The Best Moka Pot: 6 Pots Ranked (Ultimate Guide)

Whether you call it a moka pot, bialetti, percolator or a stove-top coffee maker, when it comes to brewing espresso-style coffee, it’s hard to deny that it’s one of the best. If you’re new to the coffee game, however, deciding on the best moka pot can be an intimidating proposition. 

Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. 

In this article we’re going to provide a detailed breakdown of some of the best moka pots currently on the market (quick scroll ⇊) , and help you decide which is the best choice for you.

Wait, What Exactly Is a Moka Pot?

Before we nerd out and get into a detailed analysis of some of the best moka pots out there, let’s first establish a baseline definition of exactly what a moka pot is.

Put simply, a moka pot is a coffee brewing device that uses pressurised steam forced through coffee grounds in order to brew coffee. The resultant brew is dark, thick and intense, and similar in consistency and taste to espresso. However, making espresso requires much greater amounts of pressure than a moka pot can produce.

The device itself is a fairly simple piece of kit. It consists of a steel body which contains two chambers separated by a funnel-like filter. Water is added to the bottom chamber and ground coffee to the filter. The top chamber gets screwed on, added to a heat source such as a gas or induction stove, and the heat forces the water into steam and through the coffee.

The resultant brew gathers in the top chamber and boom, in a few minutes you’ve got hot, aromatic coffee ready to go.

a moka pot on top of a stove

What People Love About Moka Pots

If you’re reading this guide it’s likely because you’ve seen moka pots in restaurants, cafes or your friends’ kitchen, and you’ve decided you have to have one. This makes sense considering that the moka pot is a world-wide phenomenon found all over the world.

The reason for its popularity is twofold. First, it’s an extremely simple yet effective device to use. Once you have a moka pot you need very little else other than coffee grounds, water and a heat source in order to produce coffee that would rival that of the best third-wave joint in town.

It’s also extremely cost-effective. Most moka pots don’t need to break the bank. In fact, because of their straightforward construction and robust build, they provide one of the best bangs for your buck if you’re looking to get into the luxury coffee game. 

Of course, like any hobby or interest, there are levels to the amount of money you can spend when pursuing the very best moka pot. That being said, a simple, no-frills moka pot that will produce consistently delicious coffee is not going to put you in debt. 

using a moka pot to pour espresso coffee in a mug outdoors

How We Ranked Our Moka Pots: Criteria Breakdown

When putting together this list we looked at a number of different criteria on which to base our selection. This helped us determine which were the best moka pots and which ones were substandard.

Capacity

When it comes to size not all moka pots are created equal. Each moka pot has a different capacity for the amount of coffee it can brew at once. Some can brew enough for one person and some enough for four.

Material

In the coffee world there’s a debate about which is the best material to construct a moka pot from. It generally falls into two camps – aluminium and stainless steel.

Stainless steel is generally considered the superior material and the best moka pots are constructed from it. They’re non-porous, non-corrosive and extremely durable. Chances are that if you invest in a quality stainless steel moka pot, it’s going to last you for a very long time.

That being said, stainless steel is quite expensive.

The alternative is aluminium. But this material is quite a bit more temperamental than it’s steel counterpart. For starters, they’re not dishwasher safe so they have to be hand washed and dried in order to prevent them from rusting.

While they won’t last as long as stainless steel, aluminium moka pots will still give you a good decade of use if you treat it well. Because of this shortened lifespan, a moka pot made from aluminium will almost always be cheaper.

Design

Ever since their inception, moka pots have always had considerable style. They’re a great addition to any kitchen and look fantastic on any shelf. In fact, they look so good that their original design hasn’t changed all that much from the 30s until today.

But there are variations, and we took this into account when ranking our best moka pots. Most come in traditional silver, but it’s common to find moka pots with varying colors and patterns. 

Safety

When using a moka pot you’re going to be dealing with vast amounts of heat, pressure and steam. For that reason alone it’s important that your moka pot is as safe as possible. 

Such high amounts of pressure make moka pots ticking time bombs without essential safety features. In this case, one of the main features stopping a moka pot from detonating is a pressure release valve, and we made sure every moka pot we reviewed came duly equipped.

The 7 Best Moka Pots: Side-By-Side


Pros & Cons

Price

Bialetti Moka Express
+ Available in a variety of different sizes.Italian-made.
+ Classic design.
+ Trusted brand with a long history of quality designs.

