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Moka Pot vs Espresso Machine – What’s The Difference?

Ryan Marshall
Last Updated: August 18th, 2023

The Moka Pot is a very popular Italian coffee-making device that has become particularly trendy in high-end cafes over the past few years.

There is a significant amount of confusion surrounding the style of coffee drink the Moka Pot produces, as many people believe that it makes espresso.

In reality, the Moka Pot makes a strong and concentrated cup of coffee that is unique from both traditional drip coffee and espresso.

Given the misconceptions of what kind of coffee a Moka Pot makes, we will take a closer look at the differences between Moka Pot vs espresso machines and outline what you should consider before purchasing either.

Things To Consider Before Buying a Coffee or Espresso Maker

things before buying a coffee or espresso maker

There are many different considerations that need to be made when shopping for a new coffee or espresso maker, and choosing the right option can feel a bit overwhelming for some people.

We have highlighted the five most important factors when it comes to these devices to help you make the right decision.

Price and Budget

A great first step when it comes to shopping for a new coffee maker or espresso machine is to take a close look at your finances to establish a set budget.

Coffee and espresso machine ownership come with a handful of recurring costs like beans and milk, making it important to establish a budget early and stick with it during the shopping process.

The Moka Pot is a great option for serious coffee enthusiasts who are on a fairly tight budget. These coffee making devices are simple and affordable, leaving more money left over in the budget for high quality coffee beans and milk or milk alternatives like almond and oat milk.

Home espresso machines come in a wide variety of different shapes, sizes, and prices, and there are literally hundreds of different models to choose from today. The most simple options on the market cost under $50, while the most high end machines can cost over $1000.

Coffee vs Espresso

Many people are confused about which style of beverage the Moka Pot actually produces, as it is stronger than traditional coffee both in terms of flavor and caffeine content.

It uses traditional coffee beans as opposed to espresso, however, the differences between Moka Pot coffee and espresso do not end there.

Espresso machines use high-pressure pumps that create a special texture in the beverage during the extraction process. The Moka Pot uses a special coffee making technique involving trapped steam that does not produce enough pressure to properly extract espresso.

Style and Design

The Moka Pot is considered visually appealing by the vast majority of people, and many Moka Pot owners choose to leave their devices on display between uses.

While there are a handful of different Moka Pot finishes, most devices look similar and they all showcase the same shape with similar designs.

Espresso machines, on the other hand, come in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes. There are a wide array of different designs and finishes available, and espresso machines range from sleek and simple to intricate and high tech.

Size and Space

Moka Pots are a favorite among coffee enthusiasts who live in tight quarters or have smaller kitchens. They take up very little space and use the burner of a stove as the heating element. This keeps electrical sockets open in kitchens, which is a very important factor in some households.

Espresso machines are very versatile in terms of design, and there are some machines that are very well suited for fitting into tighter spaces and small kitchens. Other high-end models can take up a considerable amount of space and are great options for those with ample counter space.

Name Brand Reputation

Bialetti is the industry leader when it comes to the production of Moka Pots, and the majority of coffee enthusiasts choose to spend the extra few dollars to stick with the name brand. Bialetti boasts a number of different models, and many of them cost under $80.

When it comes to espresso machines, there are dozens of different companies on the market producing a wide variety of different models and designs.

Breville and Delonghi are two of the top producers on the market, and they make everything from simple Nespresso machines to high end automatic models.

Presenting the Moka Pot vs Espresso Machines

The Moka Pot has been around since the year 1933, and it has seen a major resurgence in terms of sales and prominence over the past few years. While its design may seem fairly simple on the surface, it utilizes a unique technique to produce a distinctly strong cup of coffee.

When the water in the bottom reservoir is heated, steam is generated, which is then forced upward through the ground coffee beans at the top of the machine. This is the reverse direction compared to how coffee is traditionally made, where hot water is poured over the top of round espresso beans.

Espresso uses a different style of beans compared to traditional coffee, and espresso machines create high amounts of pressure to extract a unique texture and flavor from the beans. Espresso machines range from simple to extravagant, and there are hundreds of different options on the market.

Simple espresso machines feature only an espresso “tray” where the grounds are loaded and then pressurized hot water is poured over. These machines are both small and affordable but are only capable of making simple espresso drinks.

For those who enjoy more complicated espresso drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos, there are more high-end espresso machines that feature integrated milk frothers. These frothers shoot highly pressurized steam into milk or milk alternatives to make frothy beverages that can be layered in many ways.

Features and Benefits

moka pot vs espresso features and benefits

While both Moka Pots and espresso machines are capable of delivering high-quality coffee and espresso each morning, there are certain features that make one option more appealing than the other for many people.

