Moka Pots Vs Espresso Machines: The Ultimate Guide

Can’t decide between buying a moka pot or an espresso machine?

You should know that each one has its unique characteristics that make them special and useful for specific purposes.

I’ve been doing some deep research to help you find the answer to the following question: Should you buy an espresso machine or a moka pot?

In the following paragraphs, you will find the major differences between moka pots vs espresso machines, you will find its unique pros and cons, and I will provide you with a small but comprehensive questionnaire to help you decide which one you should buy based on your needs.

Let’s find out which one you should buy!

Differences: Moka Pot Vs Espresso Machine

To make an assertive decision you need data, right? Here I will expose to you several comparisons between moka pots vs espresso machines.

1. Cost

Price is sometimes the only thing we see in an item we want to buy, isn’t it?

Moka pots are built with solid materials and they have simple mechanisms, this makes them cheaper than other complex coffee makers. The best moka pots cost between $30 and $100. The most expensive moka pots would be the high-end models.

On the other hand, espresso machines are sophisticated artifacts. They are built with advanced technology and usually, they have lots of accessories. The most effective espresso machine brands cost from $100 – $1,200. 

You could easily buy a machine below $100 but it is not recommended, these cheap models are not durable in the long run. If you want to buy a coffee brewer for under $100 you should go for a moka pot, for that price you will have a brewer that will last decades.

Finally, you should keep in mind that moka pots are easier and cheaper to replace because of their simplicity, while espresso machines could cost hundreds of dollars to repair or replace.

2. Pressure

Pressure should not be a criterion to use when deciding between a moka pot vs an espresso machine because it does not determine a better or worse coffee taste experience.

However, you should know that espresso is a brewing method and it uses high pressure to work out. Espresso machines provide from 6 to 19 bars of pressure while moka pots provide from 1 to 3 bars of pressure.

Basically, pressure is the difference between how each device makes coffee.

3. Taste

Although they both produce a strong cup of coffee, several specific differences between them should be highlighted.

On one hand, we have the espresso, this drink can be fruity, floral, a bit bitter, balanced, and consistent.

Espresso machines provide a consistent flavor because the complexity of the machine allows more control over the final output.

Espresso shots are 5 to 8 times more concentrated than regular coffee, but this does not make shots bitter. When a shot of espresso tastes too bitter it’s because the person who prepared the coffee used over-roasted and burned beans.

Espresso should be bitter but not too bitter.

On the other hand, we have moka pot brewed coffee. This coffee is strong and acidic and it is usually 2 to 3 times as concentrated as a regular drip coffee.

Moka pots have a huge downside and it is that the coffee brewed by them can have a slightly metallic taste that can be very unpleasant for a lot of people. However, you can avoid this by using a stainless moka pot.

Another downside is that if the moka pot you’re using has no pressure consistency, your coffee can have a bitter or watery taste.

In the end, it is a matter of choice, do you like rich, consistent, and a bit bitter coffee or do you like strong and acidic coffee? You decide!

Man making espresso with an espresso machine

4. Cleaning

They both need to be cleaned on a daily basis, however espresso machines require a lot more attention than moka pots because of all of their sophisticated components.

For a moka pot, you just need to disassemble it and then rinse and dry all of its pieces. Also, you should decal it once in a while with vinegar and lemon juice. As you can see, cleaning your moka pot is a simple process that shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.

Keep in mind that the same cleaning products you use for a stainless moka pot shouldn’t be used on an aluminum moka pot. They both need different products.

On the other hand, we have monstrous espresso machines, we all know that monsters are dirty right?

I was kidding, espresso machines are very easy to clean, but keep in mind that you need to clean yours every single day if you want it to last longer and to keep producing a good-tasting coffee.

In fact, you could complete the daily maintenance of your espresso machine in less than 5 minutes if you use the right products. This daily maintenance is composed by:

  • Group head purge
  • Steam wand purge
  • Water backflushing

Keep in mind that you need to do a deeper cleaning of your machine from time to time. You can find out more about how to do this by reading this guide by Clive Coffee.

5. Durability

Moka pots are very durable because of their simplicity and quality of materials, they are usually built with aluminum, a very durable material.

The durability of espresso machines depends on their quality and maintenance. If you want your espresso machine to last years, you would need to buy a top-quality machine and you would need to give it daily maintenance.

6. Drinks

You can produce delicious drinks with both espresso machines and moka pots.

Keep in mind that for making espresso-based drinks, you need to use espresso for real taste results.

You can make an espresso-based drink with a Moka pot, however, you need to use more amount of coffee to reach the concentration levels of an espresso shot that can only be produced with an espresso machine.

Moka pot is a good option to make espresso-based drinks because it produces concentrated coffee.

