The Moka pot has been one of the favorite ways to make coffee at home since all the way back in the 1930s. It was designed to mimic espresso coffee – so it could be said that the Moka pot was the first home espresso coffee maker!
In time, however, people realized that Moka pot coffee wasn’t espresso. It was its own thing, with a unique flavor, aroma, and overall experience. Moka pot coffee went from being a substitute for espresso to having its own reputation as great coffee.
Almost an entire century after its invention, the Moka pot enjoys more popularity than ever. It is One of the most common ways to brew coffee in Central and South America, for example. People from all over the world brew coffee using a Moka pot – with the exact same design of 90 years ago.
So in this article, we’ll go over some of the best Moka pots on the market right now, as well as answer some of your questions about the Moka pot itself.
- The 6 Best Moka Pots
- What is a Moka pot?
- What to consider when buying a Moka pot
- How to brew coffee in a Moka pot
- What size of moka pot should I buy?
- What is the best grind for a moka pot?
- Is moka pot coffee as strong as espresso?
- How do you know when your moka pot has finished brewing?
- Can you brew tea in a moka pot?
- Can you get crema from a moka pot?
- How do you clean a Moka pot?
- What’s the difference between a moka pot and a percolator?
The 6 Best Moka Pots
Bialetti is synonymous with Moka pots. The original inventor of the Moka pot, Alfonso Bialetti, started a company to manufacture these that have been passed down to this family, who are apparently as passionate about coffee as he was.
The Brikka is a deviation from the original model. It has an extra valve and the shape seems to encourage a better type of extraction: one that yields an espresso with crema.
Unheard of for a Moka pot! It’s got its own instructions to make espresso with crema, like using cold water in the tank and using a special measuring cup.
It’s even got its own line of coffee, the perfetto moka. It’s quite exciting, as there have never really been any advancements in this area, and the Brikka is a really promising Moka pot that may just become the new standard.
Grosche moka pot
The Grosche enjoys a lot of popularity because of a few simple tweaks in design that make it more convenient to use than classic moka pots. The silicone gasket seal, for example, is more durable and of higher quality. It never loses its touch.
Another big advantage is the handle: if you’ve ever used a Moka pot before, you know those things are too close to the metal body. It’s rather easy to burn your finger a little bit when handling a moka pot, especially if they are small.
With this handle, which is further away from the body, you can safely grab it without coming close to the heated part and burning your fingers!
Primula Moka pot
The Primula is sporting what some call the “alternative” Moka pot, which really is just a Moka pot with a slightly different design. It is made to look a little more elegant and “slim” as opposed to a good ol’ chunky moka pot.
But inside, they’re just the same. Some people prefer this design for aesthetic reasons and the fact that they are easier to store as they are slimmer, taller.
The Primula is a great-looking Moka pot with a wood handle that looks absolutely fantastic. Who said Moka pots were boring?!
Grasseed moka pot
I remember being ecstatic the first time I set eyes on the Grasseed. Such a fascinating, cool take on the Moka pot!
If you don’t know how it works, the Moka pot shoots the coffee up and into the superior basket. This Grasseed makes use of that dynamic to create a kind of show: the superior basket is made of glass, so you’re able to see all of the action.
Being able to watch that hypnotizing moment when the basket starts to fill with coffee is just amazing. There are few better experiences when it comes to making coffee.
By far and undoubtedly the best-looking, most elegant Moka pot in the world. Possibly the best-looking coffee maker, period.
The Ossidiana plays around with the shape and design of the moka pot to create a unique look using depth and the metallic body has an extra shine to it. It reminds you of a legendary work of architecture.
I have this one because it just looks so funny. With Moka pots, there usually isn’t a lot of difference, but this one Bialetti design really takes the cake for originality.
It’s an “Alpine” design which is a sort of reference to the culture of the Alps and the surrounding region (Swiss, mostly, and Swiss-Italian) and overall just a fun moka pot to have around. It was really inexpensive.
If you like unique designs that stand out from all the others, I highly recommend this moka pot!
What is a Moka pot?
It was invented in the 1930s with one purpose: to make espresso.
It didn’t quite work, but the idea was the same: create pressure so that water passes through the grounds with force. It is the only brewing method that uses pressure to generate force, besides actual espresso machines. Only that moka pot can’t generate as much pressure as espresso machines.
The moka pot generates steam in its pressurized lower half. When there’s too much steam, it pushes out the water, which comes out the only way possible: up, through the funnel. Then it goes through the coffee grounds, becoming brewed coffee, and it continues upward into the coffee basket which is the upper half.
So, in short, the moka pot is a coffee maker that uses pressurized water to brew coffee.
Pros and cons
The biggest advantage of moka pots is that they’re really simple and make really good coffee. If you’re a fan of espresso, then you’re going to be a fan of Moka pot coffee! Essentially, it brews concentrated, strong coffee which is great to drink alone or with cream.
It’s inexpensive, too, considering that a Moka pot can last a decade working perfectly. Even after that, the only thing you’d need to do is replace the silicone seal, and you’re good to go for another ten years.
The biggest con is that Moka pot coffee isn’t easy to master. To make good-tasting coffee you really need to put in the hours. Luckily, today we have a lot of tutorials and guides on the internet, so what took me months to figure out you can probably do in just a few days!
What to consider when buying a Moka pot
Aluminium vs stainless steel
Aluminum is the original material, and it remains by far the best. It’s light, and it conducts temperature in the right way. Stainless steel is not bad, but it’s just not the perfect material for a Moka pot.
Most Moka pots work perfectly for all sorts of stovetops – except for induction ones. These make it harder for heat to get going on the lower chamber, so coffee takes longer to brew. There are some moka pots however that are wider at the bottom: if you have an induction stove, then get those types.
