Moka pots are also known as stovetop espresso makers because they allow you to brew up a full-bodied, rich cup of joe on your stove.
They’re a staple in many households since they have so many benefits. However, like any brewer, they also have some disadvantages.
Moka pots are simple, small, durable pots that brew robust and rich coffee, making them very versatile. However, these smaller brewers can be challenging to clean, maintain, and monitor, and there’s a learning curve to getting your coffee perfect in these pots.
So, let’s get into the details and discuss why Moka pots are a crucial piece of coffee brewing equipment for any coffee lover.
I’ll go into all of the pros and cons so that you can understand what to expect from a Moka pot, and I’ll give you some pro tips for using one along the way.
The pros and cons of a Moka pot
Before getting into detail about all the pros and cons of a Moka pot, have a quick look below to get an idea about the pros and cons:
- Robust and rich coffee
- Easy to use
- Small brewers
- Can have a bitter taste
- Are prone to messy leaks
- Requires heat and preboiled water
- Have to monitor the brewer
- Difficult to clean
- Small brewers
- Grind size
So, let’s go over the top five pros of Moka pots, looking at all of the things that many people – including me – love about them. Afterward, we’ll also look at the cons and complaints that people have about these brewers.
The pros of a Moka pot
Moka pots have been a staple in Italian coffee making and household brewing since their invention in 1933.
These coffee pots have stuck around for a long time, and for a good reason. They make coffee like no other brewer can, and their small, metal design makes these pots last a lifetime.
So, without further delay, here are the most significant pros of Moka pots:
Pro 1. Moka pots make robust and rich coffee
The coffee from Moka pots is the perfect middle ground between espresso and drip coffee. So, if you like a strong cup of joe in the morning, this is the ideal brewer for you.
Moka pots make a thick, fluffy, full-bodied cup of robust coffee similar to espresso if you use them correctly.
That’s because Moka pots use steam to brew coffee. To use one, follow these steps:
- Fill the bottom reservoir with hot water, then fill the small metal basket with untamped coffee.
- Place the basket over the hot water and screw on the top.
- Heat the pot, which creates enough steam and pressure for the water to push up through your coffee grounds.
The steam extracts delicious oils from your coffee without getting too hot, helping you get the most from your grounds during this process.
As the pot heats up and delivers coffee, your joe may froth and become dark and fluffy-looking, which is a sign of highly concentrated, well-extracted coffee.
Still, although the Moka pot may be called an espresso maker, this coffee isn’t truly espresso – it’s just intensely rich and robust enough that it can be compared to espresso.
Pro 2. Easy to use
Moka pots are relatively easy to use, especially when you compare them to espresso machines. In addition, they don’t require special tools or instruments to brew you the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had.
Although brewing your coffee with a Moka pot requires more steps than pressing the button on a coffee machine, you can’t find a more simple device to use when you want a strong cuppa.
A Moka pot is self-contained, and it’s made up of metal parts that make sense. These parts are simple to remove and use, and once you have everything assembled, all you have to do is apply heat, wait for a few minutes, then enjoy your beverage.
Because this nifty little brewer is so straightforward to use, it makes brewing up your coffee on groggy mornings more effortless, and anyone can use it!
Pro 3. Moka pots are versatile
The versatility of a Moka pot is one of its best features.
You can add all sorts of beans and spices to your Moka pot to brew up various flavors – all from the same pot.
You can also use tons of different blends in this little pot, so it’ll help you start getting creative with your coffee.
In addition, there are tons of drinks you can make with Moka pot coffee, mainly because it’s strong enough to give you a rich, espresso-like taste.
Some of my favorite recipes to make with my Moka pot are:
Pro 4. Moka pots are small
Counter space isn’t an issue when it comes to a Moka pot.
These pots are smaller than a tea kettle, and they’re easy to stow away in a cabinet.
Since they’re small enough to pack in a backpack and are compatible with camp stoves, they’re also a popular choice among travelers and campers who don’t want to sacrifice their daily coffee while on the trail.
Pro 5. Moka pots are durable and long-lasting
Since these fantastic brewers are made almost entirely from metal, they’re durable and practically unbreakable. Moka pots have been known to last more than 50 years, which makes them a great investment.
Since these pots are so long-lasting, I always recommend owning one as a backup even if it’s not your primary way of making coffee – it can be a life-saver if your more delicate electric coffee brewer or glass Chemex breaks.
The cons of a Moka pot
It isn’t hard to see why Moka pots are a classic and timeless way to brew your coffee with all these pros.
Still, there are some drawbacks to using a Moka pot – though these disadvantages can easily be remedied by learning how to use the pot correctly.
So, let’s look at the cons of Moka pots. I’ll also explain how you can overcome these issues where possible so that you can use your pot without a problem.
