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Thread: Espresso Machine & Moka Pot Tests

  1. #1
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    Espresso Machine & Moka Pot Tests

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    In case this interests anyone, I did a test today of 5 espresso makers I have on hand....

    Equipment tested includes:

    Elektra "Cappuccina R2":




    Avanti "Compact":





    Moka pots (left to right): Bialetti Moka Express (6-cup), Monix (3 cup), IKEA (stainless)




    From Left to Right: Elektra, Avanti, IKEA (moka pot)




    From Left to Right (moka pots): Bialetti, Monix




    Conditions of the test
    :

    Espresso machines: Both espresso machines were given the exact same water, beans & grind (from the same grinding session), both pre-heated, and both had the exact same quantity of ground coffee (2T), plus same tamping.

    Moka pots: All 3 moka pots were, again, given the exact same quantity of filtered water (which was the max quantity that the Monix could accept), and same quantity/grind of coffee (2T, ground a bit less fine than the espresso machines)).

    Elektra:

    This, compared to the Avanti brew, was noticeably smoother and less bitter. Color was lighter, too.

    Avanti:

    The Avanti brew was dark and bitter, compared to the Elektra, tasting burnt. But the bitterness wore off a bit, as the coffee cooled down. Also, less crema than the Elektra (but neither produced much crema). I also noticed, as I usually do with this machine, that unlike the Elektra, the Avanti pooled water on top of the grounds after the portafilter was removed. Even long after sitting around idle. Not sure if the Avanti is a solenoid equipped machine, but the Elektra is probably not.

    IKEA:

    This was the most disappointing brew of the moka pots. It produced very little to no 'crema' (or "foam", let's not be a stickler for this...). It was over before I could even see it leaving the spout. So, quick. But the brew was dark, bitter, and sans milk, undrinkable, in contrast.

    Bialetti:

    I believe this produced a better rate of flow from the spout, as compared with the IKEA stainless pot. But more importantly, the color of the brew in the pot was lighter, and most caramel-like of the 3. Tastewise, I preferred it of the 3 moka pots.

    Monix:

    The brew flowing out of the spout of the Monix was thick and blonde, so most impressive from what I could see. The color was lighter than the IKEA, a bit darker than the Bialetti. Most notably, it stayed way hotter way longer than the other pots. This may be because it was the only one contained in a thick, restaurant-style coffee mug. if so, then it appears the container the coffee is in can affect taste/texture. I poured it out into a mug similar to the others; and it still remained hot a bit longer, then cooled off.

    Conclusions:

    No big surprises here. The Elektra won out in the machine competition, and the Bialetti pretty much took the prize in the moka pots. Still, I did learn a few things. I had my wife try all 5 brews in a blind test (this was after the coffees became cold... but she rejected the offer to heat them back up). She picked the Monix brew, out of all 5! To put it another way, she picked a $6 moka pot over a $1,000 espresso machine.... (Although, to her credit, the two finalists were the Elektra and the Monix... and she said she couldn't tell much a difference between them! Not so, myself. But then, I wasn't testing blind...).

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    I've only used a bialetti stove top but one thing you need to keep consistent is the heat applied, it can affect the taste quite a bit. On a gas stove I generally put the flame as low as possible. Decreases the chances of accidently boiling it but also seems to taste better than if you have a high flame and it brews quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agrajag View Post
    I've only used a bialetti stove top but one thing you need to keep consistent is the heat applied, it can affect the taste quite a bit. On a gas stove I generally put the flame as low as possible. Decreases the chances of accidently boiling it but also seems to taste better than if you have a high flame and it brews quickly.
    I've read both, some recommend burning the moka pots on a high heat and others on a medium heat. I've tried both, but I'll try lowering the heat as well, and see if I prefer that. Note that in my test, all 3 moka pots were placed on the same burner -- so they each had the exact same amount of heat. There are definitely differences to be had with different moka pots, as with espresso machines, as with French press containers, etc. etc.

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    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Surely, given that you've tested a 3-cup Moka pot v a 6-cup, and put the same dose of coffee in each, then isn't the filter basket on the 6-cup going to be a little 'underdosed'? I realise that you've put the same amount of water in each.
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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Espresso isn't the same as what you get from a moka pot.

    Interesting experiment but the scientist in me doesn't see it a scientifically valid experiment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    Surely, given that you've tested a 3-cup Moka pot v a 6-cup, and put the same dose of coffee in each, then isn't the filter basket on the 6-cup going to be a little 'underdosed'? I realise that you've put the same amount of water in each.
    Yes, the same amount of both water and coffee in each moka pot, and yes, the larger moka pot had less than the maximum amount of coffee grounds it can contain. Also less than the max water it can contain. Regardless, the larger Bialetti pot produced something of a better brew, after the dust settled, than the smaller 3-cup Monix. What may not be evident on the photo of the mugs, is that the Bialetti was also lighter in color than the other two.


