Do you love the taste of a rich, bold cup of espresso? Or maybe you prefer the smooth flavor of Moka pot coffee? Whatever your answer is, there's no doubt that both of these coffee drinks are delicious. But what's the difference between Moka pot coffee vs. espresso? Let's take a closer look.
What Are Moka Pots?
The Moka pot was invented in the 1930s by an Italian engineer named Alfonso Bialetti. As a true Italian, he was very passionate about coffee and decided to put his engineering knowledge into that. Since the coffee brewing process only takes a few minutes, they called the Moka pot ’’the Moka express’’.
The original Bialetti Moka express was made out of aluminum, as back then, that was arguably the only viable option. That’s because stainless steel was only invented a few decades ago and was still expensive and hard to come across. But there are stainless steel options nowadays, and many believe they're even better. And there are a few reasons for that.
One of the reasons is that stainless steel is significantly more durable than aluminum, and it won't rust or crack as easily. Also, stainless steel is a magnetic metal, so it can efficiently work on induction stoves without any additional equipment. Last but not least, it doesn't conduct heat as quickly, so if you want to make a few rounds of coffee in a row, your Moka pot will stay hot for longer.
They named the Moka pot after the Yemeni city of Mocha which was crucial for spreading coffee around the world. However, even though they initially cultivated coffee in modern-day Ethiopia, that's not how it spread to Europe and Asia. Instead, it was thanks to Somali traders who started importing the plants through the port of Mocha into Yemen.
A Moka pot is also known as a stovetop espresso maker because the brewing method is similar to that used in an espresso machine.
How Does a Moka Pot Make Coffee?
The coffee you make in a Moka pot is always rich and strong. How can such a small and straightforward machine make such excellent coffee, though?
It's all about hot water under pressure. The whole brewing process starts in the bottom chamber. This chamber is where you pour the water (preferably hot). When you put the Moka pot on the hot stove (electric, gas, or induction), it will heat the water and turn it into steam. It will find its way up through the ground coffee in the filter when that happens. After going through the coffee, your brew goes up through the tower and into the top chamber.
This process generates around 1-1.5 bars of pressure. While this isn't low for such a simple machine, it is still significantly lower than the pressure espresso machines generate. As a result, you can't expect to have too much crema with your Moka pot coffee.
What Is an Espresso Machine?
An espresso machine is one of the most widely spread ways to brew coffee. They are known for their strong coffee with loads of crema. Even though they can be expensive, many coffee enthusiasts prefer espresso over anything else, including Moka coffee.
The espresso machine was invented in 1884 in Turin by Angelo Moriondo and was initially named "New steam machinery for the economic and instantaneous confection of coffee beverage, method 'A. Moriondo’’. In 1901, another Italian named Luigi Bezzera filed another patent that made some significant improvements, making it more similar to today's espresso machines.
Then in 1903, Desiderio Pavoni bought Bezzera's patent, founded the La Pavoni, and started producing espresso machines. As a result, the first espresso machine in the US was a La Pavoni, installed in 1927.
So, more than a hundred years have passed since the invention of the espresso machine, and it has developed a lot more to give you the best brew you can get. And nowadays, there are three types of espresso machines depending on how automated the brewing is:
The manual espresso machines make brewing coffee a memorable experience. The device doesn't need any electricity to make coffee, and it's all done manually. You start by heating the water and putting the coffee grind in the filter. Next, you pull a lever, sending the hot water through the coffee grind and into your cup.
The process is straightforward; however, the strength you pull the lever with will directly affect your coffee. If you pull too hard, the water will go through the coffee too fast, giving you a cup of under-brewed espresso. The same will happen if you pull too slowly, as the water won't be able to extract your coffee. Therefore, you need to apply the right amount of pressure to create the perfect brew.
Semi-automatic espresso machines are significantly easier to use. You would only need to take one extra step than a Moka pot to brew coffee. After you've poured the water, ground your coffee, and put it in the filter, you must tamp it. You should do that to get a cup of coffee that is evenly extracted.
Super-automatic espresso machines are the easiest to use but also the most expensive. However, they make sure you get a perfect cup of coffee with each use. All you need to do here is load the coffee, pour some water, and press a button. A few minutes later, you will have your coffee to start your day off just right.
How Does an Espresso Machine Work?
An espresso machine brews coffee that follows the same principle as the Moka pot. You can start with the ground or unground coffee, depending on your machine. If yours is semi-automatic (as most household-grade espresso machines are), you will need to grind the coffee yourself. Then, you put it in the portafilter and pour the water. The water doesn't need to be hot here, as the espresso machine is significantly more sophisticated and won't burn your coffee. When the water gets hot enough, it will go through your coffee and give you a delicious cup of brew with foamy crema.
Moka Pot vs. Espresso Head to Head
Like most things in life, it's not easy to say what is best. And both Moka pots and espresso machines have their good and bad sides, so let's look into them.
Moka Pots Advantages
A Moka pot is cheap. It's even one of the most affordable ways to brew coffee. Every Moka pot comes with a simple filter that you won't need to change. So a high-quality stainless steel Moka pot won't set you back more than $40-50. Additionally, you won't need to change anything on it for the first few years.
