Tag Archives: Comparison

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.

In a moka pot if can take a few minutes just to generate enough steam pressure to get the coffee to erupt out of the top into the final chamber.

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.

Moka Pot vs Drip Coffee: Why Stovetop Espresso is Totally Different

Some of the most common questions my friends ask me when they see me making moka coffee on the stove is one of the following worded something like this:

  • Is Moka coffee stronger than drip?
  • Do moka pots make better coffee than regular coffee makers?
  • Is it easier (or faster) to make coffee in a moka pot?

At first I was shocked at how few people knew anything about this method of making coffee since it’s been a part of my life since as long as I can remember.

These days however I have started looking forward to introducing this style of coffee to anyone and everyone I meet. It’s like introducing modern man to old world techniques that operate simply, with heat and physics.

If you are reading this then you probably have little experience with moka pots so I’ll briefly summarize before getting into the details:

The Difference Between Moka Coffee and Drip Machines

Moka coffee is made from coffee grind roughly the same size as drip machines. The best stuff uses a slightly finer grind commonly found in pre-ground bags of Lavazza which many people also use in espresso makers and drip machines.

You put coffee in the basket and water in the lower chamber and heat it up on the stove. In as little as a few minutes you then have a potent batch of moka which will remind you a bit of straight espresso. It is potent and much stronger than drip coffee or even French press.

You can see more about how to brew with a moka pot here and tell when the moka is done making coffee here.

Espresso lovers will sip on this brew as is just as they would a double espresso. Coffee lovers will then add a bit of hot water to the brew making them something extremely similar to an Americano or a lungo shot.

As to the question of whether moka coffee is better, that is purely a personal opinion. I think it is way better because you can only make coffee so strong when using drip or pour over techniques. The straight moka is probably not quite as good as proper espresso but it’s a really close second and it is just as versatile, meaning you can alter it to work for any coffee based drink like mocha, latte, lungo, or Americano.

Other Than Flavor Why Would You Make Moka Over Regular Coffee

For me I make moka because I love the strength of the coffee coming out of my Bialetti. Stovetop espresso makers are all dead simple to use too so it’s a lot easier and cheaper to use a moka pot than it is to use a top of the line espresso machine.

An older technique for making strong coffee was to use a percolator but moka doesn’t ever come out tasting burnt to me and I can adjust the strength down for my wife or guests as easily as adding a pinch of hot water.

You will also find a ton of people use moka pots first because they have no moving parts, have no electronics, clean easily, use no plastic whatsoever, are extremely durable being made from heavy aluminum or steel.

They are small enough to actually travel with and they are a campers first choice when it comes to making coffee over a campfire.

If there is no electricity moka pots are ready to make coffee because all they need is a heat source like a fire or a set of burning coals.

Top Arguments for Using a Regular Drip Coffee Makers

There are of course some good reasons to not use a moka pot however. Although my favorite style of coffee comes from a stovetop espresso maker I do still have a 12-cup drip machine that I use from time to time so let me cover some of the reasons why I bust out the Cuisinart on occasion and why I think that drip machines may be better for certain types of people.

In my home I typically make coffee for myself and occasionally for my wife. She usually mixes milk and foam into here however so that doesn’t happen as often.

Since I make coffee for myself I don’t need a large moka pot, in fact I use a small 3 or 6 cup moka pot most of the time. 9 or 12-cup pots are just too big for me.

With moka pots you have to make a full pot every time you brew so you wouldn’t want to own a 12-cup pot if you were making it for just yourself.

I do keep a large moka pot on hand for company but I find that my average house guest doesn’t want to drink potent espresso like moka.

For this reason I usually use smaller moka pots for myself and use regular drip coffee pots when I am making coffee for a group of people.

I also know for a fact that regular coffee makers are great for making coffee on an alarm. A drip coffee maker can make coffee before you get up and make your way to the kitchen. This can be particularly helpful for people who have extremely busy mornings or are dealing with morning routines when their hands are full.

Busy mornings with small kids are one perfect example of the benefits of setting a drip machine to go for early morning… its just so hard to make coffee with a baby in your arms after all.

