Last Updated on June 27, 2023 by Barry Gray
I remember as a youngster seeing a moka pot in a shop and being somewhat fascinated by it. Of course, I had no idea what it was or what it did, but the shape and style of it intrigued me.
Now, I know it can produce a stunning cup of coffee, when used correctly, but I’m also aware there are a number of things to consider when choosing a moka pot.
So, what are those key points, and what do I suggest to make your life easier when choosing a moka pot?
Make sure it is made from either stainless steel or aluminum. It’s better to push your budget a bit to get a moka pot that is well-constructed rather than a budget version. It will produce better coffee and also last longer as well.
But I get it. That’s such a simple explanation as to what to look out for with a moka pot when, in actual fact, it’s more involved than that.
So, over the course of the next few minutes, I will guide you through everything you need to know when it comes to choosing a moka pot.
I promise it will be significantly easier to do than you realize. By the end of it all, I believe you will find yourself in a better position to make that decision.
How Does a Moka Pot Work?
Before I dive into the key things you need to look into when purchasing a moka pot, do you know how it works?
I know not everyone reading this will have experience of using a moka pot, so let me walk you through a quick explanation.
The Three Components of a Moka Pot
First, you have three different components to a moka pot: the base, the filter basket, and the pot itself. Each part plays a key role in delivering your coffee at the end.
How it Works
A moka pot is very easy to use. You fill the pot with cold water and put it on your stovetop. You allow the stovetop to heat the water, and when it reaches boiling point, you turn it down to let the water simmer.
At that point, you add your ground coffee to the filter.
What then happens with a moka pot is the heat in the water helps create a pressure that forces the water through the coffee producing the finished drink.
In a sense, it’s kind of like an espresso, but this one is done on the stovetop rather than in an espresso machine.
But is it Espresso?
While it sounds similar, I must point out that a moka pot does not produce an espresso.
Sure, it’s a strong coffee full of intense flavor, but it’s still different from the espresso drink you get from an espresso machine.
The main difference is in the pressure used to create the coffee.
With an espresso machine, you are typically looking at around 9 bars of pressure being used to produce the espresso.
Your moka pot is simply unable to produce this type of pressure. It may sound like a slight difference, but it’s very important.
Is it Important Where My Moka Pot is Manufactured?
First, there’s a widely held belief that the best moka pots are manufactured in Italy, and I do generally agree with this. I believe the quality of the construction is superior in Italian-made moka pots compared to anywhere else.
But you can end up paying a premium for an Italian moka pot against one that is mass-produced in China.
However, it can often be the case that the cheaper versions are crafted from poorer materials that are just unable to produce the quality coffee you were hoping for.
So, if your budget allows, try purchasing an Italian moka pot. It can make a bit of a difference.
Aluminum or Stainless Steel?
I said at the outset that you would need to choose between aluminum or stainless steel. So, what’s the difference? Apart from the obvious, of course.
First, we have aluminum, and this is something that has been used since moka pots really came to the fore.
However, while it’s the authentic and original material, it isn’t the best option.
You see, aluminum is thin, and it’s also slightly porous. Companies use it as it’s easy to shape aluminum into that familiar moka pot shape.
But I do have a slight problem with the aluminum version.
The main issue I have is with the fact it can allow some of the oils of the coffee to gradually leak out of the pot. It may only make a slight difference to the quality of the coffee you drink, but I always want to get the whole experience.
Also, it would be best if you looked out for rust when it comes to your aluminum moka pot. Plus, you cannot wash it with anything too abrasive.
Washing your aluminum moka pot with something abrasive can cause damage to the exterior of the pot. That alone can then have a negative impact on your coffee.
The other option for your moka pot is stainless steel, and this is something that has become more popular in recent years. My moka pot is stainless steel, and I admit it has had to contend with extensive use, and it does so without any problems.
Stainless steel is very durable, and I know it will last for years without tarnishing. Also, it’s not porous, so you won’t be losing some of the coffee flavors through the actual moka pot, and that’s a huge deal.
I feel you can almost throw the moka pot around, and it won’t be damaged. I couldn’t say the same for the aluminum version, where any slight bang seems to leave a dent.
How Many Cups Should a Moka Pot Make?
Another critical point is the size of the moka pot. They range from brewing a single coffee to brewing 18 cups at a time.
I would suggest you think about why you are using a moka pot in the first place. If it’s only ever going to be you that uses it, purchasing one that makes 6 cups is a waste of money.
You see, a moka pot is really supposed to only be used to produce coffee you will be drinking as soon as it’s made. You don’t want to go ahead and use a pot designed to produce 6 cups yet you only add enough coffee or water for one cup.
So, I would suggest looking into this. Of course, you can have more than one moka pot if required.
More About Moka Pot Sizes
This issue regarding size is crucial, and I know it can become quite confusing as to which one you should own, so let me try to make it a bit easier to understand.
If you live alone, I would go up to a 3-cup moka pot as the maximum size. It’s also perfect if you travel as it’s compact in size.
But if that sounds as if you couldn’t share with anyone, then a 6-cup moka pot is the perfect solution. It’s still not too big but offers enough coffee for people to enjoy.
But if that’s still not enough, then how about the 8-cup version?
An 8-cup produces around 16 ounces of coffee, and you can also dilute it down a bit to share among more people if you feel worried about it blowing you off your feet.
And what do I think about those larger moka pots that can produce up to 18 cups at a time?
I personally wouldn’t buy one. However, if you have a number of coffee drinkers in your home, then it could become something that’s worth checking out.
But here’s another point about the size.
Larger Pots Make Stronger Coffee
Typically, your larger moka pots end up producing more robust coffee, so you would perhaps need to dilute it if that stronger coffee is too much for you to deal with.
That means you could produce far too much coffee, and there’s no point making too much coffee since you will waste some.
Will it Work On Your Stovetop?
Another point you need to consider is how it works. Is it capable of being used on your stovetop?
Now, I know people will automatically say that it will work. Still, you may have a problem if you have an induction hob or even an electric hob.
Not every moka pot has the ability to be used on either of those hobs, and that would render your moka pot useless.
But here’s a key point.
If you own a stainless steel moka pot, I’m almost sure it will work on induction hobs. However, I would still double-check before you go ahead and make your purchase to be on the safe side.
My Recap on Choosing the Right Moka Pot
Selecting a moka pot should not be a difficult thing to do. However, I have covered several important points anybody should think about prior to spending any money.
So, here’s my recap in the hope it makes your life much easier.
- Choose from either aluminum or stainless steel
- Stainless steel is not porous and won’t rust
- Aluminum is the original material used for a moka pot
- Check it works on your stovetop, which is key if you have induction hobs
- Focus on the size of your moka pot
- If you live alone, a 3-cup moka pot is perfect
- If you love coffee on your own, you can push it up to a 6-cup pot
- Anything over 10 cups will result in a whole lot of coffee
- You can dilute the coffee in the larger moka pots to reduce the intensity
I really do feel any coffee lover should have a moka pot at their disposal. It doesn’t quite produce espresso, but it’s close enough that you can appreciate so much of the flavor and taste of the coffee beans.
And that is how to choose a moka pot, and I don’t believe it’s something that should prove too difficult. I think the hardest part is the fact that so many variations and types of moka pots are out there on the market that narrowing it down is tough.
But this is a decision where I would take some time to ensure I get it right. After all, the quality of your coffee is at stake here, and who wants to ruin a perfectly good cup of coffee?