People make it seem as though the look of their coffee equipment has an impact on it’s performance. So some, in choosing their coffee equipment, moka pots included, take that look into great consideration and go with aluminum because that’s the iconic look of a moka pot.
To understand the topic of moka pot safety you have to realize that stovetop espresso makers are made with a couple different main materials. There are some moka pots that are made from aluminum and some from stainless steel.
As far as moka pots go, the classic look of an aluminum moka pot is easily identifiable. Those who seem to be more health conscious however will still steer toward the stainless steel models which tend to be a bit shinier, which may or may not be as good looking.
Which one is better, though? Does one give you better flavor than the other?
Is one better for your health than the other?
What about safety in general? Is one safer than the other to use or are they even safe at all?
Let’s take a look!
Aluminum in general is pretty inexpensive. Aluminum heats and cools quickly, which may be very useful in some cases. On top of that it is a lightweight metal. The down side is that acidity has a very negative affect on aluminum. For example: If you cook acidic foods in a pot or a pan, eventually it will warp and etch them, eventually making them useless. Then again, aluminum can be easily replaced as it isn’t very expensive.
Stainless steel, on the other hand, is more durable and stable than aluminum and when compared to aluminum, stainless steel takes longer to heat up and cool down. It is more expensive but it seems to be more cost effective. But even in aluminum, it is smart to keep it away from acidic foods. The acid can still can make it through the protective surface of pots and pans.
If you have ever made coffee with both an aluminum moka pot and a stainless steel one, you will find that the aluminum leaves you with more of a metallic flavor in your coffee (which could be a dangerous sign), while the stainless steel one preserves more of the original flavor of your coffee beans.
Related Reading – The Differences Between Stovetop Espresso & French Press Coffee
Moka Pots & Your Health
While aluminum seems to be a better look for people and may be cheaper, it is potentially more dangerous. However, at least when it comes to these stove top coffee makers, any health hazard can be avoided by using your resources and learning some useful tips on how to take care of your moka pot. The idea is to know how to clean and dry your moka pot, while keeping an eye on the oily coating that is inside the pot. Some coatings, after a while, may go rancid on you, but at the same time you do not want to wash the oily coating away because it prevents the contact of coffee with the metal when you use it. In addition, the more you use it the more your coffee’s oils coat the inside of the moka pot, thus giving you a distinct and perhaps favorable flavor.
Though aluminum equipment today has been improved and is safer than before, I recommend you use stainless steel, so as to reduce your intake of potential toxicity of aluminum itself.
Stainless steel on the other hand is one of the the less risky materials to use. Though experts are still concerned with the leaching of nickel from stainless steel, it is believed that due to the modern alloy (combination of metals used) of stainless steel equipment, this is less likely than in other cookware (aluminum in our case) to leach any metal, including nickel.
Now, once again, the safety of your equipment is largely dependent on how you care for it. If you clean your moka pot with abrasive material or dent it, then you will begin to not only ruin your pot, but increase the potential for a leaching risk to your health.
Did you know? Most people consume 30-50mg of aluminum through atmospheric exposure daily and regular food sources without bad effects. According to scientists, aluminum isn’t easily absorbed by humans; it goes straight through our digestive tract without entering our bloodstream.
Most high-end aluminum moka pots come in anodized aluminum. What does that mean for our health? It means that it prevents food from reacting to the aluminum. According to experts, even when it does get to the point where food reacts to the aluminum, the reaction is far too small to do any harm. There has been no official government food safety regulation sites where they have linked diseases to the usage of aluminum cookware. So with that in mind, here are what I have found to be some of the best high-quality aluminum moka pots: Bialetti (Italian Import) and Pedrini (Italian Import).
Now, stainless steel moka pots seem to contain more metals than the aluminum ones. As I mentioned earlier, the alloy is essential for the safety of your health. So it is vital that you purchase a high-quality stainless steel moka pot, as it will have better materials than the inexpensive ones. Here are some of the best stainless steel moka pots that I have found: Cuisinox and Bialetti (Kitty).
So are moka pots safe to use? Yes they are. To summarize it all there are four things you need to remember to keep you safe and to prolong your moka pot’s life:
- You need to make sure that the materials are of high-quality.
- Make sure that the manufacturers actually know what they are doing.
- Be sure to clean the pot properly and avoid abrasions and scratches.
- Take care of it outside of cleaning.
Here are some quick tips:
- Don’t use soap or detergent to clean them. Use plain water. Do not scrub.
- Make sure to dry your moka pot. Use a soft cloth to dry it.
- When you first buy your moka pot, make and discard the first two to three batches of coffee. This is for seasoning purposes. The best way to ensure that it is being properly seasoned is to leave brewed coffee in the pot for one whole day before you discard it.
- Do not store your moka pot assembled. Moisture may get trapped and cause corrosion.
- If you leave your moka pot unused for a long time the oily covering on the inside of the pot may become rancid. At this point you will want to boil water with some detergent in it and wash the pot thoroughly. This should remove the rancid oils. Then repeat the seasoning process.
Interesting Fact: The longer your pot has been used, the better the coffee becomes.
In addiition to everything stated above we have an entire article on this site dedicated not just to the safety of moka pots but to the comparison between stainless steel and aluminum moka pots. It’s a natural expansion of this topic which you may be interested in reading next.
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Gamble Bay Coffee