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Moka Pot Vs Siphon Coffee Maker: Which One’s Hot and Which One Sucks?

We’ve been comparing the Moka pot to various different brewing methods recently (see our articles on the Moka pot vs the French press and Espresso coffee makers respectively), and today we’ve got our sights set on the Siphon coffee maker. Whereas our other comparisons involved two completely distinct methods of brewing, today’s matchup is between two devices that utilize a similar brewing mechanism in order to produce delicious coffee – that is, heat and pressure. Whereas the Moka pot relies on the intense heat of a stove or open fire, the Siphon coffee maker uses a much more gentle and sedate bunsen burner or equivalent in order to make the magic happen.

But which one is better? That’s the question we aim to answer as we delve into a deep analysis of both methods. Keep reading as we decide definitively who would win in a Moka pot vs Siphon Coffee Maker battle.


The Moka Pot

It’s hard to think of a more iconic and ubiquitous brewing method than the Moka pot. Used in every country all over the world across countless cultures, the humble Moka pot is affordable, easy to use, and has been brewing quality coffee for centuries.

Its popularity is owed partly thanks to its design, which uses simple principles of heat and pressure transfer in order to force pressurized steam through ground coffee to produce a delicious brew. The Moka pot consists of three parts – the top chamber, filter basket, and bottom chamber. The latter holds the water, the filter basket holds the coffee grounds, and the former collects the final product once the brewing process is over.

How to use a Moka pot correctly

  1. Separate the bottom chamber, filter basket, and top chamber.
  2. Fill the bottom chamber with water until just below the pressure-release valve. This valve exists to prevent an excess build-up of pressure which would otherwise cause the Moka pot to explode (no jokes), so it’s important that you don’t fill the water above this point.
  3. Grind your coffee to a medium to medium-fine grind then add it to the filter basket. Make sure that your coffee is the correct consistency; if it’s too fine then the steam won’t be able to penetrate the grounds and lead to poorly extracted coffee. If you’re using a 3-cup Moka pot, then you’ll likely need about 18 grams of coffee. Don’t try and force it down the way you would with an espresso machine; the grounds just need to be lightly tamped but not compressed.
  4. Place the filter basket with the ground coffee into the bottom carafe, then screw on the top chamber so that the whole Moka pot is now assembled. Next, place it on your heat source whether that’s an induction stove, electric stove, or open fire.
  5. Now, wait a few minutes. In about four to six minutes, the steam is forced into the top chamber, extracting the coffee along the way. Once you hear the Moka pot begin to gurgle, either remove it from the heat or cut off the heat source entirely and let the process finish. Once all the sounds have ceased, your coffee is ready to be served.

Pros

  • Affordable, especially when compared to other brewing methods
  • Moka pots are long-lasting and can be used for years
  • Extremely portable and can be used for camping and other trips
  • The coffee produced is rich, full-bodied and intense
  • It’s easy to clean, especially when compared to the siphon coffee maker

Cons

  • Lacks the pressure to produce authentic espresso

The Siphon Coffee Maker

Part revolutionary coffee maker, part mad-scientist lab equipment, the siphon has been producing delicious brew and captivating guests around the world for almost two centuries – surprising, given that current models have such a futuristic look. Another known as a vacuum coffee maker, the siphon consists of three separate chambers (much like a Moka pot) and relies on heat, differential pressure, and the power of a vacuum in order to extract precious coffee flavors and oils into a drinkable brew. This method of extraction results in a cup of coffee that is extremely smooth, balanced, and fragrant, however, the trade-off is that it does require a bit more time in order to set up and execute effectively.

How to Make Coffee Using a Siphon Coffee Maker

Siphon coffee makers come in a number of different builds and designs, but in general, they all operate in the same way.

  1. Start by separating the top glass chamber from the bottom one, then secure the filter in place by pulling the attached chain through the neck of the top chamber and securing the spring on the glass lip of the neck. Put this aside while you prepare the next part.
  2. Place the bottom glass chamber on your stove or heat source, but don’t apply any heat just yet.
  3. Next, add water to the bottom glass chamber. A good rule of thumb to determine how much water to use is to use about 120ml of water for every cup of coffee you intend to brew. Once you’ve added your water, turn on your heat source and start heating the water on medium-to-high heat.
  4. While the water gets hot, measure out your coffee. If you’re using a grinder, you’ll want to make sure you grind your beans to the same consistency that you would use for pour-over coffee. Otherwise, just buy medium-coarse pre-ground coffee. Use about 7 grams of coffee per cup that you intend to make or 60 grams of coffee per liter of water (that’s how the pros do it).
  5.  Secure the top chamber onto the bottom one. Make sure not to use too much pressure or else you might damage the whole siphon.
  6. Once the water starts boiling, you’ll see it leave the bottom chamber and move to the top one. When this happens turn your heat source down so that the water measures between 185-195 degrees F. Add your coffee grinds and gently stir them in so that they submerge fully. Stop stirring and allow the coffee to brew for about 70 seconds.
  7. Now, turn the heat off completely or remove the siphon from the heat. Let the device rest. As the glass starts to cool, a vacuum will develop and suck the coffee into the bottom chamber (which is where the coffee maker gets its name).
  8. Once all the coffee is in the bottom chamber, remove the top chamber, and serve your coffee.

