A look at the best Moka Pots of 2020 (aka stovetop espresso makers)
Stovetop espresso makers, aka Moka pots, Bialettis, percolators, and Italian coffee makers, have been keeping old-school coffee lovers happy since the 1930s.Yes, they’ve been around for that long. Although they can handle any type of roast, they’re especially suited for dark roasts, hence their nickname: the Dark Roast King (okay, we may have just made that up).
Moka pots differ significantly in quality, and you need a high-quality Moka pot and the right technique if you want them to create a great cup of coffee consistently.
Luckily, we’ve done the hard yards for you and put together a list of the best stovetop espresso makers. You’re welcome.
Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker
This stovetop coffee maker garnered plenty of good remarks from happy customers, and it’s no wonder why. Designed in Italy, this high-quality ‘moka express’ comes in a variety of sizes, so you can choose according to preference. It also makes coffee fast without sacrificing quality or style.
Buying Criteria: How To Choose The Best Moka Pot
You should already know that Moka pots won’t brew espresso like an espresso machine will. But they still make a damn fine, strong cup of Joe (1). If you want to get it right the first time, consider the following points when choosing a stovetop espresso maker:
Where Is It Made?
While some claim that the highest quality percolators are made in Italy – which is no wonder, they are often simply called Italian espresso pots or ‘Bialetti’s’ – we don’t find this necessarily to be the case. On average, it’s fair to say that whenever it says ‘Made in Italy’ you can be rest assured the quality will be great, while China is more of a mixed bag. To boot, having an authentic Italian stovetop espresso maker does add to the charm a bit, doesn’t it?
By the way, did you know that moka pots are different from regular coffee percolators? Here’s a guide on how to use the latter.
How Many Cups Can It Make?
For the solo coffee connoisseurs among us, the brew-a-cup-at-a-time Moka pots are the perfect fit. But, if you plan to share a cup with your partner or friend, choose one that can make more than 1 brew per use – there is nothing more annoying than having to repeat the process multiple times for multiple coffees.
Stovetop coffee makers or Moka pots come in various sizes. Here’s a useful size chart to follow when deciding on the amount of liquid you need from your Moka pot:
|Cup Size||Coffee liquid in ounces||Coffee liquid in milliliters|
Will It Work With Your Stovetop?
Remember that not all moka pots will work with an electric stove. Be sure to check whether the one you’re considering is electric or induction stovetop friendly. We’ve found that glass-topped electric stoves typically work beautifully, and very quickly, with moka pots.
Aluminum vs Stainless Steel (vs toxicity)
The traditional moka pot is made from aluminum – the material is light, cheap and great at conducting heat or, to keep it real for us caffeine fiends, brewing coffee. But, you’ll find that many manufacturers now include percolators made from stainless steel. And for good reason. A stainless steel moka pot looks much sexier in your kitchen plus the material racks up some major advantages when compared to aluminum (2).
Stainless steel coffeemakers are easier to maintain, do not corrode like aluminum and pose no known health risks.
Although aluminum is highly resistant to oxidation and corrosion, stainless steel is completely non-corrosive and non-porous making it considerably more durable (3). Yes, it’s a bit more pricey than its contestant but it’ll give you fewer headaches over cleaning-drying regimes to prevent it from rusting and has the potential to brew your coffee for decades to come.
Why use a Moka Pot now?
Until recently, Moka pots were the only way to get an ‘almost espresso’ without a machine. Today, there are plenty of other options for making an espresso-like coffee or an actual espresso without a machine. For instance, various portable espresso makers are available for everyone’s pocket. So why do people still use stovetop coffee makers?
Well, Moka pots represent a lifestyle. They’re one of the oldest and most revolutionary inventions that popularized the consumption of coffee.
[Moka pot] has helped to spread espresso culture around the world, which has led people to buy coffee in a form suitable for making espresso.
Moka pot is hipsterish, retro, and, honestly, very convenient to use. Although it doesn’t produce an actual espresso, Moka coffee is still rich, thick, and creamy. Basically, it’s an affordable way to enjoy beautiful coffee and feel like part of Italy’s long tradition of coffee drinking.
