Moka Pot VS Espresso Machine: What Brewing Method Suits You Best?

The classic Moka pot or an exquisite espresso maker. Both of these machines are staples in the homes of coffee enthusiasts in Malaysia and beyond, and for a good reason — both produce fantastic cups of caffeinated goodness that will keep you energised and refreshed throughout your daily business. 

So, what are the differences between a Moka pot and an espresso machine, and how can you go about picking one over the other? Well, the two devices have several distinct features that make them unique in their own ways. This article will compare and contrast these two popular coffee machines and elaborate upon what type of coffee each is best suited. By making and breaking down their distinguishing characteristics, you can better weigh each option in how they can cater to your caffeinated needs. But first…

What is a Moka Pot?

The Moka pot is a coffee machine that utilises steam pressure to brew delicious cups of coffee. Three main parts make up the classic Moka pot: the base, the filter basket, and the top carafe. 

The base is where you will store the water for your Moka pot to create steam pressure, while the filter basket is where your ground coffee will go. It will then collect the brewed coffee in the top carafe of the coffee machine. Using a Moka pot is simple: just add water to the base, fill up the filter basket with your ground coffee, screw on your carafe, and place the Moka pot onto your stovetop. The steam pressure pushes water through your coffee grounds and into your Moka pot’s top carafe, producing rich coffee that is sure to rev up your engines. 

What is an Espresso Machine?

An espresso machine, likewise, uses hot water and steam to brew delectable cups of coffee. This coffee machine comprises four main components: the water reservoir, filter basket, portafilter, and espresso cup. However, manual and automatic espresso machines may feature other distinct minor components unique to the coffee machine’s model. 

The reservoir of the espresso machine is where the hot water is used to brew the coffee, while your ground coffee goes into the filter basket where the metal filter known as the portafilter will hold them in place throughout the coffee brewing process. The espresso cup will then collect your brewed coffee. The basics of using an espresso machine entail adding water to the reservoir, filling the filter basket with your ground coffee, screwing on your portafilter, and placing it under the coffee machine’s brew head. The hot water will then push through your coffee grounds and into your espresso cup, giving you the hopefully perfect cup of morning coffee. 

And now that we have gotten the definitions out of the way, it’s time to examine what makes the two home coffee machines so different from one another. In this regard, there are five key differences: 

1. Brewing Methods Used and Resulting Tastes

As aforementioned, Moka pots brew coffee using only steam pressure, whereas espresso coffee machines use both steam and hot water. Although both machines are more than capable of producing great results in any home, their different brewing methods mean that there will be distinct differences in the resulting tastes of the coffee each produces. 

Moka pots tend to produce coffee that is richer, featuring more robust flavours due to the longer contact period between the water and the coffee grounds. More flavour is thus extracted during the brewing process when preparing coffee with a Moka pot. However, espresso machines are more inclined to produce coffee that is smoother, less bitter, and more aroma-rich. The highly pressurised manner through which espresso machines brew coffee also often results in more consistency in taste. 

Consequently, neither the Moka pot nor the espresso machine can be said to be objectively better than its counterpart when it comes to this aspect of difference that lies between them. It just boils down to your personal coffee preferences and the types of coffee that you want to achieve with your home coffee machine in Malaysia, which brings us to our next point.

2. Types of Coffee each Machine Makes Best

If you’re looking to make coffee that comes considerably close to the typical espresso and is strong and flavourful, then Moka pots are your best bet when it comes to the two different coffee machines. All you’ll need is the right grind and technique. Moka pots are well suited for making delectable cups of black coffee that are thick and concentrated, though, as previously mentioned, it can be a little difficult to control the consistency in quality from brew to brew. This is because Moka pots do not feature the same pressure consistency that is achievable by espresso machines. Another thing to note is that a good coffee bean grinder is essential when using Moka pots. You’ll need to obtain relatively fine grinds that are coarser than that used for espresso but finer than those used to prepare drip coffee — a fine line to thread without a good grinder. But with that being said, coffee brewing with a Moka pot is not an exact science, so you’ll need to experiment with your Moka pot to find the right process that gives you the kind of coffee you are seeking to enjoy.

