When it comes to seeking the best moka pot, not all are created equal. The moka pot goes by many other names: bialetti, percolator or a stovetop espresso maker. Whatever you call it, it's hard to deny that it is one of the best ways to make a great tasting coffee.
If you own a stovetop espresso maker, it can be made from stainless steel or aluminum, we will discuss later why one of these is worse than the o.
In this article, we will look closer at moka pots and what makes them work so well, divide into stovetop and electric coffee makers, and also by the material they are made of, and of course, our recommended moka pot.
What is a Moka Pot?
Moka pots, aka stovetop espresso makers, have been a solid stovetop brewing method for coffee lovers since the 1930s.
What makes this method great is that they can handle any kind of roast and are best at the darkest of the dark roasts.
Basically, a moka pot is a stovetop coffee maker that works just like an espresso machine by using steam but with significantly less pressure.
Is a moka pot worth it?
Is the moka pot an essential item? Well, that depends on how you like your drink. If you don't care about the taste of your morning drink and want it as quick as possible then you would probably be better off with a drip coffee maker on a timer.
But, if you want a solid, good tasting cup of coffee that way stronger than your average drip, then yes, the moka pot is worth every penny.
Should you buy this item if you are serious about your caffeine? From one coffee friend to another, yes. Buy a moka pot if you are serious about your beverages and know how to handle yourself at the barista counter.
There is even a moka pot with a 25 year warranty, so you know these guys are made to last!
Benefits of a moka pot
The moka pot is an incredibly user friendly and quick brewing process. An espresso machine is an incredibly complex system of buttons and knobs when compared to the easy to use moka pot design.
All you really need to know is how to operate your stove (and some models don't even require that!).
Not only is a moka pot incredibly easy, but it's also affordable. Moka pots hit a way better price point that fancy bean-to-cup units and other barista level coffee machines.
Don't bother wasting your money on espresso makers that can cost you thousands of dollars when a moka pot will do an amazing job for less than $100.
Moka pots are eco friendly too! They don't require any paper filters or those pesky plastic pods. If you know how to compost your coffee grounds, then it will be completely zero-waste. They're also super easy to clean, a quick rinse is all you really need.
Finally, these are usually analog devices. You can use your gas stove as your heat source. If gas stoves aren't your thing then fret not!
You can also find one of the best moka pots that works with an electric heat source. The versatility of gas and electric is a great benefit to this device.
Drawbacks of a moka pot
Moka pots do have some problems. One of the biggest complaints that these coffee makers get is that the coffee comes out really bitter.
Bitter taste is usually the result of over-extracting your coffee beans, but we have some tips for you later to ensure that you don't let that happen.
Another issue with moka pots is that they don't yield that much, even for the bigger models. But, since moka pots make such strong coffee you can increase your output by adding water to your final product.
Another issue is that no matter how much volume you really want, you are required to make a full pot of coffee every single time you brew it.
The way that these coffee makers work requires you to fill the water chamber completely- more on that later. Another drawback is the moka pot requires a supremely consistent grind for your beans.
If you're using your home blender to make your coffee grounds you may want to consider getting a burr grinder. A high-quality burr grinder will allow you to grind coffee consistently and allow you to brew great quality coffee.
Is a moka pot an espresso maker?
No, the moka pot cannot make espresso. Even though they are sometimes called stovetop espresso makers, this is a misnomer.
Espresso requires you to push nine bars of pressure through your coffee grounds, but this method doesn't come anywhere close to that.
However, the coffee produced by percolators is so much stronger than drip coffee that it will taste like espresso to anyone who has been drinking canned coffee from their local diner's drip machine.
Are moka pots dangerous?
Moka pots are actually way safer to use than cheap plastic kettles.
Ensuring that your coffee maker is cleaned without toxic chemicals will make sure that your machine will last a long time and that you are not accidentally ingesting Clorox after using a moka pot.
Moka pots can seem a little daunting and scary if you are used to using a pressurized system.
There are several factors to consider when you are looking at moka pots and one of the biggest things is what material it is made from: stainless steel or aluminum- more on that next.
