Going camping is a fantastic way to get some fresh air and take a break from the busy everyday life. If you're a big coffee enthusiast, it can be a bit annoying to not be able to enjoy your morning cup of coffee in the woods and one of the best ways to make a brew in nature is in a Moka pot (also known as a stovetop espresso maker). There are a few things you should consider when choosing the right Moka pot for you. Among them are the metal it's made out of, how much coffee it makes, durability, size and several more.
Choosing the best way to make coffee depends on many factors, especially when it comes to camping stovetop espresso makers. There are many things you should consider and many models to look into so we thought we'd make this a little easier for you by giving you some key points to consider when making your decision.
What Is a Stovetop Espresso Maker?
Now that you know what the best Moka pots for the camp are and know how to choose one, it's important to understand where they come from, how they work and what lets them make such delicious coffee.
The Moka pot was invented in the 1930's by the Italian engineer and inventor Alfonso Bialetti. The name comes from the Lebanese city of Mocha which was an important port on the coffee trade routes. Additionally Lebanon has always had a strong coffee culture, as not only is coffee drunk widely there, but the Arabica sort was first cultivated in the Middle Eastern country.
What Types of Moka Pots Are There?
Moka pots have been around for nearly an entire century which is more than enough time for them to develop and now there are three types of stove top espresso makers.
A stainless steel Moka pot is arguably the best camping coffee maker. They are very sturdy, make great coffee and are very easy to look after. Stainless steel is a tougher but heavier metal than aluminum but it comes at a higher price. The two main differences when it comes to making coffee, compared to aluminum, are that stainless steel isn't that good of a heat conductor and that it doesn't need to be seasoned before first use.
Aluminum is a significantly lighter and more elastic metal than stainless steel. This is great for a Moka pot you would want to take to the camp with you as it will be somewhat lighter than a stainless steel one and might be less likely to crack. As stainless steel is harder it is more prone to cracks in cases when aluminum might simply bend.
It still has its disadvantages, though. Aluminum is not as resistant as stainless steel so you can expect it to last fewer years and you will need to be extra careful with it. This means no dishwasher washing and no dish soap.
Electric Moka pots are the latest advancement in the stovetop espresso maker development. These coffee makers are very simple to use as you don't need a separate heat source to heat the water as they work somewhat like a kettle. You simply plug the pot in, wait for the water to start boiling, and enjoy your delicious Moka coffee. Although this is only true for pots that have an automatic switch off function.
Although these pots are a fantastic piece of kitchen equipment for any coffee enthusiast, they are no good for camping. They are bulky and need an electricity outlet to work and also cost significantly more than manual models.
How Do You Choose the Best Stovetop Espresso Maker?
What Metal Is It Made Out of?
The first thing you should know when choosing the right Moka pot for you is that there are two main types of Moka pots when it comes to their build: aluminum and stainless steel. While the first Moka pot ever was made out of aluminum, nearly a century has passed since then and now you can also find stainless steel models that are better in many ways.
Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel
Each metal has its advantages and disadvantages. If you end up buying a higher quality model, the differences get more subtle, there are still a few things you should consider.
Aluminum Moka Pots
The first Bialetti Moka pot was made out of aluminum and there are a few good reasons for that. Stainless steel was only invented a few years prior so it was still very expensive, so aluminum was the only viable option.
Advantages of Aluminum
- Aluminum Moka pots are cheaper. If you're on a budget you're more likely to want to go for an Aluminum model, as this metal is significantly cheaper which decreases the cost of the end product.
- Aluminum is a better heat conductor. This can be considered an advantage, as well as a disadvantage. Better heat conduction means that coffee extraction will start sooner and you will have your coffee a bit faster than in a stainless steel Moka pot. On the other hand, if you want to make a few consecutive rounds of pots of coffee, your Moka pot will get colder quicker so it will take longer.
- Aluminum is lighter. This can be very important if you're planning to put your Moka pot in your backpack when hiking.
Disadvantages of Aluminum
- Aluminum stovetop espresso makers rust easily. This means that your espresso maker will last you significantly less time. You also won't be able to wash it in the dishwasher or use any strong detergents as it will ruin the top layer of the metal.
- Aluminum Moka pots need to be seasoned. This means that you will need to make a few rounds of coffee and throw them out. This way when you're making coffee it won't have a metallic taste.
Stainless Steel Moka Pots
Stainless steel is the result of nearly a century of development of the Moka pot. It is a much tougher metal that can be used for much longer with significantly less care. It still has some weak spots.