Espresso coffee machines, on the other hand, are better suited for brewing specialty coffees like the quintessential espresso and comfort-giving cappuccino. Although all kinds of roasts are viable for most espresso coffee machines, the best results are often achieved when you use dark espresso or French roasts. Those who prefer lighter roasts can go for a medium roast with their home espresso coffee machine, to achieve coffee that comes without the bitterness nuanced to darker roasts but still retains the many nuanced notes in an orthodox cup of espresso. 

3. Ease of Use

Moka pots are extremely easy to use, with the below basic steps being all you need to prepare coffee at home:

  1. Fill the base chamber of your Moka pot with cold water up to the level of the valve
  2. Insert your filter into the Moka pot coffee machine
  3. Fill the filter fully with your ground coffee without packing it down
  4. Make sure the rubber gasket and filter are correctly in place
  5. Screw the two chambers of your Moka pot tightly together 
  6. Place the Moka pot on your stove that is turned to low heat
  7. Remove the Moka pot before your coffee rises and bubbles once it starts gurgling
  8. Mix the coffee gently and pour it into a cup for your well-deserved enjoyment

De’Longhi’s Alicia Plus Moka Pot further brings things up a notch, instilling the best of modern technology into the classic coffee brewing process. The electric Moka pot available at De’Longhi Malaysia comes with numerous in-built features that make brewing coffee with a Moka pot even more convenient. Including: 

  • a safety automatic shut-off function that prevents coffee from burning or overflowing;
  • a cool-touch base and handle that makes for safer use of the electric Moka pot; and
  • a transparent container that enables you to easily monitor the coffee brewing process. 

Even beginners can easily make gourmet coffee when using De’Longhi’s Alicia Moka Pot with ease. 

Espresso coffee machines, however, are a little more complicated to use. Although De’Longhi’s pump espresso coffee machines are renowned for their unrivalled sophistication, style, and amazing coffee results, these home coffee machines require higher levels of practice and knowledge to use in an optimal fashion. Knowing how to tamper, for starters, is one such example. 

As such, Moka pots are a better choice for beginners looking to start their coffee-making journey in Malaysia, while espresso coffee machines are better options for those with a degree of proficiency in coffee preparation and all that the art entails. 

4. Ease of Cleaning

Just as how Moka pots are a lot easier to use than espresso coffee machines, they are also way easier to clean. The parts that make up a Moka pot can be easily disassembled and washed with soap and water. Espresso coffee machines, on the flip side, are much more difficult to clean as they have more parts that need to be disassembled and cleaned through specific methods. 

5. Entailed Costs

Lastly, another area in which Moka pots come out on top of espresso machines is affordability. Moka pots are relatively affordable coffee machines to buy for your home. The De’Longhi Alicia Plus, for instance, has a retail price of MYR 399, making it a compact and convenient coffee machine that can provide for your daily caffeine needs at little expense. 

Espresso coffee machines tend to be considerably more expensive. Premium machines like De’Longhi’s La Specialista Prestigio frequently feature retail prices of above MYR 3,000 due to their in-built cutting-edge features and sophisticated technologies, such as sensor grinding tech, dynamic pre-infusion capabilities, active temperature control, smart tamping stations and so on. There are, however, more affordable alternatives as well for these bean-to-cup coffee machines, such as De’Longhi’s Dedica Style Home Coffee Machines, which are priced around MYR 1,500.

Still Can’t Make a Decision Between the Two? Let Us Help!

At De’Longhi Malaysia, we understand that picking between the Moka pot and our espresso coffee machines can be difficult, especially with the abundance of options that are each better than the next in one way or another. If you find yourself stuck or need further guidance, simply reach out to our live coffee experts for some help! With a wealth of industry expertise, our live coffee experts are more than equipped to provide you with curated advice and professional insights that can help you make a more well-informed choice between the Moka pot and the espresso coffee machine. 

You can also explore our full range of coffee essentials at De’Longhi Malaysia for more numerous home coffee machine options. From fully automatic coffee machines to drip coffee machines and more — or check out our ongoing and upcoming sales to get the best prices on De’Longhi Moka pots, espresso machines and more.