Can a moka pot blow up?
The thing about moka pots is that you can definitely make them blow up but you would have to actually try to do so. If you are using a moka pot completely incorrectly then of course there will be a chance that it will explode.
However, this is such a rare situation due to the safety valve included on every moka pot that releases excess steam as pressure increases. Moka pots often come with safety valves that allow the steam to escape when the pressure builds up too much.
Keeping this part clean is incredibly important because if too much steam is accumulated in the bottom chamber and cannot escape through a valve, you've essentially created a ticking steam bomb.
A clean filter in the other chamber will also help to prevent unnecessary steam build-up because it is the main way where steam will pass. Keeping it clean will also ensure a finely brewed cup of coffee.
If you don't clean yours correctly, then there is a good chance that the safety valve will become clogged with old coffee grounds and then you may be in danger of a coffee themed fireworks display in your kitchen.
Make sure to check if your unit is dishwasher safe, since most models are not.
Aluminum vs. stainless steel- toxicity
Moka pots are available in both stainless steel and aluminum and with the growing concern over what we put in our bodies, it's important to take a look at which metal is better and why.
Obviously stainless steel is a more durable metal than aluminum, if you want your stovetop espresso machine to last longer then stainless steel is definitely the way to go.
However, stainless steel doesn't conduct heat as well and it is significantly heavier than the aluminum models.
It is also important to note that neither of these materials are dishwasher safe.
It should also be noted that an aluminum moka pot is capable of delivering trace metals into your morning coffee if the pot isn't well seasoned.
These coffee makers also tend to be cheaper than stainless steel models and a lot easier to clean.
Something to consider about aluminum pots is that because aluminum deposits small amounts of metal into the moka pot when high heat is applied, there is a metallic taste when the coffee is brewed.
These levels of aluminum that do leech out are totally safe for human consumption, but the coffee taste is impacted negatively.
Aluminum also distributes heat much better than stainless steel and the result is that it's a lot easier to brew in an aluminum pot. Even though it isn't as strong as stainless steel, it is still quite durable.
Actually, some of our favorite stovetop espresso makers are aluminum! Another perk is that the pieces for aluminum pots are a lot easier to find when it's time to replace a part.
Replacement gaskets and filter screens are easily found for even the cheap aluminum pots. A pricier brand will prove much more difficult to find replacement parts for over the cheap brands.
Bialetti's all around the globe commonly look a bit dirty. That is because the metal is sealed and this helps the coffee to taste better.
Stainless steel causes hot spots because of an uneven heat distribution, aluminum pots don't have these problems and therefore just simply work better at producing an even brew.
How does a moka pot work?
A stovetop coffee maker is a two-chambered coffee brewing device that heats water in the bottom chamber and pushes the steam through ground coffee to ultimately come out as liquid in the top chamber.
Basically, this method uses pressurization to produce a very strong cup of coffee that isn't quite espresso, but definitely more dense than drip.
It's important to note that not all heat sources will work with all stovetop espresso maker materials.
If you have an aluminum model, for example, then you will not be able to use an induction cooktop.
But if you opt for a stainless steel stovetop espresso maker then you will likely be able to use it on anything, from electric stove to gas stove to induction cooker.
How is moka coffee?
Moka coffee is somewhere between an espresso shot and a cup of drip. How you grind your beans, how you go about boiling water, and how much water you use all links to how the flavor of your cups of coffee will turn out.
The ratio of water per coffee bean is very important as it plays a major part in how the flavor of the coffee will turn out.
Knowing how much water to use also serves the purpose of keeping the unit from generating too much pressure and reducing the quality of the coffee and increasing the risk of damage to the pot itself.
How many cups can a moka pot make?
How many cups of coffee a moka pot can make is entirely dependent on the size of the model you buy. Bear in mind that the measurement in terms of cups is for espresso shots, not mugs.
What people love about moka pots
If you're impatient then rapid brew stovetop coffee is your best bet at a great drink in the least amount of time, the longest part of it is waiting for your water to boil.
