A Moka pot is a convenient method of quickly making high-quality coffee at home. All you need is the pot, your freshly ground coffee, some water, and a stovetop and you’re good to go.
So what happens when you open your pot to begin making a fresh brew, only to find it filled with mold and mildew? Can the pot be cleaned? Does it need to be thrown away? And is the mold dangerous?
In this article, I will be answering these questions and more, so keep reading.
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Why do Moka pots become moldy?
Mold is not picky about where it lives and grows, as long as the circumstances are correct, it will grow pretty much anywhere it can. Unfortunately, this includes a Moka pot that’s been left on the kitchen counter for a few days with old coffee left in it.
If you do not properly clean a Moka pot after last using it, there will be tiny remnants of coffee grounds, this is what the mold strains use for nutrients.
There is also plenty of moisture left in the pot from either leftover coffee, or from steam that condensed to form water droplets on the lid.
A source of moisture and nutrients are the basics that mold needs to grow. When you couple that with the fact that you may have left the pot on a kitchen counter or by the sink in a nice warm kitchen, you have given mold everything it could possibly need.
What types of mold grow in a Moka pot?
There are many strains of mold that could potentially set up home in a Moka pot. However, there are two types of mold that you may find growing more often, aspergillus and penicillium. These are two strains that are commonly found growing throughout homes and are often seen in either white or black color variations, but they can also be seen in grey or sometimes blueish hues.
The aspergillus strain is commonly referred to as “black mold”, and can come in either toxic or non-toxic variations. Penicillium is often seen as a white or sometimes even blueish color, and again can either be toxic or non-toxic to humans or animals.
Is the mold that grows in a Moka pot dangerous?
Depending on the strain of mold you are dealing with, you could be facing either a toxic or non-toxic variety. Unfortunately, without testing, you will not be able to tell if the mold in your Moka pot is indeed toxic or not.
Some molds can release metabolites called mycotoxins when they feel threatened. If these mycotoxins are ingested or inhaled in large enough quantities or over long periods, they can cause harm to humans.
If you were to unknowingly be drinking moldy coffee for a prolonged period of time, the mycotoxins you would be ingesting or inhaling could cause any of the following symptoms:
- Brain fog
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
How to clean mold out of a Moka pot
Luckily, the process to clean mold from a Moka pot is fairly simple. You do, however, need to be careful to take note of the material your pot is made from, or you could end up damaging the interior lining.
For instance, if your pot is made out of aluminum, vinegar, or other highly acidic cleaning products could corrode the metal and produce a foul-tasting brew on the next use. If your pot is made out of stainless steel, you would be fine to use vinegar or other more acidic cleaning products.
Cleaning an aluminum Moka pot with mold
Aluminum pots and pans react with many cleaning materials, even some of the less harsh ones such as vinegar or baking soda.
Because you do not want to damage your Moka pot and spoil the taste of future brews, we recommend you use a mild detergent.
To clean an aluminum Moka pot with mold in it, use the following steps:
- Disassemble your Moka pot entirely.
- Make a solution of mild detergent with warm water.
- Clean each part of the pot thoroughly, paying close attention to any hard-to-reach areas.
- Allow the pot to completely dry before reassembling and storing away.
How to clean a stainless steel Moka pot of mold
Stainless steel is a much hardier material than aluminum, which means it can handle more acidic and generally more powerful cleaning products without fear of corrosion.
To clean a stainless steel Moka pot of mold, use the following steps:
- Make a solution of 1 part distilled vinegar to two parts water and pour it into a spray bottle.
- Disassemble your Moka pot and liberally spray the components with the vinegar solution.
- Leave the vinegar solution to work for ten minutes.
- Using warm water and detergent, wash the dead mold and vinegar residue off the pot, using a toothbrush or soft-bristled brush to work the mold out of difficult-to-reach areas.
- Allow the Moka pot to completely dry before storing.
How to prevent mold growth in a Moka pot
Preventing mold from growing in a Moka pot is a simple process, you simply need to make sure that mold does not have what it needs in order to live, which are mainly nutrients and moisture.
Ensure after each use of a Moka pot, you thoroughly clean it with warm soapy water, making sure there are no coffee grounds left in any part of the pot, including the filter. Once clean, allow the pot to air dry fully before storing it away again.
As long as there are no remnants of coffee and no moisture trapped in any parts of the pot, mold will find it very hard to grow.
Finding mold growing in a Moka pot is a frustrating experience, but it can be rectified with the deep cleaning techniques listed in this article, along with simple methods to prevent mold from growing again in the future.