Moka pot is shown with white ceramic cup

Moka Pot vs Percolator: 10+ Major Differences To Know

Henry Muller

Have you ever gotten confused while choosing the right brewing method to brew your flavorful cup of coffee? Well, you're not alone. There are different choices available today, so it is confusing for a coffee lover to pick one.

Among all the available methods, we have two classic contenders that have been satisfying coffee cravings for generations and top the list. Yes! I am talking about the moka pot and percolator.

At times, you might wonder what sets them apart and which one you should choose. So today I will tell you the exact differences between the moka pot and percolator, the two coffee-making marvels that help you brew that ideal cup tailored to your taste.

Moka Pot: Overview

What is a Moka pot?

A Moka pot is also referred to as a stovetop espresso maker. It is a compact yet sleekly designed brewing appliance used to brew robust and rich espresso-like coffee with an intense taste. 

You must thank Alfonso Bialetti for this great invention. He invented it in Italy in the early 20th century. Mokapot has been part of kitchen essentials since then, all over the globe.

This octagonal-shaped appliance brews coffee by passing hot water through ground coffee beans.

How does Moka Pot brew coffee?

Moka Pot has a user-friendly yet creative design, which makes it a top-notch choice. It contains three chambers: a bottom chamber for water, a middle chamber with a filter basket to accommodate finely ground coffee, and a top chamber to store the final brew.

Moka pot brewing follows a bottom-up approach where the water in the bottom chamber heats up and creates steam pressure, which pushes hot water through the coffee grounds and produces a flavorful, concentrated coffee in the top chamber.

When should you use the Moka pot coffee maker?

If you crave coffee that has strong and intense flavors, then you must go for the moka pot method. It caters to those who appreciate the bolder side of coffee with a strong aroma and a touch of crema, similar to espresso.

Additionally, Moka pots are excellent as they yield espresso-style coffee without an expensive espresso machine. It is easy to use, which makes it an ideal companion for your busy mornings.

When should you not go for Moka pot?

If you prefer milder or larger cups of coffee, then the Moka pot may not be the best fit. Its strength is overwhelming, but it's not designed to brew large batches of coffee with a smooth, mellow texture. Also, it is not so portable and can be challenging to clean.

Pros and cons of a Moka pot


  • It brews a strong, delicious coffee with a great aroma.
  • Easy to use.
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Durable and stands the test of time
  • Can brew flavorful espresso-style coffee without an espresso machine.


  • Can't brew large batches.
  • It requires a skilled person to brew the perfect cup.
  • Doesn't satisfy milder coffee preferences.
  • Tough to clean
  • Lacks portability

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Percolator: Overview

What is a percolator?

A percolator is a classic coffee-brewing device common in American households for decades. It comes in stovetop and electric versions and is known for producing a bold brew with a unique flavor profile. It works by continuously cycling boiling water through coffee grounds.

How does the percolator brew coffee?

Percolator brewing follows a simple principle. It consists of three chambers: a bottom chamber for water, a middle chamber for carrying coffee grounds, and an upper chamber for a final brew.

Once you set the percolator over a heat source, the water in the bottom chamber starts heating, which creates pressure and forces hot water up a tube and over a perforated basket loaded with coffee grounds.

The hot water then showers down over the coffee grounds, brewing the coffee through a continuous cycle until the desired strength is achieved and the brewing is complete.

When should you use the Percolator coffee maker?

If you are a coffee enthusiast who prefers a classic, mild-tasting coffee, then the percolator method is a great option. It is perfect for brewing large batches of coffee at once. It is easy to use and produces smooth, consistent coffee.

When should you not go for the percolator?

If you prefer your coffee to have a stronger, bolder flavor or aroma, a percolator may not be able to serve you. It is difficult to clean and lacks portability in comparison to other brewing methods.

Pros and cons of a Percolator

Let's have a look at the pros and cons of a percolator.


  • Durable and lasts longer
  • Appropriate for brewing large batches
  • Available in both stovetop and electric models
  • Brews a classic, mild-tasting coffee


  • This leads to bitter coffee due to over-extraction
  • Challenging to clean
  • Not so portable

Get a right percolator to brew authentic percolating coffee from HERE.

Percolator vs. moka pot: Quick comparison

One of the main differences between a Moka pot and a percolator is that a Moka pot operates by passing boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee. On the other hand, a percolator brews coffee by continuously cycling hot water through coffee grounds using gravity and, in some cases, steam pressure.