    Quote Originally Posted by trentski
    Espresso isn't the same as what you get from a moka pot.

    This statement, truism or otherwise, is irrelevant. As I outlined in this and other messages, nothing is the same, from one device to another, even from the same familiy of devices. Is coffee from an espresso machine vastly different than the same coffee from a moka pot? As the photos and tasting show, not when it's cold, it's not. As mentioned, my taste tester could not tell the difference, and preferred the coffee from the cheapest moka pot over the most pricey 15-bar pump espresso machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by trentski
    Interesting experiment but the scientist in me doesn't see it a scientifically valid experiment.
    .
    No such experiment is definitive, regardless of whether it meets the criteria set by Western scientific establishment rules. What you believe is also subjective, and you can be wrong in what you believe. Just as so-called "science" can and has been wrong in what it has believed, by its own 'scientifically valid' testing, countless times. But I'll tell you what: give me a $10,000 grant, and I'll do better next time to hold the test to scientific standards...
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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Your espresso was bad hot, why do you think cooling it would give a fairer comparison to poorly made moka pot coffee?

    All you have confirmed is that your untrained tester preferred one bad cup of cold coffee to several others. Yet you're offering it up as proof that moka pots make the same coffee as espresso machines.
    Your experiment and conclusion are flawed.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    This is worth a read for those unsure of the Moka v Espresso differences/abilties. In the end it comes down to personal preference.

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-ne...y-freeman.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by trentski View Post
    Your espresso was bad hot, why do you think cooling it would give a fairer comparison to poorly made moka pot coffee? All you have confirmed is that your untrained tester preferred one bad cup of cold coffee to several others. Yet you're offering it up as proof that moka pots make the same coffee as espresso machines.
    Your experiment and conclusion are flawed.
    Ok, first, I tested 2 machines, so don't just say "your espresso was...". I have to try to get inside your head just to assume that you might be referring to the Avanti. And speaking of assuming things, you don't know that the temperature was off on the Avanti. So your assessment of the brew is not scientifically valid, I'm afraid. And if you assume all espresso machines produce the same brew if the temperature is correct, as your reply suggests, you'd be wrong about that one as well. The Avanti never produced a brew with the same taste/smell/color as the Elektra (which I mentioned in other threads), even with the same beans, etc. You're also wrongly assuming I 'cooled it' to give a 'fairer comparison'. I didn't say that, did I? Since you didn't ask, I tasted them hot. My 'untrained tester' (like that means something...) tested them cold... because they were cold by the time she arrived. I also tasted them cold, and even though we had differences of opinion of which was the best brew, it did not change my taste preferences for the various brews that I had tasted when they were hot. So poof!, there goes that theory of yours.

    You packed a lot of misconstructions in one short paragraph, but your last wrongful assumption about my test is the worst one yet. You claim my test was offered as some sort of "proof" of something well.... again, where exactly did you read that?? What you are offering up is a strawman argument, claiming what I posted was some sort of 'proof' that espresso machines are no better than moka pots. I did no such thing. I made no conclusive claims about the test, including claiming it was approved and peer reviewed by the Journal of Medical Science & Coffee Drinking. The intention was simply to share the results of a personal test, in case anyone else was curious about my effort, or curious about what the differences might be among these particular devices in this particular case. As mentioned, I tried to eliminate the variables best I could. Of course, if you don't like it... don't hesitate to post your own! Just make sure that yours is approved by the Journal of Medical Science & Coffee Drinking. (This is where I went wrong, obviously).

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    Quote Originally Posted by noonar View Post
    This is worth a read for those unsure of the Moka v Espresso differences/abilties. In the end it comes down to personal preference.

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-ne...y-freeman.html

    I can remember reading that article quite some time ago, it's a good one. And we've already seen here that this part is certainly true!:

    "If you use the term ‘espresso (for stove-top-made coffee) they get all riled up." And what about my moka pot V machine theory?


    I like the idea of using an espresso machine, particularly a good one. I can appreciate the whole ritual involved. But that ritual is not something I really want to do daily... it's quite involving and time-intensive. So usually, the moka pot is my go-to for a quick coffee (sometimes my Bodum will fit the bill as well). Of course I assumed, as many do, that a good espresso machine will always make a better brew than a moka pot... but, I see that's not always the case. Especially when there's no crema produced). There are many variables that come into play, both subjective and objective. I figure since the moka pots are found in over 90% of Italian homes... it's probably safe to say it's good enough for most. But then, that's where the "Coffee Snobs" comes in...

