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How to get consistent results with a stovetop brewer

This question was asked by Angus, who wanted to know how to get repeatable and consistent results brewing coffee with a stovetop brewer. Thanks Angus, great question! I’ll write up an answer below, but we’ve also turned this into a What Would Dom Do episode, which you can watch below. After watching the video you can find the show notes and recipe below the video. 

Watch the video

A simple and repeatable approach

Some like it strong, some like it mild, but one thing we can all agree on is the simplicity and greatness of the moka pot, or the stovetop as some of us call it. Here are a few simple tips to follow.

Preheat your water

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Pre-heated water is ideal. It’s not essential, but it will reduce the chance of a poor extraction. Water will start extracting your coffee as low as 80 degrees celsius, which is not ideal. If you boil your water first using a kettle, then put that water in the bottom part of the stovetop, your cups will be amazing. If you’re in the great outdoors – like I am in the video above – or you don’t have a kettle, it may be hard to do this step, but it’s worth it.

Use a scale

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Weigh in, weigh out and control the brew ratio. Once you start using a scale, coffee seems easy. By weighing the water you use for brewing you can control dilution. And by weighing the coffee going into the basket, we can control strength. If you like your coffee a little weaker, no problem, dose less coffee into the basket. If you like your brew strong and intense, maximize the dose. Easy.

Screw the lid on tight

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Always check the seal on your stovetop brewer for wear and tear. If it looks worn, replace it. But you may be lucky like me, as my 15 year old aluminium battler-of-a-stovetop is still going on original seals, with moderate use, and meticulous cleaning. By screwing the base into the brewing chamber nice and tight we eliminate the chance of coffee seeping out the seal during brewing.

Fresh is best

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For best results, grind fresh beans just before you brew. Porlex hand mills still remain the best value for money. These hand mills grind excellent particle consistency for stovetop. You can grab one here if you want.

The recipe used in the video above

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  • 19g of ground coffee
  • 250g water
  • Brew time was about 5 minutes with cold water on a kmart camping stove that’s also lasted 15 years!

I hope this helps you make beautiful and consistent stovetop brews at home.

Dom

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