Constructed from aluminium so not as durable as stainless steel counterparts.
$20.31 – $51

Bialetti Kitty Stainless Steel Espresso Maker
+ Unique Design.
+ Durable stainless steel construction.
+ Dishwasher safe.
+ Compatible with gas and electric stoves.

Slightly more expensive than traditional moka pots.
Non-classic design for those who prefer the traditional-looking moka pot.
$39.95

Cuisinox COF-10R Roma
+ Stainless steel construction.
+ Comes with a 25 year warranty.
+ Beautiful and eye-catching design.
+ Works with both electric and gas stove tops.

Hefty price tag that is more than double other comparable options.Not made in Italy.
$121.53

Tops Rapid Brew Stovetop Percolator
+ Unique design featuring an attractive wooden handle.
+ Constructed to be used on an open fire, and so is perfect for outdoor use.

Not the most ideal option for home-use although can be used on a gas stove.
$34.38

De’Longhi EMK6 Electric Moka Pot
+ Electric Moka Pot that can be used without a gas or electric stove.
+ Ideal if you don’t have a kitchen.
+ Convenient and easy to use.
+ Warm function keeps coffee warm for up to 30 minutes after brewing.

Made from aluminium and plastic.
Plastic chamber may affect the taste of the coffee.
$49.99

Bialetti Venus
+ Elegant construction and finish.
+ Constructed from stainless steel and suitable for both gas and electric stove tops.
+ Can also be used on campfires.
+ Fairly affordable.

Not dishwasher safe and requires washing by hand.
$25.79

The Best Moka Pots: Our Top Picks

1- Bialetti Moka Express 

When it comes to the best moka pots around, you can hardly go wrong with anything form Bialetti. Having been around since the 1950s, they’re one of the heavyweights in the industry when it comes to producing premium coffee equipment.

The Bialetti Moka Express is exemplary in this regard. With a classic look that is both attractive and instantly recognisable, the Moka Express sits well in any kitchen. This Italian design helps defuse heat evenly for a balanced yet strong cup of coffee. 

This moka pot is compatible with most stoves. The only drawback is that it’s made from aluminum, so won’t have the same shelf life as a stainless steel counterpart. That being said, for the price, it’s really difficult to beat the quality that it delivers.

2- Bialetti Kitty Stainless Steel Espresso Maker

Another from the Bialetti range, the Kitty Stainless Steel Espresso Maker delivers what the Moka Express can’t. Featuring a more modern design that’s all shiny surfaces and curves, the Kitty is constructed from stainless steel, making it a durable coffee companion for years to come.

Unlike the Moka Express, the Kitty is manufactured in China instead of Italy. Don’t let this put you off though; the stainless steel construction means it’s dishwasher safe and can be used on all stovetops. And although the price point is a little higher, for the added longevity, it’s worth it in the long run.

3- Cuisinox COF-10R Roma

Get out your check books – this one is pricey. The Roma Moka pot by Cuisinox is one of the most expensive on the market. Like the Kitty, it’s constructed from stainless steel but comes at more than double the cost.

Why is it so expensive? To start with, you’re paying for quality. The Roma is touted far and wide as one of the best moka pots currently available.

To back up this claim, the manufacturers have slapped on a 25 year warranty, meaning they’re confident that this thing is built to last. Hardiness aside, it’s also a beautiful piece of equipment to look at, and would look at home with other high-end kitchen appliances.

It’s hard to wrong with the Roma. The only thing slightly off-putting is high price tag, so you have to be absolutely sure that this is the moka pot for you before committing. 

4- Tops Rapid Brew Stovetop Percolator

Are you a coffee addict who loves to camp? Is the thrill of the outdoors overshadowed by your anxiety of not having quality coffee first thing in the morning? If so, then the Tops Rapid Brew Stovetop Coffee Maker is calling your name.

Available in a variety of sizes to suit your needs, the Tops Rapid Brew is constructed from stainless steel and aluminium. This tough build and design is extremely important, as you’re likely going to be lugging this guy through rugged terrain and treacherous mountain paths.

The design is sleek and a pleasure to look at, which is surprising for something designed to be carried in a backpack. 

If you’re not an outdoorsman and the Tops still appeals to you, make sure you have a gas stove at home. Unfortunately this moka pot isn’t designed for all manner of stovetops. 

5- De’Longhi EMK6 Electric Moka Pot

Is space tight in your apartment? Do you live in a houseshare with untrustworthy roommates who might destroy any half decent items you leave in a communal space? Now you don’t have to worry about that ever again with De’Longhi’s EMK6 Electric Moka Pot.

