Bialetti Moka Pot Review 2021

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Photo: Michael Hession

Our choice

Bialetti Moka Express

This mocha pot – which of the four models we tested comes closest to Alfonso Bialetti’s original design – has a classic look, is extremely simple to use and brews coffee as rich and flavorful as that of n ‘any model we tested.

Purchase options

* At the time of publication, the price was $ 36.

Like most mocha pots we’ve tested, the Moka Express is simple but effective, light but robust, affordable and stylish. Its use is simple, unlike the traditional espresso machines (which require a little practice and know how and cost hundreds of dollars or more). It is also forgiving; Other than leaving it on the stove for too long and burning your coffee, there are very few ways to spoil it. The flavor of the drink it produces is richer than the results of most other mocha pots we tested, and far more than coffee from a French press or drip coffee maker. And with the sleepy eyes of the Omino con i baffi looking at yourself from the side of the pot, you are always keenly aware that you are using a tried and tested Italian gadget.

Although some people who could have used a Moka Express to brew their morning coffee are avoiding it for more recent innovations, such as the plastic tube. AeroPress, which can make an equally concentrated cup of coffee with greater clarity – Jessie Washburn of Blue Bottle says she offers a ritual simplicity and nostalgia that is unmatched by other coffee makers.

“At the start of my coffee life, it was my first regular brewer. I felt downright cosmopolitan leaving behind the plug-in coffee maker of my youth, ”says Washburn, recalling how her grandparents used a Moka Express to make coffee pots after lunch in their tiny New York kitchen. “The coffee was gurgling and hissing as my grandmother warmed up some milk. My grandfather took his black, with a little boiling water to open up the flavors and stretch the coffee.

Outside of Europe, mocha pots are especially popular in Cuban communities for making cubano coffee—A hot, sweet drink made by whisking sugar in the first few drops of coffee before adding the rest of the pot. Lourdes Castro, a Cuban-American nutritionist and director of New York University’s Food Lab, says everyone in Cuba has a pot of mocha at home – although they call it a cafeteria—And it’s most often the classic Moka Express.

“If you go into someone’s kitchen to make coffee and they don’t have silver and black, you might think they don’t know what they’re doing,” she said. . And it’s not just for a morning cup of coffee – cubano coffee is an all-day affair.

“In the morning, you can mix it with milk, making it a café con leche. And then in the afternoon you can take it after lunch, and certainly again around three or four o’clock – coffee time, ”says Castro, adding that it is also typical for some Cubans to drink a drink. cup the size of a dice per hour every hour.

Our tests

In my own kitchen in Saint-Louis, I performed a taste test with four 6-cup mocha pots: my Bialetti Moka Express, the Alessi Moka, the Grosche Milano Red, and stainless steel Ilsa Turbo Express. Dozens of variations are available, from The Scandinavian version of IKEA on the classic mocha pot with cute and colorful design from the MoMA Design Store Cocca Mocha to countless knockoffs on Amazon – but we concluded that the four models we chose represented the range of options well.

For about a week, I made 16 pots of coffee for my taste test. I made a café con leche with each pot of mocha using Cafe Bustelo, Piloncillo (a compact cone of brown sugar) and whole milk. I also made black coffee with Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic Espresso Beans, Intelligentsia house mix coffee beans, and Starbucks House Blend coffee beans in each – using the Baratza Again to grind the beans, the Escali Primo digital scale to weigh them, and the Bonavita BV382510V 1 liter gooseneck electric kettle for heating the water (you don’t need to pre-boil the water, but I think it works better, as I explain below). I also measured the time it took for each jar to brew 20 grams of grounds from start to finish. For each round of testing, I had my boyfriend pour about an ounce of coffee from each mocha pot into tea cups so I could blindly compare them.

Four porcelain coffee cups lie upside down on a table.  They are each labeled with a different letter on blue painter's tape.
We poured about an ounce of coffee from each mocha pot into tea cups for a blind taste test, which we repeated with several types of beans. Photo: Sarah Witman

I’m by no means a coffee expert (like I said, just started drinking it regularly over the past year or so), but found some obvious differences between the infusions in the jars. The Bialetti Moka Express performed the best overall, producing a smooth, full-bodied flavor profile – chocolaty, smoky and just a little sour – compared to the rest of the bunch. Alessi Moka’s beers were a bit more acidic and slightly less rich, but they were otherwise almost indistinguishable from the Bialetti. The results from the stainless steel Ilsa Turbo Express were drinkable, although a bit hollow and flat, and the beverages from the Grosche Milano Red were the worst – watery and tasteless.

The Bialetti pot that I have had for years – which my boyfriend and I have now suffered serious wear and tear on – seems for the most part foolproof. Other than a crack on the hinge (which is a stress point if you try to screw the top down with one hand, like I did), it didn’t suffer any major damage. The cast aluminum parts snap together easily and are fairly easy to clean. When the jar is not in use, it fits into my mid-century modern decor as a functional piece of art.

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