Updated: August 11, 2023 by Mary Nguyen
The hunt for good coffee is an ongoing process! Above all, if you want good coffee, you need to brew it correctly. Unfortunately, there are many methods to achieve a delicious cuppa, all of which have their own pros and cons. This is why the French press vs Moka pot debate is neverending.
As a coffee lover, you probably know that the brewing process adds to the flavor of your coffee. So, whether you choose a French press or a Moka pot to get the job done, you are probably aiming for coffee that suits your taste and lifestyle. Your ultimate decision is based on your personal choices.
However, there must be reasons for these choices, since there are clear high points and low points of each of these brewing processes. To decide which method works best for you, you’ll need the right information first.
That’s where I come in! I have researched and tested these products thoroughly, so I can help you avoid making costly mistakes or wasting your time. Below, I’ll share my experiences with the Moka pot and French press as well as the best products in each category.
Table of Contents
Main Differences Between the Moka Pot vs French Press
The main differences between a Moka pot vs a French press are:
- A Moka pot demands a bit of a learning curve to use properly, whereas a French press is a bit easier to learn to operate.
- A Moka pot takes a bit longer to brew coffee, whereas a French press can brew coffee a bit faster by comparison.
- Moka pots are usually fairly expensive, whereas the typical French press tends to cost less.
- When it comes to taste, the French press produces coffee that is full-bodied and clear tasting, whereas the Moka pot’s coffee is more bitter and thick.
- French presses usually have a larger capacity for coffee, whereas Moka pots tend to have a smaller capacity.
By now, you should have some idea about your needs and preferences when it comes to a coffee maker. If you need a large quantity of coffee to be brewed in a quick time, then the French press is probably better suited to you. Alternatively, if you love stronger, more espresso-like coffee and are willing to invest a bit more time into acquiring that, then the Moka pot is your best bet here.
Understandably, you’re probably still on the fence about the best option for you, so read on to learn about the hallmarks of each type of coffee maker.
Moka Pot vs French Press: Overview
Of course, delicious coffee is achievable from both the Moka pot and French press. However, one of them may be better suited to your needs when it comes to speed, reliability, cost, taste, and more. I will first explain the most prominent features of each option below to help you make a more informed decision.
The Moka Pot
Moka pots are sometimes called “stove-top espresso makers” because they can create that uniquely espresso-like taste at home with ease. With a Moka pot, even a novice coffee maker can achieve a punchy, thick brew that is bursting with flavor. In fact, the Moka pot’s brew is usually so flavorful that its taste lingers in your mouth long after drinking.
The creator of the Moka pot, Alfonso Bialetti, named his creation after the city of Mocha in the 1930s, which many people recognize as coffee’s birthplace. Today, Moka pots can be found in many homes across the globe, and the device remains a favorite of coffee lovers.
Moka pots work by using pressure to push water through your ground coffee. You simply need to place water in the chamber as well as coffee grounds in the above basket. Next, you just place it over the stove, and the direct heat creates a pressure build-up so that hot water goes through the coffee.
The coffee is then ushered into a collection chamber, creating a thick liquid similar to an espresso. The Moka pot has a convenient alarm to alert the user that the extracting process is complete. Once the alarm goes off, you remove the pot from its heat source.
What people really love about the Moka pot is its ability to create strong coffee that many of us love without having a lot of confusing, fragile mechanical parts. People choose this option mostly because of the intense flavor that is produced by the Moka pot. Some coffee drinkers find its brew so strong that it must be diluted with loads of milk and sugar. Bialetti, Primula, and Cuisinox are just a few reputable companies that create quality Moka pots.
Check out these great Moka pot choices:
- Cuisinox Roma 4-cup Stainless Steel Stovetop Moka Espresso Maker
- Bialetti Express Moka Pot, 6 -Cup, Aluminum Silver
- Primula Stovetop Espresso and Coffee Maker, Moka Pot for Classic Italian and Cuban Café Brewing, Cafetera, Six Cup
The French Press
The French press is known by many names, such as a coffee plunger, coffee press, cafeteria, press pot, and more. It is generally believed that the French press came from somewhere in France, but the topic is still up for debate. That being said, we do know for sure that it was an Italian designer who claimed the patent for the French press in Milan way back in 1929. His name was Attilio Calimani.
There have been many improvements to the French press’ design over the years, but they have remained a staple of kitchens, hotels, and restaurants all over the world. The simple cylindrical design is loved by many because users enjoy adding their favorite coarsely ground coffee and creating a mouth-watering cup of Joe in just a few short minutes.
