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We know you love coffee. Have you wanted to brew rich, espresso-style coffee at home? Has the cost of an espresso machine put you off? We found an inexpensive way to brew coffee that is nearly identical to espresso.
Welcome to the world of manual coffee brewing. Italy is known for excellent coffee, and a popular homebrewing method in Italy is the Moka pot. For this article, we searched for the best Moka pot available. Here is what we found.
A Moka Pot is a stovetop coffee maker. It’s also called a stovetop espresso maker. While many argue that it does not create a true espresso, there is no debate that it makes a high-quality strong brew. So we will use the vernacular.
It works simply. Fill with water and coffee and place it directly on the stove. Steam builds up pressure and forces the water through the coffee grounds. When you hear the gurgle, it’s done.
Moka pots were traditionally made of aluminum because it is lightweight, inexpensive, and distributes heat well. Moka pots have a safety valve on the water chamber. This helps regulate temperature and prevents the buildup of too much pressure.
In the 1930s, Italian Alfonso Bialetti created this simple and compact coffee maker. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that this style of Italian coffee maker actually caught on. But in recent decades, sales declined, with 2017 seeing a 5% drop. Some predicted that this humble coffee maker was on its death bed.
Then the pandemic hit. Sales of the Moka pot jumped in 2020 by as much as 40% for some manufacturers. And those who had their stovetop coffee maker gathering dust rediscovered their love of this simple brewing method.
The honest answer is no. But most coffee drinkers will not be able to tell the difference between espresso and coffee made by a Moka Pot. One thing to note is that the “cup” for this type of coffee maker refers to the size of a shot of espresso, not a typical drip brewer. So, a 6-cup pot only brews about 10 or 12 ounces.
By definition, three major factors go into determining if a coffee is a true espresso: pressure, water temperature, and brew time. Espresso is brewed with 9-10 bars of pressure or more. Water temperature must be between 195- and 205-degrees F. Finally, brew time must be between 20 and 30 seconds.
Using this definition, the Moka pot clearly does not make true espresso. It only exerts about 1.5 bars. Also, the water is hotter, and brew time is between three and four minutes. But having said all that, the rich, intense flavor of a Moka pot-brewed coffee is nearly indistinguishable from a true expresso.
Moka pots come in a great variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. We did the hard work for you in searching for the best Moka pot. Here’s our top pick along with a number of alternatives.
When looking for the best stovetop espresso maker, the Bialetti brand must be on top. This is the original pot that has been around for almost 80 years. This Italian coffee maker can brew in less than five minutes. Its unique shape helps distribute the heat evenly. It's easily identified by the art deco-style 8-sided body.
You can get the Bialetti Express in 1-, 3-, 6- and 9-cup options. You might want to check the country of origin for the specific model you're looking at. Some models are made in China, but the 6-cup pot is still made in Italy.
The aluminum body features the brand's signature mustached man. It has a heat-proof plastic handle and a heat-proof knob on the hinged lid.
The safety valve, like the other parts of this pot, is easy to clean with just water. You can use a mild detergent if you wish, but it's not necessary.
Bialetti offers more than just the original stovetop espresso maker. The Kitty stovetop coffee maker is made of 18/10 stainless steel. It features an ergonomic, heat-resistant Bakelite handle that extends further out than the original design. This creates more space between the hot pot and your hand.
The body of the Bialetti Kitty is smooth and rounded with a more modern look. Bialetti makes this pot in 2-, 4-, 6-, and 10-cup sizes. All of these are compatible with gas, electric, and ceramic stovetops. The 2-cup version does not work with an induction stovetop, but the other sizes do.
The Cuisinox Roma is 100% 18/10 stainless steel, including the cast stainless steel handle. It features a sleek design with a mirror polish finish. This pot is more expensive than most, but it is built to last. Cuisinox also offers a 25-year warranty!
A unique feature of the Roma is the reducer filter. This optional item is included with the Roma pot. It lets you brew a smaller amount in a larger pot. This is perfect if you want a bigger pot for when you have guests but still want it to make one or two cups on a daily basis.
Unlike many Moka pots, the Roma works with all stove types, including halogen, induction, electric, gas, ceramic, and radiant. The pot is available as 4-, 6-, or 10-cup models.
One drawback of the Roma is that, unlike most other stainless steel Moka pots, it is not dishwasher safe. This is because of Roma's induction bottom.
