Coffee lovers everywhere appreciate the rich flavor of a strong shot of espresso. Unfortunately, not every home coffee brewer can afford a top-of-the-line espresso machine. As a result, Moka pots have become hugely popular as an inexpensive alternative.
Which Moka pot is better? Let’s take a look.
What is a moka pot?
First, let’s take a look at what a Moka pot is and what it isn’t.
A Moka pot, sometimes referred to as a stovetop espresso maker, is a classic coffee brewer that is used to make espresso-like coffee. It uses steam pressure to brew, similar to an espresso machine, but it only reaches 2-3 bars of pressure.
Since it only reaches 2-3 bars of pressure, it cannot brew actual espresso, which requires 9 bars of pressure in order to get that rich crema on top of each shot. If you really want a true shot of espresso, check out this article on our favorite espresso machines.
The Bialetti Brand
In 1933, Alfonso Bialetti came up with the genius idea of the Moka Express. This at-home coffee maker revolutionized the way coffee was made at home and soon it began to establish itself as one of the leading Italian coffee maker manufacturers.
Soon the Moka Express began to arrive in foreign markets. Bialetti has a well-known brand throughout the world and still continues its innovation in the coffee industry, as the creator of the first induction Moka pot.
Does Bialetti Brikka really make different coffee than their classic Moka Express?
When Bialetti released its new Brikka, a Moka pot that claims to create better crema than their classic Moka Express, many coffee drinkers were delighted. The creation of a new Moka pot that used a double cream patented system to create a delicious espresso foam seemed too good to be true.
I mean, they look almost identical and work the same way. Are they really that different?
Let’s take a look at some of their similarities and differences.
Bialetti Brikka vs. Moka Express
Both models come in 2 and 4 cup varieties, but the Moka Express is also available in a 6 and 12 cup version.
The design of both Moka pots is stylish, durable, and quite similar. They are both made from aluminum and have that traditional “Moka pot look” with the infamous Bialetti mustached man. Both the construction and iconic look stand the test of time and will look great in your kitchen for years to come.
Ease of Cleaning
Since both the Brikka and Moka Express have only a few individual components, they are easy to clean between uses. Simply unscrew the top and bottom, empty the coffee grounds and clean the pieces with warm water. While both machines are labeled “hand wash only,” with only a few components, it is not a difficult or time-consuming task.
Each of these iconic coffee makers comes in a portable 2 cup model. The simple design with only a few pieces that fit together with ease is perfect for travel. Not to mention, since they are made from durable aluminum, you can pack them into a bag without worrying about them getting damaged in transit.
Both of these coffee makers should be used with coffee that is ground to a medium grind consistency. Finely ground coffee can clog up the machine and too coarse of a grind will result in weak tasting coffee, so a medium grind size is ideal.
Will Work On Any Stovetop (Except Induction)
Both the Brikka and the Moka Express are designed to work on most heating sources, with the exception of induction stovetops. If you are looking for a great Bialetti to use with an induction cooktop, check out the Bialetti New Venus.
Safety Pressure Valve
Both models come with a safety valve that ensures water pressure does not build up when brewing. This safety valve is located on the water chamber and is an important feature, especially if you are unsure about the timing and heat levels of stovetop coffee making.
The Bialetti Moka Express is still made in Italy where it was originally designed and has been manufactured since 1933. Bialetti, however, moved the production of the Brikka to Romania. Production in Romania is certainly not a deal-breaker, but many coffee fanatics love that the Moka Express is still being manufactured by Bialetti in Italy many years later.
If great crema is what you are looking for, this is where the Brikka shines. It features an additional column that aids in the production of a crema-like foam that sits on top of the coffee. Many stovetop espresso makers, including the Moka Express, lack this layer of foam that is reminiscent of the crema that tops a great shot of espresso. Its unique design that gives it this foam is what really sets the Brikka apart from the competition.
Dual Pressure Valve System
The Bialetti Brikka uses a dual pressure valve system, unique to its production, that helps to regulate the water pressure during brewing. This regulation of water pressure produces a smoother, richer espresso. Its open lid design also allows air to circulate into the valve to produce even better results.
The Moka Express earns its name because it’s pretty fast. It only takes 4-5 minutes to brew your coffee. The Brikka however, is faster. Due to higher pressure produced by its weighted lid and dual valve system, Bialetti was able to reduce brewing speed to only 3-4 minutes. Not necessarily a significant difference but definitely one worth noting.
Due to the brewing system the Brikka uses, the resulting coffee is a bit stronger than that of the Moka Express. The difference is subtle, but if you are a true fan of the Moka Express, the Brikka may be a bit too strong for your liking
How to Brew Coffee With a Moka Pot
Making coffee in your Moka pot is pretty straightforward and easy to do. All you need is coffee, water, a damp towel, and your stove.
Step 1: Fill the lower chamber of the Moka pot with cold water to just below the valve. Overfilling the chamber will affect the flavor so make sure you don’t use too much.
Step 2: Grind your coffee beans to a medium consistency. If you are using pre-ground coffee, move on to step 3.
Step 3: Insert the funnel and fill it with ground coffee. Try not to overfill the strainer and do not tamp down the coffee. Tamping the coffee down will create too much pressure for the Moka pot to function properly. Finally, remove any excess coffee grounds from the edge of the funnel.
Step 4: Tightly screw the upper portion of the pot onto the base. Be sure to screw it on by holding the pot and not the handle to avoid breaking the handle.
Step 5: Place the Moka pot on the stovetop and begin to heat it. If you are using a gas stove, make sure the flame is no larger than the bottom of the pot. Wait for the water to boil and the coffee begins to come out of the center post. You should hear a gurgling noise. Make sure you continue to heat the pot slowly to ensure full flavor extraction. If you heat the pot too quickly the coffee can taste burnt.
Step 6: Once the Moka pot is full of coffee and a light brown foam begins to come out of the spout, remove the pot from the heat source. The foam will appear seconds before the coffee is finished brewing so as soon as you see it, your coffee is finished.
Step 7: Pour your coffee and enjoy. If you prefer a milky coffee drink, you can add steamed milk to create a creamy latte or foamy cappuccino.
Final Verdict – Bialetti Brikka Vs. Moka Express
It really comes down to how important the crema is to you. The main difference between the Bialetti Brikka and the Moka Express is the pressure valve system used to create the crema-like foam that tops the coffee.
If you don’t really care about the crema and already have a Moka Express, there is not really any point in upgrading to the Brikka, but if you are just beginning to shop, the Brikka is going to give you more of that authentic espresso experience.
Either way, you are in for a great cup of coffee!