Monthly Archives: January 2018

The Best Stovetop Espresso Makers

best stovetop espresso makersStovetop espresso makers (aka moka pots) do not cost a lot on average. The best moka pots are far cheaper than just about any other kind of coffee maker.

Even still there are differences in quality between all stove top espresso pots. Some are better than others and there are reasons to buy some moka pots over others.

Quick Tip – There’s no doubt Bialetti makes some of the best selling moka pots on the market but I think the absolute best moka pot for sale today is the Alicia Electric Moka Espresso Coffee Maker by De’Longhi. It will give you the most consistent quality coffee and will be the safest to use in the home.

Below I’ve tried to steer you towards the best stove top espresso makers sold today. Check them out and choose the one for you based on your volume requirements and based on how much use you think it will get.

The Best Stovetop Espresso Makers (Moka Pots) + Reviews

Of all the various moka pots on the market the ones made by Bialetti are easily the most famous. As a brand they are the best selling brand of moka pot aroud and as you would expect their products are the best for the money. Even still there are quite a few other high end moka pots for sale from some of the other brands. Here at Stovpreso we believe these are the best options for the average customer.

Bialetti 6-Cup Stovetop Espresso Maker – This is the best selling moka pot of them all and for good reason. It is made to a very high quality standard, makes great coffee, has easy gaskets to find for maintenance, and is priced affordably. Not only that but it also is big for a stovetop espresso maker!

Alessi 9090 3-Cup Stove Top Espresso Coffee Maker – Alessi is one of our favorite brands here at Stovpreso. They make mostly 18/10 stainless steel moka pots in a variety of designer styles. This model was designed by Richard Sapper and it is suitable for induction cooktops. I probably wouldn’t bring this camping but it’s a beautiful piece for your kitchen between uses.

Delonghi EMK6 Alicia Electric Moka Espresso Coffee Maker – This espresso maker from De’Longhi is another favorite of ours here because it is also made by a high end company in the coffee space.
What sets it apart however is that this model does not require you to use your stovetop. You make moka on the devices own dedicated heater base.

Primula Stovetop Espresso Coffee Maker – Primula makes a bestselling aluminum moka pot that is similar in style to Bialetti. Replacement gaskets are also pretty easy to find. Most people find the build quality to be a litte less but that’s why this coffee maker is my favorite moka pot for camping or open flame. It doesn’t cost a lot so it’s no big deal if it gets a bit “roughed up”.

Vev Vigano 8010 Kontessa Oro 12-cup Italian Espresso Maker – Most people don’t want a moka pot this big but for those that do I love the style of Vev Vigano and this one will please everyone regardless of the type of stove they own. You can get a great 12-cup Bialetti Moka Express but to this one is just a little fancier and since it’s such a large moka pot you will want it to look good as it will be hard to tuck away in a cabinet.

Are Aluminum Moka Pots Better than Stainless Steel?

best stainless moka pot
For the average consumer a simple aluminum stovetop espresso maker will be fine. Most of the high end moka pots made by Bialetti, Alessi, and other major manufacturers make predominantly aluminum pots. The metal is very good at conducting heat evenly and it heats up and cools down fast.

Some people prefer stainless steel however and some of the designer espresso pots are forged from steel. They are a bit ore durable but on average they are a lot more attractive to the eye. They make great gifts too.

On the low end some makers like Primula make some good stainless steel options for their price but those featured above are going to last longer and perform better over time.

Some features that make a stovetop pot better than the others include better seals and higher end details like the rubber gasket. Seems like a small thing but a god gasket and a proper seal can make a huge difference in the moka produced. A sturdy moka pot will always make better espresso than a cheaply made pot with a poor seal.

Stovetop Espresso Makers (Moka Pots) vs Espresso Machines

As you dive into the world of Italian espresso or moka coffee you would be a little weird if you didn’t wonder what the difference was between moka and machine espresso. It is similar after all and it is portioned in the same sizes as espresso shots.