Manual vs electric
There just isn’t any competition here. Manual Moka pots produce much, much better results than electric Moka pots and that’s because there are little variables that you can control when making it yourself. Those variables are the difference between good coffee and great coffee.
Electric Moka pots were created simply for convenience. Which is a great point, though. If you need something that is more convenient, then an electric moka pot might just be the ideal choice for you. Quality isn’t everything, despite what all Youtube coffee gurus say.
Some Moka pots are safer than others. Because of their metal body, moka pots are not generally considered the safest of coffee makers. You can burn your hand, drop them, and inflict further burns on yourself or someone else.
That’s why if you’re concerned with safety, and you know yourself to be a little bit of a klutz, a Moka pot might not be the best choice for you.
You can bypass this problem by knowing to use cooking gloves whenever you’re brewing coffee. There are also some moka pots, like the Grosche, that make it easier to handle them without coming as close to the heat.
Moka pots usually come in increments of three: 3, 6, 9 cups.
Do beware that Moka pot “cups” are small. They are much like espresso, so three cups are more or less equivalent to one cup of black coffee. So be aware of that or you might end up with too little coffee in your cup!
Most of the choices you face when buying a Moka pot are aesthetic ones. It all comes down to your personal choice. I absolutely love the classic look, and even then I have two other moka pots with unorthodox designs.
The Moka pot is perfect for a busy lifestyle. It makes strong coffee that’ll keep you going half a day and it really only takes about 3-4 minutes to make. This is very important, as you can get about half the caffeine in the same amount of time with a French press.
If you’re a busy person, I assure you the Moka pot is going to become your best friend. Brew strong coffee, and brew it fast. And there’s very little to clean after!
How to brew coffee in a Moka pot
- Bring water to a boil and let it sit.
- Unscrew the upper and bottom chamber and take the filter out.
- Fill the bottom chamber with water up to the pressure valve (or just below it).
- Place the filter on top of the bottom chamber and pour an adequate dose. Usually, this is 15 grams or less. Do not tamp the grounds.
- Screw the moka pot together and place on top of the stove on high heat.
- Leave the top lid of the moka pot open. After a few seconds – maybe a minute, you’ll see the coffee start to pour from the tube. This process takes very little time.
- Once the chamber fills about halfway, and just as it starts gurgling violently, turn the heat off and serve immediately.
If you want to know more about other methods to make espresso, make sure to read our guide on how to make espresso at home.
What size of moka pot should I buy?
It depends on how much coffee you or your family drink. A standard size would be the 6-cup Moka pot, which is considered medium.
I, however, always recommend going for bigger sizes because the moka pot size cup is very small, only slightly larger than an espresso cup. That means that it takes a few of these “cups” to fill a regular mug.
A good size is the 9 or even the 12 cup Moka pot. It might look quite big, but the amount of coffee it makes isn’t directly proportional to its size!
What is the best grind for a moka pot?
This is an important question. Moka pot actually has its very own grind size, which they use a lot in Italy. Many Italian coffee brands even sell ground coffee in different sizes, including the “moka pot size”.
If you grind your own coffee, or someone else does it for you, then you want to go for a medium-fine grind that is between espresso and drip coffee grind. An in-between size. You want it to be fine, but not as fine as espresso.
If you buy ground coffee, then it’s better you stick to medium size grind instead of going for espresso. Espresso grounds are too fine and you’re going to have problems during extraction because the moka pot simply does not produce enough water pressure to properly extract from fine grounds.
Is moka pot coffee as strong as espresso?
More or less, yes, actually! It doesn’t taste as strong and feels a little bit like an espresso that’s been slightly watered down.
In terms of caffeination, though, moka pot coffee hits as hard as espresso. It’s very strong in taste, sometimes more than espresso, but it definitely has a higher water content than espresso. Still, it comes closer to espresso than many other brewing methods, except maybe for the Aeropress.
How do you know when your moka pot has finished brewing?
The Moka pot starts gently gurgling when the coffee comes out from the upper spout. This has to be a silent ordeal. When the spouting becomes violent and loud, that’s the sign that your coffee is done.
Do not let it continue spouting after this point, as it will water down your coffee.
Can you brew tea in a moka pot?
No, you cannot. There is no infusion going on, so you can’t really get actual tea, which needs to be immersed in water as it is in a big chunk of leaves.
Can you get crema from a moka pot?
Usually, no, although there are some tricks and tips that could help. It’s all about googling and finding the best tips – like using hot water to fill the water tank, and so on. And then there’s the Brikka, which is done expressly for the purpose of creating crema.
How do you clean a Moka pot?
Because the grounds are contained in a confined space, the cleaning process is rather easy. Most of the time, the only thing you need to do is rinse the bottom chamber and the filter. As for the upper chamber, it gets dirty with coffee.
A little scrubbing would be great and, at least once a week, using soap is a good idea to clean the upper chamber. The rest of the Moka pot can be kept clean with just water.
In time, the bottom chamber can collect minerals and develop scale, at which time you should get some descaling solution and soak it in it.
What’s the difference between a moka pot and a percolator?
The only difference they have is that they work vertically. The percolator, however, sends water up, which then runs down and brews coffee as it goes down. This is the exact opposite of the Moka pot, which brews the coffee as it goes up.
That’s it, essentially. The percolator is a much different brewing method that doesn’t yield coffee as good as the Moka pot, as there is no pressurized water involved. Instead, it percolates, which means that it runs water through the coffee with gravity as its only aid.
The Moka pot is a very old, very good way to make coffee. The design and operation feel actually modern, and it makes really good coffee with little effort. The best part? It’s all manual! Not electricity, no settings involved.
Marcelo is a filmmaker and passionate barista on the side. He spends his free time cooking up new and exciting recipes – and drinking too much coffee in the process.