Unlike other moka pots on this list which require an external heat source, the EMK6 is entirely electric. All you need is a plug point, a tiny bit of free space of a desk and some quality coffee grounds and you’re good to go.

The EMK6 features a number of high-tech additions that more analogue versions lack. The safety automatic shutoff ensures that your coffee will never overflow and the heat function means your coffee will stay at the perfect temperature for up to thirty minutes.

For all its merits, the EMK6 also has flaws. The construction, for example, is mostly aluminium and plastic. This is problematic for some coffee connoisseurs as the plastic components have the capacity to alter the flavor of the coffee.

That being said, for the convenience and price point, this little electric moka is perfect for someone under the right circumstances. 

6- Biatletti Venus 

The Venus from Bialetti is as functional as it is beautiful. Featuring a svelte, easy-on-the-eye design and a construction of stainless steel, this is one of the best moka pots out there.

The reason is that the Venus can be used just about anywhere. Whether it’s in the kitchen on an induction stove, or in the wilderness over an open campfire, the Venus can be deployed to maximum effect with minimum effort.

It’s also extremely affordable. The price point to quality ratio is absolutely off the charts, so it’s worth buying if you’re new to the game or just want an affordable all-rounder moka pot.

The only thing to be wary about is the handle. Due to the plastic used in its construction, you should be careful about how you place it on an open fire just to avoid it melting off.


The Ultimate Moka Pot Buyer’s Guide: Here’s What to Look For When Buying

In the market for a moka? Here are the things you should take into account.

Material

As we discussed earlier, the material of which a moka pot is constructed is one of the biggest determining factors when buying. Traditionally all moka pots were made from aluminium, which tends to be cheaper but also comes with a shorter lifespan. Stainless steel, however, will last you for years to come, but is a more expensive investment.

Also worth considering is durability. While both metals are resident to oxidation and corrosion, stainless is definitely more durable than aluminium. This means you’re likely to get more bang for your buck in the long run.

Size

Moka pots come in a variety of sizes, so you should choose one that best suits your lifestyle. If you’re a bachelor who needs that morning pick-me-up, then a two-cup will do the job. If, however, you plan on serving guests or bigger families, then a six-cup is the way to go.

Remember that the coffee produced by a moka pot is quite strong, so you’ll likely need less coffee than you think.

Lifestyle

Think about when and where you’re going to use your moka pot, and how this can fit into your lifestyle. If, for example, you spend a lot of time at home and also have a gas stovetop, then you’re going to want a moka pot that works with gas stoves.

If you’re a camper or like to spend time in the outdoors, then having a portable moka that works well with open fires is definitely the way to go.

Price

Any finally, price. Not all moka pots are made equal, and this is most obviously reflected in their pricing. Take a look at your budget and determine how much you’re willing to spend on the best moka pot for you.

While you can spend upwards of $150 dollars on a single moka pot with guaranteed quality, this might not be the wisest choice if you’re just getting into the luxury coffee game. If that’s the case, scale back and opt for something for affordable. 

Martin Stokes

Martin Stokes

novelthings

Martin Stokes hails from Johannesburg, South Africa. He enjoys writing about all manner of things and can quote lines from films like nobody’s business. He moved to Berlin in 2015 and is working tirelessly at broadening his repertoire of bad jokes.

How to Make Espresso: A Beginner’s Guide to the Perfect Shot

Learning how to make a good espresso can take you to heaven, even if the process to make one looks like rocket science. Watching a barista expertly grind beans, pack multiple porta-filters simultaneously, twist countless nozzles and coax steam, hot liquids and frothed milk from the hundred alien spouts of the massive machine in the coffee shop is an impressive spectacle, to say the least.

But we’re going to let you in on a secret – learning how to make an espresso isn’t the Herculean task that many consider it to be.

The truth is that in order to make a perfectly fine espresso, you don’t necessarily need the barista or the expensive machinery. Of course that’s one way to make it, but if you’re just looking to learn how to make espresso at home, there are way more cheaper and less cumbersome ways to go about it. We’ll get into the different methods below – but first let’s start with an explanation.

Regular Coffee vs Espresso: What’s the Difference?

To the untrained observer coffee and espresso look pretty much like the same thing. After all, they’re both dark, bitter, intense and beautifully-smelling liquids, and espresso, after all, is a form of coffee. But the main difference between your everyday cup of coffee and learning how to make espresso comes down to the way in which it is prepared.