The main differences in moka vs espresso has to do with the brew pressure difference between the two. If you tried really hard by selcting the right grind size and tamped it a bit you might be able to get a moka pot up to 2 bar but traditional espresso machines brew under much greater pressure than that. 15 bar is quite commoon and Nespresso even touts their machines at 19 bar!

As a result stovetop espresso will never achieve the crema that is produced at the higher pressure and the texture will only approximate espresso. Generally moka will taste and feel like the strongest coffee you’ve ever had but without any of the bitterness or burned flavors of overdone percolators or over-extracted french press coffee.

If you want to read more about the differences in stovetop espresso and moka see this article which I have gone into more depth on the topic.

Also, if you are not sure whether you want to get a traditional aluminum moka pot or a stainless steel model make sure to read this article which dissects the topic in greater detail.

Lastly, if you do end up buying an Aluminum moka pot make sure to learn how to properly clean it. Cleaning an aluminum moka pot the right way is an integral part of the process of making really good coffee.

Stovetop Espresso Makers Vs Espresso Machines: What’s The Difference?

Stovetop Espresso Makers Vs Espresso MachinesI get my espresso fix in one of two ways ordinarily. The stovetop espresso maker in my kitchen and the machine espresso maker at my coffee shop down the street. For a while I considered buying an inexpensive steam driven espresso machine for my home coffee bar but I figured it would be best to wait until I could afford a good pump machine because the quality can be much better if you know what you are doing.

I didn’t use that reasoning however when I was decided to buy a stovetop espresso maker and here’s why.

A stovetop maker (frequently called a moka pot) is not really espresso. It’s similar but not exact.

Espresso is finely ground coffee beans saturated with water under high amounts of pressure. It is brewed extremely fast and as a result produces a very rich liquid full of aromatics, oils, and plenty of crema. The espresso tends to have a bit less caffeine per serving than other forms of coffee due to the super short brewing process too.

Although stovetop espresso is similar it is different in that the pressure created in the moka pot is nowhere near as high as even steam machines. The best moka pots achieve pressure in the vicinity of 2-bar compared to most high end pump machines which pulls shots in the 16-bar zone.

Lower end steam machines even blow moka pots out of the water. The lower end machines pulling between 7 to 10-bar greatly outperform the pressure created in a moka pot.

What’s the difference then?

The brewing process is a bit longer so the grind can’t be quite as fine. This results in less surface area coming in contact with water and less oil and aromatic extraction. The lower pressure results in less crema and in most cases none at all.

Although the stovetop espresso maker does produce extremely potent and rich coffee it’s not really espresso at all.

One can hardly call it fake however. Italians have been famous for their espresso for generations however most of their espresso is actually made in moka pots pushing only 2-bar.

Personally when I head down to my local coffee shop and ask for an espresso I tend to find it a bit brighter. This is likely due to the faster brew, higher acidity, and more greater aromatics. Having said that though we’re talking about comparing a great beverage to an amazing beverage. And where does french press coffee fit into the “best” lineup? Who knows. I love it just as much. You can see my comparison between stovetop and French press here for more on that.

For the home I can’t even think of a reason not to have a moka pot on hand. They are so inexpensive and the better models are built very tough; many pots will easily last a decade or more… not to mention the fact that they don’t have moving parts and are so simple anyone can make great coffee with little to no experience in the slightest bit.

For me I love true espresso but I’m still perfectly fine with running down the street to grab a shot whenever the mood strikes. They are far more expensive to have in the home and the learning curve to make good espresso is a lot higher.

How To Brew Espresso Without A Machine

How To Brew Espresso Without A MachineDid you know that you can easily and affordably brew espresso at home even if you don’t have a big expensive espresso maker or machine? It’s so simple and cheap and most coffee drinkers haven’t even heard about the technique before.

It’s called a Moka pot. It’s the way Italians have been making espresso for generations and all it takes is a small aluminum pot (or stainless steel) that can be purchased for $10-$60 on average.

