If you are looking for stovetop espresso makers (also known as Moka Pot), then either you are curious about different ways to make good coffee or you are quite advanced regarding how you like your coffee.
We appreciate that!
And will help you to identify which is the best stovetop espresso maker for you.
But maybe it is because you like an old school way of making coffee?
Because moka pot was invented in 1933 by an Italian engineer and aluminum technologist Alfonso Bialetti. But only in 1946 it started to be industrially produced and commercialized by his son Renato.
Bialetti family used trademark denomination of “Moka Express” for their invention, and this is where word espresso most likely has derived when naming moka pot to stovetop espresso maker.
Although coffee made with moka pot has unique build and taste characteristics it is not a true espresso. Three obvious differences would be:
- brewing pressure – in true espresso maker it is typically around 9 bar while in moka pot it depends on thermodynamics and would go up to only ~2 bar;
- brewing time – espresso brewing typically takes up to 30 seconds while moka pot coffee will be ready in around 4-5 minutes;
- brewing outcome – espresso has signature foamy layer while stovetop espresso maker would make coffee of creamy texture without the foamy layer
But first, let’s go over basic concept and what to look for when buying stovetop coffee maker.
How does stovetop espresso maker work?
Moka pot has 3 sections:
- bottom section for water;
- the middle section contains basket for coffee grounds and filter;
- top section with lid for collecting brewed coffee;
Note that the middle part fulfills a few roles. You might often hear it been called in names like funnel, filter, basket. And that could feel complex.
But it’s not.
All it does, it holds ground in place, provides a perfect place for coffee and water to meet, and prevent grounds to get into your brewed coffee.
So when you put your moka pot on the stove and boil the water in the bottom section it generates steam and pressure (that is held inside with pressure valve on the bottom part. Once the pressure in the bottom section has built up enough, it then forces hot water through the tube into the midsection and through coffee grounds up into to top section as an already brewed coffee.
Maybe you are looking for an alternative? How about some of the Best Coffee Percolator?
How to brew coffee with stovetop espresso maker?
- Grind freshly roasted coffee beans right before brewing (grind size should be more on a coarse side (like for drip coffee maker);
- Fill the basket with coffee, but don’t tamp it, just level it;
- Secret step! Fill the bottom chamber with water up until right below the valve. And for best result use already hot water (this will reduce brewing time as well as improve coffee taste because brewing will happen quicker);
- Connect all 3 parts together (NOTE! don’t get burned as the bottom part now already is hot from the hot water we added);
- Place on a heat source, be it the stove, burner or open flame;
- Follow the brewing process, so you don’t miss the time it needs to be interrupted. Remove moka pot from heat once you start to hear bubbling or rattling sound (sometimes referred to as a strombolian phase, because of its typical volcano-like behavior). This sound is made by steam escaping through coffee grounds and into the top chamber, and we don’t need it as it will steam and burn our coffee and our brew will get some unpleasant bitter taste;
- Secret step! Stop the brewing process by placing wet/cold towel around moka pot or putting it under running water (you only need to cool down the bottom chamber slightly) that way you will end the strombolian phase quicker;
- Pour it in your best coffee cup and you are ready to enjoy some amazing coffee!
NOTE: Cleaning your stovetop espresso maker is even more important than some secret steps from the list above.
Moka pot contains few more detachable parts that are not as obvious as the main three: top and bottom chambers, basket/filter. At the bottom of the top chamber, you will see an O ring seal that needs to be removed and this will help to release the upper filter. Now you have complete access to clean out all the grinds and oils trapped in various places of your moka pot.
This is the last step in our guide, but if you are not sure that your moka pot is super clean, then it is a good idea to check those secret spots before starting fresh brew.
How to buy stovetop espresso maker?
Finding the right espresso maker for stovetop is actually quite simple, you just need to decide on the following:
What size I need:
Sizes of stovetop espresso makers vary from as little as 1cup or around 2 oz (60ml) to as big as 12cup around 23oz (700ml).
