Are Stovetop Espresso Makers Good?


Stovetop espresso makers (also known as Moka pots) are a great way to make your own Italian coffee. However you should consider a few things when comparing it to other coffee makers and when you start looking into buying one. In other words, keep reading to find out what you should keep in mind!


Pros and Cons of a Stovetop Espresso Maker

  • The biggest reason so many people use a Moka pot for their morning coffee is the brew's rich flavor. In addition, how strong your coffee is depends on the quantity of caffeine in it. Furthermore this is also one of the factors that determine the taste.
  • A cup of Moka pot coffee is significantly stronger than drip coffee that most Americans drink. Also the Moka pot produces around 1-3 bars of pressure, so it can extract a lot of flavor from the coffee grounds. Nevertheless not quite as much as espresso.
    • Another significant advantage a Moka pot has is its portability. So if you travel a lot or are a digital nomad and want to make your coffee anywhere you go, a Moka pot would be a fitting solution for you.
    • A Moka pot is an ingenious piece of machinery that works in a very simple way using steam pressure.
    • As a Moka pot doesn't have many complicated parts, it is also effortless to clean. In fact it has only three main parts, and once you disassemble it, it usually only takes a quick rinse to be done with it. Check out our blog post about how to clean a Moka pot.
  • Another advantage of the Moka pot is that you have complete control over your brew. This correspondingly means that you have the freedom to make your coffee exactly as you like it. Then again, the downside to this is that when you are a beginner, this can be a bit of a challenge.
    • Last but not least, a high-quality Moka pot is only going to set you back around $40. When you compare this to the price of an Espresso machine, it is significantly less.

    One of the most significant disadvantages of a Moka pot is that it doesn't produce the authentic crema (the foam on top) that some people love. Because of the lower pressure, just a little foam forms up on top.


    Pros and Cons of an Espresso Machine

     

     

    Just like the Moka pot, the espresso machine has its pros and cons.

    • Why most people prefer an espresso machine is that it extracts a very concentrated coffee flavor. As the produced pressure is significantly higher than in the Moka pot, you can expect lots of foam with your coffee.
    • Another reason why so many like espresso machines for their coffee is that the water boilers build enough pressure for steamed milk drinks. This means that you can use the espresso machine for a lot more than just espresso.
    • If you like to have people over, you will enjoy an espresso machine. It can easily make multiple drinks at the same time without having to do a lot. Even though there are Moka pots that make up to six cups of coffee, if you are trying to make more, you will have to heat the water again.

    Again like Moka pots, espresso machines have some disadvantages:

    • There is a learning curve to mastering both a Moka pot and an espresso machine. Granted that, your first brew probably won’t be perfect. 
    • A major difference, though, is that a good espresso maker can cost you upwards of $1000. However, there are a lot of recipes and guides that you can find online that will help you improve your coffee.
    • If you want to make the perfect espresso, your costs don't end there. You will need a good grinder, a scale, and a tamper so you can make sure you extract the best flavor out of the coffee grounds.
    • While the Moka pot is very easy to take apart and clean, an espresso machine is a lot more complicated and can take you hours to wash thoroughly. Even though you won't have to do it often, but when you do, it's a challenge.

    What Are the Differences Between Moka Pots and Espresso Machines?

     


    Moka pots and espresso machines don't have a lot in common. In either case you will have  strong Italian coffee made by releasing pressure. Overall this is all they have incommon. If you compare them to cars, the Moka pot would be a classic American muscle car, and the espresso machine would be an electric vehicle.

    A Moka pot brews coffee by passing boiling water through grounded coffee and the espresso machine brews it by forcing steam at high pressure. Then it goes through a puck of grounded coffee and a filter.

    While the espresso machine builds up a lot of pressure of around 9 bars, the Moka pot only produces about two to three.

    The Moka pot is a lot more personal. Indeed, making the perfect cup of coffee in a Moka pot is an artistic process. First thing to remember is you get to choose the coffee grounds, how finely you will grind them, how hot the water you initially pour in is, and more. A Moka pot is the analog experience, and an espresso machine is digital.

    An espresso machine can make a variety of drinks. This means that it’s more complicated to understand, take apart and fix. In comparison, a Moka pot only has a few parts so it’s a lot easier to clean.

     

    Espresso machines don’t need you to do a lot to work. In other words, you only need to make sure there is water and coffee inside and you are all set. Although, to make the perfect coffee for you, you will need to do some research and some experimenting. Once you get the hang of it, it will be worth it.

    Espresso makers take a lot less time to make a cup of coffee. Depending on the machine and the coffee, the brew time can be as low as 10-30 seconds. On the other hand, a Moka pot is a lot simpler. In general it usually takes around 5 minutes to brew, which builds up to 10 for the whole process.


