What’s the Difference Between a Percolator and a Moka Pot?

Hello coffee lovers! Today we’re going to take a deep dive into a topic that’s often a source of confusion among the caffeine-addicted: “What’s the difference between a percolator and a moka pot?” Both have been staples in the coffee world for decades, but they offer different brewing methods and results. So let’s unravel this brewing mystery and help you decide which might be your cup of joe.

Differences between a percolator and a moka pot:

Aspect Percolator Moka Pot
Brewing Method Continuous circulation of boiling water through coffee grounds Steam pressure forcing water through coffee grounds
Coffee Strength Variable (can be adjusted based on brew time) Strong and concentrated
Brew Time Longer (typically 5-10 minutes) Shorter (usually less than 5 minutes)
Grind Size Coarser Finer
Brewing Capacity Larger (can brew multiple cups at once) Smaller (usually designed for 1-3 cups)
Brewing Style Full immersion brewing Pressure-driven brewing
Equipment Type Often stovetop or electric Stovetop or electric
Resulting Brew Smooth and mild with less intensity Rich, bold, and espresso-like flavor

Remember, this chart is a general guide to help you understand the main differences between percolators and moka pots. Ultimately, your personal taste preferences and brewing style should be the deciding factors in choosing the right brewing method for you.

The Basics: What Are Percolators and Moka Pots?

Before we start comparing, let’s define our competitors.

A percolator is a type of coffeemaker that brews coffee by using gravity to continuously circulate boiling or near-boiling water through coffee grounds until the desired strength is reached. They come in stovetop or electric versions and were particularly popular before the advent of automatic drip coffee makers.

On the other hand, a moka pot, also known as a stovetop espresso maker, is a coffee maker that brews coffee by passing boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee. It’s named after the Yemeni city of Mocha, once a center of the coffee trade, and is a staple in many Italian homes.

The Brewing Process: Percolator vs. Moka Pot

The brewing process is where we begin to see the differences between these two machines.

A percolator works by boiling water in a lower chamber. The rising steam creates pressure that forces the boiling water up a tube, over a spreading plate, and then trickles through the coffee grounds and back into the lower chamber. This process is repeated until the coffee reaches the desired strength.

In a moka pot, the water boils in the bottom chamber, creating pressure that forces the water up through the coffee grounds and into the top chamber. A key difference is that the water passes through the coffee only once, not repeatedly. This process tends to produce a stronger, more espresso-like coffee.

The Taste: Percolator vs. Moka Pot

The difference in brewing methods results in a difference in flavor.

Percolator coffee tends to be robust and quite strong, but it can also be over-extracted and bitter if the water is passed through the grounds too many times. Repeated boiling can also degrade some of the delicate flavors and aromas.

Moka coffee is dense, rich, and similar to espresso in taste and texture. It’s less likely to be over-extracted than percolator coffee because the water only goes through the coffee once. However, it’s also easy to burn the coffee if the heat is too high, which can result in a bitter taste.

The Bottom Line

In the world of coffee brewing, the percolator and the moka pot have both earned their place as beloved classics. While they may seem similar at first glance, there are distinct differences that set them apart in terms of design, brewing process, and the resulting cup of joe. So which one should you choose? Well, it ultimately comes down to your taste preferences and brewing style. If you crave a bold and intense espresso-like brew, the moka pot might be your best bet. On the other hand, if you crave a nostalgic, robust cup with a hint of nostalgia, the percolator might be your faithful brewing companion. Whichever you choose, both the percolator and the moka pot are time-honored methods that bring a touch of tradition and richness to your coffee experience. So grab your favorite brewer and embark on a journey to savor every sip of that perfect cup of joe, brewed just the way you like it!

Wrapping Up

And there you have it, folks! Now you know the difference between a percolator and a moka pot. Remember, the best coffee brewing method is the one that makes a cup of coffee you love. So experiment, taste, and enjoy the journey to your perfect brew.

Until next time, stay caffeinated, friends! And remember, when life happens, coffee helps.


What’s the difference between a percolator and a moka pot?

A percolator and a moka pot are two different brewing methods with notable differences. A percolator works by circulating boiling water through coffee grounds, producing a smoother and milder cup of coffee. It is often larger and can brew multiple cups at once, and can be found in stovetop or electric versions. On the other hand, a mocha pot, also known as a stovetop espresso maker, uses steam pressure to force water through finely ground coffee, resulting in a strong and concentrated brew with an espresso-like flavor. Moka coffeemakers are typically designed for smaller brewing capacities and are available in stovetop or electric versions.

When choosing between a percolator and a moka pot, consider your preferences for coffee strength, brewing time, and overall flavor profile. If you enjoy a smoother, milder coffee and need to brew larger quantities, a percolator may be a better option. If, on the other hand, you prefer a stronger, more concentrated espresso-like coffee and prefer smaller brew sizes, a moka pot may be the ideal choice. Ultimately, your personal taste and brewing style will guide your decision between these two classic brewing methods.

Which is better percolator or Moka pot?

Moka pots give you the chance to brew rich and balanced shots of concentrated coffee. Percolators, sadly, tend to produce bitter coffee that lacks nuance or complexity, thanks largely to the super high brewing temperature.

Why is Moka pot better?

Moka (pot) coffee is not as strong as espresso but still more concentrated than regular drip coffee. The Moka pot produces a very rich and intensely flavored cup of coffee that falls behind a regular espresso and cold brew, but still beats the French press and drip in terms of caffeine (6).

Does a percolator make espresso?

Essentially, percolators aren’t made to brew espresso, but they can make a pretty powerful cup of coffee. If you don’t mind a beverage that isn’t quite espresso, you can use that coffee in some espresso-like recipes if you choose.

What happens if you use regular coffee in a Moka pot?

Too fine, and your coffee will taste bitter and burnt. The best grind for a Moka pot coffee is medium to medium-fine, coarser than you’d use for an espresso machine but finer than for a drip coffee maker. To achieve this, we recommend buying whole bean coffee and grinding it yourself.

Why is it called a moka pot?

The moka pot is a stove-top or electric coffee maker that brews coffee by passing boiling water pressurised by steam through ground coffee. Named after the Yemeni city of Mocha, it was invented by Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 and quickly became one of the staples of Italian culture.

What are stovetop coffee makers called?

moka pot

The stovetop, or moka pot, is a coffee brewer that uses heat to create a pressurised brew.

Can you make a latte with a moka pot?

Can you use a Moka pot to make a latte? Yes you can! You can use a Moka pot to make espresso and then heat and froth milk to complete your delicious latte. Add finely-ground coffee to the Moka pot filter and boiling water to the bottom before screwing it together and heating it up on the stove until it bubbles.

Does moka pot make crema?

Moka pots don’t produce crema because the pressure inside the traditional Moka pots is not high enough to force water through coffee grounds quickly.