Best Moka Pot or Stovetop Espresso Maker

best moka pot reviews and comparisons

If you’ve found this page, than you are obviously looking for the best Moka Pot or stovetop espresso maker. You’ve come to the right place! This article will provide reviews of several stovetop espresso makers and will give you our honest opinion on which one is best!

What is a Moka Pot?

Simply put, it is the best, classic, old school way to make a great shot of Italian espresso. And when it comes to coffee, the Italians are simply the best at it. The French are a close second.

The moka pot is a stove-top coffee maker (there are electric versions which won’t be discussed in this best moka pot review) that makes coffee by forcing pressurized water through ground coffee.

It was invented in 1933 by Alfonso Bialetti and named for the Yemenite city of Mocha. Bialetti Industries still produces the pot, called the “Moka Express.”

The moka pot is widely used today (think of all of the movies and tv shows that you’ve seen where the pot is shown in an Italian (or Italian-American) kitchen. As a side note, this icon of design is featured in several world-class museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the London Science Museum, and the Cooper-Hewitt among others.

So What Makes a Moka Pot a Moka Pot?

This small wonder of caffeinated engineering consists of 5 (sometimes 6) parts. There is a lower pot, an upper pot (that screw together), a coffee basket, a fine filter, a gasket (usually rubber or silicone), and sometimes (only with larger size pots), a coffee basket divider which allows you to use smaller amounts of coffee if you don’t wish to brew the pot to capacity. The moka pot comes in several sizes, and are most commonly made of aluminum or stainless steel. The handles are often bakelite or some other heat-resistant material. In order to use a moka pot, you fill the bottom chamber with water. You then fill the coffee basket with espresso grind coffee, screw the two halves together, and place the unit on your stove on medium-high heat. Here’s the tricky part… You have to LISTEN to the pot. When the water boils (and if you have a smaller capacity pot, this happens very quickly), it is forced upward through the coffee grounds into the upper pot. While the coffee is brewing, the pot makes a hissing sound. The instant the hissing stops, your coffee is ready and you need to take it off the heat. If this is not done immediately, the coffee in the upper chamber can boil. This not only ruins the coffee (should you ever burn a pot, taste it if you don’t trust me), but it also stinks up the entire house – and in my opinion, nothing smells as acrid as burnt coffee! A few considerations… Before we review the best moka pot, there are a few things that you should consider…

Where is the moka pot made?

Hands down, the Bialetti is the best moka pot, and it is made in Italy. Again, nobody does coffee like the Italians.

If you buy a pot made in a country known for inexpensively manufacturing goods, you will get what you pay for! 

Will it work with your heat source?

The original moka pot was made for a gas stovetop. Make sure that if you have a halogen cooktop or an induction cooktop that your pot is compatible.

For a flat cooktop, the base needs to be absolutely flat and resistant to warping (if the pot doesn’t come in direct contact with the cooktop it will not heat properly).

If you have an induction cooktop, the moka pot has to have a magnetic base in order to work.

What is the capacity of the moka pot?

Moka pots come in varying sizes. If it’s only for you, the smallest pot will do. If your household is larger (or if you drink multiple cups of espresso before you head out the door), consider a larger pot.

Stainless versus Aluminum

Stainless is spiffy, and certainly better looking than aluminum, but it heats up faster, and some coffee aficionados claim that this can make a difference in the product it produces.

And a cautionary tale…
Make sure that when you use a stovetop moka pot, that you use the smallest burner on your stove. These pots get VERY hot, as do their “stay cool” handles, so always use a potholder to remove the pot from the heat.

Make sure that you screw the two halves together tightly. Believe me when I tell you that nothing makes a bigger mess of your stove than boiling water mixed with fine coffee grinds!

If your pot is producing coffee with a burnt flavor, try using lower heat on your stove.

When you clean your pot, check the gasket. Depending on how often you use your pot (as well as other factors), you will need to replace the gasket periodically.

