Coffee lovers all over the world are debating whether to use a Moka pot or a French Press.
Everyone in the world of coffee snobs has a strong opinion about which one makes the best brew. And when it comes to deciding between the two makers, opinions aren’t exactly helpful; in the realm of coffee, the phrase “each to their own” applies.
I used and use both and I decided to make this guide to help you clarify your doubts about the two coffee makers and help you to choose the best one to suit your needs.
- What is a Moka Pot?
- Introduction to the French press
- French Press VS Moka Pot: Main Differences
- Taste comparison
- The final verdict
What is a Moka Pot?
The Moka pot is a stovetop or electric coffee maker that brews coffee by forcing boiling water through ground coffee under pressure from steam. It was designed by Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 and immediately became one of the staples of Italian culture. Under the brand name “Moka Express,” Bialetti Industries continues to make the same vehicle.
Spreading from Italy, the Moka pot is today most commonly used in Europe and in Latin America. It has become an iconic design, displayed also in modern art and the industrial museum.
What is a Moka pot made from?
The majority of today’s Moka pots are made of aluminum. In fact, the very first Moka pot was fashioned out of aluminum. Because of its capacity to swiftly gain and release heat, this material was chosen as the device’s foundation. It was also chosen for its cost-effectiveness and adaptability. Aluminum allows Moka pot manufacturers to offer a wide range of color combinations.
Over time, companies have shifted to another approach and now we can see more and more Moka pots made with stainless steel.
This makes them considerably more useful in today’s kitchens with glass induction stovetops. Heat and durability are two more significant differences between the two types. Aluminum loses heat quickly, however, stainless steel maintains its heat for a longer amount of time.
Stainless steel espresso makers are more durable than aluminum Moka pots, which means the pot will last far longer.
How does the Moka pot work?
To achieve a precisely brewed cup of coffee, the Moka pot, also known as a stovetop espresso machine, employs simple physics. There are three chambers in the machine: one for water, one for coffee grounds, and one for the completed blend.
The water in the Moka pot heats up and produces steam when it is placed on the stove. While the pressure in the bottom chamber rises, the water is pushed up through the coffee granules and into the top chamber, where it is ready to be poured.
The pressure in the chambers of the pot reaches only 1.5 bars, far less than the nine bars achieved in standard espresso machines. Nevertheless, the simplicity of its design and ability to produce quality cups of coffee made it a hit in households.
What does Moka pot coffee taste like?
Making coffee with a Moka pot can be frustrating at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a satisfying experience.
The Moka pot creates a robust, heavy-bodied coffee that is flavorful and flexible. It can be consumed on its own or combined with other liquids to create different beverages, such as an Americano with hot water or a Cappuccino with steamed milk.
For many people, the coffee made with a Moka pot has a bitter taste. This is because you probably over-extracted your coffee grounds. This commonly occurs when the water tank is overfilled, resulting in boiling coffee.
Introduction to the French press
The French press is a simple brewing device consisting of a carafe and a plunger that fits snugly inside the carafe. The plunger is typically composed of four parts: a lid with a shaft that extends to the bottom of the carafe, a rigid metal plate with holes to allow coffee to flow through, a fine metal mesh that is too small to allow coffee grounds to flow through, and a rigid bottom piece that screws onto the shaft and holds the rest of the filter together.
What is the French press made of?
The French press is made mainly with two materials: glass and metal.
The glass french press is the most traditional of the French presses. The carafe will not break easily if it is made of high borosilicate and heatproof glass.
The ability to view what’s going on during the brewing process is one of the key advantages of the glass french press. Because we eat and drink with our eyes (figuratively), being able to see the coffee brew allows the coffee experience to begin even before the coffee is brewed, elevating coffee time to a new level.
The high-quality glass is also excellent at retaining heat for long enough to brew a french press. The only disadvantage is the fact that the glass can easily break if you drop the French press or if any accident happens.
The metal french press is a sturdily constructed workhorse. To decrease the chance of crushing things together and making messes, many busy cafes use metal presses instead of glass. Because customers rarely observe the brewing process, coffee shops can get away with using metal french presses. When you use a metal french press, though, you miss out on the visual part of french press brewing.
