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The Best Moka Pots

No two moka pots are the same. Only some brew rich, bold, and roasty coffee.

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Published May 3, 2023.

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What You Need To Know

The best moka pots are easy to use and can brew a batch of strong and concentrated coffee quickly. Our winner is the classic Bialetti Moka Express, which has stood the test of time as the most reliable and user-friendly moka pot. It consistently produced coffee with rich and complex flavors. The Bodum Chambord 12 Oz Electric Moka Pot, our top-rated electric model, brewed full-flavored coffee quickly without requiring us to stand next to a stovetop.

What You Need to Know

In 1933, Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti invented a stovetop coffee maker and named it after the Yemeni city of Mokha (also spelled as “Mocha” or “Mukha”), paying homage to the city’s significance in coffee trade. The hourglass-shaped, aluminum pot used pressurized water to extract dark and roasty coffee in mere minutes. Today, the moka pot has become a mainstay in Italian coffee culture; its popularity also helped it sail across the ocean to kitchens around the world.

So what exactly is it? A stovetop moka pot consists of three parts: a bottom chamber, a perforated funnel, and an upper chamber. You fill the bottom chamber with water just beneath a valve that acts as a water-fill line and also prevents too much pressure from building up. Then, you fill the funnel with coffee grounds and place it in the bottom chamber, screw the chambers together, and heat the pot on the stovetop. Water travels up and makes contact with the coffee grounds and then freshly brewed coffee comes out through a center tube in the upper chamber. (Pro tip: Point the handle away from the heat source so that it doesn’t get too hot.)

The science behind the device is straightforward: As the water starts to evaporate in the airtight chamber, it creates sufficient pressure to push the rest of the hot water through the funnel, extracting coffee from the grounds. The pressure it creates is often between 1.5 and 2 bars, similar levels to those achieved by early espresso machines. It wasn’t until 1947 that an espresso machine was invented that could reach 9 bars of pressure, which “made the coffee taste sweeter and foamy,” says Peter Giuliano, chief research officer at Specialty Coffee Association. Soon, the 9-bar espresso, or “crema di caffè” as its inventor called it, became the norm. 

Today, stovetop moka pots still dominate the market, but electric moka pots are also an option. They’re almost identical to the stovetop version in terms of mechanics, but they differ in heat source. The capacities of both styles range from 1 cup to 12 cups, but the true volumes of these "cups" aren't the same as your typical coffee maker. Most moka pots market themselves as "espresso makers," so a "cup" ...

Everything We Tested

Good : 3 stars out of 3.Fair : 2 stars out of 3.Poor : 1 stars out of 3.
*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.
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The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.

Valerie Sizhe Li

Valerie is an assistant editor for ATK Reviews. In addition to cooking, she loves skiing, traveling, and spending time outdoors.

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