Moka Pot Vs Percolator (Which One Makes Better Coffee?)

Always wondered what the difference is between a Moka Pot vs percolator?

While they're both a type of coffee maker, they're actually two coffee makers that make very different types of coffee.

Here, we'll detail the differences between the two. From the types of coffee grounds you should use to which one produces the better-tasting coffee and more.

Is a Moka Pot a percolator? Even though Moka Pots and coffee percolators may seem quite similar, there are numerous differences between them.

The Brewing Process

One of the main differences between the two is the brewing process.

While they are both coffee makers of sorts, they brew two very different types of coffee.

Both the Moka Pot and the coffee percolator pass water through the coffee rather than letting the coffee grounds soak in water like a French Press coffee.

The difference here though, is the pressure. So how does the Moka Pot work?

When it comes to the coffee brewing process for the Moka Pot, you will add finely ground coffee into the small chamber at the base before filling the bottom with water and placing it over a stove.

As the boiling water rises, it is forced through the coffee up into the main chamber. Once the water has been boiled away, the coffee is ready.

With the coffee brewing process for the coffee percolator, the coffee is held in a basket by the lid (upper chamber) instead of the base.

When the water fills the percolator, it is forced through the pipe-like structure and into the coffee basket, where it slowly drains through the grounds.

As mentioned, the main difference between both brewing methods is the pressure. While Moka Pots use high pressure, percolators drain slowly with the help of gravity.

moka pot and coffee beans

Convenience

When it comes to convenience, both Moka Pots and percolators are easy to use and have relatively simple brewing processes.

When comparing the two, however, percolators are slightly easier as they don't need special fine ground coffee.

Overall, however, both are easy to maintain and don't come with any loose parts you need to remove.

If you're with many coffee drinkers, however, a percolator would probably be the better option as you're able to brew a larger batch of coffee at once.

Flavor & Taste

When it comes to flavor, Moka Pots tend to win against Coffee Percolators. Not only does a Moka Pot produce rich coffee that's strong and bold, but it beats the percolator's flavor.

It also isn't bitter and is exceptionally robust - making it a favorite for coffee lovers.[1]

In fact, most coffee lovers will consider the coffee that a Moka Pot produces to be delicious coffee. Percolator coffee, on the other hand, can be hit-and-miss.

At times you might get a regular coffee brew, while other times, you could end up making a coffee bitter.

If you want to make concentrated coffee that's both a strong coffee and an espresso-like coffee, then you definitely want to go for a Moka Pot.

Taste-wise, the Moka Pot coffee tastes quite similar to an espresso coffee.

While it doesn't have a layer of microbubbles on top - also known as crema, they are both strong and consumed in small amounts.

In comparison, a percolator pot produces regular strength coffee that tastes like your regular cup of coffee from a drip machine. Just add steamed milk, and you're good to go.

The Design & Construction

Even though both coffee makers have a very similar design - looking like stylish kettles- they're quite different in design and construction.

What is a Moka Pot? Moka Pots have three parts - a bottom chamber, a filter basket, and a top chamber.

The bottom chamber is where you place the water, and the filter basket is where you put the fine grind. Moka Pots are usually made of either aluminum or stainless steel.

Percolators, on the other hand, are typically made of aluminum, stainless steel, glass, or enamel. 

It can look different depending on the manufacturer and comes with a separate coffee basket and tube.

With the percolator, you would place the colder water in the kettle before brewing and the tube goes down into the water while the coffee basket sits on top.

Coffee Grind Sizes

Even though both the Moka Pot and the percolator look like coffee pots, they produce two very different types of coffee - thanks to the pressure and the coffee grind sizes.

While the Moka Pot uses finely ground coffee, percolators use medium-coarse to medium-ground coffee.

Moka Pots use fine grounds, as they brew coffee similar to an espresso machine. Both a Moka Pot and an espresso machine use pressure to brew the coffee.

Percolators use coarse grounds. The reason behind the coarser grind is that the coffee basket doesn't have a filter, so using coarse grounds helps to reduce the risk of over-extraction.

Coffee Grind Sizes From Coarse to Fine

Durability

Both these stovetop espresso makers are exceptionally durable as they're typically crafted with sturdy materials such as aluminum or stainless steel.[2]

Coffee percolators can also be made with enamel or glass, so if you decide to go with one of those designs, you would need to be extra careful as it's more fragile.

Portability

If you're someone that plans on brewing coffee while you're outdoors or on the go, you would want to consider getting a percolator - especially if you're a coffee lover that enjoys having multiple cups in one sitting.

