Bialetti Moka Express (6-Cup) Review: Specs, Capacity, Brew Time + More

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Rating and Summary

Compared to traditional camping percolators, the Bialetti Moka Express is much easier to use, easier to clean, and brews coffee way faster.

However, when you buy a Bialetti Moka Express in a certain capacity, you’re stuck with that capacity. Also, it’s made of aluminum and doesn’t seem to taste as good as traditional camping percolators, at least in my opinion.

Brewing coffee in my Bialetti Moka Express on a camping stovetop.
Brewing coffee in my Bialetti Moka Express on a camping stovetop.
10
Brew Time
5
Capacity
8.6
Ease of Use
9
Clean Up
7.3
Quality
Overall Score 7.7 / 10
Pros: Easy to use and clean, fast brew time
Cons: Limited capacity, made of aluminum, doesn’t taste as good
Price: I paid US$35 for this 6-cup model.

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Product Details

Here’s what we’ll discuss here:

  • Price
  • Specifications
  • How to Use

Price

I bought the Bialetti Moka Express in a 6-cup capacity from Amazon a few years ago, and paid about $35 U.S. dollars for. (I think; I could be wrong since it’s quite a while ago.)

You can check out the retail price here on Amazon.

Specifications

These are my personal measurements of the Bialetti 6-Cup Moka Express:

  • Length from the most curved part of the handle to spout: 7 inches or 18 cm.
  • Vertical length of handle: 3.5 inches or 9 cm.
  • Diameter of lid: 4 inches or 10 cm.
  • Diameter of base: 4 inches or 10 cm.
  • Height from base to top: 8.25 inches or 21 cm.
  • Weight: 577 grams or 20.4 ounces.
  • Made in: Italy.

How to Use

First, fill the boiler up to just below the safety valve. I use regular tap water, but you can use pre-heated water for a better tasting coffee.

Then, fill up the filter with medium-fine to medium ground coffee to the brim, without tamping or packing it too tightly.

I filled the filter of the Bialetti Moka Express with medium-fine coffee.
I filled the filter of the Bialetti Moka Express with medium-fine coffee.

Next, make sure that there are no grounds on the edges, before placing it on top of the boiler. Place the collector on top and screw it in tightly, before placing it on the stove on medium heat.

When you hear gurgling of the Bialetti, turn off the fire, take it off the stove, and run it under cold water. You can then pour it out to drink, add hot milk to make lattes, or just hot water to make it less concentrated.

The brewing of the Bialetti Moka Express is almost done!
The brewing of the Bialetti Moka Express is almost done!

Testing and Performance

And here’s how I tested the Bialetti Moka Express:

  • Capacity
  • Brew Time
  • Ease of Use
  • Ease of Clean Up
  • Quality

Capacity

When I poured water into the boiler to this marked line, which is just below the safety valve, I measured it to be about 10-11 ounces.

Here's a marked line on the Bialetti Moka Express showing you the maximum water level below the safety valve.
Here’s a marked line on the Bialetti Moka Express showing you the maximum water level below the safety valve.

As for the coffee grounds, when I filled up the filter with it, maximum capacity was about 26-27 grams, which is about 0.92-0.95 ounces.

Since I bought a 6-cup Bialetti Moka Express, I could brew only 6 cups of concentrated coffee, no more and no less. Any less can alter the taste of the coffee due to over-extraction.

Brew Time

For brew time, it took the Bialetti Moka Express about 5 to 5 and a half minutes for coffee to slowly ooze into the collector, and it took just 8 minutes and 15 seconds for the coffee to finish brewing.

These are estimates and can change depending on different factors like the temperature of your water, the surrounding temperature, the amount of heat you use, and stuff like that. I used tap water at room temperature, and brewed the coffee on medium heat.

Ease of Use

The Bialetti Moka Express has two marked lines on the inside of the boiler (pictured above). This shows the maximum capacity, which is the water level below the safety valve, so there’s no need to measure the specific amount of water that you put in.

