The Moka Pot and the Percolator are two classic coffee maker types that are still popular today after standing the test of time. And the best part is that both of these are fairly easy to use and quite affordable to get hold of for your home. You’ll often find them together when searching for this type of coffee maker online, since they do both use steam to make coffee, but that’s as far as it goes – they are actually quite different when it comes to how they brew coffee. If you’re trying to decide on which is going to be the best option for you, keep reading to find out more about what these two coffee makers do, the kind of coffee that you can get with them, and which might be the ideal option for you.
All About Coffee Moka Pots
The Moka Pot is a simple coffee maker that was invented by Alfonso Bialetti in 1993. The pot is still produced by Bialetti Industries today, known as the Moka Express. Many other companies have begun to produce Moka Pots since, but this one is still considered to be the best one available, along with other options from Bialetti like the Bialetti Break vs Moka Express. Coffee made in a Moka Pot is traditionally known as ‘stove top espresso’ – the best espresso that you can make from the comfort of your own home without having to spend a huge amount of money on a modern home espresso machine. When it comes to the moka pot vs espresso machine, a Moka pot is a great, simple, and cheap way to get espresso-like coffee at home.
While you can get an electric Moka pot today, a traditional Moka Pot comes with a lower metallic pot that is filled with water. Coffee grounds are then placed into the filter that sits right over the water. You then screw on the upper half and place the pot on the stove. It may take a couple of minutes before the water begins to boil, which forces steam through the coffee grounds. Then, the brew rises through a small tube and drips into the upper chamber. When the coffee is ready to drink and there is no more water left, the pot will begin to make a whistling sound.
All About Coffee Percolators
The percolator is one of the oldest options for making coffee, with the first modern percolator that used the principle of hot water rising through a tube to form a continuous brewing cycle first invented by Parisian tinsmith Joseph-Henry-Marie Laurens, all the way back in 1819. It soon replaced the traditional method of using a pot to boil coffee; however, its popularity was reduced in the 1970s with the invention of the drip coffee machine.
How Percolators Work
Compared to a Moka Pot, a percolator is a little more complicated to use since you will need to fix the coffee basket and the filter top onto the vertical tube. However, the basic idea of the two is the same. You will need to put your desired amount of water into the lower chamber, put the lid on, and place it on the stove. When the water begins to boil, the steam will rise through the tube, dripping over the coffee basket to filter over the grounds. The main difference, however, is that the brew goes back into the lower chamber. You can let it boil for as long as you want, allowing it to go through the grounds multiple times before you get the coffee just how you like it.
How Does Each Type of Coffee Taste?
A good Moka pot is designed to give you coffee that is espresso-like. It is rich and concentrated and can be enjoyed as a shot, or you can add milk to it. However, you can tell that it’s not a real espresso as although it’s just as strong as an espresso with plenty of caffeine in Moka pot coffee, there will not be any crema on the top unlike a traditional espresso.
If you love cappuccinos, the best part is that Moka pot coffee is great for preparing these. You will need a frother to make the steamed milk, but these are easy and often inexpensive to buy separately. You can also simply add more hot water to the coffee from your Moka pot to make an Americano. It’s a good idea to water the coffee down with either water or steamed milk if you don’t take your coffee very strong.
On the other hand, percolator coffee can be extremely strong, and many aren’t a huge fan of the taste. One of the main problems here is the repeated brewing of the coffee which can result in over-extraction, leading many coffee nerds to reject that this is good coffee since repeatedly brewing does cause bitterness. Percolator brewing will also almost always use a temperature that’s too high at 212 degrees, compared to the ideal temperature of between 195-205 degrees. If you want to use a Percolator, it’s important to avoid leaving it on for a long time. You don’t have to keep it on an endless brewing cycle, even if the feature is available.
How Much Coffee You Get with Each Option
You can get Moka pots in a variety of different sizes, up to twelve cups. However, bear in mind that this is referring to espresso cups or shots, which is considerably smaller than a regular cup of coffee. If you enjoy a big mug of coffee, then the Moka pot isn’t going to create enough for that unless you add hot water or steamed milk to it afterwards.
Percolators also come with various sizes available from two to twelve cups, which is ideal for the family home or at the office. And, you can easily add more water to the machine once you have poured the first cup, to add more. Since the machine continually brews the coffee, it will extract more flavor from the grounds. However, bear in mind that this probably won’t be the best-tasting coffee.
Reliability: Moka Pot vs Percolator
Both of these coffee makers are the ideal option for traveling as they can be easily packed away in your luggage and used to make coffee wherever you go, as long as you have access to a stovetop. Moka Pots are very durable since they are made with either polished aluminum or stainless steel. Most percolators are also stainless steel, with some glass models available.
If you want to get the best coffee machine for outdoor use such as camping, a percolator might be the best option for you since using a Moka pot over a campfire requires some care. Since the handle is small, it can be harder to work with and the handle is only heat-resistant to an extent, which leaves the risk of it melting if you are holding it over an open first.
Maintenance and Cleaning
If you want to get a low-maintenance coffee maker that is easy to clean, both the Moka pot and percolators are good options. Cleaning out a Moka pot is an easy process; all you need to do is take the machine apart, throw out any grounds in the filter, and rinse it out. Percolators are also very low maintenance, although it’s worth bearing in mind that some models will require you to take the metal coffee basket off the vertical tube, which will require more careful handling.
Whichever you decide to go for, you will need to give the coffee maker a deeper clean from time to time, to get rid of any stains. Unlike espresso machines that will require you to purchase special descaling tables for this, it’s easy to clean a Moka pot or percolator with simple household ingredients such as white vinegar. Mix up one part vinegar with one part water and pour the mixture into the machine before putting it on the stove and letting it brew.
Choosing the Right One
Whether you go for a Moka pot or a coffee percolator will depend on your personal preferences when it comes to how you like to make and take your coffee. If you have the choice between getting a Moka pot and a percolator, it’s worth choosing a Moka pot for an espresso-like coffee that doesn’t run the risk of over-extraction like the percolator would. If you go for a Moka pot, then opt for a decent model like the Bialetti, or a good copy. On the other hand, there are only a few times where a percolator might be recommended. They are a better choice than a Moka pot if you want a coffee maker that you can rely on to make a decent enough cup of coffee to enjoy when you are outdoors, and can come in handy if you’re camping in the wilderness and miles away from the nearest café or coffee shops.
Moka pots and percolators do work in a similar way but the coffee they produce is very different. They are both decent options to consider for making your own coffee at home, but a Moka Pot tends to get better results.