A closer look at the 6 Best Stove top Espresso Makers
Based on customer reviews and our own experience with the cowboy method, we’ve searched for the best moka pot on the market. The table summarizes features, and below you’ll find more detailed reviews of the best ones we’ve found in the market:
|BIALETTI Moka Express||CHECK PRICE →|
|BIALETTI Elegance Venus Induction 6 Cup||CHECK PRICE →|
|CUISINOX Roma Coffeemaker||CHECK PRICE →|
|TOPS Rapid Brew Stovetop Coffee Percolator||CHECK PRICE →|
|DE LONGHI EMK6 Alicia Electric Moka Espresso Coffee Maker||CHECK PRICE →|
|COLETTI Bozeman Percolator Coffee Pot||CHECK PRICE →|
Bialetti is the number one player in the stovetop espresso maker market, which is not a surprise once you see the thousands of happy customer reviews on their Moka pots. The octagonal shape of the coffee maker allows the heat to distribute perfectly while your coffee brews, resulting in a strong Moka pot coffee in under 5 minutes (4).
Once you’re done, clean-up is easy thanks to the compartment design; just unscrew it, wash it, and get on with your day. The Italian made ‘Moka express’ range is so popular that they made it available in 1, 3, 6, and 9 cup options – so choose the right size for your preference and you’ll start your day with the perfect amount of coffee.
I personally only use this Moka pot nowadays – I’ve been through other models and the consistency you get is unbeatable. Here’s my Bialetti Moka Express review.
2. Bialetti Elegance Venus Induction 6 Cup – Best For Induction Stove Tops
BEST SUITED FOR: The unit can only make 6 cups of coffee which makes it perfect for a small-sized family or for ‘sippin’ stovetops’ with your best friends.
Size: 6 cup
- Made of: Stainless steel
- Made in: Italian-designed (new models are now made in China)
- Other: Makes excellent coffee
The Bialetti Venus features soft lines and a harmonious design that gives it just as the name suggests an elegant look. It’s a beauty to the eye. It also produces great tasting coffee. Its stainless steel construction means it’s suited for induction cooktops. The handle is insulated to resist high temperatures, hence you can use the unit without having to worry about burning yourself when pouring.
However, if you’re using this over a campfire, be careful not to have the handle directly over the flame.
This stovetop espresso maker is portable and can be taken when on a trip without any forms of inconvenience. You can even go on camping trips and still enjoy the best espresso.
You can use the Cuisinox Roma espresso coffeemaker to make up to 1-10 cups of high-quality espresso in one go, which means no need to go through the annoying process of refilling when you have guests over.
The Cuisinox Roma boasts a more elegant, refined design. It’s hand-crafted, which adds to the appeal. But the fact that this is done in the P.R.O.C. (China) and not in Italy, takes away that appeal.
Performance-wise, the Roma lives up to the high set standards in the industry featuring a number of awesome features including a heavy gauge 18/10 stainless construction with an induction base that makes it safe to use on all cooking surfaces.
Like all Cuisinox cookware products, the Roma is covered by a 25-year warranty on manufacture defects. Read this full review of the Cuisinox Roma.
4. Tops Rapid Brew Stovetop Coffee Percolator – Best For Camping And Outdoors
BEST SUITED FOR: This coffee percolator can make up to 12 cups meaning that it works well with mid-sized groups. Choose this one if you are feeling the design, which is pretty damn nice.
Size: 6, 9, and 12 cup
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Made in: P.R.O.C. (China)
- Other: Consistent coffee taste, easy cleaning
This coffee percolator is built with the ability to produce up to 12 cups of freshly perked coffee. Even though the unit is non-electric, it still functions efficiently in a fast and decent manner.
The design is a beauty to look at with the sparkling high-luster heavy gauge 18/8 stainless steel with a clear glass cover knob to observe brew strength. The basket and stem assembly are made out of high-quality solid metal. This makes it perfect for outdoor use, on a gas burner or fire. The Permawood wood grain handle which makes it easier to handle the stovetop even when hot.
Here’s what we think about the Rapid Brew Percolator.
5. DeLonghi EMK6 Alicia Electric Moka Espresso Coffee Maker – Most Practical
BEST SUITED FOR: Classic Moka pot flavor without easy access to a stovetop, such as in an office or while traveling.
Size: 3, 6 cup
- Material: Aluminium
- Made in: Italian-designed (new models are now made in China)
- Other: Easy cleaning
Not sure a Moka pot is compatible with your stovetop? The DeLonghi EMK6 Alicia electric moka pot has its heating element. Plug it in anywhere, and you can have three to six espresso shots in minutes. Automatic shutoff gives you peace of mind on busy mornings, and the EMK6 Alicia keeps your espresso hot for up to 30 minutes after brewing.
