Does the Brand of a Moka Pot Matter?
Buying a branded product is usually more expensive than buying a generic brand. There is a good reason for that, and it is that you know you are getting a quality product. Making sure your Moka pot is of the highest quality is essential as you will be making your daily coffee in it, and you want to make sure it is the best it can be!
What Is a Moka Pot?
A Moka pot is a small device designed in Italy that makes excellent Italian coffee.
Invented in 1933 by the engineer Alfonso Bialetti, it didn't take long before the Moka pot was in every Italian home and became a significant part of Italian culture. It was also known as the Moka express. At first, Bialetti's Moka pot stayed in Italy, but a few years later, it spread worldwide, mainly in Europe and Latin America. Then it spread to the United States, brought by Italian immigrants.
Most people like their Moka pots because of the most obvious reason: the coffee it makes. A cup of coffee made in a Moka pot has a strong, aromatic flavor and will give you a great start to the day. It doesn't have as much caffeine as an espresso, but it has more than the drip coffee most Americans drink.
How a Moka pot works is pretty simple. There are three main parts in a Moka pot. At the bottom, you have the bottom chamber (the boiler). This is where you pour the water before you start brewing. On its side, there is a safety valve that lets the excessive pressure out.
On top of the boiler is where you put the coffee in the coffee filter. It is important that you don't tamp it when, as this will make your coffee taste bland. A Moka pot doesn't generate as much pressure as an espresso maker does (even though it's also called stovetop espresso), so you don't want the coffee grounds to be too compressed.
The top chamber is also called the kettle. Inside of it, there is a little tower, out of which comes out the brew.
Does the Brand of a Moka Pot Matter?
A brand usually serves to prove that a particular product is of high quality. That is also the case with Moka pots. If you are looking for a quality Moka pot, you should probably look for a trustworthy brand. This is very important for multiple reasons.
The coffee you are going to brew in the Moka pot is something that is going to go directly into your body. This means that you should always make sure the Moka pot you're using is of the highest quality. It doesn't matter if you're using a stainless steel Moka pot or an aluminum one. Most cheap Moka pots are made of low-quality metals, and this can be dangerous. Some might release metal particles into your brew, which is not what you want.
There are more differences between а brand Moka pot and a cheap one. With time and continuous use, the seal gasket used for insulation will get worn off faster on a generic brand or cheap Moka pot. This means that the seal will not be tight, and your Moka pot will start sputtering.
It is also essential to make sure that the same gasket is not made out of cheap rubber but food-safe silicone. The reason behind this is the same as with the metal. It shouldn't release any particles into your brew. This can be just as dangerous for you as having metal particles in your coffee.
Another main difference between a brand Moka pot and a cheap one is the safety valve. It is situated on the side of the bottom chamber and releases excessive steam. Some cheap Moka pots don't have it. This can be dangerous as your Moka pot builds up a significant amount of pressure to brew your coffee. If there is too much of it and it has nowhere to go, it should go through the safety valve. If it doesn't work correctly or is missing, your Moka pot might explode.
Something that coffee enthusiasts agree on about any Moka pot is that you should look after it properly. Make sure there are no coffee grounds left behind, especially at the seal and the safety valve. Also, wash your Moka pot after each use, so coffee doesn't build up on the walls, making your brew bitter.
What Types of Moka Pots Are There?
Moka pots have a rather long history for a home appliance. The original aluminum Bialetti Moka pot has been around for nearly a century. While there isn't much that can be changed or improved, the most significant innovation has been the introduction of stainless steel Moka pots. Aluminum is not as resistant to wear and tear in the long run as stainless steel. Also, it is less likely to add a metallic taste to your coffee.
Aluminum Moka Pot
Aluminum is a lightweight metal that is a great heat conductor. It also distributes heat evenly across the surface. This means that when you're making your coffee, it will brew evenly throughout, and it's less likely that you end up with a cup of bitter, burnt coffee.
