The Bialetti Mokona Espresso Machine for ESE Pods and fresh Ground Espresso
The Bialetti Mokona Espresso Machine is a great espresso machine that makes espresso using capsules or traditional ground beans and has a unique look to complement any coffee lovers kitchen.
Ease of Use/Performance: 21/25
How much I enjoy 23/25
The Bialetti Mokona is a great espresso machine with a unique design that sets it apart from other espresso machines but is not to be confused with a lesser quality product. The Bialetti Mokona makes great espresso, cappuccino and other espresso based drinks with either pods, Bialetti capsules or your more common ground beans.
I have reviewed several coffee and espresso makers and have always wanted to try out some of the more expensive and traditional espresso makers. A “true” espresso maker uses pressure to force hot water through the coffee beans to create a thick coffee with a good thick foam or crema.
The more inexpensive machines use just the hot water turned into steam to force water through the grind to try and recreate the shots of more authentic espresso. This method works well but does not taste as good as a more authentic shot of espresso that comes from a machine that uses a pump to force the water through the grounds.
With a more expensive machine you will have better parts using stainless steel, water temperature consistency with internal thermometers and a good pump with 15 bars of pressure. An additional feature of good espresso machines is the steam that allows you to steam and froth your milk or just put hot water into a cup for other uses like tea.
The Bialetti Mokona has all the things you could want for a true authentic espresso machine from the 15 bars of pressure the pump puts out to the stainless steel filter holder. The filter holder and other parts that come into contact with the hot water are stainless steel for rust proof durability while other parts are plastic.
The pump creates a good force to pump the hot water through the filter and the steam wand allows you to froth milk and get that steamy froth for your espresso drinks. The frother has a stainless steel tube to the rubber and plastic tip that is submerged into your milk.
The top part of the frother is rubber that slips onto the steel tube and allows the plastic end to fit onto the rubber parts and stay on while frothing. The frother works well and creates good froth in your milk and has good stirring action in your pitcher or cup.
I had no problems making steamed milk and frothed milk for drinks and of course you can use the steam tube to deliver hot water as well. The Bialetti Mokona is probably the most controversial espresso machine I could find on the internet but only because of its looks or design.
The Bialetti Mokona looks like a Moka pot but is actually a large pump espresso maker complete with the steam wand on the side and two types of filter holders. The Bialetti Mokona comes with the Mokona espresso maker that uses two filter holders, three stainless steel filters, a removable water tank with lid and easy fill lid, tamper/scoop and instructions.
The Bialetti Mokona has a plastic removable tray with a stainless steel grill to catch drippings while using the machine for those smaller espresso cups. The collection tray with the grill can come out when you want to drip your espresso directly into a larger cup that is the more traditional coffee cup size or a cappuccino mug.
To put the Bialetti Mokona into use the first time really only takes a minute or two, put the tank on the top and fill with water or fill it before inserting on the middle steam control knob. The tank is an eight sided shape like a Moka pot top and has the center hole for the middle stem of the machine with the steam control knob on top.
The tank has a rubber valve that allows water to flow into the machine when put in place but closes for filling at your sink. You can also leave the tank on the machine and fill by taking off the full tank top or the smaller tank lid which is the quickest way to fill it if the top of the machine is readily available.
Getting the machine primed is simple by turning it on and following the instructions like most espresso machines do with turning on the pump and opening the steam valve. To make coffee or espresso you tamp your ground coffee in either the single or double dose filters, already in the holder, and put the filter holder on the machine.
Turn the machine on and allow it to warm the water and filter with the grounds in it and then run water through the filter and grounds into your cup when the little yellow light comes on. The machine works easily and you can make a great shot of espresso in under five minutes from grind and tamp to a quick wipe up of the machine when you’re done.
You can use the plain filter holder and either the single or double dose filter to make a single shot or double shot of espresso. You can also use the smaller filter holder with the dent pattern inside with those paper pods or you can use the filter holder designed especially for the plastic capsules Bialetti sells.
The cost is a major factor for the convenience of using either the Bialetti capsules or pods as they are more expensive than grinding your own coffee. I calculated the cost of the average Bialetti capsule available on the internet because there are none for sale in my local area at stores.
The cost savings of using your own ground beans is about 50 cents per shot of espresso as the coffee beans near me at a local roaster called Dunn Brothers is $12 per pound. This means per shot you can get your own espresso drinks starting at about 20 cents while the capsules cost about 70 cents each so the cost is one factor you should consider.
The really nice thing about the Bialetti Mokona is the fact you have the two sizes of filters for your own ground beans as well as the pod filter and the capsule filter holder. This means if you want to mix and match the convenience of pods or capsules with the everyday use of your own ground beans for the cost savings you can.
Cost is one factor for most people but convenience is another, clean up for using your own ground coffee means pulling the filter holder out and cleaning out the used grounds then rinsing. Usually I scoop out the grounds with a spoon as I do not yet have a knock box and rinse out the holder and the filter after separating them and quickly wipe off the drip tray and counter.
With a capsule or pod all you have to do is knock out the capsule or pod with having to scoop or knock out and you don’t have to bother spending much time at all with rinsing. The capsules also mean no grinding or having to measure out the coffee so it takes less time as well as less of a hassle using the pods or capsules.
There have been several times when having and using pods or capsules from any one of the machines I am currently reviewing is nice as I am in a hurry out the door in the morning. Just popping a pod or capsule in the machine and allowing it to warm as I get my travel cup ready and then just brew into a measuring cup then into my thermal travel cup can be very convenient.
Cleanup with a pod or capsule is cut way down as you just quickly rinse the holder and then shut everything off and your ready to hit the road. I find that capsules and pods are handy to have around for those days when you’re going on a trip but still want a fresh brewed espresso shot in a drink like a cappuccino.
Making shots of espresso does not take that much more time than the capsules and does taste much better with a better crema foam. Comparing the crema from the capsules is just like comparing the espresso shots from a steam machine and this much better pump machine, it gets better as you get more authentic.
Using regular beans from a local roaster, Dunn Brothers, I can make a shot of espresso that easily compares favorably to the same companies espresso drinks. I can make a very good shot of espresso and with a great grinder can create a shot of espresso with good crema that tastes just as good as barista purchased drinks.
Using some skim milk, whipped cream, caramel, chocolate, cinnamon and a few other ingredients I have been experimenting and making my own drinks like cappuccinos that are delicious. Instead of paying three dollars and more for these same drinks I can make them at home whenever I want to for a satisfying and delicious espresso based beverage.
The Bialetti Mokona makes a great espresso, much better than previous espresso makers I have reviewed and makes great shots with good crema. I am very impressed with the Bialetti Mokona and despite the looks it is a great espresso maker that is easy to use.
On the internet I found plenty of people concerned and wondering about the design and not wondering about the companies previous quality merchandise and if it carries over with this model. Bialetti is a well known company that makes very good to great espresso machines and other coffee merchandise.
The Bialetti Mokona is a great espresso maker, one that is easy to use and simple to clean up after but may it not be the design for everyone. Its unusual style may make it look odd and people may not take it seriously enough but I can tell you it makes very good espresso and is well worth a try.
I have had the Bialetti Mokona for a couple of months and have not had any problems at all with the machine and all its parts, it literally has been a great machine to use and clean up after. I highly recommend the Bialetti Mokona as a great espresso machine that can be the centerpiece of a great home barista.