Moka pot vs. Espresso Compared

Both a Moka pot and espresso machine are capable of creating a gorgeous cup of joe when appropriately used.

Both types of coffee makers work using the same principle. Nearly-boiling water creates pressure as it’s pushed through a chamber of packed coffee grounds.

With Moka pot coffee and espresso, the result is a vibrant and intensely concentrated drinks packed with flavor and aroma.

So, how do these brewing methods compare, then?

Differences Between Moka Pots and Espresso

Well, the key difference lies in the amount of pressure that pushes the water through the coffee. With genuine espresso, this should be at least 9 bar of pressure.

Where authentic espresso is made using an espresso machine, a Moka pot is either a stovetop or an electric coffee maker. Italian designed with a timeless aesthetic, this traditional brewing method is still perfectly valid today.

Moka pots are sometimes called stovetop espresso makers, but they’re not technically espresso makers. They don’t create enough pressure to qualify for this.

While both types of coffee makers brew a concentrated cup of coffee, espresso is the most intense.

Moka pots are ideal if you don’t have much room in your kitchen. They are also entirely sustainable, with no single-use filter papers or pods required.

As with all of our short guides to different brewing methods, today is nothing but a summary of these methods. We’ll be diving down into all of these areas in much more depth over the coming weeks.

Photo by Eric BARBEAU

Making Moka Pot Coffee                        

Using a Moka pot might seem initially confusing, but it’s straightforward once you have practiced a little.

Here’s how to make great Moka pot coffee the easy way.

  • Fill the bottom chamber with water up to the valve.
  • Fill up the middle basket – the chamber with little holes – with excellent ground coffee.
  • Place the basket into the water chamber then screw the top on. You need to fasten the top piece tightly as water tends to bubble out as it boils.
  • Place the pot on the stove and turn on the heat to medium. When you hear a bubbling sound, that’s the coffee pouring into the top chamber.
  • Don’t let the water get too hot or you’ll burn the coffee. Try preheating the water before you place it in the water chamber, so you don’t cook the coffee, giving it a burnt taste.
  • When the chamber is full, turn off the heat.
  • Use a cloth when you pour the coffee as the handle will be extremely hot.
  • Keep a rag handy as you pour since coffee tends to spill over.

Electric Moka pot takes the mess out of the process. You don’t need to preheat the water either with one of these machines. Just fill it up with water, add coffee to the basket, and switch it on.


Let us know how you get on.

Now it’s time for a few words on espresso.

A Bit About Espresso…

There’s no substitute for an espresso machine if you want your coffee the way the Italians drink it.

As with a Moka pot, near-boiling water will be forced through coffee beans under pressure.

An espresso machine is much more complicated than a Moka pot. They feature a motor and a heating element. Many models also incorporate electronics to regulate water temperature and brew time.

You can dial in more finely with espresso machines. This means you change variables like water temperature or grind size to get the perfect coffee cup for you.

If you have room in your kitchen and a budget for a decent espresso machine, you can make barista-grade coffee at home. You’ll also enjoy authentic espresso with that trademark crema. We’ll be devoting a separate piece to the importance of this thin layer of foam on espresso.

Espresso makers come in many different types. Some have pods pre-filled with coffee. More commonly, espresso makers have a portafilter with a handle which you pack the coffee in.

A semi-automatic espresso machine allows you more control, a fully-automatic espresso machine gives you greater ease of use, and a super-automatic espresso machine typically features an integrated burr grinder.

Making an espresso varies from machine to machine. We’ll be devoting much more space to the espresso art, so come back next week if you’re hungry for more.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, both Moka pot coffee and espresso are creamy, packed with flavor, and aroma. Opting for genuine espresso will give you even greater control as well as that unbeatable crema. What’s not to love?

Come back soon, and be sure to bookmark BrewingJava before you go!