It's Easy to Fix
Even if at some a seal gets loose or you need to fix your safety valve, it's all elementary with a Moka pot. No matter what model you have, it will be easy to find spare parts, and they're all effortless to install. With a LuxHaus Moka pot, you even have a lifetime quality guarantee - meaning that if at any time after purchase you're not fully satisfied with your Moka pot, you get a full refund.
Easy to Use
As you already saw, Moka pots are very easy to use. There are only a few steps you need to take, and wait for a few minutes until you brew yourself a delicious cup of coffee.
Easy to Clean
As Moka pots only have a handful of parts, they are easy to take apart and clean. That's excellent news, as we recommend you wash your coffee maker after each cup you brew. This way, you will ensure there's no leftover coffee and none stuck in your filter.
There's a significant differentiation that we need to make. While both aluminum and stainless steel Moka pots are easy to take apart and clean, a stainless steel one is easier to wash. As the metal is a lot more resistant, you can use any type of detergent you want and even throw it in the dishwasher.
Any Moka pot is small; therefore, you can easily take it when traveling or camping. Additionally, there are multiple sizes of Moka pots. They go from one cup to twelve, so if you decide you want to brew some more Moka pot espresso, that's easily doable.
Moka pots don't require electricity to operate; they are entirely manual, giving you a personal experience when you brew your coffee. In addition, you have more control over the brewing time and amount of coffee grind, which provides you with the freedom to make it just the way you like it.
Everyone who's tried coffee from a Moka pot knows how delicious it is. It has a rich and strong taste and gives you the amount of caffeine you'd need to start your day. Additionally, Moka pot coffee is as Italian as coffee can be, as there's a Moka pot in nearly every Italian home.
Espresso Machine Advantages
Very Easy to Use*
Whether your espresso machine will be easy to use is up to the type of machine you will use. As we already mentioned, if yours is a manual model, it won't be easy to use. However, if it's a semi-automatic or even a super-automatic, you can get up to two espresso shots with just the push of a button.
Espresso is all about the crema. Due to the high pressure that an espresso machine generates, you can be sure that you will always have the right amount of crema with your espresso. And while many coffee enthusiasts love their crema, some connaisseurs argue against it. They state that it only makes the coffee more bitter and doesn't really add anything to the flavor but just the opposite.
Great Coffee Each Time
If you're using a semi-automatic or a super-automatic espresso machine for your coffee, you will have the same delicious cup of brew with each use. There's something that you need to take in mind, though. To do that, you will need to tamp your grind evenly each time. You can easily do that with a pressure-calibrated tamper.
No need for a Grinder*
The statement above is s only accurate if you own a super-automatic espresso machine. It comes with a built-in coffee grinder which will grind your coffee to just the right size for the perfect cup of espresso.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which One Makes the Strongest Coffee?
The answer here is straightforward. Due to the higher pressure in espresso machines, the coffee made is twice as strong. If you like strong coffee, then that's perfect. If you prefer less caffeine but a great taste, though, you might want to buy a Moka pot.
Which One Has the Best Taste?
Which one has the best taste is entirely up to you. If you like a slightly weaker cup of coffee than espresso, a Moka pot will give you the best flavor. On the other hand, if you love crema and a very strong coffee, you will want to go for an espresso machine.
What Recipes Are There for Moka Coffee?
There are plenty of recipes for Moka pot coffee and espresso, and there are many variations for each.
Here's our favorite Moka pot coffee recipe:
You should know that this is the recipe for a three-cup Moka pot, as this is the most common model. If yours is bigger or smaller, you should adapt the quantities.
What you need:
2 tablespoons medium-fine coffee grounds
6 ounces of hot water
A damp cold towel
What you might need to make your coffee sweeter:
2 ounces milk
1 tablespoon sugar
- Throw the wet towel in the freezer. You'll need it later.
- Add coffee grounds to the filter of the Moka pot.
- Add hot water and put it on a hot stove.
- Wait until you hear a gurgling sound come out of the pot.
- When you hear it, take the pot away from the stove and cover it with the freezer towel to stop the extraction process.
- Pour the coffee from a Moka pot into a coffee cup, and feel free to add milk and sugar.
Is Moka the Same as Espresso?
Whether Moka pot coffee is the same as espresso depends on your espresso knowledge. The beverage's name comes from the Italian word for "pressed out." If you go by that definition, then they're both espressos. On the other hand, if you go by the general understanding of espresso, then Moka pot coffee is not the same.
Can You Make Espresso in a Moka Pot?
No, you can't. Even though the coffee you'd make in a Moka pot is pretty strong and delicious, it won't be the same as espresso.
Moka pots and espresso machines both give you fantastic coffee. However, it is you who decides which one is better. The Moka pot is small and simple, and the espresso machine is more complicated but easy to use. And, to make sure you get a perfect cup of espresso each time, head over to our store to get your pressure-calibrated coffee tamper.Also - we have good news if you believe a stainless steel Moka pot is what you're after! We have just what you're looking for in our store, and it comes in two different sizes. Get yours now!