Differences Between Moka Pot And French Press

Moka pots and French presses are rarely seen at modern coffeehouses, despite their unique designs and usefulness. You might even have seen one in a museum somewhere. However, both these coffee pots are unique for a reason. We’ll compare and contrast the two, and see which one may work better for brewing coffee.


What is a Moka Pot?

Moka Pot Coffeemaker (A.K.A. Stovetop Espresso Maker)

A Moka pot brews coffee using pressure buildup inside the lower water tank. A weighted valve applies pressure until the water rises through the ground coffee on the next level of the pot. Pressure then pushes the brewed coffee up into the topmost level, where it can pour out.


What is a French Press?

A French press includes placing ground coffee into an empty beaker and adding hot water. After the coffee brews, you press the mesh plunger down to separate the coffee grounds and hold them at the bottom of the beaker. The piston does not compress the grounds, keeping the coffee from becoming too bitter.

French Press Coffee Maker (A.K.A. Coffee Press)


Moka Pot Vs French Press

Below, we’ll pick apart the similarities and differences between the moka pot vs french press.

MaterialsCapacityDesignBrewing TimeCoffee Strength
Moka PotStainless steel or aluminumMakes anywhere from
1 to 12 cups of coffee.
Some models even do 18
An iconic 1930s design,
with a water chamber and
a coffee chamber
5 minutesUses coarsely ground coffee to make espresso-strength coffee
French PressStainless steel or aluminumMakes anywhere from 3 to 14 cups of coffeeSnug mesh screen keeps
stray coffee grounds from getting in the water,
while still percolating flavor
4 minutesProvides more flavor.
Usually good for dark-roast coffee.


Similarities & Differences

While the above chart explains some of the simpler similarities and differences, we’ll take a closer, detailed look at Moka pots and French presses below.

French Press

While quite different from a normal coffee pot, French presses allow you a little more freedom in brewing. For one thing, they don’t require you to perfect your pouring technique, like a drip machine or pour-over. The brewing process is easy to learn.

French presses have a compact design that remains stylish without taking up too much space. Drip coffee machines can make a lot of excellent coffee, but they get the job done without hogging up your kitchen counter.

For folks who prefer a strong roast, French presses allow the grounds to percolate in the water. You just have to press on the central plunger to push the grounds down through the water. A snug mesh screen on the bottom of the plunger prevents any stray grounds from rising up. Most plungers stop at a certain time to not press the coffee too hard into the basin. Doing so prevents the coffee from getting too bitter.

Coffee presses also do not use paper filters, so much more natural flavor is allowed to come through to the coffee. It is also known as stovetop espresso maker as it alternative to espresso machine. So if you need to make espresso without an espresso machine, think of a French press.

You do want to be careful with over-exposing your coffee in a French press, though, since steeping the coffee too long can make it bitter.

Moka Pot

While certainly more iconic, the Moka pot has unique perks too. Its strength lies in brewing espresso-strength coffee without using a lot of power. Much of the time, people put boiling water inside the bottom chamber and then let the pot simmer over low heat on a gas stovetop.

That said, you do need to be careful not to let the pot get too hot. The more pressure rises through the pot, the more coffee it’ll push into the upper chamber. Most Moka pots have mechanisms that stop the pot from overflowing, but it won’t stop the pot from getting hot.

The Moka pot is also a simple and effective device to use. All it requires is some boiling water and ground coffee grounds. Any heat you apply to the device will do the grunt work for you.

Its straightforward construction and strong build make the Moka pot a nice kitchen tool. It doesn’t have many frills, so it should provide consistent brew time and again.

Moka pot coffee maker is another way of making espresso without an espresso maker.

As we said, please be careful when handling the hot water chamber. When putting the top chamber back on, use oven mitts to protect your hands from the heat.


Which One is Best & Why?

Each kind of coffee pot has its pros and cons, so it’s difficult choosing between Moka pot and the French press. However, we must take into account coffee strength, pot capacity, design, safety, and overall quality of both these pots.

With that in mind, we think the French press has the highest score in all those categories.

The French press usually has a greater capacity variety and has a safer, more compact design. While the Moka pot makes only about 12 cups, the French press can make an astounding 14 cups.

Safety-wise, the French press is a lot easier to handle. When pouring hot water into a Moka pot, you might forget to put on protection when you hold it. A French press, however, has a firm handle that protects you from the hot water, without needing to touch the pot itself.

In terms of taste, the French press allows the grounds to stay in the coffee, allowing a stronger taste. More of the coffee’s essential oils can come through without the use of a paper coffee filter. However, some people have pointed out that the French press keeps caterol, which highers cholesterol levels in people, in coffee.

If you’re a fan of cold-brew coffee, the French press is excellent for steeping coffee grounds without applying any heat. People with sensitive stomachs might enjoy this, since cold-brewing coffee lowers its acidity.


Summing Up

When it comes to the moka pot vs french press, both deserve their iconic status. Each coffee drinker has their preference, but we recommend trying the French press. It’s a little bit safer, and will make a lot more coffee than you might have imagined. You might even enjoy the simple act of pushing the plunger down to make your coffee.

Enjoy Your Coffee!

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