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Topic: Moka Pot help (6 msgs / 110 lines)
1) From: EuropaChris
I recently aquired a 4 cup GB Musa moka pot to add to my arsenal of brewing methods.  I tried it out with straight water at first, and the water made it "up north" quickly once the water boiled.  I then brewed a batch with some scrap coffee and it seemed to brew OK, if more slowly.
Then, this a.m., I tried to brew a "real" batch.  Grind was about 3 clicks more coarse than Silvia uses on my Solis 166.  I filled the basket and leveled it, no tamp.  Filled the bottom with water to the bottom of the valve, assembled, and placed it on the electric stove, medium high heat.
I never really got much coffee out of it.  It spent the time after the water was boiling spitting a bit of coffee out of the spout as well as a bunch of steam.  After a minute or two of that, I gave up thinking there was no way I was going to drink that.  After it cooled a bit, I took it apart and only half the water was out of the bottom chamber (no surprise - there was nothing in the top).  At no time was there steam venting from the pressure relief, so I don't think I choked it.  The grounds were wet, but not saturated.
So, why would I get a bunch of steam out of the spout and no/little coffee?  The filter basket tube dips straight into the water, so any pressure from steam *should* force water up into the grounds, no?  It worked OK with just water, too.  The basket/tube attachment isn't leaking, so maybe I did not have the top screwed on tight enough to seal the basket around the edge of the pot???
Thanks for any help, gang. I know this process works, as I've seen it done and drank moka coffee before.  Just wondering what I may be doing wrong.
Chris
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2) From: jim gundlach
on 7/6/01 9:01 AM, EuropaChris at EuropaChris
wrote:
<Snip>
   The one time this happened to me I was sloppy and got grounds between the
gasket and the seal point.
   I find the moka pot makes great espresso at an altitude of 7,000 feet or
so.
   Jim Gundlach
   roasting over pecan wood fires
   in Shorter, AL
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3) From: Paul Jolly
Chris,
I've used my moka pot on and off for the last ten
or twelve years.  I disagree with Tom's
suggestion that the grounds not be tamped--in my
experience, tamping makes a better cup (or at
least stronger, which I like).  Also check to
make sure that the top is screwed on rather
tightly, to avoid seepage around the
threads...the seepage is rarely a problem, but
the loss of pressure it indicates can keep you
from a full pot.  Finally, check your heat
source.  Try brewing with low heat, then brew
batches with successively higher heat.  I've
found my zone at a low-medium flame, but each
stovetop is different.
BTW, I grind with a whirlyblade.  I get quite a
bit of sediment, but the brew is rich & full. 
Keep at it!  With your battery of grinders & love
of fine coffee, you'll find success.
Cheers,
Paul
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4) From: EuropaChris
Thanks for the tips.  I'll be sure to clean the gasket area and make sure it's fully screwed tight.  As I think about it, I bet steam was seeping around the outside of the filter basket, between the gasket, and up into the top spout.
I'll try it again this evening and report.  I may haul out the Coleman camp stove and try a flame under it to see if that helps.  The bottom of the pot is not flat, but has a center recessed area.  Between that and the small size of the pot, there is a limited contact area between the pot and the element on the electric.  I do hate electric stoves...
Chris
homeroast wrote:
<Snip>
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5) From: JKG
  I do hate electric stoves...
<Snip>
Me too, and that's why I picked up an inexpensive portable
butane stove from ebay.  I have had some trouble finding
the appropriate butane canisters for the thing, but I should
have some early next week.  Butane stoves supposedly work safely
in the house and are popular in Europe.  I'm anxious to try it out 
with the growing vac pot collection.
JKG
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6) From: Glenn R. Holmes
Hi. 
I read the followup replies so I won't comment on that. 
I found that what works for me is to mound the coffee, something like a
pyramid. I got that from a posting somewhere called "Every Italian
Knows"
The coffee levels itself out and I always get a nicely formed puck. 
Glenn 
EuropaChris wrote:
<Snip>
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