What Makes a Moka Pot Turn Black?

Picture of Three Moka Pots with Dark Spots

Moka pots are a stylish way to make barista-quality coffee at home, but over time, they might lose their shine. If your moka pot turns black unexpectedly, don’t throw it away! Your moka pot will be just fine, provided you care for it properly. In this article, you’ll learn what to do when your moka pot turns black.

What is a Moka Pot?

A moka pot is a distinct style of coffee maker characterized by its brewing process, which uses steam, rather than a standard drip feed. Moka pots are stovetop coffee machines, and the moka pot brewing method has been favored by coffee enthusiasts since its invention in 1933.

Why Your Moka Pot Turned Black

Whether your moka pot has made a complete transformation or even if there are just a few dark spots, discoloration is never a good sign. A properly maintained moka pot should appear clean and free from residue or debris. That dark discoloration you see is actually a form of rust, and you definitely don’t want it in your morning coffee.


The primary cause for a blackened moka pot is oxidation, or the process of rust. Over time, as you continue to use your moka pot, there will be some natural wear and tear on the materials. Most frequently, moka pots are made of either aluminum or stainless steel.

While a stainless steel moka pot won’t usually rust, it can still become worn down from frequent use. Aluminum moka pots, on the other hand, require special maintenance to prevent rust. You’ll have to clean these more frequently. If your moka pot came with an instruction manual, always consult those guidelines first to make sure you’re caring for it correctly.

Abrasive Scrubbing

Moka pots can’t handle the standard cleaning process you use for other dishes. Because they’re a unique device, they have to be very carefully maintained. If you’re handwashing your moka pot with a harsh scrubber or intense cleaning chemicals, you might be stripping the metal by washing it too roughly.

Aluminum moka pots are particularly tricky to clean because even a gentle scrubbing can sometimes cause scratches. Aluminum moka pots are built with a protective coating along the inside which prevents your brews from tasting metallic. If you scrub, you could risk breaking it, and your moka pot will make low quality coffee indefinitely.

Risks of a Rusted Moka Pot

Not only does a blackened moka pot look unappealing, but it’s not healthy for you, either. If you neglect to clean your moka pot and use it while there’s discoloration inside, you can risk burning it and cooking it into your brew. 

This will give your coffee a burnt, very bitter taste, and can damage your moka pot further. You wouldn’t cook in a rusted, uncleaned saucepan – so don’t do it with your moka pot.

Moka Pot Maintenance

Moka pots are notoriously difficult to clean thoroughly, and they have a lot of specific requirements. Odds are, if there’s black spots on your moka pot, it’s because you need to take better care of it.

You should rinse your moka pot thoroughly after every use to prevent buildup and residue inside the chambers. Never run your moka pot through a dishwasher – this will ruin it! Instead, try to rinse regularly and limit your use of dish soap and other chemicals. These can give your coffee an unpleasant aftertaste.

How to Remove Black Spots

When black spots appear on your moka pot, it’s time to get down to business and nip it in the bud. You can also use these steps once a month to keep your moka pot in ideal condition. Here’s how you can fix it:

  1. Disassemble the moka pot.
  2. Check each individual piece for signs of rust or clogs.
  3. In a separate, large container, combine 3 parts water with 1 part white vinegar.
  4. Next, soak each piece of the moka pot in the solution. Make sure that every part is fully submerged.
  5. Allow it to soak for 30-45 minutes.
  6. Remove the parts from the solution and rinse them.
  7. Assemble the moka pot.
  8. Using just water and no coffee, brew with the moka pot. Once it’s finished, empty the water down the drain. Don’t skip this step! This keeps that vinegar flavor away from your next brew.
  9. Finally, rinse the newly cleaned moka pot.

If the black spots are particularly difficult, you can gently scrub them away using a small amount of dish soap and warm water. However, if it doesn’t seem to be working, you might just have to trash the moka pot. 

Although most rusted moka pots can be saved, sometimes you’re better off investing in a new one than ruining it with intense scrubbing. Fortunately, they’re affordable and easy to find online. Just make sure to take care of your new one to prevent the same mistakes from happening again!

Seasoning a Moka Pot

You may have heard of “seasoning” a moka pot before. This is referring to the act of brewing coffee in a freshly cleaned coffee machine to remove the chemical undertones in its flavor. You can do this with your moka pot by brewing 2-3 cups of coffee after cleaning it and discarding the results.

When you use your moka pot, the coffee forms a thin layer of wax and oil along the inside of the pot. This layer actually protects your coffee from unwanted chemicals, metal, and potential residue. It also ensures that your coffee has a fuller, more pronounced flavor.

After every cup you brew using your moka pot, make sure that you fully dry all the machine’s parts. This can do a lot to prevent rust and extend your moka pot’s lifespan.

Plan Ahead

Oxidation and stains can be a big problem for fans of the moka pot brewing method. However, with the proper care and maintenance, your moka pot can have a much longer lifespan, and will provide with you a perfect cup of coffee every morning.