AeroPress vs Moka Pot: Which One is Best for You?

Options, options, options… Moka pot or AeroPress? Dark roast or light roast? In the coffee world there seem to be so many choices and knowing which is the better option for you can be tricky.

The difference between an AeroPress and Moka pot is a very valid one. Both of them make espresso-like coffee but in completely different ways. I’ll first give you an overview of what both of them are but you can skip to the part with the comparison between an AeroPress and Moka pot.

An open moka pot with coffee grounds in.

What is a Moka Pot?

Moka pots have been around since 1933. It was thought up by an Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti. His idea was to bring the pleasures that an espresso machine brings to the homes of coffee lovers. This way they could enjoy a delicious cup of coffee.

Another name for this portable coffee maker is “Bialetti Moka Express”.

This coffee brewer has three parts namely, a bottom chamber, a top chamber, and a metal filter.

Origin of the Name: Moka Pot

The city of Mocha in Yemen has been associated with coffee since its founding. It played a big role in the coffee world. The highlands surrounding Mocha are some of the places where coffee plants flourish. With Mocha being a port city on the Red Sea, this made them a key part of the coffee trade. By the 1700s when the Europeans learned of this wonderful beverage the export business for their Arabica coffee beans boomed.

Mocha had been the chief export port for Arabia for a very long time and in honor of its contribution to coffee, Bialetti named his device after the place where the coffee trade started.

How does a Moka Pot work?

When using a Moka pot to brew coffee you put the ground coffee into the filter and fill the bottom chamber with hot water. As the water temperature rises, the pressure in the brewer starts to build up. When the water starts to boil, the steam is forced through the coffee grounds, filling the top chamber with strong coffee.

Open moka pot that has brewed coffee in the top chamber.

Coffee is made in a Moka pot on a stove, which, is where its more common name, stovetop espresso maker comes from. The steam pressure caused by the heat is what extracts the wonderful, flavorful coffee.

Bialetti Brikka

The Bialetti Brikka is a variation of the classic Moka pot. It has an added pressure-activated valve where the coffee comes out. Due to the added pressure during the brewing process, you can make a more espresso-like coffee with it.

What is an AeroPress?

In 2005 Alan Adler got frustrated with overly bitter coffee. As an engineer, he decided to put his skills to use and designed a device that can produce a sweet, but strong cup of coffee.

AeroPress standing on a table.

An AeroPress is based on the idea that shortening the brewing time will cause a sweeter cup of coffee. However, to be able to extract the coffee so fast pressure is needed.

An AeroPress consists of a plastic tube that acts as a brewing chamber. On one side of the chamber is a filter cap and on the other a plunger.

How Does an AeroPress Work?

An AeroPress works by adding coffee grounds into what is called the brewing chamber. You then fill up the chamber with hot water. After letting it brew, you plunge the coffee through a filter into your cup.

AeroPress Go

The AeroPress Go is a travel version of the normal one. It is smaller and consequently, it also produces less coffee (about 8oz as compared to 10oz by the original).

Furthermore, it has a cup for you to drink your coffee.

AeroPress Filters

There are two kinds of filters that can be used with AeroPress coffee makers; one is a metal filter and the other is a paper filter.

There are quite a few differences between these two kinds of filters and thus a few things to consider before you buy AeroPress filters.

AeroPress Attachments

An AeroPress is quite versatile in that you can add attachments that will influence the brewed coffee. The first is Prismo invented by Jeremy Kumpel for the US company, Fellow. The other is JoePresso which was thought up by Roman Rabinovic.

Coffee made using the Prismo is more espresso-like as compared to using the AeroPress without an attachment. The JoePresso takes it a step further and closer to real espresso.

AeroPress standing on a glass.

AeroPress vs Moka Pot

Both of these portable brewers can make a great cup of coffee. Both use pressure to extract concentrated coffee. Neither will give you true espresso because the pressure in them cannot reach the 9 bars that normal espresso makers do. Yet, they do produce espresso-style coffee, which cannot be said of the coffee that is produced by, for example, a drip coffee maker.

However, on almost every other terrain they are quite different. This begs the question, which is the best option for me to have the perfect morning coffee?

Taste

The first difference between a Moka pot and AeroPress is in the taste of the coffee that they produce. While coffee from a Moka pot has a rich taste that is creamy with a medium to heavy body, coffee made in an AeroPress is sweeter and not very bitter at all (if it even is bitter) with a light or medium body. However, as I mentioned earlier you can add attachments to the AeroPress which will alter. European Coffee Trip has an amazing video in which they compare the Fellow Prismo and JoePresso and talk about the different flavors of the coffee produced by the AeroPress with and without attachment.

Temperature While Brewing

A Moka pot needs high temperatures (boiling water) to build up enough pressure to push the steam through the grounds. Whereas, Adler, the inventor of the AeroPress intended that his device be used with water at a temperature of 175°F/8°C in order to produce a light and sweet cup of coffee. However, once again, the AeroPress is quite versatile in this regard and you can experiment with different temperatures to find the one that provides you with the taste that you prefer. You can even make cold-brew coffee. A Moka pot on the other hand is not quite so versatile.

Moka pot with a white cup next to it.

Filters

A Moka pot has a metal filter basket. On the other hand, an AeroPress was intended to be used with filter paper by its inventor, Adler. However, many people also use a metal filter, because like with temperature, coffee enthusiasts are free to explore the different methods of using the device to make their perfect brew. Furthermore, using attachments with the AeroPress gives you even more options when it comes to filters.