I got mine for around $25 and it consistently makes espresso that tastes just as good or better than that of my local coffee kiosk. If I head over to my local coffee roaster they’ve got more talented hands in the helm and better equipment too. Their espresso is really the only stuff I find tastier than what I make of my kitchen stove.

The crazy thing is that using a stovetop espresso maker takes not talent at all. So long as you have access to quality beans that are fresh and grind it somewhat fine you can have top shelf espresso in about 4-6 minutes depending on how high heat you brew your espresso with.

I tend to brew mine with really low heat and have waited up to 10 minutes for my stovetop espresso but by jacking the heat up a bit it’s easy to get your morning cup in about 4 minutes without burning the stuff.

As with anything on a stove you can’t program it or set it up and walk away but so long as you are willing to make that sacrifice this is the best way to do it other than shelling out $1000 or more on a quality espresso machine.

You can see my big list of stovetop espresso makers below to see what they all look like and which one’s are better than others.

Check out this post to learn more about how they work and this post to learn how to use one properly.

Stovetop Espresso Maker Reviews

People shopping for stovetop espresso makers are faced with a couple of main questions right off the bat.

Should you buy an aluminum pot or a stainless steel pot?

Should you buy an inexpensive model or one of the best stovetop espresso makers on the market?

Other main questions have to do with size. Moka pots make a specific amount of espresso each time you use them. You don’t ever make a small pot or a large pot. This means you need to take use into consideration. Should you get as espresso pot that makes a few cups at a time to minimize waste or should you get a large stovetop espresso pot so that you can serve everyone at once?

I can’t pretend to believe that any one stove top espresso maker is perfect for everyone but I can help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of popular moka makers so that you can make better decisions. See below for my reviews of top stovetop espresso makers.

Reviews to follow in the near future. Check back for updates!

Large Stovetop Espresso Makers

large stovetop espresso makers
For everyday use I like using smaller stovetop espresso makers. They make more manageable amounts of espresso and produce less waste.

One person would be very unlikely to drink all the espresso produced by a 12-cup pot. Two people would be more likely to finish off one of these large pots but more frequently they are best used for parties or for larger groups of people.

My everyday moka pot is a 3-cup Bialetti moka pot. It’s perfect for my espresso and for the occasional Americano made for my wife but it’s good to have a large moka pot in your pantry just in case you need to make a lot at once.

The following large moka pots are some of the better options out there and would be the first one’s I’d purchase if I were in the market for a bigger espresso maker.

Can You Only Make Half a Pot of Stovetop Coffee

One of the misconceptions of buying and owning large moka pots is that they are better all around. You can make 12-cups of stovetop espresso when you have guests over or you can just make 2-3 cups for yourself in the morning.

Unfortunately this is simply not the case.

A moka pot is designed to make only one volume of coffee, nothing more, nothing less.

If you plan on buying any of the extra large stovetop espresso makers I mentioned above then be prepared to either make more coffee than you need every morning or to be brewing for multiple people every day.

The best situation for most people who like stovetop espresso is to buy one big moka pot for large batches of moka making and a small pot for single servings. Here are the best stovetop espresso makers for sale today imo.

Crazy thing is you can actually spend money on 2-3 different moka pots and still pay less money than you would for one big fancy espresso machine so it’s probably worth it in the long run.

Primula Stovetop Espresso Makers

Primula Stovetop Espresso Makers
One of the most budget friendly brands in the Italian coffee space is Primula. They make high end moka pots for far less than many of their competitors. Although the quality and design is not quite as high the low prices make these items worth every penny you spend on them.

For the most part the Primula has three main espresso pots, Two are made of aluminum and a more expensive model is made from stainless steel. In all cases buyers of Primula products can expect great moka at a low price.

You can see the stove top espresso makers Primula makes below.

Primula Aluminum

Primula Emporio Aluminum

Primula 18/10 Stainless Steel

You can also see our dedicated page for links to the best stovetop espresso makers sold today by any and all any brands.

