We often here the terms interchanged, often times, people say one but mean the other. A percolator and a Moka Pot are both coffee brewing devices, but they work in different ways to extract coffee from ground beans. Here are some key differences between the two:
- Method of brewing: A percolator uses hot water and gravity to circulate water through a bed of coffee grounds and extract the flavours and oils. The Moka Pot, on the other hand, uses steam pressure to force hot water through the coffee grounds, producing a stronger, more concentrated coffee.
- Type of coffee produced: Percolators tend to produce a weaker, more dilute coffee because the water is circulated through the grounds multiple times. The Moka Pot, on the other hand, produces a stronger, more concentrated coffee that is similar to espresso.
- Equipment needed: Percolators typically require a heat source (such as a stove or electric burner) to heat the water, as well as a separate chamber for the coffee grounds and a chamber for the brewed coffee. The Moka Pot consists of a base that holds the water, a funnel-shaped filter for the coffee grounds, and a pot for the brewed coffee. It can be used on a stovetop or other heat source.
- Size and capacity: Percolators come in a variety of sizes and can brew a large quantity of coffee at once. Moka Pots are typically smaller and are designed to brew a single serving of coffee (although larger sizes are available).
What is a Percolator coffee maker?
The percolator is a type of coffee brewing device that has been around for over 150 years. According to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the first percolator was patented in 1865 by James H. Mason, a U.S. patent attorney. The design of the percolator has changed over the years, but the basic principle of operation has remained the same: hot water is circulated through a bed of coffee grounds to extract the flavours and oils.
The first percolators were made of metal and had a chamber for the coffee grounds and a separate chamber for the water. The water was heated on a stove or other heat source, and as it heated up, it would rise through a tube and over the coffee grounds. The brewed coffee would then collect in a separate chamber at the top of the percolator.
Percolators gained popularity in the early 20th century and were often used in homes and restaurants. However, they fell out of favour in the 1970s and 1980s as other brewing methods, such as drip coffee makers and espresso machines, became more popular. Today, percolators are still used by some coffee enthusiasts, but they are not as common as other brewing methods.
What is a Moka Pot?
A Moka Pot is a type of stovetop espresso maker that uses steam pressure to extract coffee from ground beans. It was invented by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 and is named after the city of Mokha in Yemen, which was a major trading port for coffee in the 16th century.
The Moka Pot consists of a base that holds water, a funnel-shaped filter for the ground coffee, and a pot for the brewed coffee. To use a Moka Pot, you add water to the base, fill the filter with ground coffee, and place the pot on a stovetop or other heat source. As the water heats up, it creates steam pressure that forces the hot water through the coffee grounds and into the brewed coffee pot.
Moka Pots are popular for making espresso-style coffee at home and are a common sight in Italian households. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, and they produce a strong, concentrated coffee that is similar to espresso. Moka Pots come in a variety of sizes and can brew a single serving of coffee or several cups at a time.
What is Bialetti's role in the Moka Pot?
Bialetti is an Italian company that is known for its Moka Pot, a type of stovetop espresso maker that uses steam pressure to extract coffee from ground beans. The Moka Pot, which was first patented by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933, is a popular alternative to traditional espresso machines and is often used for making espresso-style coffee at home.
Bialetti's Moka Pot has gained widespread popularity and is often considered a design classic. The company has also expanded its product line to include other coffee makers and accessories, such as electric espresso machines and coffee grinders.
Is a Moka Pot or a Percolator best for home use?
It ultimately depends on your personal preferences and what type of coffee you prefer to make at home. Here are some points to consider when deciding between a Moka Pot and a percolator for home use:
- Type of coffee: If you prefer a stronger, more concentrated coffee, a Moka Pot may be the better choice. Moka Pots produce coffee that is similar to espresso, with a strong flavour and a creamy texture. Percolators tend to produce a weaker, more dilute coffee because the water is circulated through the grounds multiple times.
- Equipment needed: Moka Pots are relatively simple to use and only require a heat source (such as a stove or electric burner) and a Moka Pot. Percolators typically require a separate chamber for the coffee grounds and a chamber for the brewed coffee, and they may also require a heat source.
- Size and capacity: Moka Pots are typically smaller and are designed to brew a single serving of coffee (although larger sizes are available). Percolators come in a variety of sizes and can brew a large quantity of coffee at once, making them suitable for entertaining or for use in a large household.
- Ease of use: Both Moka Pots and percolators are relatively easy to use, but Moka Pots may be slightly easier to operate because they have fewer parts and require less monitoring.
Our Recommended Moka Pots
The Moka pot is a great starting point of getting into the rich textures of coffee brewing, without forking out a huge amount on an espresso machine, here are our recommendations of the best Moka pots to look into;
The Classic Bialetti
The Bialetti stovetop coffee brewer has stood the test of time, it is made from grade a aluminium, easy to use (more difficult to master) and makes beautifully rich coffee which you can dilute down with hot water or milk, or you can drink it straight. This is a 6-cup espresso maker, but you can choose a three cup if you will be making for one person more regularly.
A Modern Bialetti
This Bialetti is for those with an induction cooker, as the traditional ones are not compatible with modern induction hobs. This a 6 cup moka pot, similar to the one above, but if you are going to more frequently make coffee for one person, then a three cup induction moka pot will be more suitable.
A Cheaper Alternative Moka Pot
This is a no thrills moka pot that could serve as a gateway, the anodised aluminium doesn't last as long and can sometimes suffer from mould if not properly looked after., but it will still make great coffee at first, so if you just want to dip your toes in then this is a great starter.
Ultimately there is so much choice out there to make great coffee, and a moka pot is just one method of extracting great flavours from coffee. Of course it better suits darker roasts which are more forgiving in their acidity, but as a budding coffee connoisseur, experimenting with all the possibilities and combinations is what makes this hobby so interesting and rewarding. Give one a try today.