Percolator vs Moka Pot: What’s the Difference & What Makes Better Coffee?

Percolator vs Moka Pot: What’s the Difference & What Makes Better Coffee?

Do you know the difference between a Moka pot and a percolator? Unfortunately, most people don’t and often use both terms interchangeably, thinking it refers to the same thing.

A Moka pot and a percolator are two different appliances that serve a similar purpose: to brew a hot cuppa coffee. 

So why is this a topic of discussion? Well, one of these appliances is easier to use than the other and makes for a stronger and richer cup of joe; in short, a more worthwhile investment.

But before we discuss the percolator vs Moka pot nuances in greater detail, let’s address the main question first:

What’s the Difference Between a Percolator and a Moka Pot?

A percolator brews coffee by forcing boiling water to drip through a basket containing medium ground coffee. On the other hand, a Moka pot uses steam to push water vapor through finely-ground coffee granules. Although both appliances are referred to as stovetop espresso makers, a Moka pot brew has a more robust and richer taste than a percolator.

The Moka pot percolator difference also extends to each appliance's shape, size, and build. For example, Moka pots are usually smaller and serve around 3 – 6 cups of strong coffee, whereas, with percolators, you can brew around a dozen cups of medium-strength coffee at a time.

Moka pots are lightweight, making them ideal companions during travel; they heat up faster and are usually priced lower. Conversely, percolators are manufactured using heavy material, making them chunkier and a hassle to store and carry during your trips. But on the plus side, they retain heat for longer and can store larger amounts of freshly brewed coffee.

Is Moka Pot Coffee Stronger Than Regular Coffee?

Moka pot coffee is twice as strong as regular drip coffee, with a significantly lower coffee-to-water ratio (1:7 for Moka and 1:16 for regular coffee). A Moka pot utilizes steam pressure to extract the flavor from coffee grounds, resulting in a highly concentrated and caffeinated brew similar to – but not as strong – as an espresso shot.    

A Moka Pot Coffee Brew

Brewing coffee in a Moka pot is an art that requires attention to detail. Stick to the following steps to ensure you don’t under or over-extract your coffee:

  • Clean your Moka pot thoroughly and ensure no residue is left behind from the last time.
  • Fill the bottom chamber of the Moka Pot with hot water and stop just below the safety valve point.  
  • Add coffee grounds to the filter basket and level it off using your fingers. Ground the beans to a medium-fine consistency, or you’ll risk over-extracting.
  • Screw the bottom and top parts together (but not too tight) and put the pot on medium to low heat. 
  • Turn off the heat when you hear the gurgling sound, which might take around 5 minutes. 
  • Run the Moka Pot under tap water for a few seconds to stop the brewing process completely.  
  • Your delicious Moka Pot coffee is ready to be served.

The flavor concentration, brew time, and brew method of Moka pot coffee differ significantly from a typical drip coffee. Moka pots produce stronger, full-bodied coffee, while drip coffee makers make for a milder, less concentrated cup.

Then there are electric Moka pots which serve as a modern alternative to traditional stovetop Moka pots. One advantage of using electric Moka pots is that you don’t need a stove or an open flame to make coffee, making them better suited to office spaces.

Stovetop Moka pots, on the other hand, rely on natural heat. Due to the consistent and uniform water heating, coffee brewed in a stovetop Moka pot results in a more intense coffee brew while retaining the richness of an espresso.

Are Moka Pots Worth It?

If you’re on a tight budget but want to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, investing in a Moka pot is a wise choice. Moka pots are cheaper than espresso machines, take up less space, and are portable. Also, they’re best suited for people searching for something more potent than drip coffee but not as strong as espresso.

A Percolator Coffee Brew

Making percolator coffee isn't difficult, but it demands precision. Also, it’s a relatively longer method of brewing. Here’s how you go about using a percolator:

  •       First, ground your coffee beans to a medium-course consistency and add them to the basket.
  •       Fill the base with filtered hot water and assemble the pot.
  •       Then, place the percolator on a stovetop and let the coffee brew until the desired strength has been achieved.
  •       Remove the percolator from heat, discard the coffee grounds, and serve your coffee fresh. 

Brewing large batches of coffee in one go is one of the biggest advantages of using a percolator. Additionally, coffee extracted using a percolator is a strong brew as the water cycles through the ground beans multiple times.

However, there are a few disadvantages of percolators as well. Coffee percolators tend to over-extract and can make coffee bitter. To prevent this from happening, you must experiment with ground size and brewing time to achieve the perfect consistency.

