The moka pot is known by many names, among them stove-top espresso poor-man’s espresso. Historically, the consumption of espresso was limited to coffee houses only. However, the invention of the moka pot allowed the general to approximate the drink at home. The timing of the invention corresponded nicely with the downturn of the economic activity in Italy.
The true espresso coffee is made at a much higher pressure than that produced in a moka pot, around nine bar. The moka pot can only muster a maximum of perhaps two bar under the best circumstances. What the moka pot did provide coffee lovers of the time was a strong, intense surrogate brew they could relish at home. More importantly, the invention of the moka pot marked the start of a revolution in home coffee brewing.
The original moka pots were crafted out of aluminium due to the greater malleability offered by the metal. Shaping the octagon pot is easier when a softer metal is employed compared to something hard like steel. The steel moka pots are a fairly recent adaptation. Many consumers prefer the steel moka pots due to the advantages they offer. Hence many manufacturers offer lines of moka pots available in both metals. Both types of pots offer similar functionalities and features, but what additional benefits do they give the user?
There a number of factors which make stainless steel moka pots stand out above and beyond the original aluminium pots.
- Corrosion: Stainless steel is a very tough metal. One of its constituents is chromium which offers protection against corrosion. It is a non-porous metal which further enhances its resistance against corrosion. Aluminium is a soft metal that corrodes easily, especially when it is repeatedly exposed to acidic coffee.
- Transfer of Heat: Aluminium is a better conductor of heat than steel. This translates to faster brewing time compared to a steel pot. However the time difference is nominal realistically speaking.
- Pot Strength: Steel is less malleable as compared to aluminium, which means it has greater strength. In terms of moka pots, it means that a stainless steel moka pot will have a longer life as opposed to an aluminium pot.
- Ease of Cleaning: Cleaning the stainless steel moka pot is as simple as wipe and rinse. Aluminium moka pots require extra scrubbing to clean them out.
- Cost Efficiency: Aluminium is a cheaper metal, hence the pots made from it tend to be less costly. However, it must be remembered that while stainless moka pots cost more, their life expectancy is also longer than aluminium moka pots. Thus, you may pay more up-front; over the long haul the difference in price may not be significant.
Some people claim that coffee made in the aluminium pot leaves a metallic taste; others have found ways to counter that with home grown hacks. However, this is an on-going debate without an end. The bottom line as to which type of pot produces better coffee comes down to personal choice. On one hand you have a choice between ease of maintenance and durability at a greater initial cost, against truly authentic way of making coffee in a cheaper pot that provides a brew as it was intended to be.
Quality Stainless Moka Pots:
- Made by the Italian company Vev-Vigano, the “Vespress Oro” is made from 18/10 stainless steel body with mirror polish. The lid knob, handle are constructed from polished brass and there is a brass ring that encircles the body, somewhat defining the separation between the two chambers. The hint of brass on adds to the elegantce of the pot. Available in four, six and super large 14 cup sizes, it is easy to clean as it is dishwasher safe. It is fully compatible with gas, electrical and induction plates.
Customer reviews indicate that it is a quality product that is built to last. It delivers excellent tasting strong coffee that is not bitter. A few customers had issues with opening the unit apart for cleaning purposes, but even they claimed that the quality of the coffee was good.
- The Milano from Cuisinox is definitely one of the great moka pots available. Constructed out of heavy gauge stainless, it comes in satin finish and has an induction base that works well on all cooking surfaces. It pot is available in six, 1½ ounce cup capacity and includes an extra gasket and reducer in the packing. A vast majority of the customers using the pot find it to be highly satisfying. While not a single reviewer complained of the quality of coffee it produced, some did not give it maximum based solely on the fact that it was made in China!
Final Thoughts Moka Pots:
The moka pot is a standard coffee make found in a majority of the Italian and Cuban households. This is because the moka pots make great tasting coffee, are dependable and they come with a nominal price tag compared to the more commercially successful newer appliances available. The moka pots should be your method of choice for preparing coffee if you like:
- Full-bodied coffee that is strong
- Want a coffee maker that lasts
- Are on a budget and have limitations on space
- Someone who wants to keep the portable option open
If on the other hand you are looking for a quick fix that requires no input from you other than the press of a button, then the moka pot will definitely not suit you.