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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.