Con 1. The coffee from a Moka pot can taste bitter
Most people who complain about Moka pot coffee tasting too bitter have been using their Moka pot wrong. Yet, the complaint still stands, and it’s easy to ruin your coffee with these pots since they need to be closely watched.
When you don’t remove your Moka pot from your stove burner at the right time, you can easily over-extract your coffee, which could give it a bitter, burnt-like taste.
So, you’ll have to monitor your Moka pot while you are brewing if you don’t want to ruin your coffee.
For the best results, you should take your Moka pot off of your burner when it starts to make a gurgling sound. Remove your coffee from the pot as quickly as possible to keep the heat from overheating your beans.
Con 2. Moka pots are prone to messy leaks
Since Moka pots use pressure to brew your coffee, they can sometimes leak or spurt coffee onto your stovetop, resulting in burnt-on coffee messes that are difficult to clean up.
However, spurting is a sign that either you have used grounds that are too coarse or your Moka pot’s rubber gasket isn’t sealing correctly.
So, to avoid messes, you’ll need to use the proper coffee for your pot (usually a fine-medium ground coffee) and ensure that the gasket that seals the bottom water reservoir on your brewer is in good shape and is sealing up the pot correctly.
Con 3. Moka pots require heat and preboiled water
To brew coffee with a Moka pot, you need to have a stove, hot plate, or fire to heat water and your brewer. Since you’ll have to work with heat, using a Moka pot can be more complicated than using an electric coffee maker.
When you brew with a Moka pot, you’ll get the best taste when you fill the water reservoir in the pot with hot, almost boiling water before you put the pot on your stove.
This step can be a bit of a pain since handling a hot metal pot as you put your coffee in it might result in accidental burns, but it’s well worth the risk, and you can quickly get used to it.
When you use hot water in your Moka pot, brew times will be shorter, and most importantly, you reduce the chances of over extracting your coffee.
Over-extraction is a common issue with Moka pots, and it often results in burnt, bitter, or sour-tasting coffee. So, to get the best taste, you will have to handle the hot pot before you put it on a burner.
Con 4. You have to monitor the pot
Another con to Moka pots is monitoring the brewer while you wait for your coffee to finish. If you leave your Moka pot on the stove too long, your coffee won’t taste good, and you risk starting a fire with your burner.
If you’re using a Moka pot, you’ll have to make sure to set aside five to seven minutes every day to watch the brewer while it makes your coffee.
Con 5. Moka pots can be difficult to clean
Cleaning a Moka pot can be challenging since the metal components of the brewer are sensitive to soap.
It would be best to wash Moka pots without soap since the detergent can quickly get stuck to the metal in your brewer, making your coffee taste like dish detergent. The same thing goes with a dishwasher, which could damage the pot over time.
To clean out your Moka pot, you should only use warm water. You’ll have to take the brewer apart when it’s cool, then rinse everything out thoroughly.
For more info on how to clean your Moka pot, you may want to read this guide on using and cleaning your Moka pot.
Keep in mind that coffee stains build up in these pots over time, which is why I like to run my Moka pot without any coffee in it every few months. This helps to boil off some of the stains and keep the buildup from getting too thick.
However, no matter which way you look at it, it’s true that Moka pots require some extra steps when cleaning that electric coffee makers and machine-washable brewers don’t.
This means you might have to take a few additional minutes to clean your Moka pot after you use it.
Con 6. Most Moka pots are small
Moka pots are a fixed size, and you can’t make too many adjustments as to how much coffee you make when you use them.
That’s because Moka pots require a set amount of coffee grounds to maintain the correct amount of pressure in your pot.
If you put too much or too little coffee grounds in the funnel, your brewer could spurt, get clogged up, or produce an over-extracted, bad-tasting cup of joe.
So, you always have to make the same amount of coffee with your Moka pot. This limitation can be frustrating when you have visitors or want a small shot of coffee, so be sure to get the size of a Moka pot that suits your daily coffee-drinking habits.
Usually, a three-cup pot is perfect for one or two people, but if you’re brewing for more people, you may want to up the pot’s size by a few cups.
Con 7. You need medium-ground coffee
When you brew with a Moka pot, your coffee should have the consistency of finely ground table salt. My favorite coffee grind size to use looks like this:
If your coffee is fine or espresso-ground, your Moka pot won’t be able to push steam up through your coffee funnel. When this happens, your brewer might not be able to brew coffee at all, or you might see the espresso grounds floating in your coffee.
If the grounds are too chunky, your pot won’t extract the flavor of the coffee well. In addition, coarse-ground coffee could cause your Moka pot to overflow, which results in spurting water and messes.
Moka pots are a classic brewer that belongs in any coffee lover’s cabinet. They’re versatile, durable, simple, and small, and they produce an espresso-like taste without the espresso!
These pots may have a learning curve to use since they need to be monitored and used with the proper grounds, heat, and water, but they make a perfect travel and daily-use coffee pot for anyone who appreciates rich, strong coffee.