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Maintaining Stove Top Espresso Makers

Maintaining Stove Top Espresso Makers
Category: Maintenance and Care
Comments: 14 [Read/Post]

Stovetop espresso makers, or moka pots, do require a little bit of care in order to keep them lasting for many years.

Maintenance of stovetop espresso makers

Stovetop espresso makers, or moka pots, do require a little bit of care in order to keep them lasting for many years. 

Stainless steel units are easier to maintain as aluminium ones tend to corrode from contact with water.  You can prevent this corrosion, though, by not allowing water to sit in the unit when not in use and making sure to clean and dry thoroughly after using.  Never allow these units to air-dry.  Store them dis-assembled as well, in case you missed a couple of drops of water while drying.  If drops get trapped in the unit, the corrosion will start.

DO NOT put aluminum pots and stove top espresso makers in the dishwasher. DO NOT use aggressive cleaning detergent.

Most recommend to use white vinegar and lemon juice combination.


Allowing a layer of coffee oils to build up on the walls of your aluminium moka pot is said to enhance the flavour, as well as provide a barrier between the aluminium and the coffee, for those worried about potential health risks of aluminium (research has yet to show any health risks from aluminum moka pots, but it is a concern for some people).  If you don't use the pot for a while, though, the coffee oils can go bad and you will want to wash them away and re-season before using again.

Limescale deposits, which may form on the inside of the bottom when hard water is used, can PERMANENTLY DAMAGE the coffee maker.

In order to prevent this from happening, DESCALING, as detailed below, must be performed at regular intervals:

1. Fill the bottom with water up to the safety valve

2. Add two teaspoons of citric acid ( use lemon juice and vinegar). You can also use one of our many descalers or coffee cleaning detergents.

3. Assemble the coffee maker without putting any coffee in the funnel-shaped filter and allow the solution to percolate into the top of the maker

4. After having done this, dispose of the water and acid solution and rise the coffee maker internal parts under running water

Make a brew as normal using water only and no coffee before using the coffee to maker coffee

Inside the moka pot is a rubber gasket or o-ring that will need to be replaced periodically.  Keep an eye on it and watch for signs of deterioration.  If you wait too long, it becomes more difficult to remove so try to stay proactive.  Keep in mind that moka pots come in all shapes and sizes and so do their gaskets.  They are typically not interchangeable so when you buy the pot, check that the store also carries replacement parts or find out where else you can get them.  Make a note of the brand and model names as well as the size.

The filter plate and safety valve can also be replaced if needed so, again, find out in advance where you can get them.  Generally, the only other spare parts you might be able to get are handles so if you break a part of your pot, you may have to buy a whole new one.

How to use Stainless steel and Aluminum Stove Top Espresso Makers:
Read the following cleaning instructions: http://www.espressoplanet.com/espresso-coffee-machine/hot_to_use_stove_top.html

Comments on Maintaining Stove Top Espresso Makers

Ruby 12/11/2017 05:24
I have a stainless steel one. I noticed a spot with rust looking around the edge at the bottom. At first I thought it’s just coffee stain but after a week or two of not using the spots developed. The bottom edge is an awkward spot to clean and dry properly. What’s the best way to remove the rust? Thanks!
Administrator Note:
Very often those are mineral deposits and not rust. Try a product like the Urnex Cleancaf® Brand Cleaner and Descaler
Morgan 24/10/2017 00:00
I have an Ilsa stovetop and the gasket around the filter plate is really dry and cracked...can it be removed and replaced?
Administrator Note:
Yes, you just need to find the correct size gasket
Susan 20/10/2017 11:24
I washed my stovetop espresso maker with dish detergent! (Once.) Have I ruined it?
Myles Cabot 16/10/2017 00:24
Our pot was in the dishwasher and now the gray color cannot be eliminated even with repeated paper towel rubbing. Is this Al oxide? Is it harmful? Should I worry about it?
Jody 11/02/2017 14:45
I see rust in the part that you put the water in . The pot is suppose to be stainless steel. How do I get the rust off.
Administrator Note:
Usually it is not rust but scale (calcium mineral) build up. It looks like corrosion. Use a cleaning descaling agent such as Urnex Dezcal or Cleancaf.
alpod 16/12/2016 21:18
before using it for the first time should I boil it without coffe? Thanks!
Administrator Note:
That is for sure a great idea with any espresso coffee maker, thanks for mentioning.
MJ 23/08/2016 15:11
My husband.thought it would be a good idea to put water and milk in the base. He had done it 3 times and I notice now that the bottom is black and burnt with milk. I've tried a vinegar soLuton to descale but my coffee still tastes burnt. Any cleaning suggestions?
Administrator Note:
Unfortunately burnt milk is difficult to remove. Did you try good old baking soda?
Accident 05/06/2016 23:20
The coffee maker was run through the dishwasher and now has a black tarnish that comes off the pot. It it ruined or now leaking toxins? Can it be soaked in a safe solvent? Thanksgiving for the help.
Administrator Note:
Silver and aluminum products should not be cleaned in dishwashers.
Mary G. 08/03/2016 13:36
The valve is faulty on our stainless steel stove top espresso maker. Can this be replaced? I've looked on line but can't find any supplier of them.
Administrator Note:
Yes they can be replaced and yes they are hard to find. We used to have them until the manufacturer stopped supplying them.
Daniel 27/02/2016 16:42
I have a Bialetti espresso maker that I received from a family member. When I first used it, water was leaking from sides. I replaced the gasket and ran the espresso maker without water and everything appeared to work smoothly. When I put espresso grounds in to make coffee, water began to leak from the sides again. Any ideas of what may be wrong?
Administrator Note:
Most likely your grind is set too fine. Go coarser.
Put a little bit of olive oil on the gasket so you can tighten it a bit more.
Madeline 12/04/2015 16:05
Any advice on the best way to clean a filter plate, other than using a needle to poke out the accumulated coffee residue in each hole?
Administrator Note:
Try to soak the filter plate in a cleaning solution using either "Cafiza" or "Cleancaf" by Urnex.
CGillihan 15/02/2015 02:03
I may/may not have a problem with my Imusa stove top espresso maker. Since first getting the Imusa, the gasket and filter seemed permanently fixed in the upper pot. Then it fell off, and I thought it was "broken." I thought the filter needed to be attached/glued to the upper pot. When I saw the picture provided here, all parts were separated. Do I have a problem?
Administrator Note:
The Filter plate is held by the gasket in the upper part. Don't use glue.
bee 10/10/2014 17:26
are you supposed to take apart the gasket & filter plate in the upper part of the stovetop espresso maker each time you clean & dry the pot (after make a pot of espresso)?? ... or does this prematurely wear out the gasket (by being pried up & out each day)?
I've been thoroughly rinsing the upper & lower chambers & the funnel with boiling water right after I serve the espresso, which means the pot dries almost instantly (the aluminum is such a great conductor). But I haven't pried out the gasket & filter plate very often, as I worry it might damage the sealing capacity.
Administrator Note:
I would clean it thoroughly at least once a week.
Elaine 11/08/2014 09:17
This was very helpful as there were no instructions with the unit which was a gift.

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