As a percolator is more efficient, you won't have to worry about constantly making coffee. With a Moka Pot, on the other hand, it would only be able to brew a specific amount of coffee at a time.

Value For Money

One of the good things about these coffee makers is that they're both relatively affordable and cheaper than coffee machines and espresso machines.

Since Moka Pots are essentially a stovetop espresso maker, you're getting espresso-like coffee at home without the added cost.

The only downside to them is that you can only make a few ounces of coffee at a time.

Stainless steel coffee percolator

How A Moka Pot Works (Overview & Is It Right For You?)

Using a Moka Pot to brew coffee is a straightforward process. You use hot water to produce concentrated brewed coffee that's relatively delicious.

Steps For Moka Pot Brewed Coffee

  • 1
    Fill the lowest chamber with water
  • 2
    Add fine coffee grounds to the filter basket
  • 3
    Place the Moka Pot on the stovetop to heat the water
  • 4
    After 5 minutes or so, the steam from the hot water will push the coffee up into the funnel and into the upper chamber

Pros of the Moka Pot

  • Simple - you add the same amount of coffee and water every single time
  • Consistency - you get a balanced brew every single time with the same strength
  • Portable and convenient - easy to bring around
  • Strong coffee - If you’re a fan of strong coffee at the coffee shops, you’ll be pleased with the Moka Pot

Cons of the Moka Pot

  • It only produces a small batch of coffee at a time
  • Caffeine levels are high
  • You would need to observe the coffee during the eight-minute period

Overall though, when it comes to flavor, the Moka Pot wins.

It makes a coffee almost on par in depth and richness to an espresso - though it doesn't have the creamy flavor from the crema.

It's also fun to use, and is a step up from a drip coffee machine.

While it isn't the espresso you would get from an espresso coffee maker, it's similar, and you will also be avoiding uneven extraction.

moka pot brewing

How Percolators Brew Coffee (Who Is This Machine For?)

For a percolator, you're looking at more of a "set it and forget it" method. It uses a small amount of pressure, and the brewing method is also straightforward.

With regards to the heat source, you're looking at a stovetop as well.

Steps For Brewing Coffee With A Percolator

  • 1
    Add the medium grounds to the filter basket on the top of the percolator
  • 2
    Add water to the lower chamber
  • 3
    Set it over a heat source and the boiling water will rise through the tube and slowly drip over the coffee grounds

Pros of the Percolator

  • Easy to brew - great if you’re looking to get decent coffee that’s not excellent but drinkable
  • Adjust your strength - you can stop the brewing whenever you’d like
  • You can use them outside and bring them with you while you’re on the go
  • Produces a good amount of coffee at a time

Cons of the Percolator

  • Your coffee can become bitter if you end up over-extracting the grounds
  • You won’t be able to get the perfect cup of coffee every single time

A percolator is great if you're looking to make coffee over an open fire, but it's not necessarily the best option if you're particular about your coffee.

In terms of construction, however, they are robust, simple to use, and are cheaper than drip coffee makers. There's also a modern percolator - an electric version.

When it comes to how much coffee you'd like to drink, if you need more coffee and are constantly on the move, a percolator is exactly what you need.

preparing coffee with percolator

Common Moka Pot Vs Percolator Questions

Does a percolator make espresso?

No, percolators aren't made to brew espresso, though they can make a powerful cup of coffee. In fact, percolators typically make a large amount of coffee that's good for filling a coffee pot.

Can you make regular coffee in a Moka Pot?

Yes, you can technically make regular coffee in a Moka Pot. Most individuals prefer making Moka Pot coffee that's blended and has a perfect extraction yield.

Why does my Moka Pot coffee taste bitter?

If your Moka Pot coffee tastes bitter, you're likely using coffee beans that are over-roasted or stale, or you've over-brewed your coffee.

Can I use regular ground coffee in a percolator?

Yes, you can, but it's not recommended. If you don't use medium-coarse grounds, you run the risk of having grounds in your coffee.

How long do you steep coffee in a percolator?

It depends on the strength you'd like your coffee to be, but ideally, you'd want your percolator coffee to have percolated for about seven to 10 minutes in even heat - something you won't need to worry about with electric percolators.


Final Verdict

When it comes to a percolator vs Moka Pot, it's obvious that they both have different brewing methods and produce two different types of coffee.

Both Moka Pots and Percolators are fantastic purchases. If you're someone that enjoys coffee that's similar to espresso, a Moka Pot is the way to go.

On the other hand, if you like consuming large amounts of coffee at a time, a percolator would be the better choice.

References:

1. https://aapt.scitation.org/doi/10.1119/1.2358157
2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/293653225_Aluminium_The_metal_of_choice 

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