Looking For The Best Stovetop Espresso Maker?
- Buying Criteria: How To Choose The Best Stovetop Espresso Maker
- The Best Stovetop Espresso Makers
- THE VERDICT: What's The Best Stovetop Espresso Maker?
What makes moka pots stand out from most other manual brew coffee makers is that they can produce thicker, stronger coffee with a solid crema. 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).
In our opinion, stovetop coffee makers are really the only alternative to full-fledged expensive espresso machines. Many of the expensive all-automatic coffee machines can't really handle the real dark roasts (as the beans are too oily for the inner machinery) and many manual brewers (such as the Hario V60 and the Chemex) are more suited to lighter roasts.
So what are the best moka pots? And how do you find the BEST stovetop espresso maker for your personal situation?
Well, you’ll have to actually try the machine first (pictures DO NOT tell a thousand words in this case). Moka pots differ greatly in quality, and you need a high-quality moka pot and the right technique if you want them to consistently create a great cup of coffee!
Luckily, we’ve done the hard yards for you and put together the best of the best when it comes to stovetop espresso makers. You're welcome.
TOP PICK: Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker
Buying Criteria: How To Choose The Best Stovetop Espresso Maker
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?
How Many Cups Can It Make?
Some make 1 cup (perfect for the solo coffee connoisseur) but if you plan to share a cup with your partner or friend, choose a machine 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.
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)
You’ll find that most percolators are either aluminum or stainless steel. A stainless steel moka pot looks much sexier, but also conducts heat faster (watch your hands!).
Aluminum will not transform your kitchen into a designer masterpiece, but is great if you’re worried that you’ll burn yourself, and often costs less. If it's anodized aluminium, that's even better. Avoid those cheap Chinese knock offs too - the wrong materials can be toxic in coffee brewing. Yikes!
There is nothing more reassuring than seeing thousands of happy customer reviews online. Spend 2 minutes reading the reviews and if you like what you see, go for it!
The Best Stovetop Espresso Makers
Based on customer reviews and our own experience with the cowboy method we’ve researched the best moka espresso makers on the market. The table below summarizes features, and below you’ll find more detailed reviews of each pot:
|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 →|
1. The Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker (1, 3, 6 & 9 cups)
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 the perfect espresso in under 5 minutes.
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.
- Available in 1,3,6 and 9 cup sizes
- Trusted and long-standing favorite
- Makes coffee fast
- Not ideal for electric stoves (but will still work)
- Made from aluminum, so slightly less sexy to some
- Not dishwasher safe (but then, why would you do that?)
I personally only use this moka pot nowadays - I've been through other models and the consistency you get is unbeatable.
The Bialetti Venus features soft lines and a harmonious design that give 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 use on induction cooktops.
This stovetop coffee maker is highly portable and can be taken when on a trip without any forms of inconveniences.
You can even go on camping trips and still enjoy the best espresso.
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.
- The design is compact and stylish
- The quality is outstanding and makes excellent coffee
- Not dishwasher safe (but then again, do you really need that?)
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.
You can use the Cuisinox Roma espresso coffeemaker to make up to 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.
- Beautiful to look at and practical to work with
- Usable on all cooking surfaces
- The screen filter allows you to reduce the number of coffee cups if you so wish
- Comes with a spare gasket
- The handle tends to heat up at times
- Darn expensive compared to other espresso makers
BEST SUITED FOR: Ideal for groups of 4-10 people as it produces between 6 to 10 cups of great coffee. Overall it's a funky looking stainless steel stovetop espresso maker. However, that is reflected in the premium pricing.
This coffee percolator is built with the ability to produce up to 9 cups of freshly perked coffee, and 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 is made out of high-quality solid metal of great quality.
The Permawood wood grain handle which makes it easier to handle the stovetop even when hot.
- The pretty wooden handle prevents burned fingers
- Produces consistent coffee taste
- Easy to clean
- The lid tends to pop up
- Spills are a common feature
BEST SUITED FOR: This coffee percolator can make up to 9 cups meaning that it works well with small to mid-sized groups. Choose this one if you are feeling the design, which is pretty damn nice.
Not sure a moka pot is compatible with your stovetop? The DeLonghi EMK6 Alicia has its own 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, too - there's something hypnotic and charming about watching a moka pot fill up with bubbling, crema-rich coffee while it's brewing, but holding the lid open risks spraying hot coffee all over, well, everything. This way you get your morning's entertainment without having to wipe down the kitchen afterwards.
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 machine could make a great travel solution if you crave a moka in your motel.
- The charm of a moka pot with plug-in practicality.
- Filter basket adapter for 3-cup use preserves correct pressure during brewing.
- Easy to clean
- Rubber seals between the bottom and top compartments can leak.
BEST SUITED FOR: Classic moka pot flavor without easy access to a stovetop, such as in an office or while traveling.
The Bozeman's 18/8 stainless construction means it's nigh indestructible, making it a great 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 as with the French press, 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.
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Simple operation means reliability
- Internal components dishwasher safe (wooden handle excluded)
- As with all percolators, grounds will be present in your cup
- Multiple-pass percolation method can lead to over-extraction
BEST SUITED FOR: Lovers of the rugged outdoors, or coffee fans feeling nostalgic for the days before drip coffee ruled the Earth.
THE VERDICT: What's The Best Stovetop Espresso Maker?
For us, it's the OG amongst the moka pots: the original Bialetti Moka Express.
It's cheap, it's made to last, and you can't beat the consistency it delivers. With the large range of cup sizes, it's suited for everyone.
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 (whether that's the Cuisinox or even something like the Bialetti Kitty!)