Pros

  • Siphon coffee is smooth, delicious, and full-bodied. It’s rated as one of the best ways to brew coffee.
  • Brewing coffee using this method is a fun, exciting, and sensory experience.
  • If you’re a coffee control freak, brewing coffee with a siphon gives you full control over all of the brewing variables including heat, coffee volume, and brew time.
  • Siphon coffee produces a beautifully intense aroma that makes the whole house smell incredible.

Cons

  • Requires a bit of prior knowledge to use effectively.
  • A siphon coffee maker is quite a delicate and cumbersome piece of equipment, and might not fit in smaller kitchens.
  • Brewing coffee using this method requires more time than a Moka pot or French press.

Moka Pot vs Siphon Coffee Maker: Key Differences

  • The coffee grounds are located in different places. In a Moka pot, they’re in the middle and are stationary as the water gets forced through them. In a siphon coffee maker, they’re placed in the top chamber before being sucked down into the bottom chamber.
  • Siphon filters generally use a cloth filter whereas the filter basket used in a Moka pot is made of aluminum or steel. This gives the siphon coffee maker a much cleaner final brew.
  • Whereas Moka pots rely on boiling water in order to brew coffee, siphon coffee makers use a consistent temperature and pressure for extraction, ensuring that all of the subtle flavors are locked in and not lost.
  • Moka pots are quite straightforward to use. Siphon coffee makers require a little more technical knowledge to operate effectively.
  • The Moka pot is relatively easy to clean, whereas the siphon coffee maker needs specialized tools such as a bottle brush and cleaning solution.

Moka Pot vs Siphon Coffee Maker: What They Have In Common

  • Both methods rely on heat and pressure (albeit in different ways) in order for extraction to take place.
  • Both methods can be brewed easily at home.

Buy A Moka Pot: Our Top Pick

If you’re looking for a Moka pot that does it all then you don’t have to look further than the Bialetti Moka Express. The Moka Express from Bialetti is the classic Moka pot and has been for almost the last hundred years. Its inception can be dated back to 1933, and since that date, this Moka pot has taken the world by storm with its eye-catching design, utilitarianism, and ability to brew delicious, intense, and full-bodied brew.

The Moka Express is constructed from aluminum, making it light, sturdy, and extremely portable. It’s an ideal home coffee brewer, but it’s also great for throwing into your luggage and taking it on the road with you. It’s available in a number of different sizes from 1 cup all the way up to 12 cups, so that you can find a size that fits your brewing needs.

Once you’re finished using it, the Moka Express is extremely easy to clean. Unlike stainless steel Moka pots, you don’t even need any sort of cleaning solution to get the job done. Simply use a soft sponge and warm water to scrub off all the coffee residue. If there are some stubborn spots, then simply add a little bit of vinegar and repeat the process.


Buy A Siphon Coffee Maker:

If you’re looking for a reliable siphon coffee maker that produces smooth, delicious brew, won’t let you down, will last for years to come, and won’t break the bank, then look no further than the HARIO Technica Coffee Siphon. This incredible all-rounder is a countertop model that you can also take out of the kitchen and prepare coffee anywhere you want (provided there’s a flat surface nearby). It comes with a butane burner that can easily be refilled, and a 3-cup brew capacity, which equates to about 360ml of water.

All glass components are constructed using borosilicate glass, making it heat resistant, well-insulated, and durable, whereas the stand and filter holder are made from stainless steel and built to last. Like all siphon coffee makers, cleaning can be a bit of a hassle, and the Technica is no different. Aside from having to keep the burner and the glass clean, HARIO recommends that you remove the filter after use, soak it in water and refrigerate it to keep it fresh.


Moka Pot FAQs:

How Do I Clean An Aluminium Moka Pot?

Cleaning a Moka pot made of aluminum is pretty straightforward, but also seemingly unconventional. While you might be tempted to lather it in dishwashing liquid, the correct way is to simply use a soft sponge and warm water. This will keep it clean while preventing any sort of degradation from taking place. If there are some stubborn coffee stains that won’t come out, try to use a little bit of vinegar to loosen them up.

Can I Use Pre-Ground Coffee in a Moka Pot?

Definitely. Whether you use pre-ground coffee or grind the coffee yourself, both can be used in a Moka pot. The only thing to be careful of is the grind size. If you are using pre-ground coffee, make sure that the grind size is between fine and medium.

Can I Use a Moka Pot on an Induction Stove?

It depends on the material that the Moka pot is constructed from. If you’re using a stainless steel Moka pot then this will work without any issues. However, if your Moka pot is constructed from aluminum you’ll have to use a different heat source.

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