The fact that large stainless steel brewers must be preheated before you begin making your coffee is a small disadvantage. Once heated, it maintains temperature better than glass, but if you don’t preheat, your brewing water may be too cold to produce a balanced cup of coffee.
How does the French press work?
The French Press uses a beaker to steep coffee grinds and hot water. After the coffee has steeped, a metal mesh filter is pressed to the bottom of the beaker, separating the coffee grounds from the liquid coffee that will be served in your mug. The metal mesh filter allows natural oils and tiny particles contained in coffee to pass through, giving the coffee a rich body.
Immersion brewing refers to the practice of steeping coffee and water together for an extended period of time, as opposed to drip brewing, in which the water flows through the coffee grounds.
Immersion brewers make uniform extraction simple because the coffee and water are blended together. However, if the coffee is ground too finely or the coffee and water are steeped for too long, this method is susceptible to over-extraction.
What does French press coffee taste like?
French press coffee has more body than drip (a matter of taste), but it can also have some drawbacks, such as fines (tiny particles left in the coffee) and a muting of the “high notes” (acidity) that coffee drinkers esteem.
The French press also has the advantage of retaining more of the natural oils from the coffee grinds.
The oils, most people agree, are what give coffee its best flavor. The rich natural flavor of the coffee grinds is not filtered away because a French press does not employ a filter like a drip-type machine.
French Press VS Moka Pot: Main Differences
The most time-consuming aspect of using a Moka pot is heating the water. The actual extraction doesn’t take long once the water reaches a boil. You won’t want to leave the pot unattended, though, because you’ll almost certainly end up with bitter coffee. You’ll just need 10 minutes from start to finish if you prepare your basket of grounds ahead of time.
You can’t prepare anything ahead of time for a French press. Each coffee batch should be ground as soon as feasible. Separately, the water must be heated to just below boiling, and the steeping and plunging operation will take another five minutes. It is feasible to build a decent routine, but the entire process will still take 10-15 minutes.
Quality of coffee
Moka pots use a pressurized system to brew coffee, similar to how espresso is made. Moka pots, however, extract at a considerably lower pressure than espresso machines, so they aren’t quite a substitute. It does provide a far more concentrated brew than drip or French press. In a Moka pot brew, there’s also the possibility of getting a touch of delicious crema.
To make the greatest coffee, the French Press relies on the oils and flavors roasted in the bean, which leaves a lot of potential for flavor variety. Steeping also has the tendency to produce a thick, often greasy mouthfeel without necessarily adding taste.
This is something that some individuals appreciate, therefore it’s a personal choice. Overall, French presses remove a lot of subtle flavors and make even light roasted coffees feel full-bodied.
There are lots of glass and plastic French presses available, as well as some stainless steel, while for Moka pots you can find aluminum or stainless steel. I suggest going with steel if you want the best result for your coffee.
A specific brew basket comes with your Moka pot, which you fill with ground coffee. The wonderful thing about these pots is that you can use any pre-ground coffee because the normal grind setting is adequate. There is ample room to fine-tune your grind if you choose to grind your beans. Just don’t go too fine; otherwise, the water won’t be able to pass through the grounds, resulting in a poor extraction (our worst nightmare).
Because the French press relies so heavily on steeping, the coffee should be ground as coarsely as possible to optimize the amount of surface area available for extraction.
Because you can play with grind size and steeping time in the French press, you have a little more control over the brewing process. The Moka pot, on the other hand, brews on its own timetable and you have little control over it. You won’t want to modify the grind size once you’ve figured out what it prefers.
Ease of brewing
Moka pots certainly require some talent at first, and even the pros admit that their technique can always be improved. The one main criticism with Moka pots is their proclivity for under-extraction, which occurs more frequently than you’d want.
The French Press involves some talent, but the brew method, in my opinion, is more reliable. You may be sure of a robust, flavorful brew if you follow the exact steps to brew coffee. There is always the potential for refining and perfecting your technique, just as there is with Moka pots, but there are fewer factors to consider.
Quantity of coffee produced
Moka pots are available in a variety of sizes, but even the largest can only create about six cups of coffee. French presses, on the other hand, come in capacities that can hold up to 12 cups of coffee. If you frequently produce large batches for numerous individuals, a French press will be more suitable.
When you choose one or the other, you also have to consider the convenience of cleaning them.
