Moka Pot vs. Nespresso: Which Is The Right Choice For You?

Tired of drinking weak drip coffee? Dreaming of a nice concentrated shot of espresso? What’s the best way to make it at home?

Moka Pots and Nespresso coffee makers are inexpensive alternatives to espresso machines. Let’s look at Moka Pot vs. Nespresso’s pros and cons to see which will brew the best espresso from the comfort of your home.

Moka Pot vs. Nespresso: a quick overview

Between these two coffee makers, a Moka Pot is cheaper but will require you to do more work yourself. A Nespresso machine is fast and convenient but expensive.

The following table will further compare Moka Pot and Nespresso machines to determine which fits your needs best.

Moka Pot


Ease of use

Fairly easy to use, but it takes time to perfect the final result.

Push 1 button to brew coffee.

Coffee freshness & quality

You can use freshly roasted specialty coffee of your choice.

Prefilled capsules can be stale.

Brewing time

Up to 10 minutes

Less than 1 minute

Cost of the coffee maker

As little as $20

Over $100

Cost of coffee

An average bag of freshly roasted coffee costs $16.90, costing an average of 0.74 cents per cup. If you buy coffee at a supermarket, the price will be half of this or less.

The average price of a box of 50 Nespresso coffee pods is $40.00. A single pod can range from $0.60 to $1.50, depending on the brand and type of coffee.


Used grounds are easily compostable.

Pods create waste, although recycling program is available.


The pressure is not high enough to produce crema.

Nespresso produces high air pressure to create foam which mimics crema of a proper espresso machine.

Heating source

Works with gas or electric stoves, and can be used on a campfire.

Requires electricity.


Can be messy to fill and clean coffee grounds.

Effortless maintenance. Coffee grounds are sealed in the pods that are easy to removde and discard.

What to expect from a Moka Pot

A Moka Pot is known as a stovetop espresso maker, although it doesn’t reach the 9 bars of pressure necessary to make true espresso. Just like espresso machines push water through the ground coffee at high pressure, a Moka Pot does that on a smaller scale.

Water goes into the bottom chamber, and a filter basket holding medium-fine ground coffee sits on top of it, serving as a middle chamber. An empty upper chamber screws onto the top.

Then, the Moka Pot sits on a stovetop or other heat source. The water boils, and the built-up pressure forces it up through the coffee grounds. It then continues upward into the upper chamber as brewed coffee.

A Moka Pot brews coffee that is rich and concentrated. It can sometimes have some sediment, similar to French press coffee. Moka Pot is a great choice if you want an inexpensive portable coffee maker that you can use with your favorite ground coffee.

moka pot and croissant with jam

Brewing time

Brewing time with the Moka Pot depends on the coffee grind, heating intensity, and the size of a Moka Pot. While on average, it takes five to ten minutes, but the smallest size one-cup Moka Pot will brew coffee in about two minutes.

You can boil water in a kettle before pouring it into your Moka Pot. It will speed up brewing time, and you will reduce the chances of burning your coffee.


Moka Pot makes concentrated coffee similar to espresso. However, achieving consistent and thick crema is challenging when using this coffee brewer, as the pressure is not high enough. While tamping the grounds is a common technique for achieving crema with an espresso machine, you should not attempt doing this with a Moka Pot. It will clog the metal filter, and the built-up pressure can lead to your Moka Pot leaking or even exploding.

You can improve your odds of getting crema with a Moka Pot by using freshly roasted coffee beans. Light roast beans are also more likely to produce crema than darker roasts.

moka pot brewing coffee

Coffee taste

Moka Pot coffee is twice as strong as regular coffee. It is rich in taste and has a heavy body, although it is not as thick and creamy as espresso.

Moka Pot coffee tastes more bitter than other brewing methods that require pressure, such as French Press or AeroPress. This is due to boiling water passing through the coffee grounds during brewing. However, it is not as bitter as coffee brewed with a percolator, which repeatedly circulates hot water through the coffee grounds.

A big advantage of a Moka Pot is that you have total control over what type of beans you use for brewing coffee. It helps you produce flavorful coffee exactly to your tastes.

Moka Pots work reasonably well with packaged ground coffee, so you can go that route if you want to save time. However, if you have a burr grinder, experiment with different grind sizes to see how it affects the flavor of your coffee.

woman drinking moka pot coffee

What to expect from a Nespresso machine

The capsule machine is appreciated for its convenience. The Nespresso brewing process is straightforward as long as the water container is full. Insert a coffee pod, push the brew button, and watch the coffee stream into your cup.

Even though Nespresso coffee makers require capsules similar to Keurig K-Cups, they feature completely different brewing technology. While Keurig coffee is filter brewed, classic Nespresso models use pressure brewing, making it closer to espresso machines.

