One thing that most coffee aficionados agree on (and this is a pretty rare happening!), is how a good espresso shot can totally change your life – at least when it comes to your coffee drinking preferences.
But let’s face it, not all of us can afford a high-end feature-packed espresso machine and making daily trips to the coffee shop isn’t the best idea either, whether for your wallet or your time.
The solution? Well, searching for a cheaper alternative that doesn’t butcher the unique taste of espresso has led to the question: Moka pot vs AeroPress coffee – which makes better espresso?
This question is a subject of debate among members of the coffee community. Some appreciate the ease of use of the Moka pot, while others think that the speed of the AeroPress makes it superior.
We’re giving you a full showdown between the two coffee makers so you can decide for yourself who is the real winner.
Can you Make Espresso with an AeroPress?
The short answer to this question is yes and no. Don’t get worked up just yet, it’ll make sense soon!
You see, an Aeropress can make espresso, but not the authentic version you get from an espresso machine. So, it’s best to put it like this: an Aeropress can make espresso-like coffee, and it does a pretty decent job for a coffee maker that’s not meant for making espresso.
But if you’ve got high hopes of getting coffeeshop-grade espresso, you better look elsewhere. That being said, let’s dive deeper into that.
How an AeroPress Works
Inside an AeroPress machine, the coffee grounds are completely submerged in water during the entire brewing process. This is the main selling point of the AeroPress, and it’s the reason why it takes very little time to brew smooth, rich coffee.
Basically, you allow the coffee grounds to steep in the Aeropress (typically for 1 minute at 175°F – 205°F), then you use a plunger to apply pressure and push coffee through a filter and into your mug. Sounds familiar?
The Difference between AeroPress Espresso and Real Espresso
You’re probably thinking that the operation of an AeroPress is very similar to how an espresso machine works, and you’re right. It is just about the same concept, but there’s one major difference: the amount of pressure used in brewing.
On one hand, espresso makers generate an average of 9 bars of pressure to create true espresso. That’s about 640 pounds of pressure in normal people’s language. This immense power is what creates the unique crema of espresso shots.
On the other hand, an Aero Press machine is only capable of producing 0.35 to 0.75 bars of pressure according to the official website, which is about 25 to 50 pounds.
Looking at the numbers, you can tell there’s a huge difference between the two coffee makers.
Not only is it simply impossible for a person to generate 640 pounds of pressure using an Aeropress, but even if you could, the device itself isn’t designed to produce or withstand such pressure.
Granted, you can get a small layer of foam when you apply a lot of pressure and use fine grounds in the Aeropress, but only a machine with at least a few levers can achieve the distinct crema of espresso.
But hey, don’t lose hope just yet, the Aeropress is still a marvelous coffee machine that offers an easy way to brew espresso-like coffee at home, without leaving your wallet several hundred bucks short.
In short, you can use an Aeropress to make espresso, not real espresso.
A combination of finely ground coffee, a small amount of hot water, and a very quick plunge will give you Aeropress espresso that’s pretty close but not quite there.
Sure, it’s less concentrated than true espresso and not as intense or crema-topped, but if it can be tasty and balanced if you do it right.
How does a Moka Pot work?
A Moka pot, also known as a stovetop coffee maker, is a machine that uses basic physics to brew a distinctly strong cup of coffee. It consists of 3 compartments: one for water, one for the coffee grounds, and one receives the finished product.
When you place the Moka pot on the stove, the water heats up and produces steam. This will cause the pressure in the bottom chamber to increase, forcing the water to travel up through a filter basket (Types of Coffee Filters) where the coffee grounds are loaded. Eventually, the water is pushed into the top compartment where it becomes ready for pouring.
Manufacturers often refer to Moka pots as stovetop espresso makers, but technically speaking, this isn’t exactly accurate.
As we mentioned above, espresso is a method of brewing that makes highly concentrated coffee with the use of pressure. By definition, espresso requires 8 to 10 bars of pressure to create, which is why espresso machines utilize about 9 bars of pressure.
Moka pots, however, generate approximately 1 to 1.5 bars of pressure only to make coffee. So, you’ll end up with a very strong, robust cup of coffee, but the machine still offers way less than the necessary pressure for brewing real espresso shots.
That being said, Moka pots are a great alternative for making espresso-like coffee at home without costing you a fortune. You can also use a Moka pot to make lattes and other sweetened coffee drinks if you don’t want to get a full-blown espresso machine (in such cases, most people barely notice the difference in flavor).
Is a Moka Pot cheaper than an AeroPress?
When it comes to the price of a Moka pot vs an Aeropress coffee maker, we can’t say there’s a clear winner between the two.
What we can say though, is that both machines are an excellent option for all coffee enthusiasts out there who can’t afford a high and mighty espresso machine.
Whether you decide to go for a Moka pot or an Aeropress, you’re talking about an average cost of just $30.
