Aeropress vs Moka Pot: Which is the Better Brewer?
The Moka pot and Aeropress are both popular coffee makers for good reasons. They’re easy to use, affordable, and portable, and they brew delicious coffee. So which one should you add to your coffee bar? Is one better than the other for your morning coffee?
This article pits Aeropress vs Moka pot in a head-to-head face-off. Keep reading to find out which of these two pseudo-espresso makers reign supreme.
The Aeropress was created in 2005 by prolific inventor Alan Adler. Adler had no background in coffee; he was best known for creating the Aerobie flying disc (1). But he decided to use his engineering skills to solve the problem of overly bitter coffee. He concluded that faster extraction of coffee grounds produced a sweeter brew and that pressure was necessary to speed extraction. The result was the Aeropress.
The Aeropress uses a plastic tube as a brewing chamber, with a filter cap at the base and a plunger at the top. Though simple, the design quickly gained a cult following, and the Aeropress is now beloved by many coffee lovers worldwide.
- Brews delicious strong and sweet coffee
- Very versatile
- Lightweight and durable
- Small 10-ounce capacity
- Requires a separate way to boil water
The Moka pot, also known as the stovetop espresso maker, has been around much longer than the Aeropress (2). It was invented by Alfonso Bialetti way back in 1933. Following the invention of the traditional espresso machine in the early 20th century, Bialetti wanted to use the same principles to create a coffee maker accessible to home users. He created the Bialetti Moka Express.
The Moka pot or stovetop espresso maker uses steam pressure to extract coffee grounds, as opposed to the hand pressure of the Aeropress. Over the years, it has become a staple of Italian culture, found in nearly every Italian household. The original Bialetti Moka Express, with its iconic octagonal design, is even featured in the Museum of Modern Art.
- Brews delicious strong coffee
- Iconic design
- Durable build
- Coffee can taste burnt if brewed without care
- Cleaning can be a hassle
A Head-to-Head Comparison: Moka Pot vs Aeropress
The Aeropress and the Moka pot both use pressure for brewing coffee, inspired by espresso machines. These two coffee brewing methods produce small volumes of concentrated coffee and are readily portable. But the similarities end there; these are two very different brewers. Odds are, one is more suitable for you. So keep reading to find out how they stack up against one another in key categories like brewing versatility, portability, and value.
Coffee Style and Versatility
The Aeropress and the Moka pot are known to brew coffee that is stronger than a typical coffee machine or pour over coffee maker. Because these two coffee makers extract coffee using pressure, they can be described as brewing “espresso-style coffee.” They’re the cure for watery drip coffee.
They don’t brew true espresso because the pressure never approaches the 9 bars of a standard espresso machine. But you can dilute the rich coffee from a Moka pot or Aeropress with hot water or steamed milk to produce reasonable approximations of espresso-based drinks like an Americano or a latte.
If you brew with the Aeropress using the recipe advocated by its inventor, Alan Adler, you’ll use a paper filter and a relatively low brew water temperature of 175 F. The result is an exceptionally clean and sweet coffee. It has a light or medium body and little to no bitterness. You can successfully brew light, medium, and dark roasts with an Aeropress.
Moka pots use a metal filter basket, similar to an espresso machine, rather than a paper filter. It is heated until the water in the lower chamber boils, guaranteeing a brewing temperature well above 175 F. The resulting Moka pot coffee has a medium or heavy body and a creamy mouthfeel. Moka pots are best with medium or dark roasts, and you need to use a Moka pot properly to avoid burnt or bitter-tasting coffee.
The Aeropress is famed for its versatility, and that’s why there is an Aeropress World Championship. Coffee enthusiasts can experiment with using different Aeropress filters, adjusting brew time and temperature, and changing the dose of coffee grounds. You can use the Aeropress inverted or adapted with attachments like the Fellow Prismo or JoePresso. You can even use it to make cold brew coffee. In contrast, the Moka pot leaves much less room for creativity.
Winner: Coffee style is a matter of personal preference, but the Aeropress coffee maker takes this round for its versatility. By playing with different variables, Aeropress can produce a variety of coffee styles.
The Moka pot and the Aeropress are renowned for their portability. Both are popular with travelers, campers, and backpackers.
The Aeropress is made of durable plastic, so it is very light. It weighs just 13 ounces with all accessories included. The tubular design is space efficient. Notably, you can even buy small hand grinders, like the Porlex Mini, to fit right inside the Aeropress – creating the perfect on-the-go coffee-making kit. However, you need to have a separate kettle or pot for boiling water.
The Moka pot is made of stainless steel and aluminum, so it is heavier than the Aeropress but more durable. Its shape isn’t as friendly for packing, but it offers a few advantages for travelers. It doesn’t require paper filters, which means less to carry and no waste, and it doesn’t require a separate kettle. You can pop a Moka pot right on a campfire and have everything you need
The Aeropress coffee maker is easier to clean than the Moka pot, even considering that you need to dispose of the paper filter. The plunger design leaves a dry coffee puck that you can easily knock into the trash. If you’re traveling, it is enough to rinse the Aeropress with water after brewing, and it is dishwasher safe when it needs a more thorough cleaning.