The GROSCHE Milano is very similar to Bialetti's original stovetop espresso maker. It is made of aluminum and features the classic 8-sided design. This means that it works fast. It works with gas and electric stovetops. The smaller sizes are perfect for using on propane camp stoves while camping or backpacking.
What's really fun about the Milano is that some sizes are available in different colors. The 3-, 6-, and 9-cup models are available in 5 colors: black, chrome, white, red, and blue. The black version is also available as a 1-cup and a 12-cup coffee maker.
All models feature a soft-touch, heat-resistant handle and knob. What's more, this pot has a burn guard on the grip. This prevents you from accidentally burning your hand on the side of the pot.
If you're looking for a reliable Bialetti stovetop coffee maker with a modern design, check out the Venus stovetop espresso maker. This stainless-steel stovetop brewer from Bialetti has a decidedly modern look with clean, straight lines.
The body is made from 18/10 stainless steel while the handle is durable, heat-resistant nylon. It's available in 2-, 4-, 6-, and 10-cup sizes. All sizes except for the 2-cup are compatible with induction stoves. Because of the induction bottom, the Venus should not be put in the dishwasher.
A nice feature is a spout that is specifically made to prevent drips, making pouring easy. The heat-resistant handle curves out from the pot in an ergonomic design.
Coffee Gator's Moka pot is made from cast aluminum and features the original 8-sided design. It is a little heavier than similar aluminum models but still weighs much less than a stainless-steel pot.
The brushed metal does have a bit of an industrial look. A big plus for many is that it includes induction hob technology. You'll also enjoy the cool-touch handle with a comfortable grip.
This stovetop coffee maker is only available in one color, charcoal, and it only comes in one size, a 6-cup pot. But that will work for most households. Also on the plus side, it includes two 3-ounce stainless steel cups. These cups are vacuum insulated to keep your coffee hotter longer.
Because we're looking at manual stovetop coffee makers, we wanted to include this alternative. This is a rugged stovetop percolator but is not a Moka pot. It is designed especially for use over a campfire. It will also work with other open flames such as a gas or camp stove. The end product is a rich cup of coffee, but it does not have the strength and characteristics of an espresso.
With this manual percolator, the hot water goes up through the stem to sprinkle over the grounds. Then the water drips down back into the water. This process is repeated until the desired strength is achieved. You don't need to use a filter, but some choose to. A paper filter can eliminate finer grounds from falling into the coffee.
Overall, this is an easy-to-use stovetop alternative to a Moka pot. It's ideal for people who want hot, fresh coffee in the great outdoors. It's also good for those who want a good, old-fashioned cup of coffee made on the stove.
The Bellemain Stovetop Espresso Maker follows the classic Italian look. It has the 8-sided design for expedited heating and brewing process. It does have a cool-touch handle and knob.
This stovetop espresso maker is available in five colors: black, red, silver, and white. It will work on any gas or electric stove, but will not work with an induction stovetop. It's only available in the 6-cup size.
The company says this has aluminum finishing but does not state what the primary material is. There are some complaints about the aluminum flaking off. However, as long as you don't put this in the dishwasher or use harsh detergents, it should be fine.
Here is an option for those who love the taste of coffee made in an Italian coffee maker but don't want to babysit the stove. With this electric coffee maker, just add the water and ground coffee and turn it on. The machine will automatically shut off when the brewing is complete. That way, you'll never burn the coffee or cause the machine to overflow. It also has a keep warm feature to keep coffee hot for 30 minutes.
Because you don't need a stove, this is a portable and convenient option for the office, a hotel room, or anywhere you don't have access to a stove. The pot is made of aluminum and is lightweight. It detaches from the electric base for easy pouring.
De'Longhi's Alicia Electric Moka Pot comes with an adapter disc for the filter. The Alicia normally makes six cups. When you add the adapter, you can brew three cups with the same quality as when you make six. The machine also includes a milk frother and a measuring spoon.
One unique feature of the Alicia brewer is the transparent top chamber. This lets you see how far the brewing process has gone. The base and handle stay cool to the touch.
The Yobano stovetop espresso maker is another traditional, aluminum eight-sided Italian coffee maker. It can be used on gas and electric stoves, but not on induction stovetops. It's only available in the 6-cup size. It features a heat-proof handle.
One note of caution here. This pot is smaller than other brands' 6-cup stovetop coffee makers. Some have also mentioned that the aluminum feels rough. Although Yabano's Stovetop Espresso Maker sells for a rock-bottom price, you may want to spend a little more for a higher quality pot.
