A look at the best Moka Pots of 2023 (aka stovetop espresso makers)
For fans of a rich, bold cup of coffee, it’s hard to go past the Moka pot. These humble coffee makers have been a staple of the Italian kitchen for decades, brewing espresso style coffee without the expense and hassle of a large machine.
Whether you want a designer model or something you can take on the road, there’s a Moka pot for you. Here’s what you need to know before you buy, and some of the best stovetop espresso makers around.
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.
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?
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?
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. Like the Aeropress, the Moka pot doesn’t produce an actual espresso. But 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 8 Best Stove Top Espresso Makers
Based on customer reviews in the US and our own experience with the cowboy method, Home Grounds 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:
|Cuisinox Roma Coffeemaker||
||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker||
||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Bialetti Elegance Venus Induction 6 Cup||
||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Tops Rapid Brew Stovetop Coffee Percolator||
||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Grosche Milano Stovetop Espresso Maker||
||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Coletti “Bozeman” Percolator Coffee Pot||
||SEE ON AMAZON|
||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Geesta Glass Top Moka Pot||
||SEE ON AMAZON|
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.
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. Due to its features, the Bialetti Moka Express has long been dubbed as one of the best coffee makers. 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. Read my Bialetti Moka Express review if you wish to learn more. The Bialetti Brikka, a modern alternative to the Moka Express is also worth checking out.
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.
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.
The Grosche Milano is the most wallet-friendly coffee maker on our list, but the brand hasn’t cut any corners when it comes to quality.
The pot itself is a durable food grade aluminum that makes it just as suitable for outdoor use as is for the kitchen. The colored models have an enamel coating that provides extra durability (as well as looking pretty cool). The gasket seal is made from silicone, which has a higher heat resistance and longevity than the rubber you find in some other brands (5).
The Grosche Milano is advertised as not compatible with induction stoves, but if you’re in a pinch it will work on glass induction stove tops – just a little slowly.
This moka pot is available in the biggest range of sizes, with 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 cup versions available – in a choice of black, chrome, white, red and blue.
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.
Italian brand Alessi is known for “making the ordinary extraordinary”, and that’s certainly what the company has done with the Pulcina. Designed by architect Michele De Lucchi in collaboration with Illy coffee, it’s as functional as it is eye-catching.
The bulbous design, which is supposed to represent a baby bird, helps to stop filtration at precisely the right moment. Even if the moka pot is left on the heat, the coffee won’t develop the burnt taste that is often problematic with stovetop coffee makers. The unique v-shaped spout (the chick’s beak) provides more accurate pouring and fewer drips.
The Alessi Pulcina is a little pricey, as you might expect from a designer brand, but the rich, bold coffee it produces proves that it’s not just all about looks.
Moka pot users tend to time their brew by ear. When you hear a rumbling or gurgling noise, this is a signal that the last of the coffee is making its way up through the tube and it’s time to turn off the heat.
This clever glass-top coffee maker from Geesta lets you keep track of the brewing process. You’ll have a better idea of when the brew is nearing an end, helping you to avoid over extraction. (It’s also kinda fun watching the coffee coming out of the central spout.)
The glass does mean it’s not going to withstand a drop to the floor, but apart from that, the Geesta functions as any other moka pot would. The filter basket, base and lid are made from stainless steel, so it’s both dishwasher safe and suitable for induction stove tops.
One of the appealing things about buying a Moka pot is that there is a model to suit almost any need or budget. For Home Grounds, the Cuisinox Roma stands out for its build quality, elegant design, and the fact it works with a wide range of stove tops. It’s not cheap, but with a 25-year guarantee, you might never need to buy another.
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/blogs/news/how-to-brew-in-a-moka-pot
- Pantsios, A. (2019, January 31). Is Your Coffee Maker Toxic? Retrieved from https://www.ecowatch.com/is-your-coffee-maker-toxic-1882007286.html
- 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://blog.bluebottlecoffee.com/posts/bialetti-moka-pot
- Silicone vs rubber Westlab. Westlab Group. (n.d.). Retrieved From https://www.westlab.com/blog/silicone-vs-rubber