Despite its rustic and European heritage, the stovetop espresso maker or Moka Pot still remains one of the most-used coffee makers worldwide. Though it has numerous advantages and a few disadvantages, it still produces great-tasting coffee.
The advantages include:
- Durability – Moka pots are made from stainless steel and aluminium which makes them almost bullet proof. As long as you keep the gasket clean, a stove top espresso pot will last for 20 years, or longer.
- Portability – A huge advantage of this type of espresso maker over their electric counterparts is portability. Perfect for camping as well as on your kitchen stove, the small compact size of a Moka pot makes it very portable and perfect for travel.
- Cheap – Compared to any other espresso maker, the Moka pot is very reasonably priced, much cheaper than any other espresso machine.
- Maintenance – Other than cleaning, there is not a lot of maintenance required for a stovetop espresso maker. The only part that will need replacing over the next 20 years is the rubber seal or gasket, which are very cheap (less than £2/$2).
- Flavour Quality – What makes these espresso makers so popular is quite simply the taste of the coffee they make. If you use quality fresh roasted beans, in just a few minutes you can have an espresso which rivals your local coffee shop.
Disadvantages of stove top espresso makers include:
- Sediment – Fine coffee grounds can sometimes settle at the bottom of the cup.
- Pressure – A standard stovetop unit will exert a pressure of around 15 PSI (pound per square inch) which is way less than the 150 PSI that you get out of a conventional commercial machine.
Clearly the benefits outweigh the disadvantages and for this very reason the stove based espresso maker has grown in popularity over the years as a ‘must have’ addition to your kitchen.
- Our Top Recommendations
- What is a Moka Pot?
- The Best Moka Pots
- Users Guide
- How to make delicious coffee with a Moka Pot
- Top 5 DON’Ts when using your stovetop espresso maker
- How to Make Cuban Coffee with Your Stovetop Espresso Maker!
Our Top Recommendations
What is a Moka Pot?
The Moka pot is a simple coffee maker which uses steam to create an espresso-like coffee. As the water starts to boil, the steam creates the exact pressure needed to gradually force through the ground coffee beans and efficiently extract the flavours, resulting in an exceptionally strong and rich brew.
How to Brew in a Moka Pot?
These are not your everyday drip machines. If you are new to a stove top espresso machine, a bit of quick explanation is all you need. There are three main that make up an stovetop coffee machine:
- Base, where water is stored.
- Middle section, which has a metal filter for the coffee grounds.
- Top, where the final brewed coffee ends up.
How to Use a Moka Pot?
- Fill the base with cold drinking water. Most units will have a line that tells you where to stop.
- Finely ground coffee can then be placed inside the metal filter.
- A rubber gasket and filter plate should go directly below the central portion of the top chamber.
- Fasten the top and you are good to go.
- Now place the unit on the stove with medium flame for around 3 minutes and your coffee is ready.
For a detailed guide of how to use your moka pot, check out our guide which includes how to clean your moka pot and how to make Cuban coffee.
The Best Moka Pots
These are our top choices based on customer reviews and our own personal preference. However the choice is fantastic so it has been very hard for us to limit it to just these three brands. Scroll down for even more!
Headquartered in Crusinallo, Italy and founded in the year 1921, Alessi is a name to reckon with when it comes to kitchenware. The company bagged two Green Good Design Awards in 2010, the world’s most celebrated awards for new product designs. Coffee pots designed by Alessi are an excellent example of what an espresso maker should be.
- Elegant stovetop moka for espresso
- Designer: Michele de Lucchi
- Materials: cast aluminium, handle and knob in PA
Alessi LA CONICA
- Coffee maker with an unmistakable design, the copper bottom ensures excellent heat distribution
- Designer: Aldo Rossi
- Material: 18/10 stainless steel, copper bottom
- Designer: Mario Trimarchi
- Made in cast aluminium and handle and knob in thermoplastic resin
- Handle and knob in black
Founded by Alfonso Bialetti (man behind the famous Moka Express), Bialetti stove top espresso makers are one of the most popular brands available today. Quality is the hallmark of the design of all Bialetti products. The company offers a 30 days full return policy against unused products in the event a customer is not satisfied for any reasons whatsoever.
Bialetti Venus Induction
- Steel stovetop coffe makers with an essential style and harmonious shapes
- High quality: made of steel, a resistant material that does not oxidize over time
- Ergonomic handle for a comfortable grip
Bialetti Moka Express
These small Italian coffee makers are sized to make either one or two cups of caffeinated perfection in about five minutes using any flat cooking surface. Always rich and strong but never scorched or bitter, this near-espresso is delicious and invigorating whether you enjoy it as is or mix it with frothy milk to make a latte or cappuccino.
- Invented by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933, a symbol of Made in Italy all over the world
- The only one with 8 faces, with the unmistakable little man with a mustache
- High quality: made of aluminum, with ergonomic handle
The Mini Moka Pot Features “Made In Italy” Quality
This authentic Italian coffee maker is handcrafted in Italy by the most highly skilled local craftsmen using proven techniques and raw materials of the highest quality. Although the exterior is available in an amazing array of colour combinations, the internals of each Mini Moka Pot are made exclusively from food-grade aluminium for precise results. You can rely on this coffee maker to brighten your days with rich, espresso-like coffee for years to come.
Bialetti Mini Express
- The coffee maker designed for a very special appointment with the pleasure of taste.