Percolator is known to produce a milder and less concentrated coffee with a consistent, smooth taste. Moka Pot is favored for its strong and espresso-like brew. The percolator can brew several cups of coffee, and Moka pot can produce a single cup of coffee or shots. Where the Moka pot can extract coffee in about a minute, the percolator can take 5-7 minutes or even longer.

Let's discuss more differences.

1) Price

Moka pots have a clear edge when it comes to affordability. These stovetop wonders offer a budget-friendly entry into the world of flavorful coffee, making them an excellent choice for those looking to sip rich brews without breaking the bank.

In contrast, percolators, especially their electric counterparts, can be notably more expensive, making them an investment for serious coffee connoisseurs.

2) Taste Profile

When it comes to taste, both brewing methods offer robust and full-bodied flavors, but they cater to different palates. Moka pots yield a bold and strong coffee with a concentrated, espresso-like character.

On the other hand, percolators deliver a hearty, well-rounded taste that may appeal to those who prefer a smoother yet deeply satisfying brew.

3) Ease of Using

Moka pots strike a balance between user-friendliness and the need for some brewing finesse. While they require a basic understanding of the process, they are approachable for most coffee lovers.

Percolators, on the other hand, demand a higher level of expertise and precision. Achieving the desired strength and flavor can be a bit more challenging, making them better suited for experienced home baristas.

4) Ease of Cleaning

In the battle of convenience, Moka pots emerge victorious. Their straightforward design and minimal components make them a breeze to clean.

A quick rinse and wipe-down are usually sufficient. Percolators, however, require more maintenance and effort. The complex internal parts and tubes necessitate thorough cleaning to prevent the buildup of coffee oils and residue.

5) Portability

If you're always on the go and crave a caffeine fix, Moka pots are your trusty companions. Their compact size and stovetop operation make them highly portable.

Whether you're camping or simply traveling, a Moka pot can easily find a spot in your luggage. Percolators, with their bulkier build and reliance on electricity, are less travel-friendly.

6) Brewing Time

When time is of the essence, the Moka pot has the upper hand. It swiftly brews your coffee, delivering that coveted java jolt in minutes. Percolators, by contrast, are a study of patience.

They operate through a continuous brewing cycle, which can be time-consuming. If you're in a hurry, the Moka pot is the go-to option.

7) Brew Strength Control

Moka pots offer some degree of control over brew strength by adjusting factors like coffee grind size and the amount of coffee used. However, their primary strength lies in delivering consistently strong and bold coffee.

Percolators, on the other hand, provide more flexibility in controlling brew strength. You can adjust the brewing time and coffee-to-water ratio to fine-tune the flavor to your liking.

8) Brewing Method

The Moka pot employs a pressure-based brewing method, similar to an espresso machine, which results in a concentrated coffee with a crema-like layer on top.

Percolators use a continuous circulation method, where water cycles through the coffee grounds multiple times, which can extract more flavors and oils, giving it a distinct taste profile.

9) Versatility

Moka pots are specialized in making concentrated coffee with a bold taste, making them ideal for espresso-style drinks like lattes and Americanos.

Percolators, due to their flexibility in controlling brew strength, can be used to make a range of coffee styles, from mild to strong, and are often employed for brewing larger quantities.

10) Serving Size

Moka pots are typically designed for single or small servings, making them perfect for individuals or small households. Percolators come in various sizes, catering to larger groups, making them a better choice for social gatherings or family occasions.

11) Energy Source

Moka pots rely on a stovetop heat source, which can be a gas or electric stove. Percolators, especially electric ones, require a stable electrical connection. This factor can influence your choice based on the availability of your preferred energy source.

12) Noise Level

The Moka pot operates silently, with only the gentle gurgling sound of coffee percolating. Percolators, particularly electric ones, can be noisy due to the continuous brewing cycle and the sound of water boiling and cycling through the coffee grounds.

Wrapping up

In the Moka Pot vs. Percolator showdown, both coffee makers have their unique strengths and limitations. I prefer the Moka pot when I need a single cup of espresso, like properly extracted coffee, to enjoy with hot water or steamed milk.

But during house parties or get-togethers, the percolator is a savior as it brews large batches.

Your coffee taste preferences, the coffee volume you need to brew, and the control level desired in the brewing process strongly influence the device you pick, apart from the above-mentioned factors.


Henry Muller

Team TAB
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I am a barista by profession hailing from NC. My journey began in my late teens when I started working as a barista in a local coffee shop. My passion for coffee quickly became evident as I immersed myself in the art of espresso extraction, latte art ...