Also known as a stovetop espresso maker, moka pots produce rich, creamy coffee that’s similar to espresso. They have a simple yet ingenious design: steam is used to pressurize boiling water which passes through ground coffee and creates a delicious, aromatic brew.
Alfonso Bialetti, an Italian engineer, invented the moka pot in 1933. Its popularity quickly spread throughout Italy. While they’re less common in American households, they’re widely used across Europe and Latin America.
Moka pots are affordable when compared with standard espresso makers, allowing espresso-like coffee to be made as a base for lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos without a pricey machine. They can be used on gas or electric stovetops, but many models are also safe to use over an open flame, making them a great choice for a camping trip. Read on to learn more about choosing the best moka pot for your needs.
- BEST OVERALL: Bialetti Express Moka Pot
- RUNNER UP: Bialetti Kitty Espresso Coffee Maker
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Imusa USA Aluminum Stovetop 6-cup Espresso Maker
- BEST STAINLESS STEEL: bonVIVO Intenca Stovetop Espresso Maker
- BEST UPGRADE: Cuisinox Roma 10-Cup Stovetop Moka Espresso Maker
- BEST FOR GAS STOVE: GROSCHE Milano Stovetop Espresso Maker Moka Pot
- BEST ELECTRIC: DELONGHI EMK6 Espresso
- BEST FOR TRAVEL: Zulay Kitchen Classic Stovetop Espresso Maker
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Moka Pot
Though one might assume that all moka pots work the same way, several characteristics can affect their functionality. Keep these important factors in mind when shopping for the best moka pot to suit your needs.
Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel
Moka pots are traditionally made from aluminum, but many newer models are crafted from stainless steel. Each material has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
- Aluminum is inexpensive and conducts heat efficiently, making it a great choice for brewing coffee. Because they’re lightweight, aluminum moka pots are a smart pick for use on camping trips. Keep in mind, they must be hand-washed and dried completely to prevent rusting. Many manufacturers advise against using soap in order to maintain the aluminum’s seasoning.
- Stainless steel is more expensive than aluminum but also more durable. Stainless steel coffee makers are nonporous and won’t rust or corrode over time, meaning they’re easier to maintain. Aesthetically, these moka pots maintain their patina for longer and look more at home in modern kitchens. They are generally dishwasher safe, though hand-washing is best for prolonging longevity.
The type of stove in your home will determine which moka pot should be purchased. Not all models are universally compatible with gas, electric, and induction stovetops, so be sure to confirm that the product you choose is compatible with your stove.
Many moka pots do not work on induction stovetops. This type of stovetop uses high-frequency electromagnets instead of heated coils. It requires magnetic metals such as cast iron or stainless steel to function. For nonmagnetic metal moka pots, there are diffusers or adapters available which are placed between the induction element and coffeemaker to transmit heat effectively.
However, just because a moka pot is stainless steel does not guarantee it will be compatible with an induction stovetop. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines to safely use the moka pot you purchase.
Manual vs. Electric
The original moka pots were manual and designed to be used on a stovetop, but some modern versions are electric. Rather than being heated on a gas or electric stovetop, they are plugged into a wall outlet.
Electric models are often more expensive, but they are handy in situations where there isn’t access to a stovetop, like an office, RV, studio, or dorm room. One advantage that some electric moka pots have is a keep-warm function, which maintains the temperature of the coffee for a set period of time.
Some moka pots are equipped with added safety features to prevent users from burning themselves.
- Rubber-coated handles may not be as aesthetically pleasing, but they’re designed to be cool to the touch when pouring.
- Cool-touch metal handles are available on some models, which maintain the moka pot’s traditional appearance while being safer to use.
- Safety valves prevent excessive pressure buildup.
- Electric models are typically designed with an automatic shutoff feature.
Moka pots come in a wide range of sizes and have capacities between one and 18 servings. While capacities of moka pots are often measured in cups, the standard serving size is actually just 2 ounces or a demitasse—which is about the size of a double shot of espresso. A standard cup, on the other hand, measures 8 ounces, so a serving of moka pot coffee won’t fill an average mug. Below are some standard moka pot sizes and the amount of coffee they produce.
- A 3-cup moka pot produces 6 ounces of coffee.
- A 6-cup moka pot produces 12 ounces of coffee.
- A 9-cup moka pot produces 18 ounces of coffee.
- A 12-cup moka pot produces 24 ounces of coffee.
Most moka pots on the market maintain the traditional design of Alfonso Bialetti’s 1933 creation and have either a round or octagonal base. While some connoisseurs claim that the octagonal shape lends itself to more even heating, results don’t actually vary much based on the shape of the pot.
Both aluminum and stainless steel versions have a metallic look, though stainless steel models will maintain their appearance for a longer time. Some products have colorful outer coatings that can match other small kitchen appliances.
Our Top Picks
Having learned about moka pots, it’s time to start shopping. These recommendations take into consideration capacity, material, stovetop compatibility, and additional features.
Bialetti was founded by Alfonso Bialetti, the original inventor of the moka pot, and is still the most respected maker of the device. While the brand now makes a number of different models, this one features the original patented design and is the most versatile choice. Designed with an ergonomic, anti-scald handle, this moka pot is easy to use. The patented safety valve provides protection and is thoughtfully crafted for easy cleaning.
This Bialetti moka pot is made from aluminum, a material that conducts heat well. However, aluminum needs to be carefully washed and dried to avoid rusting. Cleaning detergents are not necessary; the pot can simply be cleaned with water.