List of Drinks That You Can Make With an Espresso Machine:

  • Latte
  • Americano
  • Macchiato
  • Cappuccino
  • Flat White
  • Cortado Coffee
  • Mocha
  • Iced Latte
  • Iced Espresso
  • Iced Cappuccino
  • Red Eye Coffee
  • Dirty Chai Latte

List of Drinks That You Can Make With a Moka Pot:

  • Iced coffee
  • Cafe au lait
  • Iced latte
  • Latte or cappuccino
  • Macchiato
  • Mocha
  • Dirty Chai latte
  • Cocktails
  • Affogato

Check this guide to know more moka pot recipes.

7. Brewing Time

If you have everything ready, the process of making coffee with a moka pot should take about five minutes. This time can vary depending on the intensity of the fire that you put underneath it.

You could spend more or less time if you are using an espresso machine. In this case, you need to heat up the machine, once it is ready, it should take between 10 to 30 seconds to pull an espresso shot. This process could take between 5 to 7 minutes in total.

Disassembled mocha pot

8. Basic Requirements

For making coffee with a moka pot, you just need a stove, ground coffee, and water. 

On the other hand, for making coffee with an espresso machine, you need a grinder to grind your coffee beans (or you can buy pre-ground coffee), you need a tamper and electricity to make the machine work.

Espresso machines have more accessories but the things I mentioned in the previous paragraphs are the essential ones.

Keep in mind that moka pots require medium or fine coffee grounds, while espresso machines require thin or fine coffee grounds. The adequate ground coffee texture is essential for these devices to work properly.

9. Volume and Dimensions

It’s very easy to see this difference. An average espresso machine volume is at least 5 times bigger than an average moka pot.

Moka pots have an advantage in volume because you can store them in a lot of places while espresso machines are almost unmovable.

10. Portability

At a glance, you can see that Moka pots are far more portable than espresso machines. The weight of a Moka pot is usually 2 pounds, while espresso machines weigh between 5 to 30 pounds.

However, there are lots of portable espresso machines that weigh equal to or less than a Moka pot.

11. Ease of Use

Moka pot coffee is extremely simple to prepare. You just need fire, ground coffee, and water. However, there’s a downside, when brewing coffee with moka pots the last few seconds can either make or break your brew, you know that the coffee is ready because of the gurgling sound produced by the moka pot.

Espresso machines are very easy to use too. These are the specific steps you need to follow:

  1. Turn on and preheat your espresso maker
  2. Measure and grind your beans
  3. Tamp your grounds so the bed is flat and even
  4. Pull your first shot
  5. Dial in the shot
  6. Steam your milk

That’s it! Easy right? Well, despite making coffee with espresso machines is very easy, the major problem is that every tiny mistake can make a big impact on the flavor of the shot.

Espresso machines are easy to use but difficult to dominate.

The clear winner here is the moka pot because of its extreme simplicity.

12. Capacity

Moka pots come in a huge variety of sizes. You can find moka pots that produce from 1 to 12 cups in a single brew. Espresso machines usually can only produce 1 or 2 shots.

Final verdict? If you want to make coffee for a lot of people you should get a moka pot.

moka pots vs espresso machines infographic

Pros and Cons: Moka Pot Vs Espresso Machine

Let’s highlight the pros and cons between a moka pot vs an espresso machine.

Moka Pot


  • Produces strong and concentrated coffee
  • Its aluminum body is great for retaining heat
  • Very easy to clean
  • Portable
  • You can get great quality for a low price
  • Makes coffee under 5 minutes
  • It can produce between 1 to 12 servings
  • Very durable


  • It produces coffee without crema
  • It can produce a coffee with a slight metallic taste if you are not using a stainless moka pot
  • Easily clogs with coffee grounds

Espresso Machine


  • Produces a tasty and consistent concentrated coffee
  • Produces coffee under 2 minutes
  • Some models are very easy to use


  • Complex machines require practice to dominate
  • You need a good grinder, scale, and tamper
  • Worth models are from $300 to +$1,000
  • Bulky and unmovable
  • Needs special cleaning routine and products

Which One Should You Buy?

You Should Get a Moka Pot If:

  • You want a reliable and durable coffee maker under $100
  • You don’t want to spend too much time making coffee and cleaning your coffee maker
  • You usually make coffee for several people
  • You have a portable stove and you want to travel with your coffee maker

You Should Get an Espresso Machine If:

  • You want to make rare coffee drinks with crema
  • You want to make coffee in less than 2 minutes
  • You have more than $100 to invest in a coffee maker
  • You don’t want to move your coffee maker and you have space in your place for a bulky machine
  • You are willing to do a daily cleaning routine for your machine

Final Words

I hope the information above has assisted you to define what makes each one of these devices unique.

Choosing a moka pot or an espresso machine is a decision that should be taken based on your needs and personal preferences.

Good luck!

Leandro Santorsola
Leandro Santorsola

Leandro is the founder of The Coffee Arsenal. His favorite relaxation method is to drink a Cafe Latte in the afternoons.