The Best Stovetop Espresso Makers and Moka Pots

For sheer simplicity as well as an impeccable end result, stovetop moka pots are the next best thing to an espresso machine.

Most of the products we review today are broadly similar so it’s often a question of design dictating your decision. That said, we’ve thrown in a couple of surprises for you!

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We’ve also thrown in a handy buying guide for you and some basic guidance on using these espresso makers without making a mess of your kitchen.

If you’re impatient for the main event, here’s a snapshot of our overall pick for best moka pot espresso maker…

Our #1 Pick: Bialetti Moka Express

An affordable aluminum moka pot from an industry legend, the Moka Express is the jewel in the crown of Bialetti’s wide range. You’ll get a very full-bodied espresso with a real kick with all the convenience a stovetop model offers.


I. Top 10 Best Stovetop Espresso Maker Reviews

1. Our Pick: Bialetti Moka Express

Bialetti-Moka-Express

When you’re looking for the kick of an espresso but you don’t want to invest in a machine, the classic moka pot is the best solution and the original Moka Express from Bialetti is a classic with just cause.

The drawback with a moka pot is that you’ll need a little patience but for true coffee fans, this is hardly a punishment. If you enjoy the push-button immediacy of a machine, that’s exactly what you should buy instead. If, though, you like to experiment with and control the brewing process, this Bialetti is a superb bet.

It’s generally sound practice to use a slightly coarser grind than the fine espresso you might be accustomed to. We’ll look at this in more detail below. Once you’ve got that in place, using the Bialetti is as simple as adding your coffee and hot water then waiting 5 minutes as it bubble away on the stovetop. Gourmet coffee doesn’t get much better or easier!

Things We Like

  • The sleek aesthetic makes this Bialetti an asset to any kitchen worktop
  • The espresso might lack the crema but comes in surprisingly strong and with a marvelous aroma and body
  • The ultimate in user-friendly convenience with piping hot espresso delivered in 5 minutes flat

Things We Dislike

  • As with all moka pots, we’d advise you stay in the kitchen during brewing as if you allow it to overspill, you’ll end up with the coffee maker bubbling over and causing a tremendous mess!

See Also: Top 20+ Best Espresso Machines


2. Also Great: Coletti Bozeman Stainless Steel 9-Cup Percolator

Coletti-Bozeman-Stainless-Steel-9-Cup-Percolator

Moka pots range in size from small one-cup models ideal if you’re single to this hulking 9-cup percolator perfect for true coffee fiends or anyone with a larger family.

You’ll get a full-bodied and potent brew much stronger than you’d get from a drip coffee maker and it’s perfect for you cord-cutters out there since all you need to do is pop it on the stovetop without any trailing cables.

With some filters thrown in, you can choose whether or not you want to add an extra layer of defense against those fine espresso grinds tumbling into your cup. You’re not compelled to use these filters but it’s a nice touch to have the option.

Things We Like

  • Great 9-cup capacity capable of fueling the whole family with their caffeine fix
  • Optional filters are included and perfect for catching those finer grinds necessary for espresso
  • Dishwasher-friendly stainless steel build quality is impeccable

Things We Dislike

  • Hinged lid if not removable which is a minor inconvenience

See Also: Top 10 Best Espresso Machine Under $200


3. Best Electric Moka Espresso Maker: DeLonghi Alicia Electric Espresso Maker

DeLonghi-Alicia-Electric-Espresso

If you fancy all the advantages of a moka pot with the added poke of electric and a few welcome extra features, DeLonghi step up to the plate as usual.

You’ll get all the cordless convenience of a regular stovetop alternative but with a transparent container so you can keep your eyes on the brew and there’s none of the danger of coffee overflowing if you leave this espresso maker unattended. The coffee maker will switch itself off then remain perfectly warmed and ready to pour.

Serving is simplified as the espresso maker slips neatly off the base. You can deliver 3 or 6 cups to suit and you’ll get the deep and rich flavor sensation you’d expect from a more traditional moka pot.