Moka Pot

Bialetti Express Moka Pot, 6 -Cup, Aluminum Silver
  • The original moka coffee pot: Moka Express is the original stovetop espresso maker, it provides the experience of the real Italian way of preparing a tasteful coffee, its unique shape and the...
  • Made in Italy: it is Made in Italy and its quality is enhanced by the patented safety valve which makes it easy to clean and its ergonomic handle, available in many sizes and suitable for gas,...
  • How to prepare the coffee: fill the boiler up to the safety valve, fill it up with ground coffee without pressing, close the moka pot and place it on the stovetop, as soon as Moka Express starts to...
  • One size for each need: Moka Express sizes are measured in Espresso Cups, coffee can be enjoyed in Espresso Cups or in larger containers
  • Cleaning instructions: The Bialetti Moka Express must only be rinsed with clean water after use, with no detergents, the product is not to be washed with a dishwasher as it will be irremediably...
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Moka Pots are generally the best choice for serious coffee enthusiasts who do not mind doing a bit more work each morning to achieve the highest quality cup of coffee possible.

They are also small and light, making them great options for those who have limited kitchen space.


  • Produces high-quality coffee that is very concentrated in terms of flavor and strength
  • Very durable design that is also generally fairly affordable
  • Does not take up an electrical socket in the kitchen


  • Requires a fair amount of labor and cleanup each morning compared to other models
  • Some people prefer a more mild cup of coffee that is less caffeinated
  • Requires the use of a traditional stove or an external burner

Espresso Maker

Espresso machines come in a wide variety of different styles and sizes, and there are enough different options to choose from to suit the needs of many different espresso enthusiasts.

There are also pod based espresso machines available, which are very convenient and mess-free.


  • There are a wide variety of different brands and models to choose from
  • Can be used with high-end espresso beans to make coffee shop-quality espresso
  • Very versatile and can be used to make a wide variety of different drinks


  • Some people prefer the strength and taste of traditional coffee drinks
  • Machines with more features can be fairly expensive
  • Requires the use of an electrical outlet in the kitchen

Coffee and Espresso Making Alternatives

coffee and espresso making alternatives

While espresso machines and Moka Pots are both popular ways of making highly caffeinated coffee and espresso beverages, there are some people who prefer to enjoy more traditional-style coffee beverages.

We have highlighted three of the top options when it comes to other styles of coffee makers.

1. French Press Coffee Makers

The French Press is a traditional style of coffee-making device that utilizes a “low tech” design to produce very flavorful coffee. It is a fairly simple design involving a cylinder and a plunger-like filter, which is both durable and simple to operate.

While there are a wide variety of different French Press devices on the market to choose from, Bodum is by far the industry leader and produces the majority of the most popular models on the market today.

2. Iced Coffee Makers

There are some people that prefer iced coffee beverages to hot ones, and the majority of the coffee makers on the market are not capable of producing high-quality iced coffee.

Making iced coffee without a dedicated machine can be complicated and lead to a diluted and watery product.

The majority of iced coffee makers on the market are both affordable and small, making them great options for iced coffee enthusiasts on a budget or those who live in small spaces.

The Mr. Coffee Iced Coffee Maker is one of the top-selling models on the market.

3. Pour Over Coffee Makers

Bodum 11571-109 Pour Over Coffee Maker with Permanent Filter
  • Note: 1)Too coarse a grind, too little coffee, or insufficiently tamping the grounds before brewing can all lead to inadequate pressure for a proper brew. 2)It is important to note that the amount of...
  • Does not trap essential oils of your Coffee in a paper filter, and makes a beautiful slow-brew
  • Includes a Permanent stainless steel mesh filter; no paper filters or capsules needed
  • Mouth-blown borosilicate glass, dishwasher safe
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Like French Press devices, pour-over coffee devices are low-tech innovations that are used to make high-quality coffee drinks. They feature an hourglass-like shape where a filter holds the espresso beans in the top portion.

Hot water is then poured over the top of the ground espresso beans, and the resulting coffee is collected in the bottom portion of the device.

Many people enjoy the simplicity and durability of pour-over coffee makers, and Bodum makes some of the top devices on the market.

Moka Pot vs Espresso Machine – Conclusion

While both the Moka Pot and espresso makers are used to make strongly caffeinated beverages each morning, they produce very different drinks using different processes.

Moka Pots produce a distinctly strong style of coffee that is highly caffeinated compared to drip coffee, while espresso makers can be used to make everything from simple shots of espresso to lattes and cappuccinos.

About The Author

Ryan Marshall

Ryan is a full time freelance writer who can most often be found on the disc golf course or local coffee shop when not behind a keyboard. He is an avid traveler and lover of all things sports and outdoors. Ryan is also a certified level one sommelier, and is endlessly curious about the world of high end beverages. Writing about wine, coffee, and other specialty beverages has given him a chance to take a deeper dive into his research, and he loves helping people find the perfect drink for their palates and preferences!

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