Nespresso provides great convenience and allows one to enjoy coffee without any effort. However, using a capsule machine produces quite a bit of waste as the capsules are not recyclable by standard recycling programs. While Nespresso provides recycling bags for customers to return used original capsules, you need to take them to their recycling points.

nespresso coffee machine and coffee pods

Brewing time

Fast brewing time is one of the greatest advantages of a Nespresso machine. Preparing a strong cup of espresso shouldn’t take more than a minute. This makes Nespresso a great choice for those who want an instant caffeine fix.


Nespresso OriginalLine coffee machines produce 19 bars of pressure, sufficient to extract espresso and produce crema. However, it does not have the same smooth emulsion of fresh coffee oils you get in a real espresso.

It is worth noting that Nespresso VertuoLine coffee machines produce much thicker crema due to technological differences. Unlike the OriginalLine, which uses high pressure to extract coffee, the VertuoLine machines extract coffee by a centrifuge: the capsule is rotated at high speed to mix the coffee and water, resulting in a thick (and I mean REALLY thick) layer of crema. James Hoffman compared this to a blender effect when the coffee is spun so much that it gets frothy.

nespresso machine brewing coffee

Coffee taste

Nespresso shot has an intense flavor, a medium body, and low acidity. Its taste will depend on your coffee capsules, but it will be less intense than coffee extracted using an espresso machine.

Nespresso is more concentrated than regular coffee but not as thick as espresso. Some baristas tend to compare the taste of Nespresso to Moka Pot coffee.

Coffee brewed by a Nespresso machine is consistent and predictable in quality. You know what kind of drink you’ll get based on what capsule you put in, and you can’t mess it up due to brewing errors.

However, if you are a coffee connoisseur, you might be bummed that there’s not much you can do to get better coffee from your Nespresso machine. Coffee lovers often frown upon Nespresso as they associate the prefilled capsules with subpar-quality coffee that tastes bitter.

nespresso coffee cup

That said, Nespresso has been keeping up with the increasing demand for coffee quality and introduced OriginalLine Master Origin Variety coffee capsules with single-origin coffees. While the overall coffee pod selection is pretty big, their Grand Cru line caters to those with more refined tastes. It emphasizes coffee origin and tasting notes associated with different parts of the world.

There are many different Nespresso Original Line capsule options from third-party manufacturers such as Starbucks, so you can get your caffeine fix using your favorite brand.

You can also buy reusable Nespresso pods that will allow you to enjoy your preferred ground coffee.

Choosing between Moka Pot and Nespresso

Deciding between Moka Pot vs. Nespresso requires an assessment of your lifestyle and priorities. Is having an affordable coffee maker most important, or are you willing to invest more for an effortless coffee brewing experience?

Moka Pot vs Nespresso

Why choose a Moka Pot?

A Moka Pot is a great choice if you don’t want to spend much money and rely on the availability of coffee capsules. You can get some of the best Moka Pots, such as the iconic Italian Bialetti, for around $30, and lesser-known brands are even more affordable.

Moka Pots give you control over how you prepare your coffee, so you can choose what kind of beans you want to use. It is ideal if you like trying different blends and experimenting with specialty coffee.

A Moka Pot is also a good choice if you want a coffee maker you can take traveling with you. It is small and portable, and fairly easy to clean. You can use it on a campfire, which is great for camping trips. Throw a manual coffee grinder into your backpack, and you are all set for your camping trip.

Bialetti Moka Express Italia

Bialetti Moka Express Italia

Moka Express is the original stovetop espresso maker that provides the experience of the real Italian way of preparing coffee. Its unique shape and the inimitable gentleman with mustache date back to 1933, when Alfonso Bialetti invented it. Available in many sizes and suitable for gas, electric, and induction stoves (with the Bialetti induction adapter plate).

Why choose a Nespresso machine?

A Nespresso machine is ideal if convenience and zero maintenance are your top priorities. It is more expensive than the average coffee maker, so you might consider buying an espresso machine if you are willing to spend that much money.

However, the one-button brewing process is often less effortless than some espresso machines. You don’t even have to grind or measure coffee. A Nespresso machine is a great choice for an office or other public space where you don’t want coffee grounds to create a mess.

Nespresso CitiZ Espresso Machine by De'Longhi

Nespresso CitiZ Espresso Machine by De'Longhi

Enjoy a full range of espresso coffee with Nespresso! Brew better coffee at home with two programmable buttons for automatic flow stop. The machine features a 5-second heat-up and an energy-saving automatic shut-off. An integrated milk frother will make the perfect froth for cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of a button!

While an espresso machine is still the best way to make great espresso, you have options if you are not yet ready to make a substantial investment. Moka Pot and Nespresso coffee makers will conveniently brew strong coffee that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home.

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