Moka pots have more parts that tend to develop coffee residue and require a real scrub, especially around the rubber seal. Though attractive, the octagonal design of the Moka Express makes it hard to get all the coffee residue wiped from the ridged inside.
Winner: The Aeropress comes out ahead here, too. It is smaller, lighter, and forms a nice compact kit with a grinder. Plus, cleaning is easier when you’re on the move and pressed for time.
Low capacity is the number one complaint about Aeropress. It’s a fantastic coffee maker if you’re brewing for one or two people. But if you want to serve a crowd, it quickly becomes tiring. It can brew up to 10 ounces of strong coffee at a time, which can be diluted to a maximum of three cups of coffee. You must rinse it and start a fresh batch to serve four or more.
On the other hand, the Moka pot comes in 5 standard sizes: 1 cup, 3 cups, 6 cups, 9 cups, and 12 cups. These aren’t traditional cups; they’re related to the size of espresso shots. It assumes you will dilute your brew to make cups of coffee. The smallest 1-cup Moka pot holds about 2 ounces, and the largest 12-cup model brews up to 25 ounces.
Winner: This round goes to the Moka pot, which has far more size options to meet the capacity needs of more coffee lovers.
The design of the Aeropress is functional and practical, but you’d be hard-pressed to call it beautiful. It’s a tube of grey plastic with some numbers on the side.
The classic Moka pot is a style icon. The original Bialetti Moka Express, with its octagonal upper chamber, is displayed in museums and art galleries, highlighting the modern design. If you like to match your coffee maker to your interior design, you can find Moka pots in nearly any color, and you can even find versions with warm wooden handles or funky designs.
Winner: The Moka pot is a clear winner regarding style. No matter your aesthetic, there is a Moka pot in the right color or pattern to fit your coffee bar.
Value for Money
There is only one model of the original Aeropress coffee brewing device, and it costs $40. A Bialetti Moka Express with a similar capacity costs approximately the same, and larger models are slightly more expensive. However, there are plenty of other brands offering lower-priced stovetop espresso makers. And to be honest, they are equally high quality and lack the Bialetti logo and accompanying acclaim.
Both the Moka pot and Aeropress should last a very long time. The metal Moka pot is arguably the more durable of the two, but usually, the rubber seal fails first on a Moka pot. So, in reality, they have similar lifetimes.
Winner: This is a tough call, but we’ll give it to the Aeropress. With both coffee makers priced about the same, we think the Aeropress offers better value due to its versatility. It’s like a few different styles of coffee makers all wrapped into one.
The Moka pot and the Aeropress are excellent coffee makers, especially if you love a strong cup of delicious coffee. And given that you can own both for under $100, there’s no reason not to. But if you must choose Moka pot vs Aeropress, here is my advice:
Use the Moka pot if…
- You want something attractive to display on your coffee bar
- You prefer the heavier body of metal-filtered coffee
- You regularly brew for four or more people at a time
- You don’t own a kettle
Use the Aeropress if…
- You want to experiment and brew various styles of coffee
- You prefer the cleaner and brighter flavor of paper-filtered coffee
- You want a coffee maker for travel or camping
- You mainly brew for one or two people at a time
The Aeropress Go is an alternative model of the Aeropress designed specifically for travel. It is smaller than the original Aeropress, with only an 8-ounce capacity. It includes a coffee cup that doubles as a carrying case for the whole brewing kit.
The Bialetti Brikka is a version of the Moka pot that adds a pressure-activated valve at the coffee output. This builds up more pressure during the brewing process, producing a more espresso-like coffee with a foamy layer of crema.
Aeropress is healthier than the Moka pot if you are worried about your cholesterol, assuming you are using paper filters with your Aeropress. Paper filters remove coffee oils like diterpenes which have been shown to raise LDL cholesterol levels. But this is only a concern if you drink five or more daily cups (3).
- Prinsloo, M. (2019, March 13). The History of the Aeropress, From Concept to Championships. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2019/03/the-history-of-the-aeropress-from-concept-to-championships/
- Miller, M. (2019, April 24). Moka Pot: Design Icon and Symbol of Italian Coffee Culture. Retrieved from https://thisismold.com/object/tool/the-history-of-the-moka-design-italian-bialetti-coffee
- Godman, H. (2016, April 29). Pressed coffee is going mainstream – but should you drink it? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/pressed-coffee-going-mainstream-drink-201604299530
Some good information.
I have both. Though I tend to use the Moka Pot more for dark roast.
I also find the Aeropress more forgiving. The Moka Pot is “fussy”
I notice you left off durability. Plus, the Moka pot is not hard to clean… rinse and dry with a paper towel. I can’t see myself buying a piece of plastic to brew coffee.
You also left off taste- although both can produce good tasting coffee with a bit of experience it would be interesting to do a blind comparison to see if there is a preference for one over the other in terms of taste. Get both the moka and aeropress dialed in with 2 different coffees – one dark, one medium roast and then with a group of tasters have them identify their preference.