    Does a Moka Pot Make Authentic Espresso?

    The word espresso comes from the Italian word for "to press out". If you go by that definition, both the Moka pot and the espresso machine make espresso. As a matter of fact, they both produce pressure that extracts the coffee out of the grounds.

    Some people will disagree with this definition. It is commonly believed that a cup of real espresso should have crema. It is also known as being very strong. While the Moka coffee is significantly stronger than drip or instant coffee, it contains around half the caffeine espresso does. 

    Which One Makes Better Espresso?

    There is no simple answer to this. It depends on your preferences. Both coffee makers will make you a nice espresso if you know how to use them well.

    The stovetop espresso maker coffee can be bitter if not made right, but if you know what you're doing, you'll have it just right. Don't expect any crema (foam), though. If foam is not something you’re into, then Moka is probably the way to go. If you're all about the crema, then you need to look into the espresso machines section.


    What Other Coffee Makers Are There?

    Coffee makers are not only limited to espresso machines and stovetop espresso makers. Even though these make the strongest coffee, there are many different variations. Of course they all have their pros and cons, and any one of them can be the right choice for you. 

    Drip Coffee Maker

    One of the most widely spread coffee makers in the US is the drip coffee maker. Similarly to the Moka pot it’s very affordable. Furthermore, drip coffee makers are preferred for their wide variety of different sizes and ease of use.

    However, some deal-breakers could be the limited programmed settings for brewing. This is to say you won't have the freedom to brew in your own style. Also, if you leave it on for too long, the plate could potentially burn your coffee.

    Single-Serve Capsule Coffee Maker

    One of the easiest to use coffee makers. It can also make many different types of brew. Additionally, this coffee maker has relatively short brewing times.

    The main disadvantages are the high price of the capsules, and that coffee can taste a little bland. 

    Turkish Coffee Maker

    This one makes the strongest brew on this list. It is small, inexpensive, and very versatile. You might find it hard that you need to be very precise with the brewing times and that the coffee leaves some sediment in the cup. 

     


    Pour-Over Coffee Maker

    One of the simplest approaches to brewing coffee. It only requires a paper filter and hot water. Not to mention that it only has one downside. It requires some time to understand and learn.


    What Should You Consider When Buying a Moka Pot?

    Choosing among the sea of stovetop espresso makers can be a daunting task. There are many things you should consider to make sure you've made the right choice. While all of them make coffee, here is some information on what makes the difference between a great and a regular stovetop espresso maker.

    Aluminum or Stainless Steel?

    A Moka pot can either be aluminum or stainless steel. The classic Bialetti Moka pot was made out of aluminum, but the stainless steel models developed a lot, and many consider them to be better. 

    Aluminum Moka pots are lighter and conduct heat faster than stainless steel ones. This is both good and bad. You can use an aluminum Moka pot on any stove, and the brewing time will be shorter. Though, It will lose heat quicker, so if you're making more coffee, it might be better to reconsider.

    The stainless steel stovetop espresso makers tend to be of higher quality and have a better design. They are a bit heavier but are more resistant to an open-fire stove. They come at a slightly higher price, though. 

    Make sure you check out our catalog for high-quality Moka pots for 3 or 6 cups of coffee with a single brew. 

    Is It Good for Your Type of Stove?

    While both the stainless steel and the aluminum Moka pots are suitable for both an electric and a gas stove, the stainless steel is less likely to get stained by the open fire on the gas stove. 

    If you use an induction stove for your cooking, you should only look into stainless steel Moka pots. As aluminum is not attracted by magnets, it won’t work with induction.

    How Many Cups Does It Make?

    Do you like having people over for coffee? If yes, then it's probably good to look into the models that can brew more than just one cup. If you plan to make more than one cup, the brewing time should be kept low, so a stainless steel Moka pot is probably a good option.

    Make Sure You Pick a High-Quality Model

    It is always essential to use high-quality metals if you are going to use them to prepare food. When brewing your coffee in a low-quality, metal particles could chip off and get in your coffee. 


    What to Expect With Your First Coffee?

    Your first shots of stovetop espresso will probably not be perfect. There is a learning curve to making Moka coffee. Your first coffee will likely come out bitter. Don't be too hard on yourself if that happens.

    You need to follow a guide on how to make the perfect cup with a Moka pot. Check out our post with some tips on making sure your next shots of coffee taste fantastic


    So Is a Stovetop Espresso Maker Good?

    It depends. As with most things in life, it is up to your taste and your expectations. A Moka pot doesn't exactly make espresso, but it makes excellent coffee. There is a learning curve to using a Moka pot, but the experience of brewing your Moka coffee is worth it!

    Take a look at our high-quality Moka pots for 3 or 6 models!