Making coffee at home is a great experience as you don't just save money and time, but you can also have it just the way you like it. There are a lot of different ways to make it, though. Espresso machines and Moka pots make very strong coffee, but there are more methods. Among the best ones are Pour over, drip coffee and French press. Keep reading to find out what each one's pros and cons are!
What Is a Moka Pot?
A Moka pot is a great way to make rich coffee at home that is also known as a stovetop espresso maker. The reason for that is the coffee it makes is almost as strong as espresso. Furthermore, it uses water to generate steam, which is then pushed through the coffee grounds just like an espresso machine.
A Moka pot has three main parts. These are the bottom chamber (boiler), coffee filter (where the coffee grounds go), and the top chamber (kettle). When you pour water into the bottom chamber and heat it, it will turn into steam. Then it goes up through the coffee and this is how you get your brew!
Does It Make Espresso?
That depends on what you understand by espresso. If you believe espresso is simply strong Italian coffee, then yes, the coffee you get from a Moka pot is both. It also uses the same method of brewing, so it covers this requirement as well.
The main difference between a Moka pot coffee and espresso is how strong they are. As an espresso machine generates around twice as much pressure as the Moka pot, it extracts more flavor out of the coffee grounds. Due to the same fact, there is a layer of foam on top of your espresso which is referred to as the crema, and a lot of people love it. However, you can't get it with a Moka pot.
How Does an Espresso Machine work?
The way an espresso machine works is a lot more complicated as espresso machines have a lot more parts than Moka pots.
You also pour the water in a tank in an espresso machine, but it's significantly bigger because you're not expected to refill it for each brew. Actually, bigger espresso machines like those you'd see in a coffee shop are even directly connected to a water source. With this in mind, you can understand what is the difference between a professional espresso machine and a normal one.
Inside the water tank there is a pump which pumps the water into the boiler and generates the 9 bars (130 psi) an espresso machine needs to make you a cup of brew. After that comes the boiler which is where the water is heated up. If the water is not hot enough or the pressure is not high enough, the coffee won’t come out great. For this reason this part of an espresso machine should always work properly.
Next, the water goes into the group head, which is the final stop. There it goes through the portafilter and brews your coffee.
This is how an espresso coffee maker gives you that rich flavor and the soft crema on top. While there are some differences between the different models of espresso machines, the general idea is the same.
Moka Pots Vs. Espresso Machines?
While each brewer makes excellent coffee, there is no room for comparison regarding brewing time. A Moka pot's water tank is significantly smaller, so it takes a lot less time to heat up. While you can start with cold water, we'd recommend heating it before starting. The whole process of brewing a cup of Moka pot coffee usually takes around five minutes or even less.
The espresso machine is much more complicated. Compared with a Moka pot, it takes a lot more time to make your coffee. A regular machine will take around 15-30 minutes to heat the water. It is also recommended to brew a "blank" round to make sure it is adequately heated. This means that you go through the whole process but with no coffee grind.
Ease of Use
Making Moka coffee is a much simpler process than making espresso. Brewing coffee in a Moka pot takes a lot less time, it's less hassle to clean and maintain, and you don't need to grind your coffee as finely as for an espresso coffee machine. Also, you don't need any extra gear. All Moka pots work the same way, so you will simply need to go through a recipe, and you should be good to go.
An espresso machine is more complicated. There are a lot more recipes for espresso than there are for Moka pot coffee which gives you more freedom but also means that you need to process more information. You also need to get a tamper to ensure the coffee grind is evenly spread in the portafilter. Furthermore, to get the best-tasting espresso out of your machine, you will probably need to try a few different guides until you find the one you like.
Caffeine In a Moka Pot Coffee Vs. Espresso
The level of caffeine in coffee is what determines how strong it is. In general, a cup of Moka pot coffee has around half the amount of caffeine an espresso does, as there is also a lot of caffeine in the crema that you will find on top of your espresso.
If you're a seasoned coffee drinker, this is good news. You will be good to go with just one cup per day. If you don't regularly drink coffee, though, you need to be careful.