The handle of the Bialetti Moka Express is nicely sized and ergonomic, but seems a bit small if you have larger hands. It’s heat-resistant and was always cool to the touch.

Me holding onto the handle of the Bialetti Moka Express.
Me holding onto the handle of the Bialetti Moka Express.

This black knob on the lid is also heat-resistant and was never hot even though I kept using it to check on the coffee during the brewing. Also, it’s pretty stable on the stove.

The Bialetti Moka Express has a heat-resistant knob on the lid so you can open it without burning yourself.
The Bialetti Moka Express has a heat-resistant knob on the lid so you can open it without burning yourself.

And lastly, there are no grinds in the coffee, because there’s this installed filter at the bottom of the collector, so no need to use additional coffee filter paper or anything.

After you unscrew the collector of the Bialetti Moka Express and look underneath, you'd see this filter here.
After you unscrew the collector of the Bialetti Moka Express and look underneath, you’d see this filter here.

Clean Up

To clean up, just toss the grounds and rinse the Bialetti Moka Express with clean warm water. You can use your fingers to remove any residue, and I found that it’s super easy to clean even the coffee bean oils with just warm water. It is recommended to not use detergent and to never wash this in a dishwasher.

Quality

The collector, boiler, and filter of the Bialetti Moka Express are made of aluminum, while the handle and the lid knob are made of hard plastic. The finish on the outside is pretty good. I’ve had this for a few years now and it’s still holding up well.

The finish on the outside of the Bialetti Moka Express after a few years of use.
The finish on the outside of the Bialetti Moka Express after a few years of use.

The finish on the inside of the boiler isn’t the best though, and it looks fairly stained after frequent usage.

The finish of my Bialetti Moka Express' boiler looks stained and kind of worn out.
The finish of my Bialetti Moka Express’ boiler looks stained and kind of worn out.

The finish of the collector is good though, and I keep it clean.

The finish on my Bialetti Moka Express' collector is good.
The finish on my Bialetti Moka Express’ collector is good.

Also, I think my gasket is pretty worn out (pictured above with the filter), so a tiny bit of water will leak out from here during the brewing. It wasn’t like that when I first started using it.

Leaking from the Bialetti Moka Express from the worn out gasket.
Leaking from the Bialetti Moka Express from the worn out gasket.

Thankfully though, you can buy replacement gaskets separately for like a dollar or at most two dollars.

Overall, I feel like these issues aren’t that bad, and the Bialetti Moka Express is fully functional and is of good quality.

Pros and Cons

For pros, compared to my other camping percolators, the Bialetti Moka Express is much more user-friendly. There’s no need to measure the amount of coffee or water, there are no grounds in the coffee, it’s much easier to clean, and the brew time is much faster. It’s also good quality, made in Italy, and is still holding up well after years of frequent usage. I only have to replace the gasket, but other than that, it’s all good.

As for cons, for a 6-cup moka pot, I could brew only 6 cups of concentrated coffee. Any less will result in over-extraction. So there’s not a lot of versatility with the capacity on days that you might want to drink less. Also, I think that some of my other camping percolators make slightly better tasting coffee, but I’m no coffee expert and this is quite subjective, so feel free to ignore this this point.

Recommendation

Would I recommend the Bialetti Moka Express over your traditional camping coffee percolator?

I think that depends on your priorities. If you’re looking for something that is easy to use and easy to clean, I think the Bialetti beats your traditional camping percolator hands down. I love that you don’t have to worry about grounds in your coffee, using filters, coffee and water measurements, amongst a lot of other things.

But before you take this camping, just bear in mind that this can’t be used over a campfire, and you have to always brew 6 cups of concentrated coffee, no more and no less. If you’re okay with that, I think this is a pretty good coffee maker to take camping.

How does the Bialetti Moka Express stack up against other popular camping percolators in other aspects though? To find out, you can click here: The 9 Best Camping Percolators: I Bought & Tested Them All (complete with YouTube video).