If you’re willing to throw in a few extra bucks, some brands offer great bundle deals where you get extra filters as well for the Aeropress. Similarly, the prices may go down by a couple of bucks depending on the vendor or the opportunity of a sale.
A $30 price range is already affordable for most people, but it’s also worth mentioning how budget-friendly these coffee makers are when compared to espresso machines.
Although there are espresso machines that cost less than $40, higher quality models can get as expensive as $800 to $1000! Moreover, espresso machines of professional or commercial level can easily cost you over $20,000!
So, to answer the question at hand: no, a Moka pot isn’t cheaper than an Aeropress. Both coffee makers basically cost the same, which is tons less than a quality espresso machine.
Is it Faster to Make Espresso with an AeroPress?
For many coffee lovers, the choice between a Moka pot and an Aeropress will come down to brew speed.
That’s because most of us have our daily fix of coffee in the morning, so it needs to be ready as quickly as possible in case we’re in a hurry. Whether you’re rushing to work, to school, or any sort of appointment, a machine that brews coffee fast will prove to be extremely valuable.
So, is it faster to make espresso with an Aeropress than with a Moka pot? Yes – you can bet on it.
Using an Aeropress, the entire brewing process will take you less than 1 minute to complete, and under 5 minutes if you count the prepping (for example, boiling water and grinding beans).
As for a Moka pot, the brew time will take at least 5 to 10 minutes depending on how fast you bring your water to a boil. Actually, it’s better for the espresso flavor if you leave your Moka pot on low heat, but this will cost you extra minutes.
Which Coffee Tastes Better?
Now, that’s a tough one. Not because one actually tastes better than the other, but because it really depends on which brew hits the right spot on each individual’s unique palate. So, keep in mind that it’s a matter of personal preference
For reference, true espresso is rich, bright, aromatic, very intense, and has a syrupy, heavy body. There should be a layer of fine crema on top of the shot, which lasts a minute or so before dissolving back into the shot.
Then, what do a Moka pot espresso and an Aeropress espresso taste like? Let’s see.
They’re both rich, aromatic, and pretty concentrated with a slightly heavier than normal body. Both shots will have a thin layer of large bubbles on top, but it doesn’t last long and quickly decays back into the coffee.
In general, they’re delicious and balanced, but the Moka pot espresso is a bit more oily and silty, while the Aeropress espresso is cleaner with a syrupy mouthfeel.
Which Coffee Maker is of Higher Quality?
Another important aspect to consider in the Moka pot vs Aeropress showdown is the construction quality. In other words, the quality of the material from which the coffee maker is made.
Typically made in Italy, a Moka pot is almost always 100% aluminum (with the exception of plastic handles).
The Aeropress, on the other hand, is 100% BPA-free plastic and is made in the United States.
As far as coffee maker quality goes, the ultimate winner comes down to what material you feel more comfortable when working with.
However, if you’re wondering which one is more durable, once again, it’s very close but the Aeropress seems to pull ahead.
In Moka pots, the filter basket will require replacement after some time. In the Aeropress, you’ll only need to replace is the rubber end of the plunger, but this may take years until you have to deal with it.
Is it Easier to Use a Moka Pot or an AeroPress?
In our opinion: yes, using a Moka pot is easier than an Aeropress and here’s why:
The operation of a stovetop coffee maker is a whole lot more straightforward than a manual plunger device – How to Make Coffee with a Stovetop Percolator.
Once you fill it with water, add the coffee grounds, and place your pot over the flame, the most complicated task is keeping an eye on the coffee and making sure you remove it from the heat at the right time. Honestly, it’s not hard at all.
The Aeropress is simple enough in theory, but it’s a more hands-on experience that leaves more room for user error with all the timing, stirring/shaking, and plunging.
One thing to point out is that the Aeropress is heaps easier to clean than any coffee maker out there, including the Moka pot. You just push the exhausted grounds out and give it a quick rinse.
Does an AeroPress Make Coffee Faster?
Yes, short and simple. Whether you’re making espresso or regular coffee, an Aeropress will get the job done notably faster than a Moka pot. We’re possibly talking about a 1-minute vs 10-minute brew time!
Phew! That was a lot of coffee talk. But hey, you can never have too much of that! We hope today’s article has helped you answer the question: Moka pot vs AeroPress coffee – which makes better espresso?
In all simplicity, we think the choice comes down to two factors: brew time and ease of use.
If you don’t have much time on your hands and you’re willing to put some muscles into work, then you should have no issues making espresso with an AeroPress. But you’ll have to time the process and steadily plunge the coffee, so make sure you’re up for the challenge.
Moka pots, however, are more suitable if you can spare several minutes to make it happen. On the bright side, you won’t have to do anything to brew your espresso once you start heating the pot. You’re just supposed to wait for the water to boil and let the machine do the rest.