Around here we love touting the benefits of stovetop espresso makers, also known as moka pots.
The best stovetop espresso makers cost so much less than espresso makers and although they don’t make true espresso the coffee they make is generally an acceptable alternative to espresso in most drinks.
Because moka pots are made from aluminum or stainless steel they are extremely durable and can be used to make coffee while camping over an open flame.
We tend to think aluminum pots are the best value for your money and popular models tend to be the easiest to maintain because of the ease of replacing old, aging parts like gaskets and filters.
For those looking to buy a moka pot we recommend you stick to one of the five best moka pots featured below or open any of the following pages further curating the list to something you are more specifically looking for (i.e. small, large, or stainless steel models).
Our Top Recommendations for People Looking to Buy a Moka Pot
Although stovetop espresso makers do not make true espresso they do make a really strong cup of coffee which is similar to espresso in many ways. These pots are frequently referred to as Italian espresso makers as they are quite common in households all over Italy.
Also known as a moka pot, a stovetop espresso maker will brew your coffee under pressure similar to a steam or pump driven espresso machine. Although the pressure will be substantially lower in the moka pot the resulting coffee will be similar to espresso. It will be lacking the intensity and volume of crema produced in a traditional espresso machine but only really keen palates will be able to taste the difference in flavor.
Even still we recommend stovetop moka pots to all our customers as they are a great (and affordable) way to make something very similar to espresso in the home. They also make excellent coffee makers for people going camping as they can brew over a fire just as easily as they can brew over a burner in your kitchen.
Below we’ve segmented our moka pots into various “baskets” of products.
Here are the main posts we have on this site on top stovetop espresso maker reviews:
Small Stovetop Espresso Makers
True moka is served in sizes roughly equivelant to standard shots of espresso. Three servings of Moka is roughly 4.5oz, whichis just a bit more than a double shot from your local barista. If you are making moka for one person at a time then these small stovetop espresso makers are perfect. Since you can’t make a half pot it’s not worth buying a larger moka pot because you’ll routinely have a lot of waste.
Large Stovetop Espresso Makers
For those people who really like to drink larger portion sizes then the smallest moka pots will not do. the largest moka pots tend to make between 10-12 servings per batch, roughly 15-20oz. This doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s very potent stuff and usually the large stovetop espresso makers are reserved for small gatherings. Even if you don’t anticipate making large batches of moka very often pots of this size can be big time savers.
Stainless Steel Stovetop Espresso Makers
Typically stovetop espresso maker are made from aluminum. This keeps the price down and improves the conduction of heat around the pot resulting in a brew that is more consistent. With stainless steel however you do get more durability and are better able to clean your pot.. also some people think it’s safer drinking coffee made from steel rather than aluminum. For our customers who are looking for a good stainless steel alternative moka pot these are the one’s we have selected.
Electric Moka Pots
For generations a moka pot was a simple and ingenious device that made something super close to espresso with only a heat source and no moving parts. These days however consumers have the option of brewing moka in an electric device that regulates the heat perfectly and shuts it off when brewing is completed. There is no doubt in our minds that this simplifies the brewing process and minimizes the risk of burning your coffee so we have given a close look at the best electric moka pots on the market today. Check these guys out – they are pretty tempting! 🙂
We have also reviewed the bestselling moka pot of them all – the Bialetti Moka Express. If you are buying one of these then you will be in large company, most buyers go for something super cheap or they turn to the Moka Express. Click through to see our Bialetti Moka Express review here.
Our Moka Pot Brewing Guides & FAQs
Since you are reading this I’m going to assume you know a bit about stovetop espresso and may want to buy one but if you are new to this brewing method then make sure to see the following articles which answer common questions people have about moka pots.
Should I Buy An Aluminum or Stainless Steel Moka Pot?
Traditionally moka pots have been made from cast aluminum making them strong yet lightweight and affordable. These days however stainless steel models have become quite popular as many people don’t like their food or drink touching aluminum. This article breaks down the debate to it’s core issues and answers the most common questions people have regarding aluminum moka pots compared to their stainless steel alternative.
When is a Moka Pot Finished?
Moka pots make coffee as fast as any other brewer but only if the heat is high enough. To tell if a stovetop espresso maker is done requires you to be close enough to it to hear the last bit of steam gurgle out of the pot or to take a peek under then lid every so often. In this artuicle we help you understand how the moka pot works and know when it’s done making coffee.
Does a Moka Pot Produce Crema?
The hallmark of good espresso worldwide is the visually appealing layer of crema that forms on the surface immediately after extraction. The crema is the source of all latte art and helps provide texture and aerate the coffee. As you know moka coffee is kind of like espresso but it is brewed under far less pressure. Some people swear they can get small amounts of crema from a moka pot while others say this is a myth. These are our thoughts on the matter.
The Main Causes and Solutions to a Moka Pot Not Working
A moka pot works due to simple physics. If it stops working then chances are there is a blockage somewhere that must be cleaned out or repaired or a break in a seal. Because there are no moving parts fixing a malfunctioning moka pot shouldn’t be all that difficult.
What’s the Best Kind of Coffee For a Moka Pot
Moka pots make a super strong cup of coffee that is more similar to espresso than it is to standard drip, pour over, or French press. Because of it’s unique strength it’s worth using only the best types of coffee for making it and of course brewing with the correct grind size.
Comparisons of Best Selling Moka Pots
There are a lot of different moka pots for sale on any given day and they are sold under many different brand and model names. The trouble is that it’s hard to tell the difference between one device and another. It’s even harder to tell which ones are made to last, which ones make the best coffee, and which ones are cheap knockoffs.
Here are our head-to-head comparison articles on the site.
The Difference Between Bialetti Moka Express, Kitty, & Venus Moka Pots
Bialetti probably sells more moka pots than any other brand. They have a huge market share and they are one of the most well known brand names in the space. Within their product line however are three bestselling moka pots that are all very similar. Here’s our comparison of the three Bialetti moka pots.
A Full Review of the Bialetti Moka Express
Here is our full review of the 3-cup Moka Express, the best selling stovetop espresso maker of them all.
Top Alternatives to Buying a Stovetop Espresso Maker
Lastly, we believe no one brewing method is truly better than another; they are all different and each method has their own pros and cons.
We have published a number of articles on this site directly comparing stovetop espresso (aka Moka) to other styles of coffee. You can find the list of the comparison articles listed below.
- Stovetop Espresso vs Aeropress Coffee
- Stovetop Moka vs Traditional Espresso
- Stovetop Espresso vs Regular Drip Coffee
- Stovetop Espresso vs Pour-Over Coffee
- Stovetop Espresso vs Chemex Coffee
- Stovetop Espresso vs Percolated Coffee
- Stovetop Espresso vs French Press Coffee
Here’s a link to our coffee brewing methods article.
Lastly, If you are looking for a moka pot that looks a little different than the normal Bialetti then make sure to look at brands like Alessi or Primula. They make great moka pots that make great coffee and look awesome too – like decorations for your kitchen or coffee bar.