What Other Coffee Brewers Are There?
Espresso machines and Moka pots are not the only coffee makers that are good for brewing at home. Even though they are the most widely spread ones, other methods also offer excellent quality of the coffee and have their advantages.
Coffee made in a French press is made by suspending coarsely ground coffee in hot water and letting it steep for a few minutes to achieve extraction. After the brewing part is done, a fine wire mesh filter at the end of the plunger is pressed into the brewing vessel. This way, the grounds are pushed to the bottom and separated from the coffee.
Despite the name, the origin of these coffee brewers is debated. It was first mentioned in the mid 19th century when a Frenchman accidentally brewed his coffee that way. However, it was first patented in 1928 by an Italian.
No matter the actual origin, the French press is an easy way to make a brew. All you need is coarsely ground coffee and some hot water and of course the French press itself.
The coffee made in it is somewhat weaker than the Moka pot one and significantly weaker than an espresso machine. Despite that it makes a richly textured and full-bodied coffee.
A French press takes a while to brew. As the process is manual and there is no pressure involved, you should leave the water to take its time. This is the only way to get a delicious coffee out of it, which means that the brew time can be longer, depending on the water temperature and the grind you’re using.
Ease of Use
To make sure your French gives you the best brew you will need a good grinder. This way you will be able to make sure that you get the best-coarse grind. We wouldn’t recommend using pre-ground coffee beans.
The coffee that comes out of a French press is delicious and not too strong. When it comes to caffeine levels, they’re higher than in drip coffee but lower than what you will find in a Moka pot.
Pour over is a very simple way to make your brew, but despite that there is a learning curve to it. In order to achieve extraction you need to put finely ground coffee in a filter and pour hot water through it.
If you decide to try Pour over, you should know that there are different filters and types of coffee grind from which you can choose. As it’s a slow process, you must pour water slowly into the filter and it might take some time to figure out. Nevertheless there are a lot of guides online that can help you.
Coffee made using the Pour over method is preferred by many for its low acidity and the fact that it also captures the undertones of the flavor most coffee machines miss.
Brewing Pour over coffee takes around 7-8 minutes which is a little longer than a Moka pot. In case you’re just starting out, the first few rounds will probably take a little longer as you will need to pour water at just the right speed to extract the best flavor.
Ease of Use
The tricky part here is finding the right grind for you and getting the pouring speed right. Other than that it’s straightforward.
Pour over coffee is around as strong as coffee made in a Moka pot which puts it in the middle between espresso and drip coffee.
Drip is the coffee maker most Americans use each morning. It is not nearly as strong as espresso or Moka, even though the way it is made is similar to how Moka pots work. While Moka pots use steam to extract the coffee, drip coffee makers sprinkle the ground beans, though. This is why the coffee is not nearly as strong as the one you'd get from Moka pots.
Drip coffee takes roughly the same time as a Moka pot. Your brew will be done within around 5 minutes of the moment you start.
Ease of Use
Probably the easiest to use. The whole process is automated and there isn’t much you can do wrong.
Drip coffee has the lowest amount of caffeine among these options. If you don’t like strong coffee then this is the perfect option for you. If you do, though, you might want to stay away.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Water Should I Pour into a Moka Pot?
The golden rule is to the edge of the safety valve. It is there to let the excessive pressure out, so it shouldn't be covered. Pouring too little water can get your Moka pot to sputter.
What Recipes Should I Follow?
There isn't much difference between the recipes you will find about making coffee in a Moka pot. There is a lot of variety about espresso, though. Depending on your espresso machine, you might have different options to make your coffee. Which one is going to be best for you depends on your taste.
A Moka pot and an espresso machine will both make you a great cup of coffee. There are some differences, though. Espresso is stronger, but a Moka pot is easier to understand. Pour over, and French press coffee is also great if you like rich coffee, and drip coffee has the least caffeine if you don't want to take too much of it.
If you're looking for the middle ground between all of these methods, then you should consider buying a Moka pot. Take a look at the high-quality Moka pots we have in our catalog!