Is a Percolator Different From a Moka Pot?

People often approach me with their questions regarding the percolator-moka-pot issue and it seems like a fairly common point of confusion. Many people simply don’t seem to know if the two are different or not! It’s essential to know what both of these things are and what their features are so that you can know if you want to try either or even both of them. Even if you’ve already made a coffee choice between the two, it still might be a great idea to find out what you’re actually in love with!

Gamble Bay Coffee is here to teach you just that. In today’s article we are going to take a look at what these things are, what the main features of each of them are and how they differ from one another. We really hope that you will be able to learn something new from this article and strongly recommend you read til the end.

Let us begin by taking a look at what these actually are.

What is a Percolator and what is a Moka Pot?

A percolator is essentially a single-unit piece of equipment that looks pretty much like your typical coffee pot. Boiling water is circulated inside it for up to five minutes straight. Unlike other methods, this extracts (and often over-extracts) the coffee from the ground beans.

A moka pot, on the other hand, is a stove-top or electric coffee maker. What it does is that it passes boiling water through the coffee grind with the pressure derived from the steam caused by the water boiling. The total setup of the moka pot has three sections inside it: the part which boils the water and creates the steam at the bottom, the coffee grind chamber in the middle, and the collection chamber at the top. Naturally, since the water is literally boiling, the moka pot usually registers short periods of brewing.

The main differences between the two

Percolator vs Moka PotAs I just mentioned, the two machines and methods are fundamentally different. For the sake of making it more understandable to our readers, we have decided to precisely lay out the most important differences between the two. The main differences might be summed up in the following points:

  • Mechanism: The percolator is essentially a single unit. It has only one chamber where you put the ground beans and the water that goes into the making of the coffee. The moka pot, however, is not a single unit, as I just explained, it is fundamentally three units that work together.
  • Fundamental Drawback: The percolator suffers from one serious drawback, which lowers it popularity with many people. It actually ends up brewing the same coffee over and over again for as long as it’s running because of the way the water circulates. The moka pot does not circulate, so is free from this flaw, but that means your boiler can run dry if you allow it, which is potentially hazardous.
  • Extraction/Density: Because of its constant brewing, the coffee is often over-extracted in case of a percolator, making the coffee really dense and too strong for many. The moka pot provides you with a single extraction.
  • Type of Grind: In case of the percolator, a comparatively coarser grind is used to keep it as far away as possible from the boiling water. In case of the moka pot, finer grinds are what I have mostly seen used because that lets it extract the flavor during the short brewing period.
  • Time needed: The percolator takes a longer time to brew your coffee while the moka pot boasts of a comparatively faster brew. This is one of the things you might want to keep in your mind if you’re looking to quickly get your coffee.
  • Durability: Both of them have machines with a fairly high level of durability, naturally, since you’re buying quality products in any case. However, it has been seen that percolators generally have a greater level of durability because they have a comparatively simpler mechanism.
  • General Preference: Most people tend to go for the moka pots because they don’t like the dense flavor that the percolator provides you with. However, there are some people who would sooner stop drinking coffee than shift from a percolator.
  • Pricing: Now, pricing is a really complicated thing to discuss in this case. Since pricing varies based on several things ranging all the way from the machine you use to the beans you buy, there is really little we can do. In fact, pricing also varies based on the color of the model- you might find the black version to be 20 percent more expensive while everything else is just the same. So, depending on your choice, either of them might be more or less expensive.


When we started off this article too few people actually understood these differences, although they are fairly simple to understand. Here’s a few more points to keep in mind when you’re considering trying these coffee brewing methods for yourself.

  • Keep in mind that the percolator actually boils your water with the coffee that drips down! If it gets too hot, it can get more bitter than you want, so that’s something that you always have to keep in mind. If you don’t want a dense coffee, a percolator is not the right option for you.
  • Another thing to keep in mind is that these two brewers work in fundamentally different ways and that affects their taste, price, and even look. We won’t say which one is better or worse, since it varies from person to person, but that’s something you should keep in mind.

Gamble Bay Coffee is here for YOU!

We want you to know that we are always here for you and we want you to understand that we actually care about you. We understand that there might still be a lot of questions that you might have, since we can’t imagine them all!

But as I just mentioned, we are always open for you! You can reach out to us anytime you want and we will try our best to help you out with any concern that you might have. Please know that you can always discuss any confusion or approach us with any query that you might have.

We hope that this article was something that you could learn a new thing or two from and we thank you for taking your time and reading it. At the same time, we would like to ask you to stay tuned for more articles or browse around the site! Looking forward to having you again!

How A Percolator Is Different Than A Moka Pot

Percolator vs moka potI think we can all agree when I say:

There are an infinite number of coffee makers on the market and even more brewing methods.

However, there are two trendy gadgets that will change the way you drink coffee forever.

Which one is right for you?

In today’s post, we’ll learn step-by-step about how to brew a perfect cup using two hip additions to your morning routine:


The Moka Pot and the Percolator.

These two brewing methods deliver customized results, ensuring your morning cup delivers consistent YUM.