One other excellent reason to opt against a stovetop moka pot is because they need to be “babysat”. When you put the moka pot on the burner you have to be standing by ready to take it off the heat right after it finishes brewing. If you walk away and come back even 5-10 minutes after the brew cycle completes you could have a huge mess on your hands with boiling coffee, burnt flavors, and you might also have damaged your gaskets beyond repair.

When I use my moka pot I am usually in the kitchen the whole time so I am always there to remove the pot from the burner; if you don’t trust yourself to do this every time then you should absolutely invest in a proper espresso machine or make your coffee in an electric moka pot, electric drip machine, or even percolator. It’s just safer.

Moka Pot Vs Aeropress Coffee: Which is the Best Espresso Alternative

Moka Pot Vs AeropressFor roughly five years now I’ve been drinking stovetop moka made from my Bialetti Moka Express.

It was purchased on a whim way back then when I noticed my local grocery store had one on clearance for less than $10!

I had recently been talking to a friend about his when I saw him making coffee out of it one night and he said it was the best coffee he had ever had. His was a bigger unit and ran him around $50 or so but this one was less than $10 so I nabbed it.

Moka pots tend to sell a lot higher than what I paid for mine but overall they are super affordable and vary only a little bit in price depending on style and size.

The best selling stovetop espresso maker is probably the 6-cup Moka Express but there are a bunch of great models in different sizes too.

These are some of the larger stovetop espresso makers I recommend to close friends and family.

Ever since then I’ve been a raving fan of the stuff. I even started a website back in August of 2014 called Stovpreso to cover my findings on the device. Maybe you’ve heard of the site. 😉

I’m not going to lie. I don’t always make my morning coffee with a stovetop moka pot. I do make it about 3-4 times a week these days though and have gotten quite used to the gurgling sound when the moka pot finishes brewing. Yum!

On the days I don’t make moka I tend to use my super cheap French press but I do on occasion use my regular old drip coffee maker – you know, on those days I’m in a bind for time or just feeling exceptionally lazy.

Back in November of last year a different friend of mine invited me over for a cup of coffee in the morning. He is a coffee snob in the most pleasant of ways possible.

The guy’s great really.

He was telling me about how he roasts his own coffee beans and that he didn’t think the moka pot made the best coffee possible. He didn’t even think a French press made the best coffee.

His weapon of choice was the Aeropress, something I’d heard of at the time but had never actually seen in person or used before.

I was very interested to head over to this friends’ house to see his setup and learn his secrets.

So needless to say my son and I headed over there at the first opportunity we could get and we did a miniature cupping.

First we learned the super simple process of roasting your own beans in a sauté pan then we tried coffee from those freshly roasted beans from a French press, a moka pot, and his Aeropress.

Stovetop Espresso Compared to Aeropress & French Press Coffee

As one would expect the french press made exceptionally great coffee but it is just coffee.

Both the moka pot and the Areopress brew the coffee under low pressure to create a drink that is similar to machine espresso but just not quite there.

I loved the French press version of the stuff. It’s standard coffee meant to be consumed in larger quantities but both the stovetop espresso maker and the Aeropress made very similar espresso like drinks that were hard to tell apart.

From my own sampling I thought the moka pot made coffee that was a bit more potent – more like espresso. I also felt the Aeropress made coffee a bit more like a super thick and robust french press coffee brew.

I actually preferred the Moka Express better at first. What I found after getting to the end of my cup however was that the Aeropress made a far cleaner cup than my moka pot and you could actually drink the last little bit of coffee in the cup.

With the moka pot and the french press there is usually a bit of “mud” in the bottom of the cup preventing you from drinking it all the way gone.

Why you might ask?

Because the Aeropress uses a filter kind of like a Chemex or a drip coffee maker.

The filter ensures no grind or dust makes it into the cup.

Sure it also filters out a lot more of the oils that a press pot or stovetop espresso pot pass on to the cup but it is a cleaner cup.

Unlike drip coffee the Aeropress makes a far more potent and rich coffee. It’s similar to the French press but it lacks many of the aromatic oils that so many coffee snobs love. Plus it’s not quite as potent as a moka pot.

