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I love coffee, but I don’t make my own frequently enough to warrant an expensive espresso machine. I also buy barista-made drinks from coffee shops pretty regularly, which isn’t cheap, either.
However, making my daily coffee in the Bialetti Moka Pot has not only helped me save money but also introduced me to a delicious new morning ritual. With a little trial and error, I’ve learned how to make my own espresso-style coffee in a gadget that costs a fraction of the price of an espresso machine.
You probably recognize the design of the Moka Pot, but if you’ve never experienced it for yourself, I recommend giving it a try. If you want to save some money on your coffee, or if you’re looking to experiment with how you prepare it, here’s everything you need to know about the Italian gadget that brought coffee from the café into the everyday home.
What is the Bialetti Moka Pot?
The Bialetti Moka Pot is a stovetop percolator-style coffee maker usually made out of aluminum or stainless steel. Rather than plugging into the wall, it makes espresso-like coffee on your stovetop and uses steam pressure to force water through a strainer. The coffee it produces isn’t quite espresso (you’d need an actual espresso machine for that), but it’s definitely stronger and more concentrated than drip or French press coffee, and it produces smaller serving sizes than the average coffee maker. Because Moka Pot coffee is quite strong, it is often compared to espresso, especially for those looking for that strong jolt in the morning.
The Moka Pot gained worldwide popularity after World War II, and the design has become so iconic it’s even displayed in museums.
How the Bialetti Moka Pot works
With its steam pressure coffee extraction system, water in the Moka Pot’s lower chamber heats and rises through loosely-packed fine coffee grounds to produce flavorful, smooth coffee. Since the coffee grounds don’t have to pass through any filters, the flavor stays richer and stronger. Brewing only takes about four to five minutes. For an at-home coffee shop experience, use a milk frother on some warmed milk, then pour it over a cup of your brewed coffee.
What you need to know before purchasing the Bialetti Moka Pot
I find using a Moka Pot to be very satisfying, but learning to use one takes a little trial and error. I had to read a few user guides online to figure out how finely ground my coffee should be (finer than drip coffee, coarser than espresso), how long it should brew and more. I also tried a few other tricks, like brewing the coffee with hot water instead of cold to avoid a metallic taste. If you enjoy the hands-on process of making your morning coffee, a stovetop method like the Moka Pot will give you an enjoyable start to your day and a satisfying cup of coffee.
Depending on how much effort you want to put into your coffee, some of the things I consider perks, like the multistep brewing experience, might be viewed as drawbacks to others. Two potentially significant drawbacks are that the Moka Pot can’t be used on an induction cooktop, and it must be hand-washed. Altogether, though, the Moka Pot has several distinct advantages over espresso machines, chiefly the low price point and the quality of the coffee. It’s also faster to clean, small enough for easy storage and much more low-maintenance than the average espresso machine or large coffee pot.
Where can you buy the Bialetti Moka Pot?
The original Moka Pot is made in Italy and offers a 3-cup capacity. It’s constructed from aluminum with multiple finishes available and features an ergonomic handle. (Other sizes are also available.)
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Featuring an elegant, slimmer, design, this 6-cup coffee maker is made from stainless steel and can be used on induction cooktops.
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Other products worth considering
Featuring a classic design almost identical to the Bialetti, this lightweight moka pot offers a 3-cup capacity and comes in a variety of colors. Like the original, it shouldn’t go through the dishwasher.
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This modern 6-cup stovetop espresso maker boasts safety features like a larger rubber handle and a silicone gasket. GROSCHE also donates safe drinking water with every purchase.
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Laura Duerr writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.