This style of Italian coffee maker is a simple, manual way of brewing strong, rich coffee. Many people swear by this method, but it’s not for everyone. Here are some things to consider when deciding on the best stovetop espresso maker for you.
The biggest thing to consider is what type of stove do you have. Many Moka pots will work with both stainless steel and electric stovetops. But there are some that only work with open flames, such as a gas or camp stove. If you have an induction stovetop, your choices may be much more limited. Fortunately, you will find several pots on this list that have induction hob technology.
Moka pots come in a variety of sizes. But the output of one is not adjustable. Not brewing a full pot or putting fewer grounds will create an inferior coffee. The exception is to use a filter adapter. These disks are inserted into the filter, allowing you to make a half pot. If you want weaker coffee, brew per instructions then add hot water after. This will create a drink similar to an Americano.
If you only brew for yourself, find a pot that only brews two or three cups. Just remember that “cups” for a Moka pot are not equivalent to “cups” on a drip coffee maker or a measuring cup. The brewed result is similar to espresso, so the “cups” refer to serving sizes of espresso. That means that each “cup” is about 1.5 to 2 ounces of brewed coffee.
You typically have two choices: aluminum and stainless steel. Aluminum is the traditional choice. It’s lightweight and distributes heat evenly and efficiently. It’s also less expensive.
Some may be concerned about potential health risks when cooking with aluminum. But the scientific consensus is that aluminum cookware is safe. Unless the aluminum is specially treated, don’t put it in the dishwasher or use harsh detergents. If you still have concerns, opt for a pot made with cast or anodized aluminum or from stainless steel.
Stainless steel Moka pots often cost a little more, but there are several benefits. They tend to be heavier, but also more durable. Also, most stainless steel Moka pots are dishwasher safe.
Electric Moka pots can be a viable option in some circumstances. It works similarly to an electric kettle. The major advantage of an electric over a stovetop model is that is that the brew time and temperature are automated. With a stovetop version, it’s easy to burn the coffee. You can also use an electric Moka pot anywhere there is an outlet.
The disadvantage is that you can’t take it camping. Many people love using this Italian coffee maker out in the wild. Many Moka pots you can place directly over a campfire. They also work well over a camp stove. Of course, you don’t have to be camping to use it. They will also work with a gas or electric stove.
This Italian coffee maker has three main parts: the water chamber, the filter or coffee basket, and the upper chamber which will collect the brewed coffee. The process will differ slightly based on the shape and material of your pot. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The Moka pot was developed in Italy in the 1930s. It is a manual brewer that makes rich coffee similar to an espresso.
When placed on a heat source, this manual coffee maker heats water to boiling. The hot steam builds pressure, pushing the water through the coffee grounds into an upper chamber.
Yes. It makes a rich, strong brew similar to espresso. If you prefer drip-style coffee, you can add hot water to the finished product.
Some. The original style was made to be used over a flame. Most pots can also be used on electric stoves. But you can find some Moka pots that will work on an induction hob. We have several in this review.
Technically, no. True espresso is made with at least nine bars of pressure, and the Moka pot only creates one or two bars of pressure. Also, the water in a Moka pot reaches a higher temperature than what is needed for true espresso.
Aluminum conducts heat evenly and efficiently. This style of coffee maker is designed to brew coffee quickly. The traditional 8-sided design also helps the water heat up fast.
Rinsing your pot immediately after use is usually sufficient. While most stainless-steel varieties are dishwasher safe, do not put an aluminum pot in the dishwasher. Handwash with mild dish soap.
The main advantage is that it brews a rich coffee very similar to espresso. It's also a fast brewing method. The disadvantage is that it needs constant attention and it's very easy to burn the coffee.
In our opinion, the best stovetop espresso maker is the Bialetti Express Moka Pot. Bialetti knows what they’re doing because they started it all. Thanks to the aluminum construction and octagonal design, it heats water and brews coffee at lightning speed. Another big plus is that it comes in four sizes, so one is sure to meet your needs.
If you want the taste of this Italian brewing method but don’t want to fuss over the pot, you might want to check out De’Longhi’s Alicia Electric Moka Pot. The automatic shut-off means that you can turn it on and go on with your morning routine.
Whichever brand and model you choose, you can see for yourself why this 70-plus year-old technology still brews an exceptional cup of coffee.