Another great feature that we mentioned earlier is that they are a zero-waste option due to the design of the filter basket.
A moka pot is also compact, sleek in it's classic design and remarkably user friendly.
How to pick the best moka pot
Choosing which stovetop espresso maker is not an easy task, that's why we have established the top five things to look for when comparing coffee pots.
What to look for in a moka pot
What is the best moka pot?
We hunted through every brand of moka pot available and found you the top six moka pots available in 2021.
From Bialetti to De Longhi, and Cuisinox to Grosche we tried them all and compiled them here for you!
Best moka pots: a comparison
The following models are the best moka pots from 2021 that we found. When it comes to making the best stovetop espresso these machines will be your best bet!
Bialetti Moka Express
Bialetti Kitty Espresso Coffee Maker
Induction stovetop choice
De longhi EMK6
Electric moka pot
Bialetti New Venus Induction
Safe and ergonomic
Bialetti Moka Express- The top pick
Our top pick for the best moka pot of 2021 is the Bialetti Moka Express. The Bialetti Moka Express is made by one of the most reputable Italian brands.
This is a classic rapid brew stovetop coffee maker that comes in a variety of different sizes. It's also remarkably affordable.
The only thing that we consider to be a drawback is the fact that it is made out of aluminum.
It won't have the durability of a stainless steel construction, but it has the control over brewing quality that we mentioned previously.
The Moka Express also comes with a two year warranty like any Bialetti moka pot.
Bialetti Kitty Espresso Coffee Maker- The runner up
The Bialetti Kitty Espresso coffee maker is our second pick for best stovetop espresso maker in 2021.
The Bialetti kitty stainless steel construction makes this an incredibly durable option.
The ergonomic, bakelite handle gives a wide reach, ensuring that you won't burn your hand when removing it from the stove.
This Bialetti is a 6 cup moka pot, giving you just enough strong coffee for you and a buddy to share.
The Bialetti Kitty is also suitable for gas, electric, and ceramic stovetops. Another fantastic feature of this model is that it has a 25 year warranty covering any manufacturer defects.
Cuisinox Roma- The induction stove choice
The Cuisinox Roma is an excellent choice for those that need an induction base.
It's made of 18/10 stainless steel moka pot with a sleek mirror polished finish giving the whole unit a super modern design.
It's a whopping 10 cup capacity, much more than the Bialetti 6 cup model, touting a whole 15 ounces worth of liquid capacity.
Another fantastic bit to mention is that it comes with extra parts.
One gasket and one reducer are included in case something breaks down after years of use.
De longhi EMK6- Electric moka pot
The De longhi EMK6 is an electric moka pot coming from the infamous De Longhi brand.
It includes a super convenient filter adapter to change the capacity between 3 and 6 cups.
But the absolute best part about this model is that the heat source is included with the unit, an electric base with an automatic shut off to ensure you never over-brew your coffee again!
The future of coffee brewing is here with this electric moka pot.
Bialetti New Venus Induction- Safe and ergonomic
The Bialetti New Venus is made from that wonderful 18/10 steel so it works on all types of stoves, including induction.
It will forever maintain its shine and original characteristics after years of prolonged use.
This model also has a wonderful, non-slip, anti-scalding handle to ensure optimal safety in your brewing experience.
Farberware Yosemite- Dishwasher safe
The Farberware Yosemite is a great option for a no mess percolator.
It features a permanent percolator filter basket so there is no need to deal with all the gross paper coffee filters.
It's also remarkably durable, featuring a heavy-duty stainless steel that is sleek with a mirror finish.
This model also has a huge capacity, featuring 12 cups.
It's also the only model on our list that is dishwasher safe, making clean-up way easier to handle.
Our Top Choice- The Bialetti Moka Express
Our top pick for the best moka pot of 2021 is still the Bialetti Moka Express.
Coming from a reputable brand in a variety of sizes.
This lightweight aluminum stovetop coffee machine is an essential part of our barista station.
The 2 year warranty will help to ensure that even if the handle pops right off, Bialetti has got your back.