Things We Like

  • See-through so you can keep your eye on the brewing process unlike with most opaque moka pots
  • Flick between 3 or 6 cups of espresso for increased flexibility
  • Auto shut-off and warming features are a welcome touch in a moka pot

Things We Dislike

  • Some reported issues with built quality over the long haul but we have not tested over a long enough period to confirm this

See Also: Top 10+ Best Nespresso Machines


4. Upgrade Pick: Cuisinox 6-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator

Cuisinox-6-Cup-Stainless-Steel-Percolator

If you’ve got a more generous budget and you’re looking for a percolator to dominate the kitchen and deliver top-tier espresso, check out the Cuisinox and you won’t be disappointed.

This model makes 6 cups of espresso so should be perfect for most families. There’s a smaller 4-cup and more substantial 10-cup model available if this mid-size model doesn’t fit your needs.

The induction base optimizes heat distribution and, at just 3 to 4 minutes, this is one of the most rapid delivery systems if you’re looking for the immediacy of espresso without the hassle of running a machine.

Things We Like

  • Available in 4, 6 or 10-cup variants so something for all requirements
  • Made from rugged, high-grade stainless steel so built to stay the distance
  • Gasket and reducer thrown in which is a nice touch

Things We Dislike

  • Certainly not the cheapest moka pot but arguably the best in a glutted market

See Also: Top 10 Best Cappuccino and Latte Machines


5. Presto 6-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator

Presto-6-Cup-Stainless-Steel-Percolator

Percolators are a nice take on the regular style of moka pot offering an arguably more user-friendly experience without the same risk of that neglected pot spilling over and soiling the counter along with your stovetop.

You can shift neatly between 2 to 6 cups depending on how many you’re catering for.

When your coffee is ready to roll, you’ll see the indicator light illuminate and the spout is ideally designed to minimize any spillage. Cool to the touch yet insulated to keep a larger brew warm until you’re ready for the next cup, this is a versatile and great looking percolator for the rich and strong espresso you love.

Things We Like

  • Your coffee will stay perfectly warm but the handle and base are cool to the touch
  • Adjust with ease to make anywhere from 2 to 6 cups
  • Handy indicator so you can see at a glance when your coffee is ready

Things We Dislike

  • Some aluminum parts which is less than ideal

See Also: Top 10+ Best Automatic Espresso Machines


6. bonVIVO Stovetop Espresso Maker

bonVIVO-Stovetop-Espresso-Maker

Whether you prefer your stovetop coffee maker in classic chrome or a two-tone effect with copper, the bonVIVO looks fantastic but it’s certainly not a case of form over function.

Appearing more like an electric percolator, this stovetop model can make up to 6 cups of your favorite espresso so it’s man enough for the whole family.

Maintenance is blissfully minimal, but it’s highly recommended you clean the coffee maker after each use. For a top-tier espresso every time with design uppermost, this tweaked version of the traditional moka pot is well worth popping on your shortlist.

Things We Like

  • Commanding two-tone design makes a real conversation piece
  • Serve up to 6 coffees with a more user-friendly method than a French press
  • Safety valve to eliminate build-up of pressure and drip-free pouring for your complete convenience

Things We Dislike

  • A few issues with quality control so check your package carefully upon receipt

See Also: Top 10 Best Coffee Beans For Espresso


7. Bialetti 6-Cup Stovetop Espresso Maker

Bialetti-6-Cup-Stovetop-Espresso-Maker

Another Bialetti up next since they exercise such a stranglehold on this stovetop espresso maker space.

The classic chrome and black look and slimline footprint means you can store your espresso maker in a smaller drawer while still enjoying a 6-cup capacity.

Capable of delivering espresso in roughly 5 minutes, you’ll get an end result approximating a machine without the upfront cost or the running costs to consider. For an affordable method of making espresso-like coffee in a user-friendly package, do yourself a favor and check out this neat Bialetti.

Things We Like

  • Black handle contrasts with the expanse of chrome beautifully and it’s cool to the touch streamlining serving
  • A generous 6-cup coffee maker giving everyone at home the espresso they need in the mornings
  • Works well with all cookers including induction stoves

Things We Dislike

  • Reasonably expensive but we would argue still great overall value

See Also: Best Coffee and Espresso Maker Combo


8. Bialetti Kitty Espresso Maker

Bialetti-Kitty-Espresso-Maker

We’ll continue with our remaining Bialetti models in the form of the Kitty. We generally choose only one product per manufacturer but it’s impossible to review the best moka pots without giving due weight to Bialetti’s impressive range so what makes the Kitty so good?

