Moka Pot Vs. Espresso Machine (Key Facts)

Last Updated on October 10, 2021 by John Moretti

People often compare these two machines as they assume both serve the same purpose. Both machines can make a great caffeinated beverage, but it is not the same. Let’s take a look at how these two machines relate and how they differ. 

Both Moka Pot and Espresso Machine are designed to make an intense cup of coffee. Moka Pot is much cheaper, easier to clean, and more portable. While Espresso Machine uses much higher pressure to brew espresso. It also often comes with a grinder, and milk frother to make espresso-based drinks.

Pros & Cons

Moka pot

  • Pros: The Moka pot is cheaper and simpler to use. It is also easier to clean and has a longer shelf life than an espresso machine. If you are single or the only coffee drinker in your house, you don’t have to buy a big drip coffee machine. Just use this lovely stovetop brewer. If you have to replace it, you should not have to spend more than $30.
  • Cons: While you can make an intense cup of coffee, you are limited in your variety of drinks.

Espresso Machine

  • Pros: You can make a diverse array of fancy espresso drinks. Friends and party guests are more likely to be impressed by an espresso machine than a Moka pot. Mastering an espresso machine can earn you a job at a cafe.
  • Cons: It is more expensive to buy and difficult to clean. If you have to fix this it will cost a lot of money. You could buy several Moka pots for the amount of money it would cost to fix an espresso machine.

What is a Moka Pot?

moka pot

A Moka pot is a small metal coffee maker that we use on our stove top. This little contraption was invented in Italy in the 1930s. Many Italians and other Latin households still use this brew method to make coffee at home. The machine uses steam to pass boiling water through ground coffee. 

The machine is quite popular because it is an easy way to make an intense cup of coffee very quickly. You can use espresso grounds but this is not an espresso machine. It is best to use fine ground coffee instead. 

What is an Espresso Machine?

espresso machine

An espresso machine is exactly what its name implies. It is a machine that is solely used to produce espresso shots. Angelo Moriondo invented this machine in Italy in 1884. Like the Moka pot, an espresso machine uses intense pressure to brew coffee.

How Moka Pot And Espresso Machine Are Similar

Italy can be credited for giving the world these awesome coffee brewers.

Both machines use intense pressure to make coffee. If you want a small concentrated cup of coffee, both machines are useful depending on the type of drink you want. 

If you want something bolder and more intense than a traditional cup of drip coffee, a Moka pot or espresso machine can easily help you out.. If you want a single cup of coffee, either one of these machines is better than a regular drip coffee machine.

How Moka Pot And Espresso Machine Are Different

Although intense pressure is used to produce the final product in both machines, an espresso machine uses way more power than a Moka pot. A Moka pot uses 1 to 2 bars of pressure. On the contrary, an espresso machine brews coffee with 8 to 10 bars of pressure.

When you want to brew coffee, you will use a traditional Moka pot on the stove. If you are camping you could most likely use this over an open fire as well. As long as you put it over a flame so that the water can boil, you can use it outdoors. However, an espresso machine usually needs electricity to run. An espresso machine is also not very portable, still, there are some that are.

In terms of pricing, you really see the difference between an espresso machine and a Moka pot. If you lose or damage your Moka pot, you can easily replace it without breaking the bank. 

A new Moka pot will cost you $20 to $30.

However, espresso machines are not only expensive, they also have different moving parts that may require fixing. Buying an espresso machine can cost several hundred or even several thousand dollars. Repairing one of these machines can be just as expensive.

It is much easier to fully clean a Moka pot. Espresso machines can suffer build up, which can cause them to slow down or require professional maintenance. With the right espresso machine, you can make several shots concurrently. However, a Moka pot normally produces 1 cup unless you get a larger size one, which may produce two cups. 

If you have ever been in a coffee shop, you will notice that you probably won’t see a Moka pot being used to make coffee or espresso. Of course, it will usually have at least one espresso machine, if not more. 

While you can buy an espresso machine for your home, be prepared to make room for it. Luckily, a Moka pot can simply stay on your stove or take up a small space in your kitchen cabinet.

Coffee Type

The biggest way these 2 products differ is in regards to the type of drink they produce. People mistakenly call the Moka pot a stovetop espresso machine. A Moka pot is used to brew coffee. You just get a more intense brew – but it is still coffee. Espresso is specially formulated to be brewed in an espresso machine. You can put espresso grinds in the Moka pot, but it won’t taste the same as an espresso shot from a machine. You also should not put regular coffee in an espresso machine. 


These two machines also use different brewing techniques. However, the Moka pot is simpler overall. I won’t lie, when I first used a Moka pot I was a little confused.  I simply did not understand its technology before I started using it. Once I tried it, I realized how easy it was. Steam pushes the hot water from the bottom through the coffee grinds in the middle. Then your brewed drink comes out in the top container –  simple. Once you realize this, you basically can focus on buying the best type of coffee. 

An espresso machine is a little more complex. There is a technique you must master in terms of maneuvering, measuring the espresso grinds, the tools/levers/knobs of the machine. Once you learn the ropes, there are a ton of espresso drinks you can learn to make.

Moka Pot Vs. Espresso Machine: What To Buy

After you have decided what type of drinks you prefer to make at home, you can decide what machine you want to buy –  an espresso machine or a Moka pot.  

If you decide on an espresso machine, consider things like the cost, what type of drinks you want to make, how easy it is to clean, ease of use, and the size.

If you decide to buy a Moka pot, consider the material. Do you want one made from aluminum or stainless steel? I definitely prefer stainless steel – keep in mind, stainless steel is extremely durable. You can also buy one that is electric

Also, think about how big your cup of coffee is in the morning. A 3 cup Moka pot will only give you a six ounce cup of coffee. Sometimes I had to make two servings of coffee back to back, in order to achieve the amount of coffee I wanted. At least the taste was great.