How Things Stack Up For Moka Pot VS French Press Competition

Moka pot vs French press is a battle of the classics. Both these coffee brewing methods have been around for a fair bit of time. Like every popular method of brewing coffee, there is an unending debate around which one is better. Well, that’s not our interest here!

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We can’t necessarily pick which one is better, but we can decide on the one that fits right in with our preferences. 

The common thing about these methods is their popularity. Everything else, including preparation, flavor, and body varies.

Well, Hello There, Moka Pot

Bialetti Moka Pot
Bialetti Moka Pot is the most popular product

Moka Pots, also known as stovetop espresso makers, create a stunningly delicious and concentrated coffee. Those skilled with the Moka pot and having a lucky day might also see a creamy coffee brewed! In basic terms, it is an espresso. And it is brewed without all the expensive shindigs of an espresso maker.

Let’s dig a bit deeper to see what is a Moka coffee and how the Moka pot achieves it. The Moka pot functions something like a percolator. There are three main parts in its construction:

  • The base to hold the water
  • The middle holds the coffee grounds
  • At its top, the Moka pot collects brewed coffee

Mechanism Of Brewing Coffee In A Moka Pot

When a Moka pot is placed on a flame (or a heat source), the water at the base gets hot and steam is formed. But there is no place for the steam to escape, so it ends up creating pressure on the water. As the pressure increases, water is forced up the middle section where it meets the coffee. 

Water passes through the coffee grounds at pressure and a fountain of brewed coffee erupts at the top section. There you have it, a wonderful Moka coffee.

Since water passes through the coffee grounds at pressure, it fulfills some espresso conditions. However, the pressure isn’t high enough, so it isn’t necessarily considered an “authentic” espresso. For reference, the requirement for espresso is 9 bars of pressure.

Perhaps it’s okay to consider those pressure requirements an over-dependence on detail. But then the world of coffee does like to be very precise and exact. 

In any case, you get a strong and intense coffee that can stand-in for an espresso. Even if we give up the espresso comparison, the Moka coffee is good enough to stand on its own.

Highlights Of Moka Pot Coffee

  • Coffee grind: fine
  • Brews strong and intense coffee
  • The coffee is brewed under pressure
  • Time taken: 6-7 minutes

Where French Press Coffee Stands In This Competition

Bodum Chambord French Press
Bodum Chambord is a highly regarded French Press

Here’s an interesting tidbit, the French press as we know it today was first patented by an Italian designer. This design was based off the work of earlier French designers. This coffee maker is known by different names in various countries, including the simple coffee plunger

So perhaps it could have also been known as Italian press coffee. Well, I don’t think anyone calls it by that name, so let’s stick with the French press.

Read more: Find the best coffee for French Press

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The coffee maker is well-regarded for making a full-bodied brew. It’s fairly easy to brew coffee in a French press and there isn’t any loss of flavor.

You can check out more on French press brewing in our Percolator VS French press comparison.

Highlights Of French Press Coffee

  • Coffee grind: medium-coarse
  • Brews full-bodied and strong coffee
  • Time taken to brew 3-5 minutes
  • Suggested water temperature: 180-195 degrees Fahrenheit

How The French Press And Moka Pot Stand Eye To Eye

Brewing Time: Which One Is Faster?

As we see in the highlights above, the French press takes 3-5 minutes to brew, while the Moka pot can take 5-7 minutes.

Here’s another thing, water for the French press has to be heated separately. While it takes 3-5 minutes for extraction, the full process can take 5-7 minutes. Similarly, for Moka pot, a good chunk of time taken is for heating water, and thus generating pressure. 

If it’s just the time from starting to getting coffee in your cup, they’re both pretty much at the same level. We could go around pinching seconds, but that really doesn’t change much.

Number Of Servings: How Many Cups Can I Brew?

Depending on your choice of the coffee maker, the Moka pot and French press can pretty much brew equal amounts of coffee. 

The Coffee Quality And Taste

Well, this is an arbitrary setting that depends on individual tastes. Both of these coffee makers are very well regarded and are known to make great coffee. In generic terms, you could say that the Moka pot has a strong and sharp brew. On the other hand, the French press gets us a full-bodied and flavorful coffee.

Temperature is a consideration. The stove top Moka will always be available piping hot. But there is no stovetop French press, and with the time taken on steeping, expect the coffee to get a bit lower in temperature.

There is an inherent difference in taste since the Moka pot uses finely ground coffee and brews under pressure. French press, on the other hand, uses a coarse grind and gets most of its extraction through contact/steeping.

While French press coffee is strong, the Moka pot produces a more concentrated brew. So, personal preference is the deciding factor here. 

Ease Of Use And Flexibility

Both of these coffee makers are fairly easy to use. However, it can take some time and experience before you figure out the Moka pot. The French press is inherently easy to use. For the learning curve involved for Moka pot, it makes more sense to consider French press as the easier to use option.

Another aspect is that the French press lends itself easier to user customization. You can decide on your preferred time for steeping, tinker around with the coffee grind, and take more freedom in managing the coffee.

User control is possible in Moka pot as well but to a lower degree. You can’t finetune the process as you go. And there is a somewhat limited range of changes you can make to the coffee grind. Go too coarse, and the extraction won’t work out. Go too fine, and it will block water from passing through. 

French Press coffee makers have a limited range of grind customization too. However, the possibility of greater user control can be quite useful. As for the Moka pot, it has remarkable consistency. It is likely to brew the same classic cup of joe you’ve always loved. The consistency to brew a strong, intense cup of coffee is remarkable.

Cleaning And Maintenance

To compare French press vs Moka pot in cleaning and maintenance is easier than the other categories. This category goes straight to the Moka pot. 

Usually made from aluminum or steel, the Moka is super easy to clean. The French press isn’t difficult to clean either, but dealing with the filter requires more time and effort. Though there are plenty of variants available, a fair number of French press carafes are made from glass. Useful as glass is, it is at a constant risk of breaking. So maintenance of the more robust Moka pot is easier.

Portability

Both these coffee makers are easily portable. They can be pretty small, like being capable of brewing just a couple of cups, or large enough to brew 12. So depending on your requirements, the French press and Moka pot are fairly portable.

Want More? Take A Look At These Comparisons

The Verdict — The Better Coffee Maker

The Moka pot can take some time and effort to master. So take your time to get there. And once you’re at the spot where you enjoy the coffee, don’t forget to tinker with your recipe a bit to get more from the Moka pot.

As for the French press, its ease of use and convenience is a huge draw. Add to that, the coffee is strong, flavorful and full-bodied. You can play more freely with your preferred customizations. And, interestingly, it will even work with the flavors of a light roast. The last part is something the Moka pot can’t quite deliver.

In the Moka pot vs French press comparison, personal preferences come to the fore more strongly than similar options. Both of these coffee makers brew very different types of coffee and they’ve both got the right answer!