  11. #11
    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    30 seconds to pull a shot is "time-intensive"? Not sure what it is I am missing out on. How long does a shot take you Gavalia?
    If there is no crema from your espresso machine something is wrong. In my case crema free shots would be binned until I resolved the problem. I use fresh ground fresh roasted beans, so fortunately it never happens.
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonar View Post
    30 seconds to pull a shot is "time-intensive"? Not sure what it is I am missing out on. How long does a shot take you Gavalia?
    If there is no crema from your espresso machine something is wrong. In my case crema free shots would be binned until I resolved the problem. I use fresh ground fresh roasted beans, so fortunately it never happens.
    I don't, so unfortunately it always happens that I don't get any crema, or maybe a feeble, thin crema that appears toward the end. But weirdly, I started getting crema right away on the Elektra, on the first time I used it. Despite using the same beans, grinder, etc., that hasn't happened since.

    As for "30 seconds to pull a shot", yeah, you are missing out on a lot! A lot, which includes... filling a large tank with filtered water and wiping the outside of it, waiting for the ready light to come on, purging the steam wand, frothing milk for a few minutes, filling the bean hopper, grinding the coffee, carefully dosing it out into the portafilter, putting the excess back into a container, tamping the PF, latching it onto the group head, waiting for the brew light to be ready, waiting for the brew to come out, then waiting for it to be finished. Then you have the rituals of washing the steam wand, emptying and rinsing the drip tray, emptying the tank, replacing the cover, knocking out the grounds in the PF after waiting for the PF to cool so it can be rinsed off (without damage), maybe cleaning the grouphead screen of loose grounds at some point, and whatever else I'm forgetting.

    Trust me when I say that's more than 30 seconds, and the moka pot is VASTLY faster and less work to brew and clean, no contest.

  13. #13
    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    My machine is on a timer - no waiting to heat up. My machine is plumbed. Heating milk happens at the same time I pull a shot. Grinding and tamping is 30 seconds for me, I single dose 20g in, 20g out. If you are going to include the prep time and the clean up time then yes there is some extra minute or so to be included otherwise it's a 30sec job to pull an espresso shot. You have to prep, grind and clean up no matter what method you use to make a coffee based drink.
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonar View Post
    My machine is on a timer - no waiting to heat up. My machine is plumbed. Heating milk happens at the same time I pull a shot. Grinding and tamping is 30 seconds for me, I single dose 20g in, 20g out. If you are going to include the prep time and the clean up time then yes there is some extra minute or so to be included otherwise it's a 30sec job to pull an espresso shot. You have to prep, grind and clean up no matter what method you use to make a coffee based drink.

    Well, let's just agree to disagree, as the time involved or the importance of that is different for everyone. As I say, for me, the moka pot is simply much faster, getting from start to finish. e.g. I may use pre-ground with a moka pot, as I don't feel it's as critical. Prep is way faster, and clean-up is faster still with the moka pot. Even easier than a French press. It's also quieter. e.g. Late tonight, I wanted a coffee but... I was too tired to futz around with the espresso machine, plus I didn't want it to wake up my SO, sleeping in the bedroom next to the kitchen. So, while I would have preferred to practice another espresso, I ended up using the moka pot. Anyway, I stress again the test here isn't to say one is better than the other; just to say what my experiences were comparing the various coffee devices. It's more meaningful of course if others post theirs, and some comparisons can be made.

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    Senior Member speleomike's Avatar
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    Hi all

    I think I'll do a comparison of a motor bike versus an SUV. I'll put the same volume of fuel in both and see what range I get. I'll test how well they both corner to test the handling. For the later I'll make sure to take the same line through the corner to ensure a valid test.
    :-)

    Mike
    Last edited by speleomike; 29th October 2016 at 08:44 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by speleomike View Post
    Hi all

    I think I'll do a comparison of a motor bike versus an SUV. I'll put the same volume of fuel in both and see what range I get. I'll test how well they both corner to test the handling. For the later I'll make sure to take the same line through the corner to ensure a valid test.
    :-)

    Mike

    (sigh) Moderator, please close this thread. It's devolving into crass stupidity.

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    I'm honestly surprised you were hoping for a good discussion here.. it's a bit of a boring thread afterall. I'm with Trenski on this one.

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    Why dose a 3 &6 cup moka post the same, I find my bialetti 6er likes a light tamp to increase brew pressure and the extra 3-5gram of coffee that can fit in. The little 3cup stainless I have makes a lovely creama when boiled on high with a tamped and overdosed basket.
    Silvia needs repairs currently and the time process is comparable asa both require attention at different stages. Both take ages if i was to "sit and watch the grass grow."

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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speleomike View Post
    Hi all

    I think I'll do a comparison of a motor bike versus an SUV. I'll put the same volume of fuel in both and see what range I get. I'll test how well they both corner to test the handling. For the later I'll make sure to take the same line through the corner to ensure a valid test.
    :-)

    Mike
    Have you run this test yet Mike? I think it's almost a perfect comparable automotive version of this coffee making test and I'm interested to hear the results.
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  20. #20
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    I'm honestly surprised you were hoping for a good discussion here.. it's a bit of a boring thread afterall. I'm with Trenski on this one.
    Yes it seems we're descending from plain stupidity into crass stupidity. :-P



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