Moka Pot Vs Espresso Machine: Which Makes The Better Espresso?

The Moka pot is a pressure-based coffee maker, similar to an Espresso machine. Both these Italian coffee-making techniques have their ups and downs. But in the end, who makes authentic Espresso between moka pot vs …

Moka Pot Vs Espresso Machine Which Makes The Better Espresso Cover Image

The Moka pot is a pressure-based coffee maker, similar to an Espresso machine. Both these Italian coffee-making techniques have their ups and downs. But in the end, who makes authentic Espresso between moka pot vs espresso machine?

Today, we’ll discuss and compare these two coffee makers to determine the most convenient option for all coffee lovers.

Build Of A Moka Pot

Moka Pot Image

Moka pot is a traditional Italian coffee brewing method that uses pressure to make the boiled water travel through coffee grounds to brew coffee. The coffee brewer pushes the water using steam pressure.

The aesthetics of this coffee brewer is an excellent addition to your kitchen, but there aren’t many recipes that you can follow through using this simple brewer.

Build Of An Espresso Machine

Espresso Machine Image

Espresso machine produces the traditional Italian coffee, Espresso. Like a Moka pot, an Espresso machine creates high pressure to make hot water go through the ground coffee bed. A standard Espresso coffee maker can produce 8-10 bars of pressure.

Espresso machines can work with any kind of coffee beans and roast level. There are two types of Espresso machines.

  • Ones that use coffee capsules
  • Ones that use coffee grounds

Differences Between Moka Pots And Espresso Machines

From the description of both these machines, you may think that they’re really similar.

The Devil's In The Details Image

Difference #1: Coffee Bean Recommendations

It’s not just the coffee beans that make the difference in the final result. You have to consider other things such as:

  • Grind size
  • Extraction process
  • Extraction time
  • The mechanism used for the brewing process

Moka pot can work with several different bean and roast types. You can control the brew results by having control of the grind size and quality of the bean, but you don’t have much control over the brewing method itself.

It’s best to light roasts or medium roast beans when brewing with a Moka pot. You can also work with pre-ground coffee, but the ground has to be high-quality, or the coffee gets bland.

On the other hand, Espresso can work with freshly roasted beans, and the brewer (you) has a great deal of control over the brewing method. You need to make sure that the Espresso grinds are fine enough to make the extraction process more effective.

Difference #2: Flavor Profile

Now, there’s no denying that these coffee makers can produce fine coffee. But it’s also a fact that you can mess up a Moka pot coffee pretty quickly.

Let’s compare both the coffees with regular drip coffee to get a better idea.

When you manage to brew a decent cup of coffee using a Moka pot, the resulting cup is 2-3 times more concentrated than regular drip coffee. As a result, coffee from Moka pot has a bold flavor with a heavy body.

The coffee can have a bitter taste because of the deep and dark flavor profile, but with enough experience, you can create a sweeter coffee.

Espresso coffee can easily go sour or bitter if you’re not careful, like Moka pot. But Espresso coffee is far more intense than Moka pot coffee, considering it’s 5-10 times more concentrated than drip coffee.

The reason behind the highly concentrated coffee is the pressure. Espresso machines use five times more pressure than a regular Moka pot, and the resulting coffee has a detailed flavor profile while being intense on the senses.

Due to this high-pressure level, coffee experts often use Espresso machines to bring out one or two specific flavors they expect from the coffee grounds.

Difference #3: Versatility

Espresso wins easily here. When you have a highly concentrated brew, mixing in more ingredients to create a unique drink doesn’t take away the caffeine edge from the cup.

Since Espresso is a highly concentrated drink, you can experiment with different additives to create other drinks.

However, there isn’t much wiggle room in terms of a Moka pot in terms of drink diversity. Moka pot coffee is already a dimmer version of Espresso coffee, and mixing in too many additives can make the coffee feel non-existent in your cup.

Difference #4: Durability

This round goes to Moka pot because of the simple design and the ease of replacement.

Moka pots don’t have any delicate parts that you need to be extra careful about, and the components already in there don’t break easily. But even when you do have a broken Moka pot in your hand, the replacement won’t break your bank.

Compared to that, Espresso machines are highly complicated. Meaning, you have more parts in your hands that can break easily and cost you hundreds of dollars.

What’s worse is that you’ll need a specialist to fix your Espresso machine. As for a Moka pot, you can get it done yourself with a bit of YouTube and steady hands. If that’s too much, you can always get a new Moka pot for as low as $20-$30.

A well-maintained Espresso machine can last you a few years, but a well-maintained Moka pot can last decades.

Difference #5: Ease Of Use

Another point where we have to hand the win to Moka pot, just because of how easy it is to use without any prior knowledge. While for Espresso machines, it’ll almost feel like you’re studying for your finals to get all the answers right.

Brewing Machine Image

The difficulty comes from the highly concentrated nature of the coffee. One little mistake and Boom! Bitter coffee with shitty taste.

