A moka pot is definitely worth including in your coffee arsenal if you are looking for a brewing method that is hassle-free but with a lot of the upsides of an espresso machine.
Licensed Q Arabica Grader, M.A. Journalism
Whether you are just starting out in coffee or you’re a seasoned veteran, a moka pot (AKA a stovetop espresso maker) is an interesting and unique brewing method to add to your arsenal.
Brewing coffee that is somewhere between espresso and an Americano, the best stovetop espresso makers offer serious coffee without a lot of the downsides of the true espresso.
The pot is a tenth of the size of a proper espresso machine, and the price is even less.
Of course, you don’t quite get the same crema and precise extraction as with the traditional espresso maker, but then again, in some areas of life the 80/20-principle applies, and coffee is one of them.
Top pick: Best value
If you are looking for an updated version of the classic moka pot, the Alessi 9090 got it all and more.
This is the model to get if you are ready to invest in the method and want the ultimate stovetop espresso maker.
The brand Bialetti and moka pots are essentially synonymous at this point. Bialetti is by far the most famous company producing moka pots today, and for good reason. They make the most basic, classic moka pot with the octagonal design that has been copied by about every other moka pot manufacturer.
This moka pot comes in sizes ranging from 1 cup to 16 cups, suiting just about every user, though the 6-cup version seems to be the most popular. The construction of the moka pot itself is excellent. The body is made of high quality aluminum that should last long enough to pass down to your grandchildren.
Classic design: The octagonal chamber is so classic that it has become standard in moka pots.
Excellent coffee: The Bialetti brews as well as any other moka pot.
This moka pot is extremely affordable since it is a basic, no-frills pot.
Our third moka pot is also a Bialetti (I told you they were known for these!). The Venus is their newer, sleeker model that is slightly more expensive but built from stainless steel instead of aluminum.
Despite its new design, this moka pot does not lose any of its ability to produce high quality coffee, brewing an espresso-like beverage that is every bit as good as the original Bialetti moka pot.
Updated design of the classic Bialetti
Brews coffee just as well as the classic moka pot. Which means really well!
If the classic Bialetti is the workhorse of moka pots, the Alessi Espresso Maker 9090 is the king.
This moka pot has a minimalistic, modern design and is built from stainless steel. The design is so famous that is has been enshrined in the Museum of Modern Art! This moka pot makes 6 full espresso cups of coffee at a time.
Owing to its superior construction and stronger seal against its edges with a snapping, locking mechanism that a twisting one, this moka pot produces a much cleaner, richer cup of coffee than does any of the previously discussed moka pots.
The superior stainless steel construction also ensures that the body will never rust or corrode like its aluminum counterpart
Designed by Richard Sapper, this moka pot is beautiful enough for both brewing and serving
This moka pot produces coffee that best resembles actual espresso.
Longevity: Its full stainless steel body ensures that this moka pot will last for years, and even possibly decade
The coffee that comes out of a moka pot is not espresso per se since it’s only brewed under 1-2 bars, whereas real espresso requires between 5-10 bars
💡Sidenote: most people think 9 bars is the perfect number, but you can make espresso with less.
The moka pot also does not produce the thick, opulent crema that proper espresso has.
However, the moka pot is also not your typical plain Jane coffee either, being much stronger and more potent.
In Italy, the moka pots is what people drink at home, and when you go to the café, you get an espresso.
The brands that make pre-ground coffee for Moka pots, such as Lavazza and Segafredo, are the same ones that produce espresso blends. There is an overlap between the two, so the typical flavor of stovetop espresso isn’t that far from Italian espresso.
How to Use a Moka pot: Hacks for a smoother cup
Although the coffee that comes out of a stovetop percolator can sometimes lack a bit of depth and flavor, it can be improved by following these small hacks:
Filling the bottom chamber with preheated water can shorten the brewing time, which prevents the coffee flavor from degrading from being on the stove for a long time and being exposed to heat.
It is also important to remove the moka pot from the heat as soon as your brew is completed. You can even run some cold tap water over the body of the device in order to cool it down faster. This will ensure that the brew stops when you want it to.
Another method for improving your cup is be to opt for a medium roast. Traditionally, this kind of Italian coffee maker has been used with very dark roasts, which can produce a somewhat bitter cup. This can be lessened with a City+ t0 Full City roast that is 100% arabica.
⚠️ Remember cleaning: Many moka pots end up becoming disgusting because people don’t wash and dry them properly.
You should remove the rubber o-ring and filter underneath the brewhead often.
When the o-ring starts cracking (or gets too disgusting) it should be replaced.
It should go without saying, that you should always use a scale to accurately measure coffee and water! Only that way can you improve or tweak your brew in the right direction.
Other thing to consider when buying A stovetop coffee maker?
Although stovetop espresso makers have been around almost as long as coffee has been drunk, there have been quite a few improvements to look out for when choosing one today. Here are a few point to take into consideration when you are trying to select the best stovetop espresso makers – sometimes also referred to as Cuban coffee makers.
Most stovetop espresso makers are either aluminum or stainless steel. Aluminum is lighter and heats up more quickly whereas stainless steel is heavier, sturdier, and heats up more slowly. Some people swear that a stainless steel moka pot brews a better cup, but selecting between both of them will always depend on your preference and liking.
Moka pots range in size from tiny 1-cup pots to massive pots over 16 cups. Again, the size of your moka pot depends on your needs. Will this moka pot be used on a daily basis for a single drinker or once in a while for parties of 10 people? Smaller moka pots tend to brew better coffee, since your coffee still brew more quickly, spending less time on the heat, which can warp flavors in your brew. Therefore, if you are the only coffee drinker in your house, you may want to err toward a smaller size.
Hello, and welcome! I'm the editor & founder of this site. I have been a coffee geek since I started home roasting more than a decade ago. Since then, coffee has taken me on countless adventures: From ancient coffee ceremonies in Ethiopia to the volcanos of Sumatra. My background is in journalism, and today I'm also a licensed Q Grader under the Coffee Quality Institute.
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