Alessi Stovetop Espresso Makers

Alessi Stovetop Espresso Makers
Alessi has been making fine household metal products since the 20’s and has roots with Alfonso Bialetti, the original inventor of the traditional moka pot.

Alessi has a wide array of stylish moka pots made of both Aluminum and stainless steel. This gives their product line greater versatility and broad appeal.

The Alessi brand carries greater style and generally more durable products that other brand and they tend to be a bit higher in price. Their quality however is top of the line. They are yet another highly regarded Italian brand.

You can see their in-production stovetop espresso makers below.

Alessi Moka Pot model names include:

Alessi Moka

9090 by Richard Sapper

Alessi Pina

Alessi La Cupola

Alessi La Conica

Richard Sapper Stainless Steel

Also, make sure to see this page where we’ve featured the best stovetop espresso pots from all makers in one place.

Vev Vigano Stovetop Espresso Makers

Vev Vigano has been making some of the best stovetop espresso makers for decades. They are another authentic Italian brand and know Italian Moka as well as anybody.

These Moka pots work very well and have a unique style that sets them apart from their main competitors.

Vev Vigano espresso pots are well regarded, receive top reviews, and are found to be very durable. You can see their top in-production models through the links below.

Vev Vigano’s additional stovetop espresso makers also include the following models:

Vev Vigano Carioca Nero

Vev Vigano Kontessa Gold

Vev Vigano Kontessa Oro

VeV Vigano Vespress Oro Inox

Vev Vigano Kontessa Inox

Vev Vigano Vespress

Vev Vigano Kontessa Nuova

Vev Vigano Itaca Inox

Vev Vigano Itaca Oro

Also, be sure to click over here see a list of the best stovetop espresso makers sold today.

Bialetti Stovetop Espresso Makers

Bialetti Stovetop Espresso Makers
Bialetti consistently makes the best espresso makers on the market today. They have been making them for generations and are the premier Italian stove top espresso maker brand in the world.

These days Bialetti has a number of high quality moka pots on the market. Below you’ll find links to the major in production models.

bialetti moka expressThe Bialetti Moka Express – This is the most common Moka pot of them all. From all the brands and all the models there are more of these sold and used every day than any other.

The moka Express is made in many different sizes. You can get a 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 12, and 18-cup versions of this and the gaskets and filter screens are super easy to find replacements for too.

The Moka Express is a traditional Aluminum body moka pot and it carries the traditional design.

It’s price is very affordable but you do pay a little more for these than you would for a similar mokas pot from lesser known brands. Primula moka pots for instance are very similar to the Moka Express and they are priced lower.

Within the Bialetti line however the Moka Express is just one of a few options. The other models Bialetti makes are listed below.

For direct comparisons make sure to click the links in this article because the Moka Express isn’t going to be for everyone… just most people. 🙂

Bialetti Venus

Bialetti Musa

Bialetti Brikka

Bialetti Easy Cafe

Bialetti Moka Crem

You can click through to see any of these in closer detail above or simply see our short list of the best stovetop espresso makers for sale right here.

How To Use A Stovetop Espresso Maker

How To Use A Stovetop Espresso MakerUsing a stovetop espresso maker really is as simple as filling the lower water chamber to the fill line. Filling the coffee grounds basket to the top with slightly fine ground coffee. Lastly after screwing the top chamber on you place the entire pot on low/medium heat until the moka or stove top espresso fills the upper chamber.

Each moka pot will act a little differently but the basics are all the same.

Don’t tamp the coffee down and make sure to use the full amount of water. You can’t expect to make a big or small batch at any given time.

Lastly make sure to keep an eye on the espresso pot while it’s on the stove. It’s no like a kettle that whistles at you when it’s done and the burner won’t turn itself off. You have to be there to turn off the heat right as it finishes brewing otherwise you may ruin your batch of coffee or even the rubber gasket that makes the pot work.

Stovetop espresso is very easy to make but you have to be attentive. It’s not the same as using an automatic coffee maker but the coffee on the other side will be much better so it’s worth it.