- Innovative dispensing: coffee is served directly in the cups, kept warm thanks to the special aluminium plate
- Style details: Side plate and cup shaped handle with Bialetti logo.
With a rich history of over six decades, Bodum has truly stamped its class as one of the leading kitchenware company with roots in Switzerland. The ambitions of its founder Peter Bodum are now being carried forward by his children Pia Bodum (daughter) and Jorgen Bodum (son). Today, products manufactured by Bordum are sold in 55 countries. Stove top units are just one of the many excellent products that undergo rigorous testing for quality and safety before being introduced in the market.
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The aforementioned brands have been in business a long time now, and can be confident that you’ll get a high quality and safe product. You can quite easily pick from any of one of these get a great ‘value for your money’ purchase.
We explained the pro’s and con’s of a Moka Pot at the beginning of this guide, so if you are still reading you either have one, or are about to buy one. So with that assumption lets talk about using your Moka Pot.
How to make delicious coffee with a Moka Pot
It is really easy to make great tasting coffee with a Moka pot, but it is also really easy to mess it up and make bitter coffee. Follow the advice in the below video to ensure your Moka pot espresso aways tastes great.
Top 5 DON’Ts when using your stovetop espresso maker
Stovetop espresso makers make great coffee don’t cost much, and are pretty convenient compared to other espresso machines and coffee makers. It takes a little know-how and finesse to get great stovetop espresso. To make it a little easier here are 5 key things to watch out for when making stovetop espresso:
1. Don’t overfill the water reservoir.
It’s very important not to allow the water level to go above the steam valve because steam won’t be able to escape. The pressure will continue to build up until you have stovetop espresso all over your kitchen.
2. Don’t use too much coffee.
Fill the coffee basket a little over two-thirds full, and don’t press the coffee down at all. I can definitely taste the difference when I’ve filled the basket to the top with coffee. It gets bitter. I’m not exactly sure why this is; my guess is that it could be that too much coffee in the basket prevents water and steam from passing through the coffee easily enough, and the grounds get scorched.
3. You get out what you put in.
This phrase applies to most areas of life, but especially to stovetop espresso 😉 If you use good coffee beans, you’ll get good coffee. Plain and simple.
Note: Good coffee doesn’t have to be expensive. Be sure to look for beans labeled coffee arabica. Coffee arabica is a higher quality of bean than coffee robusta – though not always expensive.
4. Don’t use water you wouldn’t drink.
Use the best water you can get. The cleaner the water, the better your coffee will taste. Unless you live in an are with great tap water, use filtered or spring water for your stovetop espresso.
5. Don’t let it cook!
Listen carefully to your stovetop espresso maker. Once you hear any gurgling, it’s done! Pour it as soon as you can. The sooner you pour after you hear it gurgling, the smoother your stovetop espresso will be. If you wait, the coffee in the top of the stovetop espresso maker will boil and start to get bitter.
Tip: Use a stopwatch to see how long it takes for your stovetop espresso maker to finish. Remember how long it takes, and set a timer every time you make stovetop espresso. Setting a timer will make sure you don’t let it heat too long. Mine takes about 5 minutes, so I usually set my timer for a little under 5 minutes so I can be ready when it’s done. It’s also okay to lift the lid BEFORE you hear any gurgling to see if the top chamber is filling up. Be careful though, when it’s done, it will spurt and if the lid is open you could get burned.
There are five tips to great stovetop espresso! Let me know in the comments if these techniques worked for you, or if you have any more to add.
How to Make Cuban Coffee with Your Stovetop Espresso Maker!
Cuban coffee is a delicious style of coffee that has a lot of flavour and is much easier to make than you might think. This delicacy is found in basically all Cuban restaurants, and now you can make it at home with the stovetop espresso maker you already own!
Making cuban coffee starts out with making stovetop espresso the same way you usually would. For a step-by-step on making stovetop espresso, read my post: 6 Steps to Quick and Easy Stovetop Espresso. You’ll also want to choose a good, dark roast for making Cuban coffee.
Once your stovetop espresso is done brewing, there is a simple trick that will turn your stovetop espresso into a delicious cup of Cuban coffee.
- Spoon one to two tablespoons of sugar (depending on how sweet you like it) into a small mug.
- Add a tiny bit of your freshly brewed stovetop espresso — drop by drop.
- Add the stovetop espresso while mixing vigorously so that the coffee and sugar makes a creamy paste.
- Once you have a nice froth, add the rest of the coffee and enjoy!
Is it Really Italian Espresso?
To be 100 percent accurate, we can’t say that a Moka Pot makes a true espresso. The legal definition states that espresso must be brewed under a very specific amount of pressure. This requires an expensive and complicated espresso maker for the best results, something many people can’t afford to add to their kitchen. However, it is as close to espresso as you can get without using an expensive espresso machine.
What is the ideal size of stove top espresso maker for me?
A stove top espresso pot which is approximately six inches in height can easily produce 3 cups of espresso. An 11 inch tall unit can easily produce a dozen cups of delightful espresso coffee.
If you are looking for a simple to use, inexpensive, portable coffee maker the stovetop espresso maker, AKA Moka Pot is an excellent choice. Most people have used them on camping holidays or travelling in Europe, so they know how to use them, and they last for decades.
If we could offer any advice it would simply to buy a stainless steel model if at all possible. They can be cleaned in the dishwasher and do not rust if not 100% dried. Other than that, you really cannot go wrong with any of the household brand names, they are all quality and make excellent coffee as long as you use a fine ground good quality fresh beans.