It all depends on how much coffee you need to prepare in one brewing. And it is advised to have just the right size moka pot instead of using the largest one with half the water, as it will improve the probability of over-extraction which could spoil coffee taste at the end.
The most popular size is 6cup, and with it, you would get around 160-170ml of high-quality brew (extracting over that amount will decrease quality significantly).
If this sounds too little for you then consider that it will be a really strong one. And you can always mix with hot water or milk to reduce strength.
Mixing 1:1 with 1 part brewed coffee and one part hot water would make somewhat medium-strong coffee, for even less strength you can add 2 parts of water but that should be maximum you should add.
Why would I add extra water to already brewed coffee?
Well, I mentioned, that the brew will be really strong (no, not espresso strength, but still) and the reason it being strong is that for the above-mentioned size you need to use around 20 to 22 grams of coffee grounds.
With a regular pour-over method you would be using around 360ml of water for this amount of grounds (~1:18 coffee to water ratio). That’s more than 2 times of what we get with Moka Pot.
Original Bialetti was made out of aluminum (and still is) but nowadays many other options are made from stainless steel.
Aluminum as a metal provides better heat conduction and is lighter, so it will aid in reduced brewing time, but this might be a rarely noticeable difference.
One drawback of aluminum moka pot is that you can’t use it on an induction stove.
But if you have an induction stovetop, then you already know that no aluminum appliances work on it.
11 Best Stovetop Espresso Makers
The Bialetti 6-cup Stovetop espresso maker looks stunning in its red color. It’s also available in 10 more different colors to suit your personality.
It’s made of high-quality polished aluminum material that makes it light and sturdy. You can expect this stovetop espresso maker to last.
And if you might think that its 8-sided shape is simply for aesthetics, you’re wrong. The design is purposely to diffuse heat efficiently, which enhances aroma.
This Bialetti model makes 6 cups of flavorful, smooth espresso in approximately 5 minutes. Just don’t turn the heat too high to avoid the burnt coffee taste.
The classic Italian-inspired design matched with black color makes the Vremi stovetop espresso maker an elegant coffee partner. It makes six demitasse cups that will surely entice your palate.
The decagon shaped coffee maker is designed as such to diffuse heat efficiently to boost the coffee aroma. This stovetop espresso maker also works on induction and electric stovetop cookers.
The ergonomic rubberized handle ensures that your hand is safe from burning. It also allows for secure handling while pouring hot coffee.
The LuxHaus stovetop espresso maker is made of pure stainless steel for lifelong use. It won’t rust or flake compared to other Moka pots made from inferior materials.
It makes full-bodied, aromatic coffee, which will make you skip coffeehouses. Making your coffee at home saves you a lot of money from cafes.
The heat-resistant handle gives more room for your fingers to prevent burning. It also gives you a better grip for a safer pouring of the hot coffee.
This stovetop coffee pot is not just great for gas stoves, but it works well on induction and electric stovetops. What a versatile coffee pot, isn’t it?
This Godmorn stovetop espresso maker is an Italian-inspired design. It doesn’t feature the common octagon-shaped of most Italian Moka pots, but it does make aromatic and flavorful cups of Joe.
This Godmorn coffee maker yields nine standard espresso cups. Therefore, it serves more in a single brew.
It has a polished stainless steel body, which makes it easy to clean and maintain. And since it’s stainless, it doesn’t rust or flake off.
This gas stovetop espresso maker also works on other types of heat sources. It works on induction, electric, alcohol, ceramic, and even open flame used in camps.
However, using this espresso maker on open flame turns the bottom black, making it unsightly. The good thing is, it doesn’t affect the quality of the brew.
The GROSCHE Milano stovetop espresso maker has a decagon shape design for better aroma enhancement. It’s anodized aluminum makes it more attractive and corrosion-free, making it more durable.
It yields nine standard espresso cups, making it a better choice if you intend to serve a group of espresso lovers. The soft-touch grip has a burn guard to protect your fingers.
