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I’ve never been shy about my love of the Moka pot (in my house, though, it was always a percolator).
The Moka pot is, for me, the most classic coffee maker there is. I mean that because it’s simple, easy to use and incredibly hard-wearing, because some version of a stovetop espresso maker that looks quite similar has been a coffee-making staple for centuries, and because in my personal coffee story percolators have played an ever present supporting role.
A Frenchman invented the earliest, primitive Moka pot in 1819. In 1933, Alfonso Bialetti updated the design to pretty much what we see from the still-thriving Bialetti today (the company that is, not Alfonso himself). The Bialetti Moka Express quickly became iconic, and a huge part of Italian life. It can also be found on stovetops throughout the rest of Europe, as well as Latin America. And it deserves the success if you ask me.
One of the stovetops this aluminum percolator found its way to was my parents’ in London. The bubble of the espresso, the smell of it, watching my mum take it to pieces to wash it and trying to work out how it worked (and I did! It really is simple enough for a child to understand) all of these are important memories for me. They mean home. No wonder I’m so obsessed with coffee!
Since the 80s, there have been many new entries into the Moka pot game. In my mind, Bialetti are still king, but if you have other needs or simply don’t like the look of Bialetti’s offerings, you’re bound to find something else in my roundup of the best Moka pots.
Now, on to the The Best Moka pots of 2020!
1. Bialetti Moka Express
Okay, you guys know I get heart eyes looking at this thing so obviously I’m going to be positive.
The Moka Express is pretty much the way Alfonso Bialetti designed it in 1933. He probably didn’t draw Renato on the first one, but he must have had a hand in the mascot’s design as it’s a caricature of his own son! You won’t hand a funny picture of the boss’s son in for a design project without his approval, would you?
This Moka pot is available in sizes from 1 to 12 cups, and all options are very reasonably priced. I have a 3-cup and a 9-cup at home, so I can cater for guests or just for myself. You can’t make a small amount of coffee in a large Moka pot very successfully, so be realistic about the number of pals you have round regularly! Notice, I did not go for the 12 cups.
Apart from the need to replace the seal occasionally and in my case a couple of lost filters I also needed to replace, the Moka Express lasts for years. It’s got an aluminum body, which some may object to, but I’ve always found it works pretty much as well as any stainless steel model I’ve tried.
For best results, and to keep your pot working for as long as possible, use espresso ground coffee and make sure the burner you place to pot on isn’t wider than its base. Keep the flame at a medium level to avoid burning your coffee.
These pots aren’t for use on induction hobs, though Bialetti does make pots specifically for that purpose.
If you’re a lover of classic style, then get yourself a Moka Express!
2. Bialetti Kitty
This offering from Bialetti is perhaps its second most stylish. With elongated, smooth midcentury modern looks this Moka pot is a real kitchen centerpiece.
The main pulses of the Kitty over the Moka Express are that it is dishwasher safe and suitable for all types of hob. A company of engineers, Bialetti likes to fix the problems that are presented to them!
Available in 2 to 10-cup models, the stainless steel body is complemented by an ergonomic bakelite handle. The handle is heat resistant, so you won’t get scalded trying to make your first cup of coffee while you’re still half awake. In fact, it’s designed so you can use the same hand to flip the lid as you hold the pot with the handle.
The Kitty makes strong coffee, even for a Moka pot, so be sure that’s what you’re after before you purchase this pot.
The only issue with its construction is a slightly wobbly lid that doesn’t keep the coffee warm a long time once it’s brewed. Drink it quick or decant!
If you love the style and build quality of Bialetti but need something a little more modern, go for the Bialetti Kitty.
3. Coletti Bozeman Coffee Pot
The Bozeman is named after a city in Montanna which is, according to their copy, rugged. This great value Moka pot, and it is indeed pretty ruggedly built.
Designed for camping, this small stainless steel pot is designed for camping so works over an open flame and is light and easy to pack. It’s pretty basic looking, with a chunky body and a wooden handle and so isn’t as much of a design piece for the kitchen as other Moka pots. It’s not unattractive, though.
Both the 9 and 12 cup models have a heat-tempered glass top and are dishwasher friendly.
Coletti is a veteran-owned company, so if that’s something that’s important to you then be sure to support them. Plus, the pot brews beautiful, rich coffee!
A filter isn’t needed to use the Bozeman, but filters are included because fine coffee drains sometimes fall from the permanent filter into the coffee. This is fine for camping, but you might not want it happening in the kitchen.
If you need a no fuss, great value stovetop percolator then the Coletti Bozeman might just be the one for you.
4. Cuisinox Roma
Available in 4, 6, and 10 cup models the Roma is a classic Italian-style Moka pot.