My good old Bialetti moka pot (one of the best stovetop espresso makers made in my opinion) made a cup that was truly the next best thing to true espresso, complete with oils, potency, aromatics, and a hint of crema but with a gritty texture.

What’s the difference between An Aeropress and a moka pot?
They both make great coffee, and both make a product that is close to espresso in richness but the Aeropress makes a cleaner cup at the sacrifice of the oils and texture.

Should you get a stovetop moka pot or an Aeropress?
I say get both, they both are dirt cheap compared to high end coffee makers and espresso machines. I own the moka pot and French press right now. I also own a Chemex pour over coffee maker but the Aeropress is going to be the next thing I buy. It can be had for just a little more than my weekly coffee bill.

That’s not much to pay at all in my book for another cool way of making something similar to espresso without having to buy a big fancy espresso maker.

Can you use Moka in place of espresso in espresso based drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and the like?

I would say yes you can. At this point I’ve been using my stovetop espresso pots (I have multiples now) for half a decade and I also got a Nespresso machine back in 2017. People use Nespresso for espresso shots and I don’t think it’s any better than stovetop moka.

So long as you don’t expect your moka pot latte to taste exactly like it does down at your local café then you wont be disappointed using moka in your espresso drinks at home… my wife swears she can’t even tell the difference once the drink has been mixed up.

One last thing – If you liked this post then see my blog post comparing the moka pot to the French press.

Again, I love them both, but there are major differences.

Stovetop Espresso Vs Chemex Coffee: What’s The Difference And Why Does It Matter

Stovetop Espresso Vs Chemex CoffeeFor the true coffee fan, the brewing process is just as important as the ground beans used or the temperature of the water.

That’s the reason why choosing the correct device, one that adapts to your particular taste and needs is just as important as choosing the beans themselves.

In this article, we will discuss two very under rated coffee brewing devices: the stove-top coffee maker (also known as moka pot) and the Chemex pour over coffee maker.

Typically, they both produce very strong beverages, but they do have their differences and, as everything does, their pros and cons.

Around here I’m a big advocate for owning a Moka Express. They are the best for the price IMO but in the interests of comparison lets try to be fair and compare the two objectively.

The Moka Pot vs The Chemex

The Moka Pot

Firstly, we have the stove-top coffee maker.

The coffee it brews is known as Stovetop Espresso or Moka, but it is important to clarify that it is not espresso at all.

This resulting drink is, like traditional Italian Espresso, very strong and often carries a little sediment, but unlike the European style, has no crema on top.

Like every other coffee brewer available, the strength and amount of flavor present in a stove-top brewed cup greatly depends on bean variety, roast level, grind size and level of heat used, but as a general rule, this type of coffee will be stronger than that obtained by drip brewing.

This pot works by passing nearly boiling water (pressurized by steam) through ground coffee beans.

Because of how this particular brewing process works, the resulting beverage will be very strong, highly caffeinated and will leave some sediment in the cup. Because the pressure used is not as high as that of an espresso machine, crema is most often than not, not there.

Click through here to learn more about how a moka pot works and here to learn more about how a moka pot finishes brewing.

Design wise, the pot has a very iconic look, and while they come in various sizes, most of them are made of aluminum with bakelite handles.

Moka pots are also sometimes made by high end designers to be both functional and attractive. This pot for instance was designed by Richard Sapper. It could easily be left on the counter even when not in use as it is gorgeous.

The moka pot is most popular in Europe and Latin America and the bigger brands are Italy based. Italian manufacturer Bialetti makes the most popular model to date, the Moka Express in a few different sizes.

The main disadvantage of this device is that its complicated and complex design is often found hard to maintain, since hygiene is primordial both health and taste wise.

The rubber seals and the filters must be replaced periodically, and the valve must be checked for blockage every once in a while.

Then There is the Chemex Coffee Dripper

On the other hand, we encounter the Chemex. It is a brand name, since it was created in the early ‘40s by the Chemex Corporation, based in Massachusetts and they have continued to do so ever since.

This device has been praised as being one of the best designed products of our time, but that’s not the only good thing about the Chemex. The coffee it brews is very distinctive and has many advocates among coffee aficionados.

