When it comes to our cup of joe, strength and convenience are two important factors. Unfortunately, the many different brewing styles are sometimes overwhelming and confusing.
Two popular options, the Moka Pot and the French press, provide very different brews. Each type has its merits, and other factors that may not appeal to each user. So, what exactly is the difference between a Moka pot vs. a French press? Which brew type will provide you with the best, tastiest coffee?
Moka Pot Vs French Press (Key Differences Explained)
Metal (stainless steel or aluminum)
Glass, ceramic, metal, plastic, etc.
Little flexibility, strong results.
Very flexible depending on your brew style.
Taste & Quality
Bold, aromatic, and flavorful.
Depending on roast, strong and aromatic.
Number of Servings
1 - 18
3 - 8
Ease of Use
Difficult to perfect, easier to clean
Easy to use, but can be harder to clean up.
Portable – can be used on any heat source
Fragile – won’t hold up well other than in kitchens.
Minimum 10 years
Up to 5 years with proper care
$30 - $100
$15 - $70
You’ll find that Moka pots are made of stainless steel or aluminum. These two metals are able to heat and cool things quickly, making them perfect for brewing. The design is early art nouveau and able to match with many different kitchens.
The French press will come in many designs; stainless steel, ceramic, glass, plastic, to name a few. They don't come in contact with a direct source of heat, so there's less chance of accidents. Their designs come simplistic, usually with a detachable beaker.
2. Brew Control
A Moka pot requires serious concentration. There isn't much else you can make with it, and the brew will usually be strong and bold. The control you have over your brew is little. A French press gives you greater freedom. You can change the strength, and brew more than just coffee.
3. Taste & Quality
As mentioned, the Moka pot will produce strong, bold, and flavorful coffee. It's designed for those coffee enthusiasts who enjoy their brew a lot stronger than other methods produce. When done right, you can create a clean, aromatic, and tasty coffee.
The French press allows the oils from the bean to mix with the coffee, and so will retain most of its flavors. It doesn’t have a filter, meaning all your grounds will mix into the water. Their flavors generally depend on the roast you're using; a light roast will have sweet, honey notes, while darker will have nutty, chocolatey undertones.
4. Grind Flexibility
Both the Moka pot and French press aren't very flexible in terms of the grind. A Moka pot will need a fine grind, while a French press needs coarse. Moka pots use a finer grind because the water needs to pass through quickly, and a coarser grind would hinder this.
The French press needs coarser grinds so that the brew isn’t over or under-extracted. You can use a finer grind, but you will need to reduce the brew time.
5. Number of Servings
The Moka pot comes in different sizes, as does the French press. Moka pot sizes range from 1 – 18 cups, and they tend to make more coffee than a French press. Because of the brew style, a Moka pot is the closest thing to an espresso without an espresso machine.
French presses come with servings from 3 – 8 cups, but this will vary depending on how much you drink. For a standard coffee with milk, you can get approximately 4 cups from a medium size French press.
6. Ease of Use
The Moka pot is an acquired skill; it may take you a few times to get right, and this can put some people off. Cleanup is easier as you simply unscrew the top chamber and clean both chambers and the grind basket.
The French press is much easier to use – you simply add the amount of grind you wish and then leave it to brew before plunging. It's much easier for beginners. Cleanup can be more difficult due to the mesh that pushes the ground, and it can also get everywhere in your sink.
The Moka pot is one of the most portable home brewers; its metal design makes it less fragile, and it can be used on any heat source. It's perfect for your camping trips. The French press is usually made from glass, so it makes it less portable. You also need preheated water to use it, which could be tricky out and about.
With a French press, you will usually get one year’s warranty. With proper care and maintenance, you can easily get 5 years out of it. A Moka pot is designed for life – with regular maintenance and proper cleaning, you can get 10 years minimum out of it.
The range of a Moka pot will be from about $30 for a smaller size but can range up to $100 for a higher-quality brand. French presses can come cheap, starting at around $15, and can reach up to $70, which will give you a higher quality.
Pros & Cons of Using Moka Pots
The Moka pot has a bad reputation – it's assumed that it'll only make bitter coffee. While this isn't necessarily wrong, it can produce much smoother coffee if brewed properly.
The Moka pot was invented by Renato Bialetti in 1933, to bring espressos into the home. It’s well known that a Moka pot produces bold, strong coffee in a short amount of time. You can also brew up to 5 or 6 coffees in one sitting. Using a fine grind is the best method because a coarser grind won’t let the water through.
The design is small, which means it will fit anywhere you need it. The metal design also means it is less fragile than a French press and can be used with any heat source.