All pieces come off, are easily accessible, and are machine washable, making French presses easy to clean. A Moka pot, on the other hand, features portions that are difficult to reach with a sponge and others that are inaccessible, such as the spout. Cleaning the Moka pot is more difficult because of the smaller regions.
The coffee served by Moka Pots is quite unique. Because of the high temperature and pressure needed to squirt it out, it’s syrupy and thick. Because the extraction rate is so great, you’re forced to confront the quality of your beans.
Using this strategy, achieving equilibrium is rather difficult. As with anything, you can get the most out of your stovetop espresso machine if you use high-quality ingredients and follow a well-organized process.
A French Press can provide a strong, clear-tasting cup of coffee. Although it is thicker than pour-overs, it can convey flavors in a similar manner.
It is highly suggested as a brewing procedure. If you want something lighter, I give you a suggestion, run French Press coffee through paper filters. This removes any sediment and oils from your cup, resulting in a clearer, lighter cup of coffee.
Is Moka coffee as strong as espresso?
Although not as strong as espresso, Moka pot coffee is nonetheless more concentrated than typical drip coffee. In terms of caffeine, the Moka pot creates a highly rich and intensely flavored cup of coffee that falls below conventional espresso and cold brew, but still outperforms the French press and drip.
What size Moka pot for one person?
The optimal size of a Moka pot for a single person is determined by how much coffee you drink and the style of coffee you prefer. A 2 cup (90ml) Moka pot is a decent size if you only need a double espresso or an 8oz. mug. A three-cup (130ml) Moka pot will be better suitable for those who require/want more.
Why is my Moka pot coffee bitter?
Because you probably over-extracted your coffee grounds, your Moka pot coffee tastes bitter. This commonly occurs when the water tank is overfilled, resulting in cooked coffee and a bitter cup of coffee.
Why does my French Press coffee taste watery?
If the grounds aren’t steeped in water long enough, the French Press coffee will taste watery. This is due to the fact that only a small percentage of the organic components in coffee beans are absorbed into the water. More of these chemicals will dissolve in your beverage with a longer extraction period, giving it a richer flavor.
Is it safe to use stainless steel French Press?
It is generally safe to use a stainless steel French press. This is because you don’t risk breaking it so easily like a glass one. It also helps to keep the coffee warm, but the downside is that you have to preheat it before pouring water in because otherwise you risk not having the exact temperature of the water for your coffee.
Is there more caffeine in a French Press?
Yes, French Press coffee contains up to 54 milligrams of caffeine more than drip coffee. It has between 100 and 134 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce cup, whereas drip coffee contains between 80 and 100 milligrams. This is mainly due to French Press having a longer brew time.
Do Moka Pots Explode?
Moka Pots can explode if you ground the coffee too finely and pack it in too tightly, and the release valve stops operating or clogs due to too much limescale build-up from hard water. However, it’s extremely improbable that this would occur and the two metal sections will separate; instead, an explosion of coffee will shoot out of the top of the pot as the pressure is released all at once.
The final verdict
To get the perfect brew, Moka pots demand greater skill and a long time of trial-and-error. However, once you’ve gotten there, you’ll be able to make both weaker and stronger brews at home with a near-espresso-quality extraction.
But in the end, the method that is best for you is the one that best meets your requirements. Because everyone’s tastes and coffee needs are different, you’ll need to figure out which approach best suits your daily routine and lifestyle.
A Moka pot will probably serve you best if you want easily brewed, strong coffee, don’t mind being locked into one volume of coffee, and want to prepare some mixed coffee cocktails. A French press will be ideal for you if you wish to taste delicate flavor profiles, create varying amounts, and have the easiest cleaning process possible.
I hope this comparison helped you clarify some doubts about these two methods of brewing coffee and will help you to choose the best that meets your needs!
If you want to know more about the French press and the Moka pot, I invite you to take a look at our articles:
- The 6 Best Moka Pots on the Market
- The Guide to the Best Coffee for French Press
- A Step by Step Guide to Make Coffee with a French Press
Giacomo is an Italian living in Shanghai since 2016. After working as a barista in Italy, he started to be more interested in the different types of coffee, beans, and the ways to prepare this ancient beverage. He founded Authority Coffee and he is currently on a mission to find the best coffee in China.