It indicates how much water you should put in so that the coffee doesn’t come out too weak or too strong.

If you overfill the bottom chamber with water, there won’t be enough room for all that coffee in the upper chamber. This can lead to an explosion since the water will have nowhere else to go except out the sides of your coffee maker.

5. Don’t Start with The Heat On High.

You want the process to be smooth and steady, so don’t put the heat on high right away. This can cause the water to boil too quickly and build up too much pressure.

Even an experienced barista won’t be able to notice how fast the water is boiling and how much pressure is building up. It’s best to start low and then increase the heat if needed.

Read Also: 12 Common Moka Pot Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

What Else Can Go Wrong With A Moka Pot?

Moka Pot coffee makers

A Moka Pot explosion is one thing out of many that can go wrong with your coffee maker. Admit it, people mess up more frequently than we think. So, let’s put an end to this and list a few more things that can go wrong with your Moka Pot.

1. The Handle has broken.

The handle of your Moka Pot is made out of the same materials as the rest of the pot. So, if you use it incorrectly it can break. One way that your handle can break is if it’s too close to the stove.

If the handle is close to the heat source, it can get too hot and break. Remember that after you finish brewing your coffee, the pot will still be hot. So, make sure to wait a few minutes before you pick it up by the handle.

You can use a towel to grab the Moka Pot from the body if you can’t wait.

2. There is still water at the bottom of the pot.

Not all the water will be used during the brewing process. So, there will still be some water left in the pot when you’re done. This isn’t a big deal at all and you can just dump it out.

But if you added more water than you should have, then there will be water left at the bottom. This is an indication that you overfilled the pot and you need to be more careful next time.

You May Also Like: Can You Half Fill A Moka Pot?

3. Your Moka Pot changed color from the inside.

If you don’t dry your Moka Pot after you clean it, it can start to change color on the inside. This is because water will condense on the inside and cause rust.

You will also end up with a weird smell coming from your coffee maker. So, make sure to dry it off completely after you wash it. You can even use a hairdryer to speed up the process (yes I tried it, it works).

4. Your Moka Pot leaks water from the sides.

This happens probably because you didn’t screw the top and bottom parts together correctly. Make sure that you screwed it on tight and that there aren’t any gaps.

You can do a test by adding water to the pot and see if it leaks from the sides. If it does, then you need to unscrew it and try again.

If it still leaks water from the sides it can be because the gasket (the rubber ring) is old and needs to be replaced, or there are still coffee grounds that need to be cleaned out.

Frequently Asked Questions

can a moka pot explode

Can an espresso maker explode?

A manual espresso maker is another word for saying Moka Pot. So, yes an espresso maker can explode if you don’t use it correctly. You need to be extra careful with the amount of water you use and make sure not to overfill it.

Everything Happens For A Reason

So, the end quote for this article is that everything happens for a reason. In this case, the reason is that people need to be more careful when using their Moka Pots.

If you’re still having trouble with your Moka Pot, then maybe it’s time for a new one. If your Moka Pot is brand new and you still having problems, then you can benefit from this blog post.

I hope this article was helpful and that you learned something new. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

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Evelina

Evelina’s passion for coffee could never been hidden. Having worked as a barista, she learned the true value of the coffee bean and its secrets. As she continued to evolve as a barista, so did her knowledge, techniques on making different coffee blends and most importantly how to operate every kind of gear when it comes to coffee. Having a degree in biomedicine and being a barista, allows her to provide our community with in-depth knowledge surrounding the topics of coffee.