Many other methods of coffee production rely on steeping coffee grounds in water and so take a lot of time to prepare, while espressos are made relatively quickly using a specialized espresso machine. 

The fineness of the grinds is also a distinction which sets espresso apart from other styles of coffee. Espresso grinds need to be extremely fine in order to restrict the flow of water and build up pressure which is used to produce the final product.

Which leads to the question, what exactly is the production process behind a great espresso?


Learning How to Make Espresso Starts with Espresso Beans

Like most styles of coffee, one of the most critical variables for obtaining a great final brew is the type of beans used. When it comes to creating an espresso this rule is doubly true. In fact, the type of beans used for espresso actually taste entirely distinct from those used in ordinary coffee.

It all has to do with the way in which the beans have been roasted. Coffee beans come in a varied of different roasts from light-roasted to medium-roasted to dark-roasted. These roasts will yield different colored coffee beans, with each distinct roast being more suited to a specific style of coffee.

Espresso beans will almost always be dark-roasted (you can tell by the sheen on the beans before they are ground). The reason for this has to do with the fact that dark roasted beans contain the lowest acidity and have the fullest body. Dark roasts help the beans to retain most of their natural oils, meaning their flavor profiles are much stronger and more robust. 

The emulsification of these and other oils in the coffee is what produces the crema on top of the espresso. Crema, for the uninitiated, is the white and creamy head on top of the final shot, which is a hallmark of a fantastic espresso.

You can find espresso beans just about anywhere, but below we’ve included a list of some of our favourites:

Lavazza EspressoDeath WishCaribouKoffee KultHale Espresso
Lavazza - Italian espresso coffeeDeath Wish whole bean coffeeCaribou coffeePowerful Espresso Coffee by Coffee KultHale Espresso Coffee

Espresso Grind: How to Do It

Now that you’ve selected the exact type of bean you want to use, it’s time to get down to the business of creating an espresso. And like any act of creation, it’s going to require some tools in order to pull it off successfully.

The first step in learning how to make espresso is to transform those beans in grinds. And for that you will need a grinder. Now the exact type of grinder depends on your needs, proclivities and budget, but since we’re assuming you’re not going to have an entire warehouse to dedicate to cumbersome, specialized coffee equipment, we’re going to discuss fairly compact grinders.

Grinders by and large are distinguished in two main categories – blade and burr.
Blade grinders, as the name suggests, use blades to finely chop the beans into ever smaller pieces, while burr grinders utilize conical burrs and a static plate in order to crush beans into the desired grind. In terms of consistency and functionality, burr grinders almost always outperform blade grinders and so should be prioritized if you have the budget for them.  

Again, the exact grinder you choose depends on your own needs, but here are some that we’ve found to be functional and effective:

While these grinders may seem like an unnecessary expense at first, they’re absolutely vital to achieving a fine enough grind for quality espresso.View them as an investment, especially if you’re serious about making coffee for years to come.


How to Make Espresso at Home: 4 Different Methods

You have your beans and you have your grinder, so how do you turn those into espresso? Luckily you have a number of different methods at your disposal when learning how to make espresso at home.

1- Espresso machine

If you want a method of producing consistently good espresso shots in large numbers, then it’s hard to go wrong with an espresso machine. Designed specifically for creating espresso, these machines are the ideal companion for any coffee lover. Choosing the right one, however, depends on a number of different variables.

Espresso machines work using extremely high pressure (between 7 and 10 bars) to rapidly push hot water through a tightly-packed “puck” of coffee. The flavor of the coffee is extracted swiftly and you’re able to enjoy the finished product in a matter of seconds. 

Espresso machines tend to be a bit bigger and more expensive than other methods on this list; the reason being that they contain a lot more specialized parts than say, a moka pot or French press. That being said, you don’t have to blow your child’s entire college savings in order to purchase something halfway decent.

Mr Coffee Espresso Maker
The Mr Coffee Automatic, for example, retails at $79 on Amazon, and is capable of producing hard-hitting espresso shots that hit lightly on the wallet.

For something a bit more upmarket, the DeLonghi Magnifica is a more complex machine capable of making multiple espressos at once, frothing milk, and also customizing precisely how you would like your espresso to be produced. 

2- Moka Pot

If you don’t have the space or the money to invest in an espresso machine, then a moka pot is an innovative solution that produces strong, delicious and overall superb espresso. Invented by Italian engineer Alfonso Bialletti in 1933, the moka pot works by using heat generated by a stove to force hot, pressurized water through coffee grounds, resulting in delicious espresso every time.

