An espresso which can either be brewed with a moka pot vs espresso machine

Moka Pot vs Espresso Machine: Under Pressure Comparison

November 18, 2020

Do you feel the pressure boiling up? Since there are so many misconceptions around these brewing methods, we decided to end them once and for all with a simple moka pot vs espresso machine comparison.

Moka pot: a portable, traditional coffee maker for strong coffee

The moka pot, often referred to as stovetop coffee maker or percolator, was invented by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 and has slowly become a symbol of Italian coffee culture, traditions, and ‘Made in Italy’ design.

This small metal coffee maker is really simple to use. It relies on a bottom pot in which the water is boiled, a small filter for the grounds (between a fine and medium-fine grind size), and a top chamber into which the coffee is forced. 

A moka pot

Is Moka coffee as strong as espresso?

Here’s the thing: Moka coffee isn’t as strong as espresso because… well, it technically isn’t. By definition, espresso is concentrated coffee boiled at 9 bars of pressure (at least). Because a moka pot can only reach one or two, it’s not as strong, but it’s the closest you can get to it when making espresso without a machine. It’s still 2-3 times more concentrated than drip and the taste is fairly similar to traditional shots.

Moka pot pros

Moka pot cons

  • Requires a few more minutes
  • Not technically espresso

Espresso machine: a one-button shot topped with crema

The espresso machines that you can buy for your home are the result of over a century of modifications and experiments (curious? Discover them in our espresso article).

Just like the commercial models that you see in coffee shops, they consist of a portafilter that gets attached to a grouphead where the water is forced through its fine grounds at high pressure.

An espresso machine

Whenever you want to make espresso, the act itself is quick and easy: you just need to add coffee to the portafilter and press a button. 

However, you might have to experiment a bit more in order to create the perfect shot, since there are more variables involved (such as pressure, grind size, and brewing time).

To promote its longevity and ensure the best flavors, you must also descale it more frequently.

Espresso machine pros

  • Proper espresso
  • Short brew time
  • Best for creating other types of frothy drinks
  • It can look stylish on your countertop

Espresso machine cons

  • Not portable
  • Some models can be a bit bulky
  • Some parts could break
  • More maintenance needed

Moka Pot vs Espresso Machine: which one should YOU use?

An espresso to settle the moka pot vs espresso machine debate

The moka pot vs espresso machine debate isn’t as simple as crowning the better coffee maker. If you ask around, you’ll get different answers depending on who you’re talking to. An Italian grandmother and a barista champion would probably end up having a very heated argument!

What matters is the right method for you

If you're after stronger coffee and like the idea of turning it into a cherished ritual, you should go for a moka pot, especially if you want to replicate it when you go camping or on holiday.

Would you prefer a shot that looks just like what you order from your local coffee shop and only takes 20 seconds to brew? If you’re happy to experiment with a few variables to achieve the perfect shot, stick to espresso machines.

We hope this settles the moka pot vs espresso machine debate. Either way, make sure you have the best espresso coffee for it.

Which one do you prefer: moka pot or espresso machine? Let us know in the comments!

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