We love the transparent coffee carafe – there’s something hypnotic and charming about watching a moka pot fill up with bubbling, crema-rich coffee while it’s brewing.
Because you can detach the coffee pot from the base (like an electric kettle), you can bring the pot to the table and leave the base plugged in. The EMK6 Alicia automatically shuts off when you lift the pot from the base. And since it only weighs less than three pounds, this electric Moka pot could make a great travel solution if you crave a Moka in your motel.
Note that some customers have complained that the rubber seals between the bottom and top compartments can leak. Read our detailed review of the DeLonghi EMK6 Alicia Electric Moka Espresso Coffee Maker.
6. Coletti “Bozeman” Percolator Coffee Pot – Most Durable
BEST SUITED FOR: Lovers of the rugged outdoors, or coffee fans feeling nostalgic for the days before drip coffee ruled the Earth.
Size: 9 cup
- Material: Stainless steel
- Made in: US-designed and made in P.R.O.C. (China)
- Other: Reliable, dishwasher safe
The Bozeman’s 18/8 stainless construction means it’s nigh-indestructible. Such design makes not only super-durable, but also an excellent solution for campers and outdoor cooks. The attractive wooden handle protects your hand when it’s time to pour your freshly perked coffee, and of course, there’s a glass button at the top so you can see your coffee bubbling up from the bottom as it drips through the grinds.
As with the French press, percolator coffee tends to have a few grounds, especially as you near the bottom of the pot. But again, fans of percolators like the way it doesn’t filter out the oils as it brews coffee. If the grounds bother you (they’re not everyone’s cup of tea – pardon the expression), 3.5″ disc filters help solve that problem. Just slide one down into the brew basket before adding your coffee.
THE VERDICT: which Moka Pot is best for you?
For us, the best stovetop espresso maker is the OG amongst the Moka pots: the original Bialetti Moka Express. With the large range of cup sizes, it’s suited for everyone. It’s cheap, it’s made to last, and you can’t beat the consistency it delivers.
Congratulations, you’ve made it all the way to the end of this buying guide. Hopefully, this has helped you make the right call on deciding on the best stovetop espresso maker for your situation. Wondering what the difference is between a Moka Pot and a French Press? Read this.
You can use your favorite kind of coffee blend (beans) in a stovetop espresso maker. It’s recommended that you grind your coffee fresh at home and use a grind size slightly finer than you would for drip coffee and a little more coarse than that for an espresso machine. Don’t use extracts, instant coffee, or infusions in your stovetop maker. Here’s a guide on the best coffee for moka pots.
Stovetop espresso is good but not as good as a connoisseurs-like espresso. Though the results don’t quite live up to the real deal, Moka pots are a convenient home-brewing alternative producing a thick, strong, and delicious cup of coffee. It’s easy to over or under extract your grounds using a stovetop maker but, you should know, practice makes close-to-perfect (espresso).
You make a latte with a stovetop espresso maker by adding frothed milk to your espresso like this. Brew the espresso using your stovetop coffee maker as you normally would. Then, top up your cup with the desired amount of frothed milk. If you don’t have a milk frother at home you can use a simple pan and whisk.
You can clean a stainless steel Moka pot using one part white vinegar and two parts cold water. Pour the water and vinegar into the basin of the pot and turn it on. Brew a full pot and let the solution sit for 15 minutes. Then, empty the pot and rinse with cold water. Or, use a combination of baking soda and cold water for a simple clean (no brewing here!).
- How to Brew in a Moka Pot: Stumptown Coffee Roasters Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.stumptowncoffee.com/blog/brew-guides-moka-pot
- Pantsios, A. (2019, January 31). Is Your Coffee Maker Toxic? Retrieved from https://www.ecowatch.com/is-your-coffee-maker-toxic
- 10 Differences Between Aluminum and Stainless Steel: Metal Supermarkets. (2018, June 05). Retrieved from https://www.metalsupermarkets.com/10-differences-aluminum-stainless-steel/
- Moka Pot Brewing Guide – How to Make Moka Pot Coffee. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://bluebottlecoffee.com/preparation-guides/bialetti-moka-pot