Advantages of Stainless Steel
- Stainless steel Moka pots are a lot more durable. Given the nature of the metal, it can last significantly longer without any signs of wear and tear or any marks of use on the surface.
- Stainless steel doesn't rust. As it's a nonporous metal, you can be sure that your stainless steel stovetop espresso maker is not going to corrode. If it's a high-quality model, you can use strong detergents and even throw it in the dishwasher.
- You don't need to season your stainless steel coffee maker. Your coffee won't have a metallic taste even if it's the first brew you're making in it without seasoning it.
- It doesn't conduct heat that well. This means that if you end up making more than one round of coffee, your pot won't have cooled off and your brew will take less time.
Disadvantages of Stainless Steel
- It is more expensive. As stainless steel is a higher quality metal and it costs more to produce it, you can expect to pay more for such a Moka pot.
- Some models don't heat up evenly so you might end up with bad coffee. This won't be an issue if you spend a little more and get a high-quality stainless steel coffee maker.
How Much Coffee Does It Make?
This is very important as it can save you a lot of time. If you usually find yourself making more coffee, it's best if you get a Moka pot that makes more coffee with a single round of brewing. On the other hand, if you usually make coffee only for yourself, the best model would be one that makes fewer cups. This way the water will heat up faster and you won't have to wait as long. Also, this coffee maker will take up less space in your bag and will weigh less, which is a big advantage when hiking.
How Much Does It Weigh?
The weight of a Moka pot is essential, no matter if you’re camping, going for a family hike or are an expert hiker, you will need a light Moka pot. For this reason you should consider getting a lighter model. These tend to be those that only make a cup or two of coffee and are usually made of aluminum. Regardless of the fact that aluminum is the lighter metal, stainless steel models come with a lot of other advantages so a little extra weight might be worth it.
What Is Your Lifestyle?
Your lifestyle is what matters most. If you're planning to only use your Moka pot for camping and you do that alone, you should probably look into a model that only makes one cup of coffee per round so you won't have to carry something that's excessively big. If you're going to use it to also make coffee at home, you should probably look into something that makes more coffee at a time in case you have people come over.
Then there is design. Depending on your aesthetic preferences, there are so many to choose from. Whether you like a retro look, something more futuristic or even something in between, there is certainly a Moka out there to match your taste.
Another big factor when it comes to choosing a Moka pot is whether you're fine with drinking coffee that's not freshly brewed. If you are, you will probably be interested in a bigger stovetop espresso maker in which you will be able to make coffee for the entire day and drink later.
What Coffee Do You Like?
If you're not sure what coffee maker is best for you, you should probably think about the coffee you like. If you like a coffee that has a weaker taste, you should probably get a bigger Moka pot. This way you can pour more water and have some coffee for later, which can be very good when hiking, as you won't have to stop and set up camp to make coffee.
Top 5 Best Camping Stovetop Espresso Makers
With all this in mind, we made a list of Moka pots that would be a fantastic buy for any coffee enthusiast looking to make their own coffee when camping.
Overall Best Camping Coffee Maker: LuxHaus Moka Pot
The LuxHaus Moka pot has all the right qualities a Moka pot needs, especially if you want to use it when camping, owing to its compact design, light build and fantastic durability. It is the best camp coffee maker but will also fit great in the kitchen due to its modern and simple design.
It’s always crucial that your kitchen equipment is made of food-safe stainless steel. This is why we constantly make sure that the LuxHaus Moka pot uses the highest grade metals, making it one of the best coffee makers out there.
Not only is the stainless steel used in it, food safe, it is also high quality so it will work equally well on any stove, no matter if it’s gas, electric or even induction. This is due to the purity of the metal used. Some producers use an alloy which means it's not pure stainless steel, but this is not the case with LuxHaus.
Another big advantage that the LuxHaus Moka pot has, is that it comes in three different sizes so you have the option to decide whether you want to brew three, six or nine cups of coffee at a time. This is perfect for camping as you will be able to easily make more brew without having to go through the entire process for each round. The six and nine cup models are great when traveling in bigger groups as this way you will be able to brew coffee for everyone in no time.
Another thing that makes the LuxHaus Moka pot an even better deal is its lifetime quality guarantee. This means that if you're not fully satisfied with your coffee maker you will get a full refund with no questions asked. Additionally to being a fantastic coffee maker for the camp, the LuxHaus Moka pot comes at just $29 for the three-cup model and $34 for the six-cup one, which is the best bang for your buck.
