• Joe Brewer

Moka Pot vs French Press: Which Should You Choose?

Updated: Nov 23

Moka pot vs. French press, which one is a better option” is a common question among coffee lovers who make their coffee at home. While both can make incredible coffee, the Moka pot, and French press produce two distinct brew types.

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Moka Pot

What Is a Moka Pot?

Also called a stovetop espresso maker, a Moka pot is a coffee-making device that you put on a stove. The pot has three chambers. One is for the hot water, the second is for the coffee grounds, and the third is for the final product or brew.

You place the pot on a stove and fill the bottom chamber with hot water. As the water starts boiling, the steam produced pushes the water upward to the ground. The coffee extract is then sprayed into the pot’s top chamber.

A Moka pot creates a strong and intense coffee. That’s why it’s often considered an alternative to an espresso machine.

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French Press

What Is a French Press?

A favorite among gourmet coffee lovers, a French press is an appliance used for steeping coffee. In this brew method, boiling water covers coarsely ground coffee and is left to steep for a short period, usually four or five minutes.

Since a French press machine does not use a filter as a drip-style does, it brings out the robust natural flavor of the coffee.


Moka Pot vs. French Press: Which One Is Best for You?

Choosing between a Moka pot and a French press involves careful consideration of their pros and cons, the resulting brew, preparation time, etc. Let’s look at some of the most important ones.


Preparation

How much time you can allocate for your coffee significantly determines which brewing method is best for you. Heating the water will constitute the most critical time investment for both a Moka pot and a French press.

Since a Moka pot is prepared on a stovetop, you must observe it. If you leave the pot unattended, you risk over-extraction and might end up with bitter coffee.

Typically, brewing coffee with a Moka pot will take about ten minutes. Meanwhile, for a French press, water is heated separately.

Once the water reaches a nearly boiling point, that’s the time you will steep and plunge the coffee. Preparing a French press coffee will take about 10 to 15 minutes.


Grind Size

A Moka pot usually calls for fine-grind coffee, which means you can grab your favorite pre-ground coffee.

On the other hand, a French press calls for a coarse grind. You need a good-quality grinder or burr coffee mill to get started. You can also grind fresh whole beans in a Moka pot.

Be careful not to grind too finely because the water won’t push through the grounds, leading to under-extraction.


Ease of Use

A Moka pot and a French press require a certain skill level, but it often takes more patience with a Moka pot to get a perfect brew.

The most common challenge with this coffee-brewing appliance is the possibility of under-extraction.

Usually, it’s due to the grind size or tamping when it happens. You mustn’t over-grind your beans if you prefer freshly ground coffee. It may take several brews before you get the perfect Moka pot brew.

Aside from the grind size, you should also ensure that you don’t tamp the coffee basket too hard. Else, you’ll limit the water getting through the grind.


Taste

Moka pots produce coffee similar to brewing espresso. As a result, it offers a more concentrated brew than a French press delivers.

Moka pot coffee has a rich, thick, and heavy mouthfeel and works great with cream or milk. Meanwhile, French press coffee takes much of its flavor from the beans’ oils. Thus, it has an oily and bold taste yet is less overpowering than a Moka pot coffee.


Tips When Brewing With a Moka Pot

To brew a perfect cup using a Moka pot, start by adding hot water to the bottom chamber.

Pour water until it is just touching the bottom of the valve. Too much pressure will build up if you fill water past the safety valve. This process will result in bitter coffee.

Next, fill the filter basket with coffee grounds until level. Avoid tamping the coffee too much. Then, drop it into the bottom of the chamber.

Afterward, screw the upper chamber and put the fully assembled pot onto your stove. Again, opt for a finer coffee grind than you would use for a pour-over, but not as fine as espresso to prevent over-extraction.



Tips When Brewing With a French Press

For a satisfying cup, start with fresh coffee beans. Make sure to grind the beans right before brewing.

Use a quality grinder to achieve a uniform and coarse grind. While you can use a blender or a food processor, a burr coffee grinder provides the best result.

Next, use the proper water temperature. You want somewhere between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you don’t have a thermometer on hand, boil water and leave it to cool for one or two minutes before pouring it into the French press.

Next, brew the coffee for four or five minutes. If you want it less bitter, make it three minutes.

Immediately after brewing, transfer your coffee into a mug or carafe. Allowing the coffee to sit in the French press can lead to over-extraction, which can cause it to taste overly bitter.


Which One Do You Choose?

So, which one is better for you? Moka pot vs. French press? Well, it all depends on your taste and brewing preference.

A Moka pot is the way to go if you prefer a strong and rich coffee, almost similar to espresso. If you like it milder and richer, go for a French press.

Other things to consider are how much time you are willing to spend preparing your cup and what coffee to use.

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