The reducer is an interesting addition to this pot. You can essentially insert a provided smaller filter and make half the coffee the pot usually holds. With the reducer, it makes sense to get a larger size if you will sometimes use it at full capacity.
With more than one use in a row the handle can get hot, which is a bit of a danger. Not too bad a problem, except that the Roma is very much at the higher end of things price wise for a Moka pot!
That being said, it’s a heavy well-built pot that brews truly great espresso quickly. Plus, it comes with a warranty as standard.
If money is no object and a couple of extra features really swing things for you, then get a Cuisinox Roma.
5. DeLonghi EMK6
The Delonghi EMK6 isn’t exactly your traditional percolator. It’s an electric moka pot with a transparent container.
The pot can be set to keep warm for up to 30 minutes after a 3 to 4 minute coffee making process. Plus, you can choose the number of cups you want to make from 3 to 6 cups. Coffee is very unlikely to burn in the DeLonghi, which is a real plus because scalding can happen if you take your eyes off a traditional stovetop pot.
DeLonghi has been making coffee machines for over 50 years, so they should be allowed to rework classics! The clear plastic top chamber is a great innovation and wouldn’t be possible on a stove top maker. It’s not only useful for knowing where your coffee is at, but it’s also fun to watch it as it’s spat out!
This pot isn’t for the strict traditionalist but could be really useful in a studio apartment or at work.
If you like a fancy toy, want to try something new or lack stovetop space then the De'Longi EMK6 could be a coffee life saver.
6. bonVIVO Intenca
Okay, this is a great looking Moka pot. The copper model almost steals my heart from my one and only Moka Express (don’t tell Renato). It’s also available in silver or black, but trust me and go for the copper.
The Inteca is dishwasher friendly, but it’s best to wash it by hand to preserve the finish and functionality.
The Moka pot works on all kinds of stovetop, so no matter how your kitchen changes your Inteca will still be a main feature of it. It’s also designed for single handed pouring, though the handle can get warm.
This is a fantastic pot overall, and it looks good. It may not be as hard wearing as other moka pots, though, with style coming over substance just slightly. Still, it’s a great price and there has been real attention to details in the design.
If you want a beautiful and unique looking moka pot, try the bonVIVO Intenca.
7. Bialetti Venus
As with all Bialetti offerings, the Venus is a great value and well made moka pot. Even Alfonso looks unusually lowkey and 21st century etched into its side!
This is one of their most straight up modern looking pots, and with everything but the seal made up of high grade stainless steel it should also be super long lasting. It’s suitable for all heat sources including induction, but isn’t dishwasher safe. It is really easy to clean though — just a rinse right after use is enough — so that shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.
Venus’s handle is black nylon and very heat resistant, eliminating the issue some pots have with hot handles and burnt hands.
As with all stovetop percolators, you need to keep an eye on Venus. Leave it too long and you’ll end up with burnt coffee.
This is the perfect pot for the Bialetti purist with an eye for modern design.
But, how does a Moka pot work?
Okay, good question. I told you a child could understand it, but did not prove that with a simple explanation.
A Moka pot is made up of a boiler, a metal filter and an upper chamber with a second filter/metal pipe at its base.
To use a Moka pot, you fill the boiler with cold water almost to the safety release valve (there may be a fill level sign, or else you just need to leave a little room). Fill the filter with fine ground coffee and place it into the top of the boiler. Then, screw on the upper chamber as tightly as you can. The seal between the top and bottom sections is important, as it has to withstand a fair amount of heat and pressure.
Now, when you place to pot on the stovetop the cold water begins to heat up and is pushed into the filter and therefore into the coffee. Pressure builds, and eventually pushes what is now hot coffee up the tube and into the top chamber.
These days, there is often a weighted valve in the tube so that pressure can build up for longer before the valve is pushed away. This results in a more syrupy espresso and visible crema.
As soon as you hear a gurgling from your Moka pot, get it off the heat. The very hot steam that forms from the last water in the boiler can singe your coffee.
It may take a couple of tries to perfect your timing, but I promise a Moka pot is easy to use! Just remember that it all happens somewhat quicker than you would expect, so don’t wander off!
I love and will always love the Bialetti Moka Express. I grew up with these percolators, and I still use them. I love how they look, and how well they work. That being said, the design is pretty specific and may not be suitable to everyone’s taste.
If you want something different, there’s plenty on this list.
For pure value, go for the Bozeman (especially if you want to support veterans).
If you want a different kind of stylish, how about the beautiful BonVIVO Intenca (in copper, if you ask me). Or, if you just have to go high end, then there’s the Cuisinox Roma.
Whichever of these Moka pots you choose, I’m pretty sure you’ll be pleased with it. I should know, I have at least two at any given time!
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