When it comes to coffee machines, one can hardly make a mistake in choosing either the classic Moka pot or an exquisite espresso maker. Both of these machines are staples in the homes of coffee enthusiasts worldwide, and for a good reason — both produce fantastic cups of caffeinated goodness.
However, there are some differences between the two that might make one or the other more appealing to you as a consumer. In this article, we will compare and contrast the two, talk about what type of coffee each is best suited for, and break down which one is better based on your nuanced needs. But before going into things proper, let us take a quick look at the essence of what makes the two coffee machines distinctly unique.
What is a Moka Pot?
A Moka pot is a type of coffee machine that uses steam pressure to brew coffee. It is made up of three main parts: the base, the filter basket, and the top carafe.
The base contains the water that will be used to create steam pressure, while the filter basket holds your ground coffee. The top carafe is where the brewed coffee will collect. To use a Moka pot, simply add water to the base, fill the filter basket with ground coffee, screw on the top carafe, and place it on your stovetop. The steam pressure generated will push the water up through the grounds and into the carafe, resulting in a delicious cup of coffee that is sure to perk you up.
What is an Espresso Maker?
An espresso maker is a type of coffee brewing machine that uses hot water and steam to brew delectable coffee. It consists of four main parts: the water reservoir, the filter basket, the portafilter, and the espresso cup.
The water reservoir holds the hot water used to brew the coffee, while the filter basket contains your ground coffee. The portafilter is a metal filter that holds the ground coffee in place during the brewing process, and the espresso cup is where the brewed coffee will collect. To use an espresso machine, simply add water to the reservoir, fill the filter basket with ground coffee, screw on the portafilter, and place it under the brew head. The hot water will push through the grounds and into the espresso cup, giving you a cup of coffee you are sure to enjoy.
So, now that we have that out of the way, what makes the two home coffee machines so different from one another? Well, there are numerous factors:
Brewing Methods and Resulting Taste
As mentioned above, Moka pots use steam pressure to brew coffee, while espresso machines use both hot water and steam. Both machines produce great results, but each brewing method achieves different tastes in the resultant coffee.
Coffee brewed with a Moka pot tends to have a richer, more robust flavour as the coffee is left in contact with the water for a longer period of time, allowing more flavour to be extracted in the brewing process. On the other hand, coffee brewed with an espresso machine tends to be smoother, less bitter, and richer in aroma due to the more pressurised manner through which it is prepared.
No one machine is better than the other in this regard; it all boils down to your personal preference and the types of coffee you enjoy the most, which brings us to the next point.
Types of Coffee each Machine Excels In
Moka pots are best suited for making strong and flavourful coffee, coming considerably close to the typical espresso if you use the right grind and technique. If you're looking for a delicious cup of black coffee that is concentrated and thick, then getting a Moka pot coffee machine is probably the way to go. However, one thing to note is that it can be difficult to control the quality from brew to brew with a Moka pot, as Moka pots do not feature pressure consistency as espresso machines do. You’ll also require a good coffee grinder for your beans, such that you can obtain relatively fine grinds that are somewhat coarser than what’s usually used for espresso but finer than that used for drip coffee. Moka pot coffee-making is not an exact science, so you’ll likely need to undergo a discovery process to gauge things better.
On the other hand, espresso coffee machines are best suited for making speciality coffees such as espresso and cappuccino in the comforts of your own home. While any type of roast is viable for most espresso machines, you can attain the best results using dark, espresso, or French roasts. With that being said, those who prefer lighter roasts for their coffee can still go with a medium roast for their espresso machines, which will likewise yield many of the nuanced notes of an orthodox espresso but without the accompanying bitterness that comes with darker roasts.
Ease of Use
Moka pots are extremely easy to use. All you need to do is:
- Fill up the base chamber with cold water, up to the level of your Moka pot’s valve
- Insert the filter into your Moka pot coffee machine
- Completely fill the filter with your ground coffee (don’t pack it down)
- Ensure that both the rubber gasket and filter are correctly in place
- Screw the two chambers tightly together
- Place your Moka pot on top of your stove on low heat
- Remove the Moka pot once your coffee starts to gurgle, before it rises and bubbles
- Mix the coffee gently with a spoon
- Pour your coffee into cups and enjoy the results
De’Longhi takes things a step further with our Alicia Plus Moka Pot. This electric Moka pot comes with a safety automatic shut-off function that prevents your coffee from ever burning or overflowing, a cool-touch base and handle for safer use, and a transparent container that lets you easily monitor the entire brewing process. Even new beginners can make use of De’Longhi’s Alicia Moka Pot with ease.
However, things can get a little complicated when it comes to espresso coffee machines. While De’Longhi’s Pump Espresso Coffee Machines are revered worldwide for their sophistication, style and amazing coffee results, they do require a degree of practice and knowledge to utilise optimally. Learning how to tamper, for one, can indeed be challenging.
In short, Moka pots are more beginner-friendly while espresso coffee machines need a certain level of proficiency if you want to achieve consistency in your espressos or other coffee brews.
Ease of Cleaning
Things are rather straightforward in this area. Moka pots are very easy to clean — you can easily disassemble your Moka pot and simply wash it with soap and water. Meanwhile, espresso coffee machines are more difficult to clean with more parts that need to be disassembled and cleaned separately.
Moka pots are relatively affordable coffee machines. The De’Longhi Alicia Plus, for example, has a retail price of S$149, giving you a compact and convenient way to get your daily shots at little expense.
Espresso coffee machines, on the flip side, are on the more expensive end of things. Premium machines such as De’Longhi’s La Specialista Prestigio are often priced above S$1,000, as they come with cutting-edge features such as smart sensor grinding technology, dynamic pre-infusion, active temperature control, smart tamping stations and more. However, there are also more affordable alternatives in the manual pump espresso line, such as De’Longhi’s Dedica Style Home Coffee Machines, which retail at S$489.
Still Can’t Decide on Which to Get? Let Our Experts Guide You!
At De’Longhi Singapore, we understand that choosing between a Moka pot and an espresso coffee machine can be challenging, especially when you are still unsure of where you stand or where to start with your personal coffee-making journey at home.
If you find yourself stuck with such a dilemma, feel free to reach out to our live coffee advisors. Our experts are trained to provide a complimentary consultation to all who seek to purchase their very own De’Longhi coffee machine for their home. With professional insights and a history of expertise, they are more than equipped to provide guidance on anything and everything coffee related — making a decision between Moka pots and espresso makers is no exception.
If neither the Moka pot nor espresso machine appeals to your tastes, you can also check out our full range of coffee essentials. For a more diverse line-up of home coffee machine options, you can opt for alternatives such as fully automatic coffee machines, drip coffee machines and more.
Beginner baristas can also sign up for our Coffee Home Trial programme to experience first-hand what it’s like to make your own artisan coffee at home. Shop De’Longhi today, and check out our ongoing and upcoming sales to get the best prices on our Moka pots, espresso machines and more.