The 6-cup version is lightweight at 1.5 pounds and is compatible with both gas and electric stovetops.
While Bialetti’s moka pots are traditionally made from aluminum, this model gets an upgrade being made from 18/10 stainless steel. It has a 6-cup capacity, making a total of 12 ounces of coffee, and is compatible with both gas and electric stovetops. Components of the device are made from stainless steel, aside from the heat-resistant handle.
Along with its cool-touch material, the handle is ergonomically designed and leaves plenty of room between the hand and the body of the pot in order to avoid burns. The Bialetti Kitty model is entirely dishwasher safe. It’s important to note that this model is not designed to be used with teas, cocoa, or any other substance other than coffee grounds.
This affordable stovetop model from Imusa has a 6-cup capacity. Imusa considers a cup to be 1.5 ounces, so the total capacity of this model is 9 ounces. It’s designed with both a cool-touch handle and knob as added safety features. The flip-up top and side-pour spout are designed to avoid spills while serving.
This moka pot is compatible with both gas and electric stovetops. At 15.2 ounces, it’s lightweight enough to take along on a hiking or camping trip. Because it’s made from aluminum, this product should be hand-washed and isn’t intended for cleaning in the dishwasher.
This bonVIVO model has the rare advantage of being compatible with ceramic, electric, gas, and induction stovetops. While the most traditional moka pots are made from aluminum, this model is made from stainless steel, which provides added benefits. It won’t rust or corrode over time and can be cleaned in the dishwasher, although hand-washing is recommended.
Safety features include a heat-resistant handle and a safety valve to prevent excessive pressure buildup. It has a capacity of around 3 to 4 cups and holds 6.8 ounces of coffee, though a larger 10-ounce version is also available.
This moka pot has an elegant design that stands out from other models on the market and comes in three finishes: chrome, copper, and black.
The Cuisinox is constructed from heavy-gauge 18/10 stainless steel with a mirror polish finish. Its sleek design is unique, making this model stand out from other moka pots on the market. The other major factor that sets this pick apart is the fact that it’s compatible with induction stovetops along with electric and gas versions.
This model has a 10-cup capacity. Each “cup” measures 1.5 ounces for a total capacity of 15 ounces. This coffee maker is fairly heavy at 3.04 pounds.
While many moka pots are technically compatible with gas stovetops, users may still run into difficulties with their handles overheating. That’s what sets this model apart. Made by GROSCHE, this moka pot is specifically designed with an extended rubber-coated handle for heat-resistant protection. Its design allows the handle to sit away from the body of the device, providing protection from overheating.
Made from food-grade anodized aluminum, this moka pot can also be used on propane camping stoves as well as gas and electric stoves. It’s equipped with a silicone gasket seal, which regulates pressure and prevents leaks. While this model has a silver finish, color options include black, red, and white. Several size capacities are also available.
While manual moka pots are most suitable for both camping and home use, electric models are convenient to use in a dorm room, RV, or any other space that’s lacking a stove. This one has a 6-cup capacity and is made from stainless steel. The container is transparent, allowing users to see the brewing process taking place.
The pot detaches from the base, which allows users to serve coffee without struggling with a cord. The keep-warm function maintains the temperature of the coffee for up to 30 minutes. This coffee maker’s total weight is 2 pounds.
Aluminum moka pots are ideal for camping because they’re lightweight. Since it weighs just 10.8 ounces, this model is a good choice when trying to pack light for a trip where coffee might not be available. This model has a 3-cup capacity, though a larger 5-cup version is also available.
The heat-resistant handle and knob prevent the risk of burns. It’s compatible with gas or ceramic stovetops and simply needs rinsed with water to be cleaned. The manufacturer recommends against using soap because doing so eliminates the oil buildup which provides a more nuanced flavor to the final brew.
Tips for Using a Moka Pot
Moka pots have a simple design and are easy to use. Their functionality is similar to a standard coffee percolator with a few key differences. They’re composed of three major parts: the bottom chamber boils water, the funnel-shaped strainer holds ground coffee, and the upper chamber collects the finished coffee.
Start by filling the bottom chamber with water, then add finely ground coffee to the strainer, and turn on the heat source. The coffee has finished percolating when the moka pot begins making a gurgling sound, indicating it should be removed from the heat.
- Use finely ground coffee.
- Don’t tamp down or compress the coffee grounds.
Remove the pot from the heat source when it begins gurgling.
FAQs About Moka Pots
If you still have questions about how to choose a moka pot, the following answers may help.
Q. What size moka pot should I buy?
The best size of the moka pot depends on how many servings you’d like it to make. Each serving or “cup” of moka pot coffee is between 1.5 and 2 ounces.
Q. What is the best grind for a moka pot?
Finely ground coffee yields the best results when using a moka pot.
Q. Is moka pot coffee as strong as espresso?
Moka coffee is less strong than espresso, but about two to three times more concentrated than drip coffee.
Q. How do you know when your moka pot has finished brewing?
When a moka pot has finished brewing, it produces a characteristic gurgling sound.
Q. Can you brew tea in a moka pot?
Some moka pots can be used to brew tea. Simply put tea leaves into the filter basket instead of coffee grounds. Some manufacturers recommend against this, though, so be sure to check the product guide.
Q. Can you get crema from a moka pot?
Certain models are capable of creating an espresso-like crema.