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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
|+ 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.
The Best Moka Pots: Our Top Picks
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.