When you want a cup of espresso or milk coffee in cold weather, but don't want to wait in line at a cafe outside, it would be perfect to make a steaming cup of espresso at home.
Of course, we can make espresso at home. Two of the options are the Moka pot and the espresso machine. Today we will examine the main differences between these two methods, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each, to help you decide which one to use at home to make your favorite espresso drink.
Moka Pot Basics
The Moka Pot is also known as the " Stovetop Espresso Machine".
The Moka pot is divided into three parts: the upper pot, the powder sink, and the lower pot. The lower pot is the sink for water, the powder slot is used to hold the finer ground coffee powder, and the upper pot is to hold the extracted coffee liquid. The principle of coffee extraction in a Moka pot is very simple, which is to use the steam pressure generated in the lower pot, when the steam pressure is large enough to penetrate the coffee powder, it will push the hot water to the upper pot and brew a strong coffee.
Benefits of Moka Pot
- The Moka Pot is easy to make, it has no complicated buttons, and even if you are a coffee beginner, you can easily handle it.
- The Moka pot can make several cups of espresso at a time, commonly available in 5oz /10 oz capacity, which is especially suitable for enjoying with family and friends.
- The construction of the Moka pot is very simple, you only need to pay attention to the cleaning tools and clean it in time, even tap water can be cleaned.
- Of course, the small-size Moka pot not only looks cute, but also is particularly convenient to carry, and does not take up storage space!
Drawbacks of Moka pot
- The Moka pot's safety valve pressure is 3 bar, and the pressure in use is about 2 to 3 bar, which is not comparable to the 9 bar of a coffee machine, so the coffee extracted from the Moka pot is relatively low in concentration, mellow, and not as rich in oils as a coffee machine.
- The advantages will turn into disadvantages in some cases. As the extraction is done through stovetop heating, although it's convenient, it can lead to uncontrollable heating that will alter the flavor of the espresso.
- Common Moka pots are made of aluminum, which can have a metallic taste, and newly purchased Moka pots need to be brewed three times to clean the residual metal. Some are made of stainless steel, and this type of Moka pot greatly reduces the risk of residual metallic taste.
Espresso Machine Basics
Espresso machines are divided into automatic and semi-automatic coffee machines. They usually have a boiler to generate hot water, which is heated to about 9 bar. a mixture of high-pressure steam and water is quickly passed through the coffee layers to extract the coffee instantly. Coffee machines are more complicated and more expensive to operate.
Benefits of Espresso Machine
There is an obvious advantage to espresso machines at home: the quality of the espresso.
An espresso machine extracts a stronger, richer cup of espresso with more grease through higher pressure. Although the capacity is less than a Moka pot, the quality of the espresso is something that a Moka pot cannot achieve.
Besides, most high-quality espresso machines are capable of adjusting various variables on their own, such as time, temperature, and pressure. By fine-tuning these variables, we can create a unique cup of espresso based on the characteristics of different coffee beans. This is the point that a Moka pot cannot accomplish.
Drawbacks of Espresso Machine
The disadvantages of an espresso machine are also very obvious.
- The cost of the machine is much more expensive than Moka pots, even if you buy an economy model, the price is still more expensive than a Moka pot.
- Fully automatic coffee machines are very smart and can extract at the touch of a button, they are also very expensive. Semi-automatic coffee machines require us to spend more time learning how to operate them and getting familiar with the variations between different variables. It requires more thought and time to master.
- If you want to make more than one shot of espresso, it takes more time to make it. A single extraction, which can only extract ONE SHOT, takes 25 seconds, and when you need to make several cups of espresso, you need to make sure that the extraction pressure and temperature remain relatively constant for each operation, which is a not-so-simple task.
- Cleaning. The longer the espresso machine is cleaned compared to the Moka pot is much more complicated, the more parts that need to be replaced, and when necessary, professional technicians need to assist in cleaning.
Espresso Machines vs Moka Pots: Summary
The above shared a lot of pros and cons about Moka pots and coffee makers, hope it can help you. Here we come to a summary.
If you like mechanical sense, are more hands-on, and are not very price-sensitive, the espresso machine is a good choice. Of course, I believe that if you are looking for the perfect espresso, you will give priority to the espresso machine.
For those who like espresso, who don't require perfection, who are economical, and who can make a single batch for multiple people to enjoy, a Moka pot is a great choice. Although the grease is not as rich as that of an espresso machine, it does not affect its espresso taste.
Another important consideration is the maintenance aspect. Moka pots are simple to maintain, easy to replace parts, and very economical. On the other hand, the maintenance of an espresso machine is usually expensive, you may need a professional repairman to come to your home and of course, the parts are much more expensive than those of a Moka pot.
The good things are worth being paid for.
Which one should you choose between the espresso machine and the Moka pot, I believe you already have the answer in your mind.