They are easy to find and inexpensive, but necessary, as a tight seal between the lower and upper chambers of the pot is necessary for the moka pot to function properly!

Now To Our Moka Pot reviews:

Bialetti 06800 Moka Stovetop Coffee Maker, 6 Cup Review

https://www.amazon.com/Bialetti-6-Cup-Stovetop-Espresso-Maker/dp/B000CNY6UK

It doesn’t get more classic than this moka pot! Polished aluminum, octagon style, easy to use! This pot also comes in 1 cup, 3 cup, 9 cup, and 12 cup versions, so there is one that is the right size for your household / coffee consumption habits!

Please note here that with the size of the pot, the word “cup” does not refer to imperial or US measure. The 6 cup pot makes a generous mug of coffee, or four to 5 teeny-tiny espresso cups. The sizing is given in fluid ounces, so before you choose your size, measure out the amount of water (in the case of the “6 cup” pot, 9.2 ounces), and see exactly how much coffee each brew will yield.

The other nice feature about this pot is that it has a safety valve, which is always a good idea when dealing with highly pressurized boiling water! The classic moka pot is made in Italy and carries a two-year manufacturer warranty.

The manufacturer has three important recommendations:

  • Use coffee that is not quite as finely ground as espresso (easy, if you grind your own coffee)
  • Use filtered water
  • Make sure to use moderate heat, otherwise the coffee may taste burnt

Bellemain 6-Cup Stovetop Espresso Maker Moka Pot REview

This pot is a pretty good facsimile of the classic Bialetti pot. Manufactured in China, it is also quite a bit less expensive. This pot has many great features including:

  • Minimalist design
  • For use on gas or electric stovetops
  • Stay-cool handle and knob
  • Pressure valve to regulate internal temperature
  • Makes up to 6 (2 oz) espresso cups per brew
  • 2 year warranty

This pot offers the same features as the Bialetti original at about half the price. Like the Bialetti pot, this is not for use with induction cooktops.

bonVIVO Intenca Stovetop Espresso Maker

https://www.amazon.com/bonVIVO-Intenca-Stovetop-Espresso-Stainless/dp/B0744CQYJD

This Moka pot is gorgeous, not to mention a lot more expensive than the previous two Moka pots reviewed in this article. The two-tone stainless steel and copper really stands out.

One feature of this pot that may appeal to many consumers is that the pot is made of stainless steel, rather than aluminum.

The pot is easy to care for, and unlike aluminum can be placed in the dishwasher (although the manufacturer does recommend hand-washing).

The size of this pot is listed as 5 to 6 cups, but no capacity is given in fluid ounces, nor is a country of manufacture.

Cuisinox Roma 6-cup Stainless Steel Stovetop Moka Espresso Maker

Like the bonVIVO Intenca pot, the Cuisinox is also a stainless steel pot. This one is the only pot reviewed in this article that can be used on an induction cooktop. This is also the granddaddy of deluxe stovetop espresso makers, costing almost 4 times as much as the classic Bialetti Moka. That said, this moka pot has some very nice features.
  • 18/10 Stainless steel construction
  • Available in 4, 6, and 10 cup capacity pots (based on 1.5 ounce per cup capacity)
  • Induction base
  • 1 extra gasket and reducer included
Make from heavy stainless steel, the manufacturer recommends hand washing, but it can occasionally be put in the dishwasher.

Conclusion

black coffee decorated with whole black coffee beans

While all of these moka pots will make a great cup of coffee, the Bialetti really is the gold standard.

Bialetti developed the technology and the iconic shape of the Moka pot way back in the 1930s, and it still endures.

Prices for stovetop espresso makers vary wildly from downright cheap to luxury.

The Bialetti falls toward the less expensive end of the scale, and it isn’t unusual for coffee-loving households to own several sizes of the pot, depending on how many people are coming for dinner!

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