The Krups Moka Brew is a mildly finicky machine that yields outstanding coffee.
Positive Product Points
- A vacuum brewer that makes consistently outstanding coffee similar to Americano - Nice looking unit with small footprint.
Negative Product Points
- Difficult obtaining filters. - More labor-intensive than a drip brewer.
As a long-time drip drinker, I was interested in getting more out of my coffee, but wasn't ready to invest the time, effort or money into getting the best out of espresso. The CoffeeGeek QuickShot of the Moka Brew intrigued me, as did the consumer reviews and forum comments. When a forum member put one up for sale with filters included, I bit.
The CG QuickShot review is a must read for anyone contemplating a Moka Brew. Much has been written about the idiosyncrasies of this machine and how some folks never seem to get a satisfactory cup of coffee out of it, much less an excellent cup. Understanding the nature of the goal in mind may help. It's a brew that's midway between drip and espresso. So having a decent grinder is a must. I use whatever bean I'm grinding with my drip maker and set my Kitchen Aid A9 just two notches above the fine marking. 1/3 cup of whole beans equals one weighed oz. of beans and that suits me fine for 24 fluid oz. of filtered water.
An almost universal complaint about the Moka Brew is the difficulty adding water using the glass carafe. To add the water I use a measuring cup that is more narrow than the glass carafe.
Finding filters is another complaint and others have recommended buying Melitta #4 filters and using a template to cut them to size. The CGer who sold me mine included such a template. He used a 3.5" plastic disc, with a good sized magnet glued to it and another similar magnet so that about five filters are held in place at one time. Each #4 filter yields two Moka Brew filters and it takes only a short while to cut a box of 100 filters. You can order the correct filters from the Melitta website for only $1.09 for 100, but I've never seen them for sale at a store : https://www.melitta.com/cgi-bin/sgic0101.exe?UID=2005041007544670&ITN=62+8354&QTY=1
The Moka Brew is a bit more time consuming than drip. You must wet the filter and then tamp the grinds. Krups recommends a light tamp. I tried a hard tamp and while the results were generally good, sometimes the coffee was bitter. Nowadays I'm doing a medium tamp. Generally speaking the type of tamp should not make or break your Moka Brew experience. Correct placement of the carafe may appear tricky as the hole on the filer cover must align with the hole where the water is dispensed. A forum member pointed out "the grounds basket locks onto the carafe in just one position. If you insert the carafe with the handle pointing straight out, there are two little wings on the sides of the basket that catch on the vertical columns. Just push the carafe in until it hits, then lock and load."
Be aware that it may take about five minutes for the water to heat up and start flowing into the carafe. Cleaning the puck of coffee and getting the filter out is also takes more time and effort than when using a drip machine.
The results, however, are well worth it. Using the QuickShot review as my guide, I was making very good and then outstanding coffee almost from the get-go. The coffee is rich, intense and complex. Because of the time involved I usually use the Moka Brew on weekends. Most everyone who has tasted a cup has commented positively. I always immediately transfer freshly brewed coffee to a preheated thermal carafe and coffee from the Moka Brew tastes good for up to an hour.
In my experience the Krups Moka Brew is a mildly finicky machine that yields outstanding coffee.
Got an excellent price on an essentially new machine, filters and a filter template from a very pleasant CoffeeGeek member. Life is good in America!
Three Month Followup
I use the Krups Moka Brew several times a week and it still an excellent cup of coffee. This is a well made machine that reportedly and sadly is being discontinued, at least in the USA. Buy one now if it's available.
One Year Followup
After over two years of regularly using the KMB I'm still in love with this little machine. It may see daily use for weeks at a time, but when time is limited my quicker brewing Technivorm is a good alternative.
About a year ago rumor was that Krups was stopping production of the KMB so I picked up an extra new one on closeout through Amazon. The thought of ever having to go with out the MB is too much to bear.