September 1, 2021

Are Aluminum Espresso Makers Safe? The Myths of the Moka Pot

Clint Doerfler
Clint Doerfler
 | 
Updated: August 11, 2022
       
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Whether or not you are a coffee aficionado, chances are you’ve seen or used an aluminum coffee maker such as the Bialetti Moka Express or something very similar (a lot of camping coffee makers are constructed of aluminum because of their lightweight properties). But are aluminum espresso makers safe?

Aluminum is a common material used for cookware and baking sheets because it provides excellent heat conduction properties and is lightweight.

However, there are some who believe that using an aluminum Moka pot might be unsafe and may even be linked to adverse health conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety disorders, heart problems, and more! But is this true?

What are the concerns about aluminum?

Aluminum has been shown to have neurotoxic effects in humans and is especially concerning for children because of their smaller body mass.

Concerns stem from the possibility of aluminum seeping into food and drink from cookware, which is extremely off-putting for those who are health conscious.

However, there are also arguments that the research on the effects of aluminum is inconclusive and that exposure to extremely high levels would be required for neurotoxicity.

Are aluminum espresso makers safe?

Conflicting research on the topic means that there are still lots of people on the fence as to whether aluminum is safe or not.

Similar concerns are present for aluminum cookware; studies are inconclusive and have reached both positive and negative conclusions.

Here is an article that goes into more depth on the topic.
In a nutshell, there’s such a tiny increase in aluminum when you use an aluminum Moka pot that there should be no cause for concern.
It’s also worth noting that aluminum cookware that has been anodized (hardened through a process that makes it nonreactive) does not leach into or react with food/drink in any way.

If you are still concerned with your exposure to aluminum and want to play it safe, consider a stainless steel Moka pot. A good stainless steel Moka pot* will have no adverse effects on your health and are more resistant to scratches.

Pros and cons of using aluminum Moka pots

The benefits of using an aluminum Moka pot are that they are relatively inexpensive and produce an excellent cup of coffee very much like an espresso made by a $700 machine.

The most common negative traits of aluminum espresso makers are that they are difficult to clean and are more susceptible to oxidation and corrosion than stainless steel Moka pots.

Another concern is the possibility for a metal taste in your food and drink caused by the presence of aluminum, although this is typically only found in very cheap off-brand models of aluminum Moka pots.

On the contrary, stainless steel Moka pots are easier to clean, more resistant to corrosion, but are also generally more expensive.

Aluminum vs stainless steel Moka pots - what are the differences in quality and safety?

Aluminum is a softer metal than stainless steel, which means an aluminum Moka pot is more susceptible to scratching.

Aluminum also has a higher thermal conductivity than stainless steel which means you’ll be able to brew your coffee faster than with a stainless steel Moka pot.

Stainless steel, however, is more resistant to corrosion and not as likely to scratch and show imperfections. It’s also easier to clean than aluminum, but also more expensive.

Final thoughts on choosing an aluminum Moka pot or stainless steel Moka pot for your coffee setup

The safety of aluminum espresso makers has been questioned in the past. However, there is little to no evidence to back up the claims that exposure to such tiny traces to the metal could lead to toxicity, but it’s certainly something to consider before making a final decision.

If you are concerned about the exposure to aluminum, then it may be worth the extra expense to opt for the stainless steel Moka pots. There’s less risk of corrosion (with good stainless steel pots) or health risks associated with food preparation.

The most important thing when looking at your options is considering what’s most important; your health. Then cost vs. convenience and quality should be weighed out.

If you’re still concerned with exposure to aluminum, the best advice would be to stick with a quality stainless steel Moka Pot. They have a smaller chance of corrosion, are resistant to high heat/scratching, and raise no concerns for health issues related to aluminum exposure.

To your coffee journey!
Clint Doerfler
Clint Doerfler is the founder of Coffee Gear Gurus® and has been obsessed with everything coffee since a very young “growth-stunting” age. He is passionate about helping fellow coffee lovers make amazing coffee at home, no matter what their level of experience.
Featured Image Photo by Ashkan Forouzani

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