Finished in stainless steel and easy to clean by popping it in the dishwasher, you can use this espresso maker on just about any type of cooker. If you’re using an induction model, limit it to medium heat.

Aside from a few niggles about an unspecified coating on the bottom segment, this is an enduringly popular model from a brand you can rely on. Get your day started the right way with the Kitty!

Things We Like

  • Stainless steel for the optimum taste and aroma from your beans
  • Use on gas or electric stoves and it will even serve a turn on ceramic cookers
  • Dishwasher-friendly unlike most of the competition

Things We Dislike

  • Bottom section has a strange coating

See Also: Top 5 Best Italian Espresso Machines


9. Bialetti Venus Stovetop Espresso Maker

Bialetti-Venus-Stovetop-Espresso-Maker

Edging to the close, we’ve got yet another moka pot from the mighty Bialetti stable with the Venus.

Predominantly stainless steel, you’ll get a rugged moka pot built to stay the distance while delivering top-tier espresso throughout its lifetime.

We tested the 6-cup model but you can choose from a broad spread of sizes if you want more or less coffee from a single brew.

Aside from several complaints about a non-stainless coating developing problems over time, there’s nothing much else to knock about this sterling alternative to an espresso machine.

Things We Like

  • Wide choice of sizes from 2 cups through to 10 cups so you’re spoiled for choice
  • Small and compact unit with a generous capacity
  • Finished in stainless steel so looks great and doesn’t stiff you on the performance front

Things We Dislike

  • Not stainless throughout so you might experience some rust over time which is a disappointment

10. Bialetti Mini Stovetop Percolator

Bialetti-Mini-Stovetop-Percolator

If you’re the type who digs a good old conventional espresso coffeemaker, the Bialetti percolator is tailor-made. This product is a superb example of a classic with a twist.

Not only is this stovetop percolator highly affordable, it delivers the best tasting espresso brew you could hope for outside of a dedicated machine.

Its two-cups Italian design says it all and offers wonderful convenience while the unique fountain-like style will make a huge statement on your kitchen counter. You’ll be able to make his-and-hers coffee for you and your partner in one morning brew.

Just follow the instructions carefully to avoid any spurting or spillage.

Things We Like

  • It creates a super-strong and rich tasting coffee from your choicest grinds
  • Italian designed in silver and black to add an elegant look to your kitchen
  • Super-simple to use, just place the Bialetti percolator on the stovetop and you’ll have espresso for two in just 5 minutes

Things We Dislike

  • Sometimes gets too much coffee on one side or the other which is a slight niggle but you can just even it out in the cups

OK…

Now we’ve wrapped our reviews, you should have a sound overview of the best moka pots on the market.

We’ll give you a bit more guidance now on choosing the best one for your needs.


II. Guide To Choose The Best Stovetop Espresso Maker

best-stovetop-espresso-maker

The broad definition of a moka pot is a stovetop coffee maker that brews your freshly ground coffee by sending water pressurized by steam through those grounds.

Although they are simple enough products, you should think about these 6 key pointers to help you get the best moka pot for your needs without undue trouble:

  • Electric or Manual?
  • Capacity
  • Materials
  • Versatility
  • Safety Features
  • Design

Electric or Manual?

The vast majority of moka pots are stovetop, manual models.

A stovetop model is ostensibly simple but deceptively awkward to use until you get used to operating it. There’s a real risk of the coffee overspilling if you pop out of the kitchen for a minute and forget the coffee is bubbling away. You’ll also need to pay close attention to the grind size and temperature to get a perfect golden cup of coffee.

Electric moka pots, on the other hand, take the sting out of this since they plug in and the temperature is regulated just like with an electric kettle. This only leaves you with the grind size to deal with and simplifies the brewing process. On the flipside, you’ll get less control while you can expect to pay substantially more.

Once you’ve got the type dialed in, think about capacity…

Capacity

Moka pots come in a broad spread of sizes from dinky single-cup models right through to larger percolators capable of delivering fully 10 cups of espresso.

With a moka pot, it doesn’t pay to make a larger batch and let it stand. You should buy in line with how many cups you’re likely to want in a single sitting rather than imagining bigger is always better.

Also, take note that the quoted capacities are not for large mugs but 2oz shots.

