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Bialetti Moka Express Review

The Bialetti Moka Express is a classic Italian stovetop espresso maker that impressed us with its consistent flavor and easy care.
Bialetti Moka Express
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $45 List | $34.49 at Amazon
Pros:  Consistently excellent flavor, brews quickly, easy to use and clean, versatile
Cons:  Made out of aluminum, expensive, if you don't like espresso you will want to add water or milk
Manufacturer:   Bialetti
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 28, 2019
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 20
  • Taste - 40% 8
  • Ease of Use - 25% 9
  • Group Cooking - 15% 8
  • Portability - 10% 4
  • Weight - 10% 3

Our Verdict

The Bialetti Moka Express 9-Cup is an Italian classic, serving up strong thick espresso right from the stovetop. It's easy to use without having to measure or weigh anything, and it brews quickly, equating to less fuel use over time. Yielding about 18-ounces of coffee, the "9-Cup" designation refers to 2-ounce espresso servings which can be consumed as is, or used as the base in Americanos or lattes. Easy to clean, the Bialetti delivers excellent flavor profiles, even when changing up the brew ratio to make a more drip-style coffee. This is a great brewer to consider if you will be camping with a larger group because it's easy to use and consistently produces a great result.

While we genuinely love the Bialetti, it's often better to have something less specialized if you're with a group. Our Top Pick for Large Groups, the Planetary Designs French Press is a fantastic option for mornings with multiple people. And if the size and weight of both of these is a deal-breaker, take a gander at the GSI Outdoors Collapsible Java Drip, a simple pour-over cone that is quite light and can be loaded up with grounds if you need to brew for a larger crew.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Bialetti Moka Express
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $34.49 at Amazon$7.48 at Amazon$15.99 at Amazon$6 ListCheck Price at Amazon
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Pros Consistently excellent flavor, brews quickly, easy to use and clean, versatileGourmet flavor, well-conceived design, ceramic version available for home useNo filter needed, great taste, stylishLight, simple, affordable, design allows you to see level of coffee while brewingPacks down flat, produces a good cup, lightweight for non-plastic, works on top of many different-sized vessels
Cons Made out of aluminum, expensive, if you don't like espresso you will want to add water or milkSpecial shaped filters are harder to find, expensive for a plastic dripper, heavier than other brandsExpensive, requires water and more time to fully cleanNot as refined a flavor as the V60, bulkyCan collapse while brewing if not careful, certain filters hang very low due to large bottom hole
Bottom Line The Bialetti Moka Express is a classic Italian stovetop espresso maker that impressed us with its consistent flavor and easy care.The iconic pour over model in a light plastic package, delivering a consistently great flavor.The best model that does not require filters and one of the few that does not involve hot water on plastic.This is a very light and inexpensive pour over option that provides solid taste and stellar value.This collapsible stainless steel dripper is a bit on the heavy side but it folds down flat for easy travel and brews a nice cup.
Rating Categories Bialetti Moka Express Hario V60 Plastic Dripper Paperless Pour Over Melitta 1-Cup Pour-Over Collapsible Coffee Drip
Taste (40%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Ease Of Use (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Group Cooking (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
Portability (10%)
10
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4
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
Weight (10%)
10
0
3
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Specs Bialetti Moka... Hario V60 Plastic... Paperless Pour Over Melitta 1-Cup... Collapsible Coffee...
Weight 1 lb 9.6 oz dripper alone: 2.95 oz, dripper + scoop: 3.37 oz 3.3 oz 2.01 oz 4.8 oz
Brew Type Espresso/Percolator Pour Over Pour Over Pour Over Pour Over
Main Material Aluminum alloy Hard plastic Stainless steel Hard plastic Stainless steel
Filter needed? No Yes No Yes Yes
Notable Features Makes stovetop espresso that can be consumed as is or added to more water or milk Cone shape, large hole, ribs along side No filter pour over Can see cup without lifting dripper Collasible cone filter
Notes Easy to use and clean, can play with ratios and still get a good cup Makes strong, smooth coffee Requires some water to clean between uses Doesn't brew as well as the Hario dripper Folds down flat for easier transport than most other cone drippers

Our Analysis and Test Results

We love the Bialetti Moka Express 9-Cup and the options it provides for a larger group. Taking just minutes to brew, it gives consistently delightful results and the choice of enjoying strong Italian-style espresso or, with the addition of hot water, an excellent Americano for those that prefer a more drip-style cup.

