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Stovetops: Aluminium vs Stainless Steel

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  • Stovetops: Aluminium vs Stainless Steel


    A newbie question.

    I want to purchase a stovetop maker and see that there are aluminium and stainless steel. I am averse to using aluminium for health reasons. However, do the SS stove tops work as well ?

    Also, any recommendations on brand ?

    I searched this forum but couldnt find any results for these questions.


  • #2
    Re: Stovetops: Aluminium vs Stainless Steel


    Hi and welcome to CoffeeSnobs.....

    Have a read of :

    Whilst the jury is still out on whether Aluminium is a health risk - Id avoid it also.

    In that thread you will find comments that all stovetops arent created equal, the cheap ones (generally aluminium) being just that - cheap and nasty.

    A decent quality SS stovetop will perform very well.


    • #3
      Re: Stovetops: Aluminium vs Stainless Steel

      Thanks for that !



      • #4
        Re: Stovetops: Aluminium vs Stainless Steel

        Id think that SS would be better all around; not only for durability, but because it takes longer for the whole thing to heat up, so if you pour boiling water in the bottom the top should be cooler, which wont scorch the coffee as much. How much of an effect this have is anyones guess, though.




        • #5
          Re: Stovetops: Aluminium vs Stainless Steel

          I have a quality SS item.. and it is quality... Id refrain from Aluminium as JavaB has said.


          • #6
            Re: Stovetops: Aluminium vs Stainless Steel

            Luca is correct...


            • #7
              Re: Stovetops: Aluminium vs Stainless Steel

              Well the old aluminium terror is a subject for much debate elsewhere, but if it terrifies you then I advise you to stop using underarm deodorant as well.

              Quality moka pots are made by Bialetti, who I believe were the original designers of this brewing machine back around 1935.
              They make good pots in either aluminium or SS, however if going for SS then I advise the Musa pot over the Class pot as there have been some reported difficulties with the thread/seal of the Class pot due to the difficulties in forming the shape of the bottom piece. Have a look at a picture of both and you will understand.


              • #8
                Re: Stovetops: Aluminium vs Stainless Steel

                I have a Bialetti


                • #9
                  Re: Stovetops: Aluminium vs Stainless Steel

                  Putting aside any debae about aluminium and health.... Stainless steel is much better.

                  Over time, aluminium will corrode, the surface will become pitted, and it will be harder and harder to remove coffee oil staining. Taste will thus become affected.

                  None of those issues with good grade stainless steel.

                  Many stove tops today are made of a very poor grade of aluminium --very thin, but highly polished to compensate for the structural shortcomings.

                  Stay away from them. If you want a low-maintenance, easy to clean stove-top, SS is the way to go.



                  • #10
                    Re: Stovetops: Aluminium vs Stainless Steel

                    For a good short read on the history of the Bialetti Moka pot and why they prefer aluminium try this link

                    Bialetti are mentioned in the Guiness book due to the number of the Moka Express pots they have sold, reputed to be around 300 million!

                    Robusto, Italian friends of mine have an aluminium Bialetti Moka pot over 50 years old and still going strong, cant wait for mine to taste as good as theirs.


                    • #11
                      Aluminium vs Inox

                      I have mokas in both aluminium and stainless steel. I use stainless steel on a daily basis and aluminium weekly, when two cups/mugs are required at the same time. My flavour preference is for aluminium, but as aluminium mokas need to be cleaned and dried immediately after use the stainless is easier.

                      As for corrosion, I have an aluminium Bialetti I have owned for over thirty years and it is still going strong. Stainless pots simply don't take rough use, that is overcooking. If you are making coffee in a moka pot daily (and more than once daily) you will eventually leave one on the hob too long. (FYI I cook on gas.) Stainless pots all burn and stain permanently if left on the hob too long. (Yes, of course that ruins the coffee too!) In the 1980s I treated myself to an Alessi La Conica which has (had) a lifetime warranty. First the copper base came off from overcooking and differential expansion/shrinkage (1980s), then the ball fell off the top (2000s), and finally, a few years ago, it had a blowout in the base from corrosion (the ultimate result of overcooking stainless), rendering in useless. The warranty paperwork was long gone. If a stainless pot is overcooked it will eventually corrode.

                      The worst damage an aluminium pot gets from overcooking is a melted or burned gasket. They will always clean up fine, and polish up too if you so wish.

                      As the cost of replacing the La Conica locally was prohibitive I bought a replacement online, along with a La Cupola and a Moka Alessi which all together shipped to NZ for less than the local price for the La Conica alone. I mention this here as together they formed the foundation for my moka collection, which has since increased to over thirty pots, old and new, including Bialettis, Atomics, Caffexpresses (my personal favourite), La Signoras, Nova Expresses and many more classic Italian pots.

                      I try to buy old mokas NIB or at least in undented and unscratched condition, knowing that no matter how grubby it is an aluminium pot will always polish up, whereas once burned a stainless moka will never look nice again. My new unused La Conica is the only stainless moka in my collection. The daily use pot, also stainless, but never to be a display item, is an old burned Bialetti. For weekly (two mug) use I have the choice of a Caffexpress or a stainless Moka SEB, but my preference, for flavour, is for the Caffexpress, bought in NZ in clean used condition. I have no qualms about using my smaller Caffexpress for a daily jolt, knowing it will always polish up but I'm just too lazy.


                      • #12

                        I have SS and Al pots and the Al ones make better tasting coffee for me. I have mentioned this a few times in posts in this forum and it's a debatable point and depends on a users tastes. The Al does not corrode if cleaned after use, it stains a little bit on the bottom and sides with an electric stove and quite a bit with gas (don't use a campfire!) but that just gives them character. The Al ones are cheaper, I think some of the SS ones are over priced. I'd suggest get Al to start and then get a SS if you desire :-) You can't have too may coffee making implements.



                        • #13
                          Aluminium and stainless steel.

                          FWIW, all aluminiums are no more equal than all stainless steels. Poor quality ones of either will give you problems.

                          If you want all your coffees to taste the same regardless of which beans you use, go aluminium. It is porous and the oils soak into the metal. After that it has its own unique "pot flavour". I prefer actual "bean in pot flavour". Tastes may differ on that one!

                          If you can get a decent quality stainless, it will last forever. The early Bialetti stainless is utter crap hence the post above with problems. Why? A friend of mine burnt out three of them, my 316 stainless replacement is still going strong there since the early '80's - and yes, he has forgotten it at least 5 or 6 times that I know off and melted / burnt the seal into the joint. Every year or three I have the job of fixing it up again. Surprisingly, it still looks new, even though the handle is rather scorched as well as "a little loose" due to missing bits.



                          • #14
                            They recommend not to use aluminium on ceramic stove tops as it leaves a residue which can be hard, if not impossible to remove. A friend of mine used a Teflon BBQ sheet between his aluminium stove top coffee pot and the ceramic stove hoping that this would work, but it still marked it over time


                            • #15
                              I have both types of bialetti and for me aluminum has the superior flavor.

                              Much better to use gas than electric for these devices. A camping gas or BBQ ring is a much better alternative if you're all electric.