The peculiarity of the Chemex lies, in my opinion, in the filters it uses. They are made of paper, but they have a thickness to them that prevents coffee oils from filtering into the beverage itself, hence separating Chemex-brewed coffee from standard drip-method coffee makers.

Also because of the filters, no sediment is found in this particular type of coffee unlike that of the french press. The flask is made of glass, which not only makes for a pretty object but also prevents the liquid to absorb any metallic flavors, like it can happen with a moka pot if you don’t clean it correctly.

While the stove-top coffee is achieved by applying pressure to the mixture, the Chemex is a drip based system.

The filter and the ground beans are placed in the neck of the flask and water must be heated separately. Afterwards comes what is known as “blooming”, or the process of moistening the beans before pouring the desired amount of water on top of the mix.

All it is left to do is to wait until the dripping ends or the wanted amount of coffee is reached before removing the filter with all its contents.

It is advised to keep another container on hand, simply to be able to place the used filter there and avoid making a mess.

Which Is Better: Stovetop Espresso or Chemex Coffee?

As always is when it comes to coffee, the key is being aware of what you are looking for and knowing your personal tastes. Both devices produce a strong beverage that can stand on its own, but there are subtle characteristics that set them apart that can make a whole difference.

When it comes to maintenance, the Chemex definitely wins. It is only a glass flask, so it is much easier to keep clean and in good shape than the moka pot, with its sophisticated valve system.

On the other hand, the stove-top does everything on its own: heats the water and filters the beans, while on the Chemex water must be heated separately and there is a need to add a disposable filter. Not only that but the filter is Chemex exclusive, meaning regular, store-bought filters will not work the same.

If it comes down to it and the beverage each of them produces must be compared, the main difference resides in the filtering: the moka pot allows sediment and oils to reach the final liquid, while the Chemex does not.

It has been said that coffee oils are what makes a batch of coffee go sour so quickly, since they go rancid within four hours of being brewed, so if you brew your coffee in the morning but still enjoy a cup in the afternoon, maybe the Chemex is what you are looking for.

On the other hand, coffee oils and sediment add taste and a special bite to your morning cup of Joe, so if you appreciate this characteristics and a more complex beverage, you may be after a moka pot.

As I always say, when it comes to brewing the perfect cup of coffee the main secret is to make an informed decision and be aware of what the shortcomings of your chosen device are, as well as the areas where it shines the most.

Both of these contraptions are great and as we were able to observe here, have arguments for and against them. If you would like a piece of advice, here’s one: do not close yourself off. Open your mind and allow yourself to be amazed by how versatile, different and rich coffee can be when given the chance and under the right circumstances.

Also, have you even considered the Aeropress? It’s also a great filtered alternative to the stovetop espresso maker. You can see our comparison of the two devices here.

Stovetop Espresso Vs. French Press Coffee

https://www.stovpreso.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Stovetop-Espresso-Vs.-French-Press-Coffee.jpgI’ve been a huge coffee drinker for decades now but only in recent years have I been a big drinker of fine coffee.

These days I opt for French press coffee or stovetop espresso almost every time. The quality of coffee is just so much higher than traditional drip coffee.

My usual weapons of choice when making coffee are:

Let me just say that if you are only drinking drip coffee at home then you are missing out!

Both French press and stovetop moka are extremely easy to make and they taste so much better… at least as long as you like the feel and taste of unfiltered coffee.

Click here to see some of the best stovetop moka pots for sale today.

For those of you who prefer coffee to have as little sediment in it as possible then I would have to point you towards the Aeropress. Like the Moka Pot, its another viable alternative to true espresso but it is filtered giving you a cleaner cup.

What is Unfiltered Coffee Anyway?

If you are unfamiliar with either French press or moka then you should know the basics. Both French press coffee and espresso from the moka pot brew your coffee in a way that you get full extraction of flavor from the grind.

Both brewing methods are also different forms of unfiltered coffee – coffee that isn’t filtered through paper.

Both of these these methods brew coffee in such a way as to allow the coffee oils to make it all the way to your cup.

With drip coffee (or any other form of filtered coffee) the oils get separated from the coffee due to the paper filter. This limits the flavor profile significantly.