The moka pot consists of a bottom chamber, a funnel and filter for holding coffee grinds, and the upper collection chamber where the finish coffee ends up. To make espresso using a moka pot, simply:

  1. Fill the bottom chamber with water.
  2. Pack the funnel and filter tightly with coffee then place over the water-filled chamber. 
  3. Tamp the grinds down with a spoon or other blunt object.
  4. Screw the collection chamber on top of the filter, thus completing the moka pot.
  5. Place over a stove or flame and wait until you hear the coffee liquid begin to bubble up through the spout in the collection chamber.
  6. Once the chamber is filled, turn off the heat and allow the coffee to settle for a minute.
  7. You now have around six to eight shots of hot, delicious espresso.

The benefit of a moka pot is that they’re inexpensive, easy to clean as well as store when not in use, and they’re extremely durable. Investing in a decent model means you won’t have to buy another one for years to come. On top of that, the act of packing the moka pot and waiting for the coffee to brew is a very satisfying ritual that also fills the entire house with the smell of freshly-made coffee.

If you’re interested in getting your hands on one – a few of our favorite models are the Moka Express, Cuisinox Roma and Bellemain Stovetop.

3- French Press

As far as making an espresso goes, utilizing a French press is not going to give you the most optimal results. That being said, it can still be used successfully to make some delicious tasting coffee, and if you’re a serious coffee drinker you should definitely have one in your coffee arsenal anyway. 

Because the French press is usually used to make larger quantities of coffee, you’re going to have to tweak the usual process in order to adapt it to espresso production. The main difference in this regard is that you will be using roughly double the amount of coffee grinds that you normally would use with a French press. This will ensure that your coffee has the strong flavor and dark finish that espresso is renowned for. 

Once you’ve got everything ready, simply follow these steps to make Espresso with a French Press:

  1. Ensure that your coffee is ground very finely.

    A good rule of thumb is that you’ll need about two tablespoons of beans for every one cup of water that you use.

  2. Boil some water using a kettle and set it aside.

    Remember that you want to use about double the amount that you normally would when making ordinary coffee.

  3. Add the coffee grounds into the French Press.

    Remember that you want to use about double the amount that you normally would when making ordinary coffee.

  4. Add a couple of splashes of hot water to the grounds.

    This will allow them to bloom and start the release of the coffee’s natural oils and aromas.

  5. Add the rest of your water to the French press and let it rest.

  6. Place the lid on top of the French press, but don’t put pressure on the plunger.

    Simply let it rest there for about four minutes. The longer you leave it, the stronger the coffee will be, but it’s important not to leave it for too long or else you risk over-extracting it.

  7. Press the plunger down slowly and consistently all the way to the bottom of the glass.

    Don’t rush this step; slow, even pressure is the name of the game here.

  8. In order to halt the extraction process, pour the coffee into a separate container.

  9. From here your French press-made espresso is ready to serve.

    Enjoy!

If you’re not sure what French press to buy, check out some of the best on the market below:

4- AeroPress

It’s worth stating upfront that an AeroPress is never going to yield true espresso. While both espresso machines and AeroPresses utilize pressure in order to make coffee, the amount of pressure generated by an AeroPress is a fraction of that generated by a machine. For reference, a machine uses around 9 bars of  pressure (640 pounds of force) and an AeroPress can generate a maximum of .75 bars of pressure (about 50 pounds or so).

That being said, it’s not a lost cause. With some finely ground coffee, an AeroPress and some decent muscle power, you’ll still be able to produce a satisfactory and delicious shot of coffee at home. It won’t be true espresso, but it’ll be close, and still worth it if you can’t get your hands on an espresso machine.

In order to make a quality AeroPress espresso, grind your beans extremely finely, add them to the AeroPress and add some hot water. The next step is the crucial one – in an attempt to mimic the workings of an espresso machine you’ll want to plunge the coffee as hard as possible to generate as much pressure as possible. 

The result should be a shot of strong, dark and intense coffee – not 100% espresso, but not a bad alternative either. If you’re too strong for your own good, you’ll probably also have a little bit of mess on your hands. 

If you don’t have one already, you can pick up this AeroPress here.

an AeroPress

Martin Stokes

Martin Stokes

novelthings

Martin Stokes hails from Johannesburg, South Africa. He enjoys writing about all manner of things and can quote lines from films like nobody’s business. He moved to Berlin in 2015 and is working tirelessly at broadening his repertoire of bad jokes.