Electric percolators are also a thing. They provide a hassle-free and dependable method to prepare coffee with the push of a button, but it can be a bit pricey.

Are Percolators Better Than Coffee Pots?

Choosing between percolators and coffee pots is a matter of personal choice. Coffee pots are convenient; however, they produce a lighter, less concentrated brew since the water passes through only once. On the other hand, Percolators run repeated cycles of boiling water through the coffee. The higher the number of cycles, the stronger and more concentrated the cup is. Therefore, the choice between the two depends on your taste.  

Popular Coffee Types - A Breakdown

Moka pots and percolators aren’t the only ways to treat yourself to a cup of caffeine. Here are some popular coffee brewing alternatives:

French Press Coffee

Another popular coffee brewing method is known as the French press. It’s an inexpensive alternative that’s made using coarsely grounded coffee beans.

A French press differs from other brewing machines because of its design which uses a metal screen to strain brewed coffee without losing its essential oils and flavor to the filter.

Using a French press is easy. Begin by adding the coffee grounds to the French press, pour hot (not boiling) water over it, and stir it. Let the mixture sit for 4 minutes. Then, gently press down on the plunger to push the particles to the bottom of the container – your coffee is ready to be poured and served.

Aeropress Coffee

Besides using a Moka pot, an Aeropress is another way to make coffee at home without an espresso machine, but how does it fare in the Moka pot coffee vs aeropress coffee debate?

An Aeropress is a manual coffee brewer that utilizes air pressure to extract the flavor of coffee from the grounds. It results in a smooth, full-bodied coffee without bitterness or acidity. You can use an Aeropress to make espresso-like shots, Americano-style coffee, and even cold brew.

Start by heating some water to your desired temperature. Next, fix the filter paper into the holder and screw it to the bottom of the Aeropress. Then add one tablespoon of coffee grounds; a medium-fine grind will do fine. Then, pour water and stir for 10 seconds. Lastly, insert the plunger and push down gently until all the liquid has been filtered out in your cup.

Despite Moka pots being the go-to at-home alternative to espresso machines, an Aeropress can satisfy your cold brew cravings. 

Espresso Coffee

The most common form of coffee running in human veins for years, an espresso is sometimes all you need to get going with the day. Espresso makers are convenient to use and clean and can help you brew authentic barista-like espresso at home.

Espresso is a concentrated shot of coffee prepared by forcing boiling water with 10 bars of pressure through fine-ground coffee. A single shot of espresso has about 63 mg of caffeine, almost 4x more than regular coffee. You can purchase an espresso machine, the automatic or the manual variant, as per your convenience to cut down on everyday coffee costs.

Since most caffeinated drinks use an espresso shot as a base and add milk, cream, sugar, and spices, espresso is the most brewed coffee. Coffee in a Moka pot vs espresso machine can be debatable as a Moka pot produces a strong blend, close to what espresso tastes. However, espresso machines are expensive, making Moka pots the ideal purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few commonly asked questions related to different types of coffee.

Do Coffee Percolators Make Espresso?

No, coffee percolators do not make espresso. Espresso is made by forcing hot water through the finely ground coffee, while percolators use repeated cycles of boiling water through coarse coffee grounds. Therefore, Coffee made using a percolator can’t be called espresso.

Do Italians Use Moka Pots?

Moka Pots were invented by an Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti in 1993. After achieving iconic status in Italian coffee culture, they quickly became popular throughout the globe. Today, they’re considered an essential kitchen appliance throughout Italy and many US households to make strong, flavorful cups of coffee, similar to espresso.

Is Percolated Coffee Stronger Than Espresso?

Percolated coffee can be stronger than espresso if you extend the brewing time and run it through multiple cycles. However, it is less rich and flavorful than espresso and is made by forcing hot water through finely grounded coffee beans at high pressure.

What’s the Difference Between Moka and Espresso?

The main difference between Moka and espresso is their way of extraction. Espresso extracts the maximum flavor and oils from the coffee resulting in a highly concentrated and flavorful cup, whereas Moka pots use steam pressure, producing a less concentrated brew. This distinction creates a difference in the concentration and strength of the coffee.

The Conclusion   

Moka Pots make it easy to use, store, clean, and carry around. Moreover, they are economical and can last for decades, provided you take proper care. The only way to enjoy Moka pot coffee is in a high-quality model.

With plenty of available options, how do you choose the best Moka pot? Invest in a trusted brand with excellent customer service and options well suited to your needs and aesthetics, is the talk of the town for quality and durability and, above all, understands your love for coffee.

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