Bialetti Moka Timer
- Doesn’t necessarily require a hotplate
- Integrated timer
- Keep warm function
- Elegant design
- Cumbersome filter cleaning
8.5 / 10
The electric moka pot Moka Timer from Bialetti made a great impression — both from the outside and the inside. The intuitive operation requires only a few steps. Thanks to the timer and keep warm function, you can use it very flexibly. Only the emptying of the coffee grounds is a little cumbersome.
The product reviewed here was provided to us free of charge by Amazon. The provider had no influence on the test criteria or our rating.
The traditional Italian brand Bialetti has been a symbol for great coffee for more than 100 years. With the electric moka pot Moka Timer, the company combines the highest quality with a functional design.
Material, size, and weight
Unlike conventional Bialetti pots, which are placed on a hotplate to make coffee, the Moka Timer stands on a heating unit with its own power cable. The upper part remains unchanged: pot, filter (including filter plate and gasket), and boiler. The characteristic silver aluminium housing appears to be of high quality. Thanks to the heat-resistant silicone handle, there is no risk of burning your fingers when serving. Another advantage of the handle: it is ergonomically shaped. This means it lies comfortably in your hand without the risk of slipping off.
The only thing missing is a so-called thumb lever. This would allow holding and open the pot with one hand. However, the Bialetti pot has a heat-resistant knob on top of the lid, which also makes it easy to lift.
Although the heating unit doesn’t make stowing away as easy as standard models, it is still more space-saving than a portafilter espresso machine or a fully automatic coffee machine. The pot itself is pleasantly light, which not only makes it portable, but also simplifies pouring. Only the boiler is a little heavier.
The base has a display that shows the time. The controls are placed all around it: on one side, the buttons for the keep warm function and the timer, on the other for sound and other settings, in the middle the power button. Due to the few, intuitively usable buttons, the operation is extremely user-friendly. The display presents only the most important information and is easy to read. A desirable feature would be a cable rewind, be it in the form of an automatic retraction, a stowage compartment or a cable holder.
Functionality and operation
The mocha pot from Bialetti offers two great advantages: for one, it can be used independently of a hob — you just need a socket nearby. Furthermore, it is programmable. This means you can set a timer to wake up with a fresh cup of coffee in the morning, for example. When the coffee is ready, a pleasant harmonic melody sounds to draw your attention to it. However, if you want to press the snooze button, that is no problem either. Thanks to the keep warm function, the coffee stays at the right temperature for another 30 minutes. So much for the theory, but does the Bialetti moka pot really live up to its promises?
Preparing coffee step by step
The Moka Timer makes coffee making particularly easy. It only takes a few steps to prepare a caffeinated hot beverage: First, fill the boiler with water, but make sure the valve stays visible above the water line. The valve ensures that vapour can escape if the pressure should get too high. Then, place the filter in the boiler and fill it with coffee powder — medium coarseness is advisable. Don’t press it as you would with a portafilter machine, just smooth it down a little. Screw the pot onto the boiler and place it on the base. Now all you have to do is press the power button and the coffee making begins. As the button lights up, it is always clearly visible whether the appliance is currently in operation.
For one pass, the machine needed a total of eight minutes. Particularly handy: you don’t have to pay attention to anything during this time. As soon as the process is completed, a tuneful sound is played. We were pleasantly surprised that it rang long and loud enough to attract our attention. By pressing the button with the loudspeaker symbol, you turn off the sound prematurely.
We were pleasantly surprised that the moka pot was rather quiet in operation. 44 dB are indicated, which is roughly comparable to a whispered conversation. Similar to a kettle, the moka pot gets louder and louder during operation, but at no time was it bothering us.
Keep warm function
When the coffee is ready, the machine automatically switches to keep warm mode. However, this can also be switched off quite simply by pressing the button with the moka pot symbol. On the other hand, if you accidentally press the button in keep-warm mode, it can no longer be turned on. Nevertheless, the manufacturer’s promise is kept: Even after 30 minutes, the coffee is still enjoyably warm.
If you do not want to drink the coffee straight away, but would like to pre-programme it to a certain time for an upcoming visit or meeting, you must first ensure that the correct time is set. If this is not the case, you can change this via the mode button. This is where you can set the timer as well. Once you have selected a time and confirmed it by pressing the time button, the word “Alarm” appears on the display. In our test, the process began right at the set time and lasted exactly eight minutes as before.
A total of 270 ml fit into the pot, which, according to the manufacturer’s description, can be divided into either six espresso cups or three larger cups of latte. However, in our test, it turned out to be more like half cups.
In case you want to make less coffee, a water level indicator would be helpful. This is not available with the Bialetti pot, so you have to estimate how much water to fill in for a smaller number of cups.
Not really espresso
To lower expectations a little right away: you should not expect a classic espresso, because such a drink is not possible without a pressure of at least 9 bar and a moka pot can only produce 1.5 bar.
Unlike an espresso from a portafilter or a fully automatic coffee machine, no crema forms. The coffee is also more brown than black, but this could also be due to the fact that we didn’t use espresso beans in our test, but regular ones. In terms of taste, the moka pot coffee is more comparable to coffee from a French press: not as strong as a real espresso and a little bitter. This is partly due to the fact that electric machines tend to over-extract. In contrast to the mechanical version, you have no influence on the duration of the process, which means that the steam sometimes takes a little too long to release the aromatic substances from the ground coffee. As a result, the end result becomes slightly bitter.
When the pot is empty and has cooled down sufficiently, the coffee grounds must first be emptied. Some electric coffee makers have a sieve insert with a spring for this purpose. This makes it easy to remove the filter. However, the Bialetti moka pot doesn’t have one. This makes emptying a little more complicated. On the one hand, you run the risk of the entire filter falling into the bin. On the other hand, your fingers will most likely be exposed to coffee grounds in the process.
Although the moka pot is not dishwasher-safe, it is easy to clean by hand. It is sufficient to rinse it with water and maybe use a sponge. If you don’t want your coffee to have a slight washing-up liquid aftertaste, don’t clean the pot with foaming dish liquid. Unfortunately, due to the shiny silver casing, fingerprints and water stains are quickly visible. If you’re bothered by this, you’ll inevitably have to clean the appliance regularly.
The electric moka pot by Bialetti offers one major advantage: comfort. The procedure is similar to that of a conventional moka pot, with the difference that you don’t need to keep an eye on it during the preparation — the appliance does it all by itself. On top of that, it has two handy features: the keep warm function and a timer. Both worked without any problems in our test.
The only thing you shouldn’t expect is a classic espresso. Another aspect is that the coffee grounds are a little difficult to empty. Apart from that, however, cleaning is quite simple.
The appliance is recommended for all those who have taken a liking to the classic Bialetti moka pot, but would like a tad more comfort. Although the Moka Timer no longer gives you an option in terms of brewing time and temperature, you can wake up in the morning to the stimulating smell of coffee without having to do anything.
Images 1-6: © FinalCheck