Materials

You’ve got 2 main choices when it comes to materials:

  • Aluminum: The early versions of moka pots were always aluminum. While cheaper, oils and residue builds up over time since this is a porous metal with tiny holes along the surfaces. Eventually, there will be some taint to the taste of your coffee and aluminum espresso makers can also rust over time
  • Stainless Steel: Non-porous stainless steel doesn’t allow coffee oil to accumulate and it’s super-simple to clean while completely rust-resistant. The final kicker is that stainless steel moka pots are even more durable.

Unless price is your sole motivation, you’re much better advised to shoot for an aluminum espresso maker.

Versatility

Think about what kind of stove you use since not all moka pots are compatible with all varieties of cooker. Some, for example, don’t work well with induction cookers so check closely for compatibility. Look for versatile models offering you across-the-board suitability in case you change your oven at any stage.

Safety Features

One of the most common injuries from a basic moka pot is being burned from handles that are not cool enough to the touch.

You should make sure that pouring is designed to be as stress-free and dripless as possible.

Auto shut-off on an electric model is a nice extra but doesn’t come into play with the manual models.

All the models we reviewed perform strongly in terms of safety.

Design

Given the similarities between most moka pots and the fact they are very simple by nature, design might naturally play a larger part in your buying decision than with many products.

While most of these espresso makers come in a similar chromed-out finish, you can also get plenty with a splash of color or contrast.

Design is obviously subjective and only you know how much weight you place on this element of your buying decision.


III. How You Can Make the Perfect Stovetop Espresso

As you can see, choosing a great stovetop espresso maker really is pretty straightforward but how about using it?

  • Firstly, prepare your moka pot. The water goes in the lower part. The coffee grounds go into the filter. Finished coffee comes out into the upper chamber
  • Using a slightly coarser setting than regular espresso, grind up your fresh beans of choice. If this seems counterintuitive, remember that the fine grind normally reserved for espresso doesn’t work well with moka pots
  • Rinse out the pot with some hot water. Clear all grinds out from the threading or you’ll have problems putting your moka pot together
  • Top up the water reservoir to the line. Some espresso makers don’t have a visible marking inside. In this case, fill it to roughly 1/2cm from the top just under the safety valve
  • Pop the basket into the reservoir. Add your coffee grounds and leave them fairly loose. There’s no need to tap the coffee down. This will allow for the necessary expansion. Fill up the basket roughly three-quarters of the way
  • Screw the jug back onto the base
  • Place the moka pot on the stovetop using a low heat. Getting too ambitious with the temperature will cause the coffee to boil and make it taste bitter, the opposite of the desired effect
  • As a rule of thumb, most moka pots take 5 minutes or so to make the perfect espresso but the precise timing might vary from model to model so experiment until you’ve got the time dialed in then you’ll know exactly where you stand
  • Ignore advice to remove the coffee from the heat at the first sound of a gurgling noise. This is likely to leave you with half-measures
  • Serve and enjoy in your favorite shot glass!

Note: The safety valve can become clogged over tie with mineral residue, particularly if you live somewhere with hard water. Since it’s not possible to buy replacement components for moka pots, a water filter is your best weapon against this sediment blocking up the works.

The other point to note is that you should always use the best grind you can find if you’re buying pre-ground. You can try a regular espresso but some dedicated moka pot blends are arguably superior. Best of all, of course, is to grind your own fresh beans. Aim for slightly coarser than regular espresso and be prepared to experiment so you end up with the consistency that works best for you.


IV. Conclusion

We very much hope you’ve now got a clear idea of which of these espresso makers would make best sense for you and the family.

As with any element of making the best coffee, you should aim for a personalized solution rather than expecting a right or wrong answer to the best model you can buy. If you take into account the simple factors in our buying guide, you should be well on your way to one of the easiest buying decisions you’ll have.

If you’re opting to make espresso without a machine, you should also certainly take the time to put our handy hints into practice so you can get the next best thing to coffee shop espresso without the stiff bill.

While we’ve graded the espresso makers we tested across several categories, we stand behind all of these models which we culled from perhaps 30 we put through their paces.

We’re just finishing up testing some cold brew coffee makers so come back next week when we’ll have the results of that for you if you prefer iced coffee the connoisseur’s way!

The Best Stovetop Espresso Makers and Moka Pots
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