Another advantage that aluminum Moka pots have is that they are cheaper than stainless steel ones. Also, if you ever need to change some parts, it tends to be easier to find such for aluminum Moka pots than for stainless steel ones.
A significant disadvantage aluminum Moka pots can have is leaving a metallic taste in your coffee. This is why it is recommended that you brew 2-3 batches of coffee and throw them out when you first get it. Coffee experts call this the seasoning stage. Until your Moka pot is seasoned well, there is a big chance that your coffee will have a metallic taste.
Moka pots made out of aluminum also need softer handling when being cleaned. Aluminum is simply not as tough as stainless steel. You shouldn't leave your Moka pot dirty after a brew. This will make coffee build-up and will ruin the taste of future coffee. Also, aluminum is significantly softer than stainless steel, so it's easier to scratch and damage.
Stainless Steel Moka Pot
A stainless steel Moka pot will last longer than an aluminum one. Also, stainless steel contains chromium which makes it more resistant to corrosion. It is also tougher because it's non-porous. On the other hand, aluminum is corrosive, and you might face some oxidation issues with more prolonged use.
An aluminum Moka pot could rust because of the coffee's acidity. This is something that isn't going to happen with a stainless steel one.
A disadvantage that stainless steel Moka pots have over aluminum ones is that they are more expensive. You end up paying for a quality product, though, which is always worth it in the long run.
Electric Moka Pots
Electric Moka pots are probably the easiest to use. They plug directly into the outlet and work like an electric kettle, so you don't need to use a stove. This gets rid of the variable that is time. An electric Moka pot will turn off automatically when your coffee is finished.
There are two significant downsides to it, though. The first one is that it's significantly more expensive than the manual ones. Prices are usually around $60 and higher.
Also, as everything is done automatically, you don't have as much control over your brew, which is what makes a Moka pot special.
Moka Pots for Different Amounts of Coffee
There is one more thing you should consider when buying a Moka pot. How big do you want it to be? Do you want to make one or more cups at the same time?
Once a stainless steel Moka pot gets hot, and you're done with your first brew, it will stay hot for a lot longer than an aluminum one. If you're planning on making more than one cup at a time, the best approach would be to buy a model that has a larger capacity.
We offer two Moka pot models. One is for three cups and one for six. This way, if you have people coming over, you won't have to worry about taking too long to make coffee for everyone!
Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel Moka Pots
So, the two main types of Moka pots are aluminum and stainless steel. If you decide to buy a Moka pot of a good brand, you will not have any problems using it. Both aluminum and stainless steel pots, however, have their pros and cons.
Which One Makes the Best Coffee?
A stainless steel Moka pot makes better tasting coffee. This is because there won't be a metallic taste to your brew even right out of the box, and there is no need to make a few rounds of coffee to season it. Once you're done with the seasoning, though, the taste should be the same.
If you bought a cheaper, generic brand Moka pot, your coffee might still taste odd. Your coffee might be burnt and bitter, or it might still have a metallic flavor. This is why I'd recommend going for a good brand.
What Roast Can You Use?
That depends on your taste. The roast you can use in an aluminum Moka pot, you can also use in a stainless steel one. You should make sure that it's not too fine because this way, your coffee will taste bland, as the water won't be able to extract all the flavor out of it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Aluminum Moka Pots Make Espresso?
Both aluminum and stainless steel Moka pots don't make what you'd call authentic espresso. The pressure they produce is significantly lower than the one an espresso machine does. It is still strong, aromatic coffee, though.
Is a Stovetop Espresso Maker The Same as a Moka Pot?
Yes, a stovetop espresso maker is the same as a Moka pot. The name stovetop espresso maker comes from the fact that espresso is the Italian word for "pressed out", which is the method of brewing.
Does an Aluminum Stovetop Espresso Maker Work on Induction?
No, an Aluminum Moka pot won't work on induction. For that, you would need to use an adapter or simply put it in a frying pan.
What Coffee Grounds Should You Use?
Any coffee grounds that are not too fine will work. Make sure they're more coarse than the ones you'd put in an espresso maker.