Pressure

A normal AeroPress brewer will provide you with about 0,5 bars of pressure. This can be altered a bit by using attachments. In comparison, a Moka pot will produce about 1,5 bars.

Portability

While the AeroPress is a bit smaller and lighter than a Moka Pot, you have quite a lot of other things that have to go along. You need a source of hot water such as a kettle and you also have to account for filters. Whereas a Moka pot can be used as is although it is a bit heavier (being made from aluminum or stainless steel as compared to plastic) and has an awkward shape to fit into luggage. You will also need a stove which is not the case with an AeroPress.

AeroPress with coffee that is brewing in.

Ease of Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning an AeroPress is much more convenient than a Moka pot.

An AeroPress has some dry much left after brewing that is easy to dispose of and the same goes for the paper filter. The metal filter you would have to wash, but this isn’t rocket science. If you want you can even put the device in the dishwasher and let it do the work for you.

Conversely, a Moka pot can be quite a hassle to clean. An aluminum Moka pot cannot be put in the dishwasher and you also have to be careful which detergents you use on it. On the other hand, stainless steel Moka pots are a bit easier to clean as it is more durable and can withstand more. You can even put it in the dishwasher. However, you will still need to clean some built-up residue from time to time that the dishwasher simply cannot get to. This is quite important as such residue can cause your coffee to be bitter. (Here are some tips on how to clean a Moka pot).

Brew Time

Many people warm up the water before putting it in the Moka pot to speed up the process and with an AeroPress you also have to start with hot water. From here a Moka pot takes about 5 minutes to brew and an AeroPress 2-3 minutes. But, you can adjust the time with an AeroPress according to taste.

All of these are just rough estimates, though, and it all depends on the speed at which you can produce hot water and your stove (when it comes to a Moka pot). In the end, these two take about the same time and I wouldn’t base my decision of which is the better choice on brewing time.

Open moka pot with brewed coffee in.

Ease of Use

Neither of these two brewers is too hard to figure out. Also, both need monitoring as the strength of your coffee from an AeroPress is linked to time, you’d need to time the brewing process. The same goes for a Moka pot because if you leave it on the stove for too long, your coffee might have a burnt taste.

Aesthetic Appeal

Let’s face it a Moka pot is much prettier than an AeroPress. There are also a lot of design options other than the iconic octagonal one. You can find one with a whole different design or color. An AeroPress only comes in the normal plastic form with lettering on it.

Durability

An AeroPress is made from plastic, which is not the material with the greatest longevity. However, you can buy replacement parts separately, which will help extend the life of your device.

A Moka pot might last you a bit longer with it being metal and all, however, the rubber seal might say good night after a while. Yet, like with an AeroPress you can replace it.

AeroPress next to coffee beans

Cost

To start off the two brewers cost about the same. However, if you keep in mind that you have to replace an AeroPress’s filter (paper filters) each time that you use it, you might realize that the cost will be more in the long run. Furthermore, the plastic of an AeroPress is more fragile than the metal of a Moka pot and the cost of the replacement parts might start to pile up eventually. With a Moka pot you would just have to replace the seal from time to time.

Amount of Cups Made

An AeroPress has a very limited capacity and can only provide as much as 10oz/296ml (8oz/237ml if you are using an AeroPress Go) of coffee at a time, which is not sufficient for a big group of people. You also have to clean it and change the filter (if you are using paper filters) after each round of coffee which means you will be at it for quite a while.

However, a Moka pot comes in various sizes (1, 3, 6, 9, or 12 cups of coffee) making it a great option if you like to entertain bigger groups of people. Furthermore, you can make another batch much faster than with an AeroPress.

Moka pot with brewed coffee in.

Health Considerations

The natural oils in coffee can have an impact on your LDL cholesterol levels. The paper filters of an AeroPress remove these oils whereas they are not removed when you are using a Moka pot. However, the amount might not be quite enough to make a drastic difference. The importance of this will differ from one person to the next.

Grind Size

A Moka pot works best with a fine to medium ground and an Aeropress with a medium to coarse ground. However, either of them could work with a different grind and you have to adjust it according to personal preference.

Roast

The best roast of coffee beans to use in a Moka pot is medium or dark, but in an AeroPress, you can use any level of roast that your heart desires.

Crema

The AeroPress itself doesn’t produce crema, not even when you use the Fellow Prismo. However, when using the JoePresso attachment, you will get a form of crema. A Moka pot might also be able to give you a hint if it.

Moka pot with crema-like foam.

Summary: Moka Pot vs AeroPress

I think that the choice between these two brewers is a highly personal one and that there is no clear winner. Here is a summary of the information:

Similarities Between the Two

  1. Both are roughly the same price at the start
  2. Both are quite easy to use
  3. Both can be used when traveling
  4. Both have about the same brewing time

Areas Where the Moka Pot is Better:

  1. The filters don’t need changing
  2. A bit higher pressure makes the coffee closer to real espresso
  3. Prettier
  4. A bit more durable
  5. A greater capacity
  6. Bolder, heavier taste

Areas Where the AeroPress Wins:

  1. More versatile in taste
  2. Cleans easier
  3. More lightweight
  4. Brighter and sweeter taste

Which of these two coffee makers do you think is best? Tell me in the comments.

Leave a Reply