BUT WAIT, there’s more…

Both types of pots naturally have a vintage look and feel, making them an aesthetically pleasing focal point for either your counter top or next Instagram post.

Here’s the deal:

The Moka Pot (no, not M-O-C-H-A) is a system that brews your coffee from bottom to top, while the percolator makes your coffee from bottom to bottom.

I promise it’s much simpler than it sounds.

Here’s what you’ll need to brew the perfect cup:

  • Water
  • Coffee Beans
  • Coffee grinder
  • Measuring spoons
  • Scale (if you’d like to be exact)
  • Moka Pot
  • Percolator
  • Mug
  • Cream or non-dairy alternative (optional)
  • Sweetness of your choice – sugar, honey, agave, simple syrup, etc. (optional)

Let’s get brewing!

How to brew a perfect Moka Pot in 6 easy steps:

1) Grind your beans to a fine espresso texture

2) Next, add boiled water to the bottom compartment of the Moka Pot

NOTE: Choose water that you enjoy drinking. Some folks swear by distilled, some like purified. There’s no right or wrong answer.

3) Fill the filter basket with grounds, and place in bottom compartment

TIP: Do not press your grounds down. Lighter pack = Lighter work for the pot

4) Screw the top chamber onto the bottom chambers

(Word of caution: The bottom chamber can get very HOT! Be careful when fastening the two chambers together.)

Almost there!

5) Place Moka Pot on the stove on medium heat

6) Lastly, listen for a hiss or bubbling sound. This is GOOD! This means the coffee is being pressurized up, and into the top chamber. When the bubbling sound stops, the water has all been pressurized to the top, and your coffee is ready.

Please note, click here to see more detailed moka pot instructions.

Voila! You have just made a cup even a Parisian would be happy to drink with their croissant.

How to brew Perfect Percolator Pot in 9 easy steps:

1) Grind your coffee. A COARSE grind works best, as the grounds can tend to fall into your coffee if it is too fine.

2) Add grounds to basket.

TIP: One tablespoon of grounds per cup desired

3) Place the stand and stem inside the pot.

4) Add water to the base of the pot.

5) Add the grounds basket to the stem, and add the basket cover.

6) Place the lid on top of the pot, and place on stove.

Now for the fun part!

7) The water should heat up gradually, and you’ll hear it start to bubble (or “perk”).

What exactly is the water doing inside the pot while it’s perking?

As the water boils, it travels UP and through the top of the straw. It then falls onto the grounds below and filters into its original reservoir. It continues this cycle until it reaches your desired strength.

8) Let the pot perk (brew) for at least 7 minutes.

9) Remove the percolator from heat, and let it sit to allow it to settle for a few minutes.

Add your cream, your sweetener, and anything else your fancy heart desires.


Similarities between the Moka Pot and the Percolator:

  • The Moka Pot or Percolator can be used on a stove OR over a campfire, if that’s more your style.
  • Both are made from non-breakable materials, making them easy to transport.
  • They both produce a product that you can customize to fit your taste.

Moka Pot PROS:

  • Produces espresso-like, concentrated product with a punchy or sharp flavor. Sometimes you’ll be lucky enough to find a little crema at the top!
  • No grinder necessary, standard grind works great.

Moka Pot CONS:

  • Finding the “sweet spot”: the perfect brew time.
  • Slight learning curve, as there are multiple factors that go into the process.

Moka Pot Coffee is Similar To:

  • Espresso
  • Aeropress

“Perking” PROS:

  • Choose your strength: The longer it perks, the stronger the brew. 7-10 minutes is ideal.
  • Quantity: Pot makes enough for a family gathering.

“Perking” CONS:

  • Coffee is brought to a boiling point, which can compromise taste.
  • If brewed too long, over-extraction of beans can cause bitterness.

Percolator Coffee is Similar To:

Which brew is right for YOU?

Practice makes perfect. If you decide to purchase one or both of these machines, give it a few tries before your final verdict. Ask your friends and family members to try these methods with you too. They’ll be honest.

Another option is ordering a cup of coffee each of these different ways when you’re out and about. Whether you’re a kinetic or visual learner, there’s something to be gained by watching an expert use these techniques up close and personal.

As with many coffee lovers, they’ll likely teach you a thing or two while making your coffee for you.

Upscale kitchen stores carry a variety of coffee machines, and will even make you samples if you ask nicely. That said, it’s a non-commital way to try learn about different products and methods.

A Few More Notes

One of the biggest concerns people have with moka pots has to do with their safety. But as we’ve discussed before on this site many safety concerns associated with aluminum vs stainless steel moka pots are mostly discredited.

The percolator is supposed to use nearly boiling water to brew but it’s hard to get the temperature right which is why so many people make bad coffee in them. In fact for similar reasons percolators and french presses have this in common – a widespread misuse of the brewing technique.

There are some people that just like the percolator and to them we say “to each his own”.

With all coffee making equipment there is a market and if you are looking for a good percolator then may we suggest you opt for a larger model as they don’t tend to burn coffee as easily.

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

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