Performance Comparison


While the Bialetti was perhaps not created with camping in mind  it fit right into our car camping routine and kept us caffeinated in style.
While the Bialetti was perhaps not created with camping in mind, it fit right into our car camping routine and kept us caffeinated in style.

Brew Features


A classic design that has been going strong since the 1950s, the Bialetti has a signature 8-sided shape that the manufacturer claims helps diffuse heat more evenly, enhancing the aroma of your coffee. Whether that's true or not, we weren't disappointed with the results. Requiring no filters, this brewer consists of three parts: the lower heating vessel, a stemmed filter chamber for the coffee, and a handled top that collects the coffee as it percolates up through the center. The pot is assembled and placed on a stovetop, where a gurgling sound informs you it's finished — on a good burner, the whole process takes mere minutes.

The three pieces of the Moka Express. While this is obviously more to contend with than a simple pour over cone  it's still a simple set up that's easy to keep track of.
The three pieces of the Moka Express. While this is obviously more to contend with than a simple pour over cone, it's still a simple set up that's easy to keep track of.

Taste


Stovetop espresso can be a bit of an acquired taste — it's certainly different than the smooth shots with beautiful crema that you receive at a cafe. However, if you're someone that loves thick, strong coffee, especially on early camp mornings, you will probably love this brewer. And, if you find the coffee too strong right out of the pot, simply add hot water at a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio for a lovely drip-style Americano — or add hot milk for a latte. We brewed many different kinds of beans on our Bialetti and it impressed us with its ability to retain the inherent flavor notes of whatever coffee we used without imparting any bitterness or nasty boiled-flavor.

We quite enjoyed the results from the classic Italian Bialetti Moka pot.
We quite enjoyed the results from the classic Italian Bialetti Moka pot.

Cooking with aluminum
The Moka Express is made from food-grade aluminum alloy, which might turn some people off. If you'd prefer to steer clear of aluminum, Bialetti does make smaller stainless steel options.

Ease of Use


While this brewer might look intimidating, it's actually very easy to use and clean. Fill the bottom chamber with water up to the valve, place the funnel filter inside and fill to the brim (or not if you want a brew more like drip and less like espresso), and screw the top on. Place it on the burner and heat until you hear that lovable gurgling sound. For cleaning, just unscrew the top and tap out the grounds. If you don't have water for a rinse, a simple wipe with a towel will do the trick.

Loading up the Bialetti was as simple as filling the filter chamber to the top. Aspects of measuring are built into the design of this brewer  making it easy to use no matter who is in charge.
Loading up the Bialetti was as simple as filling the filter chamber to the top. Aspects of measuring are built into the design of this brewer, making it easy to use no matter who is in charge.

For the best flavor, the manufacturer recommends seasoning your Bialetti by brewing at least three pots and dumping the coffee out. After that, you're good to go and can start brewing for real!

Group Cooking


While this brewer only produces 18-ounces at a time, if you consider that the espresso can be a base for Americanos and lattes, then the yield is actually considerably higher. This versatility is a nice perk for groups with different coffee preferences.

That wonderful gurgling sound means it's coffee time!
That wonderful gurgling sound means it's coffee time!

Portability


No surprise, this isn't an area where this model excels. It's a fine option for car camping but certainly not something anyone would take backpacking. That being said, the Moka Express is still a slim design with no overly small parts to keep track of. Considering how versatile, well-performing, and high-yielding it is, we didn't mind giving up a bit more space in our camp kitchen box.

While this obviously isn't a small device  it's durable and light for its size - perfectly fine for car camping.
While this obviously isn't a small device, it's durable and light for its size - perfectly fine for car camping.

Weight


At 1 pound 9.6 ounces, this brewer obviously didn't score in the top of this category either. But if you consider how much coffee you can make quickly, it's a perfectly acceptable trade-off for larger groups.

Value


This brewer is indeed an investment, but it makes a lot of really delicious coffee at once. If you need to satisfy a group of sleepy friends regularly, then the price tag really isn't so bad, especially considering you will never need filters and it's highly durable. This is the kind of coffee maker that can last you a lifetime, though we'd recommend a stainless steel version instead of aluminum if that's your plan.

Conclusion


The Bialetti is a great option for larger groups and car camping — you might even like it so much that you'll use it at home too! If you have a smaller group or espresso isn't your favorite, you can use the full amount of water with half the coffee for a more drip-style final cup that still tastes great. This versatility, along with how quick and easy this device is to use, make it one of our longstanding favorite options for enjoying our morning brew.

Some people love the Bialetti enough to carry it around everywhere they go.
Some people love the Bialetti enough to carry it around everywhere they go.


Penney Garrett