One additional perk – one of these pots can basically brew your coffee forever. There are no moving parts, no filters to keep buying, and no electronics to fail. Buy one and never think about it again until the estate sale. 🙂

Is French Press Coffee as Strong as Moka Espresso?

So obviously unfiltered coffee from stovetop espresso pots and French press coffee makers are better than drip coffee makers but the differences between the two are stark.

A French press makes coffee much like one might steep tea. The resulting coffee is unfiltered and has substantial body but it is still served in sizes just like drip coffee because it’s not nearly as strong or potent as espresso is.

On the other hand stovetop espresso brews coffee kind of like a reverse drip coffee maker within an environment of increased pressure similar to a low pressure espresso machine.

The result of this process is a cup that is much smaller and much more potent. It is much closer to true espresso than it is to coffee and it’s just as versatile as espresso.

Unlike French press coffee you would be able to use it to make espresso based drinks or just drink it all by itself. Of course drinking it all by itself means you are drinking shots of 2-4 ounces at a time.

If you have a good tolerance for caffeine and you like having a larger portion size then you would have to own a large moka pot to make a substantial amount at once. For instance a 6-cup moka pot will only make about 9-ounces of liquid! It’s potent liquid though so be forewarned.

Can Stovetop Espresso Pots Make Regular Coffee?

One of the biggest complaints some people have of the moka pot is that it makes an espresso-like drink and not regular coffee. Some people just don’t like complex espresso drinks for one reason or another. Some are just not able to stomach the strength of drinking moka black.

I contend however that although moka pot coffee can be drunk black (as is) or it can be watered down to make an Americano, which is basically just like having a regular cup of coffee.

If you didn’t realize it an Americano, which is on the menu of every coffee shop I’ve ever been to, is just a shot of espresso topped off with hot water!

Only a true coffee snob can tell the difference between French press coffee and an Americano.

Of course moka can also be mixed much like any other kind of espresso to make specialty drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and virtually everything else found at a specialty coffee bar, which is why I think it’s one of the best values you can find in the coffee maker space.

In contrast French press coffee is what it is. You don’t really do anything with it unless you take your coffee with a bit of milk. Although you can make strong pressed coffee you are always going to be limited on the size of the press pot. Unless you have a tiny single serve french press you pretty much have to make a few cups at once meaning you go through more grind.

Is Stovetop Espresso Easy to Make?

As I’ve noted already the quality of coffee from a French press is about as good as it could possibly be for coffee drinkers and many experts consider French press coffee to be the best brewing method of them all but for those who care about versatility the stovetop espresso is by far the best option… and it’s so easy to brew too!

I would argue that it’s even easier than a French press!

For starters I have a lengthy guide to brewing coffee in a moka pot. Read that for detailed instructions – but to summarize those instructions I’ll say this.

You use medium-to medium grind coffee which you can usually buy at the store if you don’t want to grind it yourself.

You put water and coffee in the moka pot and set it on the burner – a few minutes later it’s all done. This is unlike a french press where you have to do multiple steps a few minutes apart.

After your coffee is ready in a moka pot you simply rinse the moka pot off under the sink and throw away the coffee puck that forms in the brew basket.

French presses on the other hand are more messy. It’s harder to discard all the grind and the filter screen needs to be carefully washed to avoid clogging.

Convinced Yet?

Here at Stovpreso we are all about the moka pot – it’s our thing so we are certainly biased but I think we’re fair.

Stovetop espresso makers are cheap – they make great alternative espresso to drink alone or in mixed espresso drinks. You can top off with water for a rich cup of unfiltered coffee and they are a breeze to care for.

An Americano is very similar to french press coffee and the potent moka these pots produce can be used to make just about any kind of coffee drink imaginable. My preference is to own a good moka pot and use it frequently… but then again I also own a nice press pot too. Can’t have enough gadgetry I guess.

This is my favorite moka pot right now – it’s got it’s own heating element so it doesn’t need to go on a stove but it does need electricity. I like it though because it give me exactly the same results every single time and it’s got safety features like auto-off so I never accidentally burn my coffee or gasket. Check it out here!