Best Aluminum - Bialetti Moka Express
Bialetti is the company that invented the Moka pot. The original Bialetti Moka pot was very similar to the one you can find on Amazon today. It is made of high-quality aluminum and heat-resistant nylon, and has also gone through an easy-to-clean safety inspection patented by Bialetti.
As it's an aluminum model, it has all the goods and the bads of the metal. It should be washed by hand but takes less time to heat up than stainless steel. One of it's biggest advantages is that it weighs in at just one pound so you won't even feel it in your bag.
The Bialetti Moka express comes in four different sizes: one, three, nine and twelve cups, and there is a limited edition in the colors of the Italian flag, that we think is just beautiful.
Best Camp Moka Coffee Maker on a Budget - IMUSA B120-42V
The IMUSA Moka pot looks and feels like a cheaper version of the original Bialetti Moka pot but at a fraction of a price which is why we consider it our best budget coffee maker for camping. IMUSA has nearly a century-long history with deep roots in The US and Latin America so it is a well-known brand that has proved itself.
Just like the Bialetti pot, this one is made of aluminum so it has all its pros and cons. These coffee makers are not suitable for a dishwasher and are prone to oxidation. Moreover, they are known to last fewer years than stainless steel pots. Nevertheless, a big advantage that they have is that they heat up faster so you will have to wait a little shorter before you can enjoy your coffee.
There are a few variations of the IMUSA pot that can brew from one cup all the way to nine, so there is one for every type of coffee enthusiast. It is also sealed with a low-memory silicone gasket that many prefer to the rubber one that the pricier options are equipped with.
The biggest weak spot that this model has is that it is somewhat more fragile, especially at the lid and the handle. They will be just fine in most cases but as it's something you will take with you when you travel, you should consider this.
In brief, the IMUSA stovetop espresso maker is nearly as good as the more expensive camping coffee makers but comes at a significantly lower price, however you should know that it’s a little more delicate.
Some models that are overall great:
If you're on the lookout for a camping stovetop espresso maker, then you will probably be interested in something that's light and comes at a good price, so naturally you will find yourself looking at aluminum models.
Grosche has been around for a little over 15 years and is known for its high-quality Moka pots, both aluminum and stainless steel. While they are a little pricier than some other models, their aluminum models are a great deal.
The Grosche Milano Moka pot has a slick design and is made of high-quality Aluminum. While it still suffers some of its disadvantages, it will last longer than cheap aluminum pots, especially for camping. You can buy it in one of the five available colors: blue, black, red, silver and white and in one of the five available sizes from one to 12 cups.
Even though high-quality coffee maker, the Milano is still an aluminum coffee maker, so you will need to season it before the first use and be careful when washing. Strong detergents are not recommended and a washing machine is a solid no. Grosche is a great choice if you're socially conscious as the Italy-based company is very active in providing drinkable water to people in regions that need it.
Data Deer Stovetop Espresso Maker
The Data Deer is one of the pots with the best design that make fantastic camping coffee. There are three color options and we think they are all beautiful. The main one is the traditional glossy aluminum gray that looks good on any model but there are two more. One is in beautiful green and red with a shiny aluminum line just where the coffee filter goes, making it a nice reference to the Italian flag, the homeland of the Moka pot. The third option comes in red, with a beautiful wooden handle and no edges on the bottom chamber.
Other than the beautiful design, the Data Deer Stovetop Espresso Maker is your ordinary, Bialetti-inspired Moka pot that makes fantastic camping coffee. Some other big advantages are the weight, which is under one pound, and the low price. Additionally, the pot comes in four different sizes: one, three, six and twelve cups.
Why Is a Moka Pot a Great Option for the Camp?
A Moka pot is arguably the best way to make coffee when camping. It’s not only portable and easy to use but also makes delicious coffee. Additionally, a Moka pot is very easy to take apart and clean, so usually a quick rinse will be enough.
You Need Something Small for Camping
The best camping coffee pot is small enough to easily fit in your backpack and not take too much space. You will need to carry it with you while camping and if it's too heavy or fills your bag it will become a burden over time. Fortunately, that is not the case with Moka pots and most of them weigh less than two pounds, which is perfect.
They Make Delicious Camping Coffee
Moka pots make the best camping coffee. The coffee that they make is thick, has a rich taste and will give you the kick you need in the morning. While it's not as strong as espresso, you can't take your espresso machine when camping, so the best coffee in this case is Moka. Even though the coffee won't have nearly as much crema as espresso, it is still a lot stronger and richer than instant. There are a few recipes for delicious Moka coffee but we've included our favorite in this blog post.