Now, I’m not saying Moka pots are really easy too. But when you compare it to the hassles of Espresso, I can guarantee you’ll learn to use a Moka pot before an Espresso machine.

Getting your daily brews using an Espresso brewer can be a challenge. But, on the contrary, you can get the hang of a consistent process using a Moka pot just after a couple of weeks.

But personal preferences weigh in here too. If you’re someone who likes to immerse in the details, it’s perfectly understandable if you still choose an Espresso machine.

Already have a french press machine at home?

Check Out piece on how to make espresso in a french press.

Difference #6: Crema

The reddish-brown foam that sits on top of your coffee cup, giving it the “Guinness Effect,” is called crema. The term “Guinness Effect” is used to describe the foam you see when the bartender pours you a glass of beer straight from the tap.

Crema builds up on top of the coffee cup from the CO2 present in the coffee. When high-pressure water hits the coffee grounds, a lot of pent-up CO2 gets released at the same time from the coffee oils, and they gather on top of your coffee like foam.

From reading why crema builds up, you can easily tell which one to choose if you want the delicate crema. That’s right, the answer is an Espresso machine.

Since Espresso coffee machines create higher pressure than a Moka pot, you’re sure to get a cup of coffee with crema on top.

Difference #7: Brew Time

The only delay in Espresso is the warm-up. But that doesn’t mean you need to stare at the coffee maker while it warms itself up. Once the warm-up process is done, you can get your coffee in 10-30 seconds. The speed of the brewing really puts the “espress” in Espresso.

With a Moka pot, you don’t have the luxury of getting ready for work when the machine’s heating up. Instead, you’re stuck going through multiple steps manually because you really need that coffee.

I Am Not Leaving Image

You can, but your boss won’t be very happy about that.

Difference #8: Capacity

Depending on the size of the pot, you can brew 3-4 cups (Espresso sized) of coffee. Moka pot brewing can be time-consuming, but you’re sure to get enough coffee to supply a small house party.

Espresso makers are suitable for brewing two shots of Espresso at best. But since Espresso makers have a short brewing time, you can brew multiple espresso shots in intervals.

If you already own an aeropress machine, check our piece on how to make espresso in aeropress.

Difference #9: Cleanup

Moka pot wins, hands down. All you have to do is let the pot cool down after your brewing is complete, and then wipe the pot inside out to get rid of all the residues.

The espresso machine is where it gets tricky. You can clean the outer parts of the brewer and get rid of the compressed puck of coffee when you’re done, but there are a lot of sensitive parts where coffee grounds can sneak in if you’re not careful. You’ll need to know how the coffee brewer works if you want to take it apart and clean it thoroughly.

Difference #10: Pricing

This is another easy win for Moka pots since this classic coffee maker is far cheaper than an entry-level Espresso coffee maker.

You can get your hands on a decent Moka pot for around #30-$40. You may not get to brew fantastic coffee like an Espresso maker, but it’s still a good choice.

When you consider Espresso machines, you have to dive deep into the types of modern Espresso machines. The two main types of Espresso machines that are available are

  • Automatic Espresso Maker
  • Manual Espresso Maker/ Stovetop Espresso Maker

After choosing a type of machine, you still have to consider the difference between brands and output. Once you’re past all that, even a cheaper Espresso machine can set you back for anywhere ranging from $400-$1000.

Buying Coffee Maker Image

Had fun reading our piece on moka pot vs espresso machine?

Why not check our matcha vs coffee article.

Bottom Line

Despite their differences and similarities, the Espresso maker is your go-to if you want a superior Espresso cup at the end of the day. But you also have to worry about your budget. right?

So, in the battle of moka pot vs espresso machine, Moka pot is your best choice. If you own either of these two awesome brewing machines, we wish you all the best on your coffee journey.



What Is a Moka Pot?

Moka pot is a traditional Italian coffee brewing method that pressures boiling water to go through coffee grounds in the upper chamber and create an intense brew.

What’s the Best Coffee Bean for a Moka Pot?

You can brew with any type of coffee bean you choose; however, we suggest that you pick any coffee of Italian origin to complement the brewing technique and get a cup of strong coffee.

Which One Is Going to Be Lighter on Your Wallet?

The obvious answer here is Moka pot. A brand new Moka pot is cheaper than a part replacement for an Espresso maker. On the other hand, an expensive Espresso machine can cost you around $700-$1000.

Which Coffee Brewing Method Makes the Better Coffee?

In moka pot vs espresso machine, both can brew decent cups of coffee, and there’s no argument there. However, if you focus on brewing a particular type of coffee, an Espresso maker will get you a proper Espresso.

Which Coffee Maker Wins in This Showdown?

In terms of brewing quality, there’s no certainty which coffee maker will win. Because in this case, both the coffee makers can produce excellent cups of coffee if they’re in the hands of a seasoned coffee professional or a coffee shop owner.