Moka Pot or Budget Espresso Machine? Find out which is Better


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Struggling to decide whether you should purchase a Moka pot or a new, shiny espresso machine? Well, the aforementioned coffee brewers are usually put head-to-head when people want to purchase either of them.

However, these two coffee brewers are completely different from each other. While they might both make highly concentrated levels of coffee, the Moka pot and an espresso machine have almost nothing in common.

In this guide, you’ll learn more about the difference and some of the minimal similarities of these two coffee brewers. Read on to make a well-informed decision when choosing between the two.

Focus moka pot vs espresso machine

What is Moka Pot?

The Moka Pot is a stove-top electric coffee maker or brewer, which makes coffee by passing pressurized boiling water through ground coffee.

The pot is mostly known for its hour-glass shape but it also comes in different styles. But all the different styles of the pot feature the same operation principles.

You can find the following in a Moka Pot:

  • Boiler
  • Filter
  • Collector

Because this coffee brewing pot incorporates a pressure regulator, it’s considered to function similarly as a pressure cooker.

How Does a Moka Pot Work?

Focus moka pot vs espresso machine

This stove-top electric coffee maker works more effectively due to its 3-chambered brewing process. The machine is first placed over an open heating element, and the Moka Pot fresh water is then placed in the bottom compartment.

Above the water, the ground coffee is then inserted into the filter funnel, which is between the serving vessel and the water. And while the water boils, the powerful steam initiates immense pressure rise that pushes the water up.

This water is pushed through the coffee grounds above the bottom chamber, into the filter, and finally up to the top-most chamber. As a result, you get smooth and very aromatic ground brewed coffee.

Espresso Machine Overview

Unlike the Moka Pot, an espresso machine uses a different type of principle to brew ground coffee. However, these two types of brewers have a similarity because both of them are effective in brewing or creating smooth, aromatic, and sweet coffee.

Moreover, espresso machines are usually complex to use and expensive. However, the premium kinds can offer top-class espresso that you’ll love with every sip. Instead of steam, espresso machines use pumps to push the highly pressurized water through tamped coffee grounds.

You may also need to tamp the coffee grounds and time the shot yourself. However, this will mostly depend on the kind of espresso machine that you are currently using.

Can You Make a True Espresso in a Moka Pot?

Focus moka pot vs espresso machine

A typical moka pot doesn’t actually brew true espresso.  While a moka pot can brew as strong and close to espresso, you still need some more intense pressure to compete with an actual machine. A budget espresso machine makes coffee using 8-10 bars of pressure, while the moka pot brews coffee using only 1-2 bars. 

However, aside from an espresso machine, a moka pot is still considered as one of the most common ways to brew coffee with a little pressure.

So, if you want to make an espresso using the Moka Pot, the first thing that you should do is to put the pot over a medium of heat. And if the Moka Pot that you are using is electric, then you only need to turn it on.

When the water starts to boil, the steam created rises through the coffee grounds at a higher rate. This process then collects completely in the upper chamber.

Afterward, the contents condense and turn into strong and rich brewed drinking coffee. And the entire process of making a true espresso in a Moka Pot can take you about 10 minutes only.

Moka Pot vs. Espresso Machine

Focus moka pot vs espresso machine

So, which of these two coffee brewers carries the belt in terms of functionality and other features? Well, let’s find out together.

Which Offers Better Coffee Flavor?

Moka Pot coffee is usually 2-3 times more concentrated than your regular drip coffee. The coffee is heavy, bold, and very intense but the brewing process can easily lead to brewing a bitter coffee.

Therefore, you need to be careful when using the Moka Pot to avoid getting results that you don’t want.

This coffee can still be balanced, sweet, and well-rounded but Moka Pot coffee has a darker and deeper coffee flavor.

On the other hand, the coffee from an espresso machine is usually 5-8 times more concentrated than the regular drip coffee. As a result, you get very flavorful, full-bodied, and intense coffee shots.

So, the espresso machine takes this round because it can produce sweet, bright, balanced, and flavorful complex coffee shots.

Which is Easier to Use?

For this round, the Moka Pot takes the win and you’ll learn why.

The coffee in an espresso machine is highly concentrated, which means that a tiny mistake in the brewing process can have a significant impact on the flavor of the coffee shot.

But it’s also worth saying that using a Moka Pot to make coffee isn’t a walk in the park either. However, using this brewing device is far easier compared to handling an espresso machine, especially if you don’t have much experience on either of these coffee makers.

Which is More Durable?

By simply staring at these two coffee brewers, you can easily tell the one that won’t be able to last you for years.

You see, Moka Pots aren’t really made up of a lot of features, parts, or electric wires. Hence, they tend to be more durable if you carefully take care of them and not put them under harsh conditions.

On the other hand, espresso machines feature way more parts and electric wires. This means that an espresso machine is more prone to damage than a Moka Pot.

The Price

This is another significant deciding factor when it comes to deciding which of these two coffee makers you should buy. There’s no doubt that the Moka Pot is more affordable than an effectively working espresso machine.

You can actually purchase a good Moka Pot that won’t exceed the $100 mark. But you’ll have to dig into your pockets for a good espresso machine, which would be worth the investment also. If you want to have a quality brewing machine at home, here’s a list of best espresso machines to look at.

Is Moka Coffee as Strong as Espresso?

Focus moka pot vs espresso machine

Depending on the machine used, Moka coffee can be as strong as espresso without having to use an espresso machine.

While it’s considered that a Moka coffee espresso isn’t purely espresso, they still produce the same pressure brewed coffee. The thing that makes a moka pot, espresso machine or even Aeropress the same is that they extract the coffee flavor using pressure, which results in a fast extraction time and a more intense brew.

How Much Caffeine is in Moka Coffee Compared to Espresso?

The amount of caffeine in Moka coffee is a bit higher than that of an espresso. This is because a shot of Moka coffee contains about 105mg of caffeine, while a shot of espresso usually has about 93mg of caffeine.

You may want to check our recent article on how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee for more caffeinated information.

The Verdict: Moka Pot or Budget Espresso machine?

Clearly, the final choice between these two amazing coffee makers remains your decision. However, the guide on these two machines above should significantly help you make a well-informed decision.

This will be based on your preferences, which include the budget, ease of use, and coffee flavor, among other factors.

Like this Article? You Might to Read: French Press vs AeroPress: A Brief Comparison