Moka Pots Are Easy to Look After
A quick rinse with water is usually enough to clean your Moka pot. This method is actually recommended if you're using an aluminum model, as dish soap might ruin it. Additionally, they are very easy to take apart as there are just a handful of parts and only takes a few minutes to completely disassemble so you can go back to hiking in no time.
Moka Pots Are Cheap
A lot of things can happen when you're out camping which might ruin your Moka pot. Even though they are pretty sturdy, if you drop them on the rocks or your bag falls with your pot inside, it might crack. While this is certainly going to be very annoying, it won't hurt your wallet. Most good Moka pots cost less than $40, so they are significantly cheaper than other coffee makers that make equally good coffee.
How Does a Moka Pot Make Coffee?
A Moka pot makes coffee in a very clever, yet simple way. The whole process starts in the bottom chamber where you pour the water. It is best to start with hot water as this way you will avoid ending up with bitter coffee.
Once you have the water poured in, put the Moka pot on the stove. When it gets to the boiling point, it will start turning into steam which will then find its way up through the coffee filter and the grind. It's important to know that you shouldn't tamp your coffee - as you would for an espresso machine. Tamping is tapping your coffee so it evens out in the portafilter. For Moka pots, if it’s too tightly packed together, the steam won't be able to go through and you will end up with bland coffee.
The next stage is the tower that leads the coffee to the upper chamber and this is where you will find it. It's all very simple and mechanical but there are a few steps that you should get just right to get the best taste out of your coffee. Follow the recipe below to make sure all goes well.
Coffee Recipe for a Moka Pot
There are a few recipes on how to make Moka pot coffee and even though they are not too different, there are a few tricks that, as you will see, make a big difference. Here’s our favorite one:
- If you’re making your coffee at home, throw a damp towel in the freezer. You will later use it to cool off the pot and stop the extraction process so the brew tastes just right.
- Put some coffee in the filter. Make sure it's not too fine, as this way your brew will be bland. Also, don't pack it too tightly. Instead gently press it with a spoon so the top is even.
- Heat up some water in advance. This is something that not everyone does but from what we tried, it’s best if you start making coffee with hot water, instead of waiting for it to heat up in the pot. This way you will make sure that you don't get burnt and over extracted coffee which would make it bitter.
- Put the pot on the hot stove. This is when the proper coffee making process starts. Now the water will heat up and turn into steam.
- Wait for the gurgling sound. Once you hear it, your coffee is done and you should take the pot away from the heat source.
- Cover with the cold towel from the freezer. This will stop the extraction process and will give you the best Moka coffee you can have.
- Enjoy! Make your coffee to your taste by adding some milk or cream or even make a cappuccino or a latte.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Moka Pot Coffee That Great?
Moka coffee is pretty great. It is easy to make, doesn't take long and there's a lot of variety of the drinks you can make. Also, Moka pots are very cheap, so it doesn't require a lot of investment. In addition, the learning curve is not that steep, and even though there is some trial and error involved, it's relatively easy to grasp.
How Strong Is Moka Coffee?
It is stronger than the drink from drip coffee makers but a bit weaker than espresso. Moka coffee is still pretty strong and will wake you up in the morning, and keep your energy levels high throughout the day.
How Do You Clean a Moka Pot?
How you clean your Moka pot depends on whether it is a stainless steel or an aluminum model. You can throw most stainless steel Moka pots in the dishwasher but you shouldn't do that with aluminum models. Here is a useful guide on cleaning a Moka pot.
What Coffee Should You Use?
The only requirement here is that it's a medium fine to coarse grind as this works best for the pressure that the Moka pot generates. The type of beans you use depends on your taste, so you can try a few different sorts until you find the one that's right for you.
Moka pots are fantastic coffee makers and are perfect for camping. It is very easy to make coffee in one and you can get the best results even when outside, and with no electricity. The coffee is rich and has a great flavor, and the pot is very easy to look after.
While aluminum models are cheaper and sometimes lighter, they are significantly less durable and harder to look after. Stainless steel Moka pots, on the other hand, are a lot tougher and easier to clean, and even make coffee in. Nevertheless, you should get a high-quality pot, as this way you will make sure your brew gets an even extraction. Head over to our catalog if you're on the lookout for a high-quality stainless steel Moka pot that will last you for many years to come.