The Moka pot goes by many different names: Bialetti, stovetop espresso coffee maker, Italian stovetop espresso maker and a few others. The names are not as important as what is the best Moka pot available. Sourcing Nova has looked at different options for you and has compiled a guide to help you find the best Moka pot for your needs.
The best material for a Moka pot
The original Moka pot designed by Alphonso Bialetti was made from aluminum. The material was inexpensive and easy to shape and form. Aluminum also heats and cools quickly, the perfect solution if you are interested in having your stove top espresso quickly.
Aluminum is also traditional. Purists to tradition or perhaps of Italian descent often want the aluminum eight sided pot like the original models.
Sourcing Nova has plenty of manufacturers of aluminum Moka pots and can find them with ease. Aluminum is not that expensive of a metal, so the coffee makers are relatively inexpensive to purchase – particularly in bulk when ordered from China.
The Moka pot was designed to sit directly on a stove. Today’s stove is considerably different from the stove of 1933, with gas, electric eye and induction are the most common stove types today.
A stainless steel pot will heat and cool much more slowly than an aluminum pot. This means the coffee will take longer time to brew but will stay warm longer than in aluminum. Stainless steel is more expensive than aluminum, but the Moka pot is much more sturdy and designed to last much longer.
Sourcing Nova looks for 18/8 or 18/10 stainless steel for stove top espresso makers. This is the standard stainless steel alloy used in most kitchenwares, dining ware and the like. All models will have food grade quality manufacturing.
What size Moka pot do I need
Firstly, stove top espresso is not served like a standard cup of coffee. A standard cup of coffee is between six to eight ounces, 180 to 225 grams. A cup of stove top espresso is two ounces, about 55 grams. Here is a brief guide on Moka pot sizes. Cup size is the number of cup servings the Moka pot brews:
The best pot you need is dependent on how much Moka you want to drink. A one cup maker is not a great choice for a coffee-holic, as you will be continually making coffee over and over. Conversely, a 12 cup maker is too much for you if you only like a cup of stove top espresso once and a while. If this is not quite enough information, the following information can help you make a decision:
Perfect for a single shot
|Same amount of prep for a larger pot
No extra for guests
Easy to put away
|Still not enough for coffee-holics
No extra for guests
|6||More than a “standard” cup|
Perfect for two people
|Still not enough for a crowd
Storage becomes a problem
|9||Three to four people served||Heavier
Storage continues to be an issue
Entertaining is a breeze
No need to rebrew
|Heavy to hold and serve
Needs lots of storage space
What is the best brand of Moka pot?
The Italians at one time made the best Moka pots, with the Bialetti name continuing to produce quality products even today. All Moka pots do the same thing – brew an expresso-like coffee on a stove top.
Big box stores – Target and Walmart – also carry Moka pots. Here shoppers can find a variety of Moka pots in all sizes.
The most logical place for someone to buy a Moka pot is Amazon. Here you can find a variety of Moka pots available at the online giant, as well as reviews to help you make the best decision for your specific needs.
What to look for in the best moka pot ?
A good Moka pot does not have to cost a great deal of money. There are plenty of Moka pots that are well over $100.00 and do not make a great cup of coffee. Instead, there are a few particular elements you should consider. This way you get the best Moka pot for your dollar. The traditional eight sided pot is just for looks. Modern looking Moka pots work equally well.
- Cups – Cup measurement in this case is based on an espresso cup – two ounces. The chart above does list amounts, but a good rule of thumb is a six cup unit.
- Material – Look for 18/8 or 18/10 stainless steel. Some units will have stainless steel on the outside but aluminum on the inside. 100 percent stainless steel.
- Durable – The better Moka pots will be a bit heavy, which means the pot is solid construction.
- Coffee – Better models can brew anything from an espresso to a standard cup of coffee.
- Electric – If you want an electric Moka pot, be sure it has a thermostat, insulated around the bottom and easy to remove from the base.
- Seal – The seal should be high quality, easy to find replacement parts and come with a second seal included in the package. The seal should be silicone and not rubber.
- Handle – The handle should be stainless steel or hard plastic. If the handle is stainless steel, it needs to be welded in two places – top and bottom.
- Cleaning – The model should break down and clean easily.
Moka pots vs. espresso
The Moka pot is often called the Italian stove top espresso maker because the coffee has a taste very similar to that of espresso. There are a few things to consider when comparing the two. Here are Sourcing Nova’s most common comparisons:
- Moka coffee vs. espresso taste – Both create a robust and delicious cup of coffee. Moka has a slightly different taste than that of the espresso because of the brewing process. Both use steam to brew the coffee, but the espresso steam is much hotter. This steam is under pressure, and an espresso machine is able to extract more flavor and oils from the bean than the Moka pot.
- Moka pot vs. espresso machine – The Moka pot is an incredibly simple pot, three parts compose the entire system. An espresso machine, on the other hand, has many different parts from the water tank to the steam wand for frothing or steaming milk. This makes the espresso machine much more difficult to clean and maintain. Cheap espresso machines exist, but they often leak, make coffee poorly and lack the sturdy build necessary for the pressure of the steam.
Moka pot vs. other coffee makers
There are several different ways to brew coffee besides a Moka pot, espresso machine or French press. Here are the most common coffee brewing methods and how they stand up against the Moka pot.
- Chemex vs. Moka pot – The Chemex, pour over coffee maker, uses a coffee filter and an hourglass shaped glass to brew the coffee. The user pours hot water over the grinds, and the water seeps through the filter, bringing coffee to the bottom part of the system.
Chemex coffee will not be as robust or dark since the coffee is filtered. It will also take considerably more time to brew.
- Drip coffee maker vs. Moka pot – The drop coffee maker is the most common method to make coffee for most Americans. A reservoir holds water that drips into a container with a filter and the coffee grounds. The coffee drips into a carafe sitting on a warmer. Drip makers are good because they can be set ahead of time to start brewing. This is a great solution for those who want to wake up to coffee in the morning.
- Keurig vs. Moka pot – The Keurig machine brews single cups of coffee with individual plastic cups. A reservoir holds enough water for several cups of coffee. Keurig machines are fast, but the single use cups are plastic. Whether or not the plastic is eco-friendly depends on the maker of the specific cups. Several different companies make these.
- Siphon vs. Moka pot – The Siphon coffee maker looks like the setup in a mad scientist laboratory from the old science fiction movies. Water moves from a lower portion to an upper. The coffee flows back into the lower portion after there is no heat.
- Nespresso vs. Moka pot – The Nepresso is another coffee maker similar to a Keurig. It works under the same concepts.
- Electric Moka pot vs. Moka pot – The standard Moka pot makes coffee directly on the stove top. The electric Moka pots can make coffee in the absence of a stove top – dorm rooms, hotel rooms and the like. The electric models do not have the learning curve that a standard Moka pot has, so it is a good option for those who want to start making espresso like coffee without an espresso maker or a stove.
- Minipresso vs. Moka pot – Those who love the outdoors and espresso will appreciate the simplicity of the Minipresso. Put boiling water into the unit and press. The result is a small cup two ounces, (50 grams) of espresso. The Minipresso is small and easily portable. Unless you are camping, a Moka pot is a much better choice.
If you are interested in a Moka pot, Italian stove top espresso maker or Bialetti, Sourcing Nova hopes this guide gives you information to guide you decision. We still want to know what you feel is best in a Moka pot? Is there anything we did not cover you feel is important? Leave a note below for us.