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I’ve had a lot of people ask me which size to pick between a Bialetti 3 vs 6 cup espresso coffee maker. This concern is pretty understandable especially if you’re switching from the regular espresso machine because using a Bialetti is a different ball game altogether.
Firstly, moka pots aren’t very common in the United States so most people aren’t used to them. Secondly, moka pots operate very differently from regular coffee machines as I’ll explain shortly. Last and most importantly, the pot size you pick WILL determine the ultimate taste of your coffee.
A Bialetti, also known as a moka pot, is a widely popular Italian stovetop espresso machine. It’s designed to brew espresso by moving boiling water through ground coffee with the use of pressurized steam as explained in this video. One of the reasons behind its popularity has to be its affordability and ease of use.
Of late moka pots are fast becoming popular among Americans because they produce excellent strong like espresso coffee which most of us love. But be that as it may, most people find themselves conflicted regarding the right cup moka pot to pick for their morning coffee needs.
The size you decide to pick between the two models is determined by how many cups of espresso you anticipate brewing each morning.
As I stated earlier, moka pots are nothing like your conventional espresso makers. You need to brew the designated amount at any given time depending on the pot size you buy. In other words, each size is designed to brew a certain amount of espresso. This means that moka pots must always be filled with the same amount of coffee and hot water. The moment you start changing the amount of coffee, water, temperature, and brewing duration, the taste goes out the window. This is because these changes affect the extraction process and how water flows through the grounds.
In short, if you buy the Bialetti with 6 cups, you must brew six cups of coffee. It follows that if you purchase a 3 cup Bialetti then you must brew 3 cups of espresso. That’s how it works. Any deviation from nominal use will gravely affect the brewing process.
Therefore, I wouldn’t advise you to brew more or less coffee than your moka pot is designed for because the taste is negatively affected.
Last update on 2023-01-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Aside from pot size, there are other factors you need to consider before picking out a moka pot as it affects price, performance, and maintenance.
What material is the moka pot made of? You’re basically faced with two options; one made of stainless steel or aluminum. An aluminum moka pot is much cheaper compared to one made using stainless steel. The drawback of aluminum is that it’s porous in nature so coffee particles will get stuck inside your pot with time. Trying to scrub off these coffee particles will rub off minute pieces of aluminum. The end result is a metallic tasting coffee.
Thankfully, this is something you don’t have to worry about with a stainless steel moka pot. Not only is the material non-porous but it’s also non-corrosive and more durable.
With regards to compatibility, I’ll have you know that not all strove tops are compatible with moka pots. Are you using an electric or gas stove with your Bialetti? Some moka pots, particularly those made of aluminum are not compatible with gas stoves. Others work well with gas and electric stoves. Either pick a model made of stainless steel or one that features a heat-resistant handle that won’t melt away during brewing.
You’ll also need to decide whether you’ll go with an electric or manual moka pot. As you can imagine, an electric moka pot is much easier to use than a manual one. The controls on an electric model are pretty intuitive. But this type will cost you more.
Last but not least, you’ll need to consider the size of the moka pot you pick depending on your and your family’s coffee drinking habits. And that’s really the main goal of this article to help you pick between the two sizes.
Bear in mind that the size of moka pot you pick affects portability. Smaller pots are naturally more portable and allow for easier handling when than large models. This is something you’ll find very handy when you want to travel with your coffee maker.
The whole point of brewing espresso is for the delicious taste. Of course, the aroma alone is enough to help kickstart your day and the caffeine gives you that much-needed energy rush when it kicks in. But what’s aroma and energy rush if your drink tastes horrible?
I’ve realized that coffee prepared in smaller moka pots taste much better than that which is brewed in large models. More often than not, brewing coffee in a large moka pot results in watery-tasting espresso than that which is made in the smaller model.
Generally speaking, the taste of your espresso is largely determined by its strength and intensity. Is it strong or bland? The intensity is determined by the dose of coffee in relation to the grind size. That’s why picking the correct size is important based on the following factors:
I mentioned how it’s important to pick the correct pot size depending on your needs. From what I discovered, a 6 cup moka is best for couples or people who want to drink two cups of coffee( with milk included). If you’re the only one drinking this delicious drink, the smaller model will suffice.
Bialetti cups are not the same size as the cups found in regular coffee machines, They are much smaller. In fact, the cups are small espresso shots and not full-sized cups of coffee that most Americans are used to. Case in point:
But as you’ll soon find out, altering both coffee and water measurements will affect the final taste of your hot beverage. Rather purchase a small pot if you want fewer cups and the opposite applies. This way you don’t wind up with an under-extracted beverage.
The design of the pot you pick also affects the performance and final taste of your espresso. I’ll discuss these two aspects so you have a better understanding of what I mean:
I speak for most people when I say we buy espresso makers for their functionality. However, this doesn’t at all mean that you must disregard the visual aspect. After all, you want to purchase a unit that compliments your kitchen with regards to the decor and size of your countertops.
With regards to aesthetics, I generally find the larger models better looking than smaller units which feature a shorter profile. Larger models look much more attractive. But the size you pick will also depend on your kitchen space. If you’re working with limited countertop space, a more compact model that doesn’t take up much space is ideal. On the other hand, if you have more space in your kitchen then you can afford to purchase a larger model.
After all, is said and done, it boils down to your personal preference. What kind of lifestyle do you lead? Does your lifestyle demand that you be overly energetic? If yes, then you can go ahead and pick the large model. If not, then the coffee produced by a larger espresso machine will be way too much for you. Rather pick the smaller model.
And yes, I get that you don’t have to finish the entire pot if you do use a large Bialetti, but that’s just unnecessary wastage.
Last update on 2022-12-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Any serious espresso maker knows that there are different ways to make espresso and is always looking to experiment with new machines and techniques. If you’re now looking to find out how exactly you brew espresso in a stovetop espresso maker and need to know which Bialetti model is better, hopefully, you’ve found your answer.
Based on the mentioned factors, it’s apparent that all conditions favor using the smaller moka pot. Smaller models do tend to provide you with the right balance and compromise between using a small and large moka pot. As such, the final espresso which is brewed in a smaller moka pot is much richer and tastier than that brewed in a larger model. Also, smaller models are much easier to use. You bypass the huge learning curve associated with trying to get the right amount of coffee each time you use a large pot.
Just make sure that you take into account factors such as how many cups of coffee you brew each morning to avoid altering the amount of coffee, water, and brewing duration of the model. Pick the large model if you brew more cups of espresso and the opposite applies. But the bottom line remains the same; you must buy the exact size model depending on your needs.
Do you now know which size you’re picking? Is the large model or moka express? Remember that these views are based on my personal experience so all rights reserved. With that said, happy brewing!