Because of the speed of brewing in a Moka pot, it is very easy to burn the grounds the first time. It's important to remember that not everyone can brew in a Moka pot easily, and it takes a few attempts to get right. Don't be disheartened if you get it wrong first; try, try again!
What We Like
Things We Don’t
How to Make Coffee with a Moka Pot?
The brewing method gets easier as you keep practicing, and it’s important that you keep trying to get the perfect brew. It can be used on any heat source, so you may find it easier on a portable electric stove than a gas stove. The method is as follows:
- 1Add hot water to the bottom, to the safety valve.
- 2Add coffee grounds to the basket and level the grounds off.
- 3Screw in the top chamber tightly to retain the pressure.
- 4Immediately add to a heat source and allow the air bubbles to escape the funnel.
- 5Wait until you hear a gurgling sound before you take it off the stove. Run the bottom under cold water to stop the brewing process.
- 6Serve in espresso cups or mugs, add milk and sugar if desired, and enjoy!
You should also run a low heat so that you don't overdo the grounds. Keeping your Moka pot clean will also remove any bitter old coffee from the brew. And remember to keep practicing!
Pros & Cons of Using A French Press
The French press has been in use since the 1940s. It’s a simple and relatively easy brewer to master. You simply plunge the coffee after waiting 3-5 minutes to brew. You can control the strength of your brew better as well, by the amount of grounds you add. A French press is also very versatile; you can brew tea leaves easily as well.
The taste is usually very acidic; there's no filter to catch the natural oils in the coffee grounds. This is both a pro and a con, as it depends on your taste preferences.
While cleanup is as simple as unscrewing the plunger and cleaning the beaker, the coffee grounds are liable to spill over or find their way all over your kitchen. Because it's usually made of glass, the French press is much more fragile than a Moka pot and should be used with care.
The French press is for those of us who enjoy simplicity and want a good tasting brew with bold flavors.
What We Like
Things We Don’t
How To Make Coffee Using a French Press?
The brew method of a French press is simple. You can use a light or dark roast. For bolder, more robust flavors, we recommend a darker roast. To brew in a French press, follow these steps:
- 1Add 2 – 4 heaps of ground into the beaker. Use more/less for varying strengths.
- 2Pour over hot water to the top. A standard French press can make up to 4 cups.
- 3Brew for 3 – 5 minutes. You can brew for less time for a smoother brew or longer for a more intense flavor.
- 4Gently push the plunger to the bottom, keeping it straight to avoid grounds escaping.
- 5Serve in a standard mug, add milk and sugar if desired, and enjoy!
If you're brewing for yourself, try using 1 ½ heaping spoons of coffee, and only fill halfway. Loose tea leaves can also be brewed, simply follow the guide above and use the leaves instead of coffee. Make sure you don’t use boiling water, as this could shatter the beaker.
Moka Pot Vs French Press Vs AeroPress Vs Pour-Over
The AeroPress is a fine example of a home brewer that can produce strong coffee. Like the Moka pot, it uses air pressure to brew coffee, but is a lot faster. It's made of two cylinders, and the air pressure from plunging one into the other pushes the coffee through a filter.
In this comparison, the French press will produce the weakest coffee. This makes it suitable for those who like a softer, more subtle coffee. The AeroPress is a good option for those who want stronger coffee but don't want to try the Moka pot just yet. For the strongest, boldest coffee, a Moka pot is the way forward.
Common Brewing FAQs Answered
Is Moka coffee as strong as espresso?
A Moka pot is the closest you can get to the strength of an espresso, without owning an espresso machine. The pressure in an espresso maker is roughly 5-10 times higher than a Moka pot, but you will still get roughly the same result.
Is French Press coffee stronger than espresso?
The French press will contain more caffeine per 8oz cup than an espresso because of the volume. The flavor will depend on how much ground you use and the time you take to brew.
Why are Moka pots made of aluminum?
This is because of the metal's ability to heat and cool its contents quickly. The two metals it is made from (stainless steel and aluminum) both have their merits. Nowadays, you'll find them made of stainless steel to accommodate induction or electric stoves.
Is a Moka pot stronger than a French press?
You will find the caffeine content higher in a Moka pot than a French press, as the grounds are extracted faster, and so will push more of the caffeine through. You can expect up to 73mg of caffeine in one cup of Moka pot coffee.
Deciding on these two coffee brewers can be difficult, but we hope we've made the choice a little easier for you. If you're a beginner, we recommend starting with a French press and work your way up to a Moka pot. Don't settle for instant; give yourself better tasting coffee!