Moka Pot vs Percolator – Which One Is For You?

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There are many coffee makers on the market, but it is not easy to find ones with the vintage appeal of Moka pots and percolators. In spite of the outward similarities, the differences between Moka pot vs percolator remain clear. 

Moka pots – often referred to as stove top espresso makers – produce small pots of concentrated coffee. On the contrary, percolators are known for making large batches of average-strength coffee.

In this blog, we will provide you with a detailed comparison of Moka pot and percolator. We believe the following information can assist you in making a better choice. Let’s get started!

Moka Pot vs Percolator

Brewing Process 

No matter it is a Moka pot or percolator, here are 6 things you need to prepare before brewing coffee:

  • Water
  • Coffee Beans
  • Coffee Grinder
  • Measuring Spoon
  • Mug
  • Sugar, Honey, Syrup, etc

Moka Pot

Moka pot is among the simplest and most long-standing methods of making coffee. A typical Moka pot includes three parts, namely: the bottom chamber (the water boiler), the coffee filter basket, and the top chamber (the collecting chamber).

You can start making Moka pot coffee by filling the bottom chamber with water. Then putting finely ground coffee into the filter basket. After that, place the Moka pot on the stovetop and wait till water produces steam.

Once the pressure created by water steam is enough, it forces water up into the main chamber through the coffee. It is when all water boils away that you can enjoy your hot drink.

Percolator

Percolator is single-unit equipment that resembles a standard coffee pot. It has a water chamber and a long tube connecting the bottom chamber to the filter basket. Though some models of percolator use paper filters, most filter baskets are made up of puncture metal.

Percolator is, to some extent, similar to Moka pot. To make a cup of java with a percolator, you need water, coffee, and a heat source such as a stove. The way of assembling these two brewers is also remarkably alike. 

The first difference between Moka pots and percolators lies in their mechanism. The percolator does not use high pressure to push ground coffee up. Instead, heated water travels from the bottom chamber to the coffee basket using a pipeline structure and drains under the influence of gravity.

Here is the most remarkable distinction: Brewed coffee is not collected in percolators. In detail, after draining, coffee comes back to the bottom chamber, where it is heated and begins another operating cycle. The coffee gets stronger over time. Although 5-7 minutes is sufficient for a balanced brew, most users simply leave it running till they finish drinking the coffee.

Coffee Grind

In Moka pots, the water exposes to the coffee so quickly that a fine grind is required to get the best extraction. 

For percolators, we suggest using a coarse grind. Due to longer steeping time, the larger particles release their goodness more slowly. The use of too fine grind in percolators may lead to extreme bitterness and over-extraction.

This distinction looks minor, but it plays an integral role in shaping the flavor.

If you want to take advantage of available flavor in the brewing process, consider owning a burr grinder. While a blade grinder is hard to control, the burr grinder brings an evener and much more consistent outcome.

Type of Roast

There is no difference between Moka pots and Percolators when choosing the type of roast. You can use both dark-roasted beans and light-roasted beans with the two coffee makers. But, noticing the differences between these beans is important in making a coffee mug that best suits your taste.

Light-roasted coffee beans are normally moister and denser. These beans also have a herbal flavor.

Although dark-roasted beans have a stronger flavor, they contain far less caffeine and moisture. Their taste is a mixture of nuts and caramel.

In other words, to make a strong cup of coffee with a huge quantity of caffeine, we prefer light-roasted coffee to dark-roasted coffee.

Taste

Moka Pot

Moka pots give you coffee that tastes somewhat similar to that espresso. The coffee is robust and served in tiny doses. So what distinguishes Moka pot coffee from espresso? 

Moka pot does not have crema – a smooth microbubble layer, which makes espresso famous. Thus, in comparison with espresso, Moka pot coffee seems to be less popular. 

If you desire to have home espresso but still hesitate to spend a fortune on a deluxe coffee machine, Moka pot will be a perfect replacement. 

Some may find the flavor of Moka pot coffee too strong. Should you have the same feeling, try mixing it with steamed milk or creamer.

Percolator

Sip a cup of coffee made from a percolator, you will feel a bitter kick in the tongue’s tip. While the bitterness in percolator coffee results from high temperature, long-brewing time is likely to cause over-extraction. These factors explain why some coffee drinkers do not enjoy the flavor of Percolator.

However, as you can stop brewing whenever you want, you can have tailor-made coffee. Thus, as long as you have control over time, your coffee will still be tasty.

Price

When you buy a brewer, you do not just buy a machine to make caffeine-filled beverages. What you purchase is the experience of indulging yourself and kicking off a new day. We make sure Moka pot and Percolator will bring about this experience.

The price of coffee makers depends on many factors, including size, brand, and the number of features. So, comparing between these coffee pots is a lame comparison.

Fortunately, percolators and Moka pots are both affordable for most users. As the latter is more specialized and integrates more features, the expense for Moka pot is a little higher.

Consequently, we must say percolators might be a better choice for users with very tight budgets.

Brewing Time

In general, the Moka pot has a shorter brewing time than the percolator. If you want to get a cup of coffee quickly, this is one of the factors that you should think about.

Reliability

Two main materials for making Moka pots are polished aluminum and steel. It will not break unless struck by a hammer. In addition to stainless steel, manufacturers also utilize glass to produce percolators.

Another thing you should be careful with when using a Moka pot is its small handle. The handle is heat resistant, but just to a certain point. After exposing too closely to open the flame, it will begin to melt. Concerning this aspect, percolators seem to have an edge over Moka pots.

Provided that you still decide to own a Moka pot, we strongly recommend choosing an aluminum one. Aluminum pots conduct heat more effectively than steel and are less likely to cause uneven extraction.

Convenience

If you are a big fan of household appliances but worried about cleaning, Both of the coffee makers will not fail to satisfy you.

The cleaning process of these brewers is simple. All you need to do is disassemble the device, discard coffee grounds and rinse. But, in some models of percolator, you should be cautious when removing the coffee basket from the vertical tube.

To remove stains, you had better clean your coffee maker thoroughly on a regular basis. Fortunately, instead of using specialized descaling tablets, household ingredients are enough to clean a Moka pot and percolator.

About convenience, we will give the two brewers the same score.

Quick Rundown of Mola Pots And Percolators

Generally, there are three most obvious similarities between Moka pots and percolators. 

  • Both of them can be used on either a campfire or a stove.
  • They are made from solid materials, which makes them very easy to transport. 
  • You can customize your coffee based on your taste with these two brewers.

After discussing similarities, let’s grasp the pros and cons of each coffee maker.

Moka Pot

Pros:

  • Strong, concentrated coffee
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Affordable
Cons:

  • Only suitable for making a small amount of coffee
  • Too strong for some drinkers

Percolator

Pros:

  • Suitable for making large amounts of coffee
  • Convenient to use
Cons:

  • Prone to over-extraction and bitterness

Wrap-up

From our point of view, there is no one-size-fits-all brewer at all. You had better make up your mind based on your priority.

If you value the taste, Moka pots will be a must-have. With this tiny brewer, you can even have americanos and cappuccinos at home. On the other hand, it can only brew small batches. So, Moka pots are a bad choice if you have a large group to serve. In this case, we suggest switching to a percolator.

A percolator can make many cups at a time, so it is great to have it at the office or on a camping trip with friends. But, bear in mind that flavor is not the selling point of this coffee maker.

That is all about the comparison of Moka pot vs percolator.

We hope you find the above information helpful. Moka pots will be our go-to coffee maker. What about you?

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Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. Madelyn Doyle graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California and finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).