The silicone gasket seals the connection between the lower and upper chambers to prevent leaks and maintain pressure. The consistent pressure ensures that the espresso maker will produce top-quality coffee taste.
The GROSHCE Milano is also available in different colors and designs to perfectly match your preference. An excellent consideration is that it works on most stovetops types such as gas, electric, and camping stove.
The Venus stovetop espresso maker is another unique product from Bialetti. It has a different design, unlike the famous octagon-shaped stovetop pots.
The Venus model still has the classic Italian touch but is more on the elegant aesthetics. Compared to the Venus Goddess, this espresso maker encompasses true beauty.
This Bialetti coffee maker is relatively small in capacity, making it great for people who live solo or service for just a few espresso lovers. It’s compact, and lightweight making it ideal for traveling, so you won’t miss a day without a delicious coffee.
The bonVIVO Inteca is an Italian-style stovetop espresso maker that is innovated and designed in Germany. The Intenca truly is distinguished by its sophisticated sense of style.
The U-style spout design guarantees mess-free and easy pouring. The heat-resistant handle ensures that your hand won’t get burned.
The best thing about this bonVIVO Inteca is that you can use it on almost any stove type. This feature makes it an ideal consideration if you love to travel as you don’t have to worry about what stove is available for your coffee brewing rituals.
The Debut stainless steel stovetop coffee maker has the Italian style, but it’s from Taiwan. The Taiwan company ensures the quality of this coffee maker using 304 stainless steel.
The coffee maker yields six espresso cups, perfect for a small group of espresso lovers. It also makes quick full-bodied coffee in just 3 to 5 minutes.
The stainless steel handle will not melt even when you put the coffee maker on high heat. Just be careful when touching it as metal conducts heat and may burn your hand.
The Bialetti Kitty is not a kitty when it comes to its brewing capacity. It yields ten espresso cups, ideal for a large group of espresso fans.
It is made of stainless steel materials for durability and elegant aesthetics as well. The heat-resistant bakelite handle provides enough clearance to keep your fingers from touching the pot’s hot surface.
The Kitty is adaptable as it can use gas, electric, and ceramic stovetops. Best of all, it makes a rich, aromatic espresso.
The Primula stovetop espresso maker is made of aluminum material. Therefore, it is light but durable.
It makes six espresso cups in just about 3 to 5 minutes. That’s quick, so you won’t be waiting too long to drink an excellent espresso.
The heat-resistant plastic handle keeps your hands and fingers from burning. However, you need to be careful when heating the pot on high fire as the plastic may melt.
The polygon design helps enhance the aroma of the espresso. The pot is not dishwasher-safe, so handwashing is necessary.
The IMUSA aluminum stovetop espresso maker is our bet for the best budget coffee pot. It’s made of durable and lightweight aluminum.
For safety, it has a cool-touch hard plastic handle that prevents your hand from burns. The same material is used for the lid knob.
This stovetop espresso maker is relatively small, so it only yields three espresso cups. It’s just ideal for a single person or with someone to share.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are stovetop espresso makers good?
Yes! While it’s not really an espresso, they make flavorful coffee, that’s part of you being in a more control over brewing process, and when done right the result is worth it.
Who makes the best stovetop espresso maker?
Various brands make excellent stovetop espresso maker. Bialetti is one of the iconic brands, but being the best depends on the user’s needs and requirements.
Which Bialetti is best?
All of them! Right! But still, the best Bialetti would depend on the user’s requirements and preferences.
Do stovetop espresso makers make crema?
Yes, although the crema produced is not as velvety as compared to high-end espresso machines.
Deciding on size is fairly straightforward you need one cup of really strong coffee or two medium ones? Go with 6cup size.
Anything other? Then adjust by coffee lovers and desired strength you need to satisfy.
Suggested setup at home would be one 6cup Moka Pot for when you are looking for one strong cup and a 12cup version for speeding up coffee serving when having guests.