A French press works by adding hot water to the machine and briefly stirring your coffee grounds. The water should never be boiling, as this can affect the taste of the coffee. When the coffee has steeped enough in the hot water, you then press the plunger down slowly. The coffee grounds will end up at the bottom of the jug, leaving uncontaminated coffee that is ready to be used.
Even though learning to use a French press has a bit of a learning curve at first, brewing coffee with one is a simple process once you get used to it. A French press is able to produce great-tasting coffee in a short period.
For an affordable price, you can get a French press made by a respected manufacturer such as Veken, Mueller, or Bodum.
These are a few of the best options out there:
- Bodum 1928-16US4 Chambord French Press Coffee Maker, 1 Liter, 34 Ounce, Chrome
- Mueller French Press Double Insulated 304 Stainless Steel Coffee Maker 4 Level Filtration System, No Coffee Grounds, Rust-Free, Dishwasher Safe
View more French presses here.
Moka Pot vs French Press: Feature Comparisons
Now that you know a bit more about the basics and backgrounds of each machine, let’s compare their features in more detail to help you lock in your decision.
Ease of Use
Coffee in the morning (and throughout the day) has become a custom for many of us. It goes without saying that the process of making coffee should be as easy, inexpensive, and uncomplicated. However, creating the perfect coffee takes a bit of practice when learning how to use both the Moka pot and the French press.
That said, the Moka pot has a higher learning curve than the French press. With a French press, there is quite a bit of room for margin of error. With a Moka pot, you must know your preferred water-to-ground coffee ratio. After preparing the water by bringing it to a simmer, you then need to measure the ground beans accurately and place them in the Moka pot.
Next, you need to pour the hot water into the chamber and place it over the heat for around 7 to 8 minutes. When you hear the hissing sound, you should switch the heat off immediately and place the Moka pot in cold water so the extraction stops completely.
If any part of this process is not completed in a timely and effective manner, you could easily end up with bad-tasting coffee in a Moka pot.
On the other hand, a French press gives users a bit more leeway here, since all you need to do is add hot water to your coffee grounds and make sure it is steeped for the correct amount of time. Then just press the plunger down, and enjoy your coffee.
Additionally, cleanup is considerably easier and far less time-consuming with a French press than a Moka pot.
Winner: The French press is the clear winner when it comes to ease of use thanks to its easy and fast preparation and clean-up.
If you are a coffee addict like I am, then you want your coffee without delay. A busy lifestyle requires sacrificing time in many areas of our lives, and I’m sure you don’t want to spend a long time just to get the perfect cup of coffee.
Moka pots generally take more time to brew coffee than a French press. With a French press, you can enjoy your favorite coffee in only about 5 to 10 minutes, including the time it takes for it to steep.
However, with a Moka pot, the preparation and brewing processes are a bit longer. It takes a Moka pot around 12 to 15 minutes on average to produce a strong cup of coffee that has been extracted properly. Some people prefer to heat the water for their Moka pot beforehand and add it to the beans because it prevents over-extraction. Over-extraction can result in an incredibly bitter brew.
I should also mention again the short clean-up time of the French press as opposed to the Moka pot. French presses are easier and way less time-consuming to clean.
Winner: The French press takes a bit less time overall to brew coffee.
Moka pots are generally more affordable than French presses. However, it is important to understand that the price of any appliance varies based on the size, brand, and loads of other factors.
Because Moka pots tend to come in smaller size capacities, you may at first believe that the smaller size will contribute to a far lower cost. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, but many coffee lovers are willing to pay a bit more to get that signature espresso-like taste from their brew.
A Bialetti Moka pot is always your best bet when it comes to cost, especially because the brand is trusted and has been around for a long time. Bialetti Moka pots are sturdy, reliable, and well worth the price.
You may expect to pay around the same price for a French press coffee maker, but keep in mind that, just like with Moka pots, there are many different brands and different size capacities. Above all else, you should look for a durable French press that will not allow coffee grounds to escape and float to the top when you are pouring your coffee.
If you opt for a French press, be sure to choose a reliable brand that plunges your coffee grounds to the bottom of the cylinder without much effort. When grounds escape, they can make the coffee bitter with sediments of coffee in your mouth as you drink. How awful!
Bodum is a great brand that has proven itself when it comes to getting the job done quickly and reliably. The last thing you want to do when you are in a hurry is to pour the coffee back into the cylinder because there are coffee ground sediments in your cup.
Winner: The Moka pot wins this category because it tends to be cheaper than the average French press, but keep in mind that the Moka pot’s capacity is also usually smaller than that of a French press.
Taste relies on experience, personal preferences, and the type of coffee you’re drinking. We know that the Moka pot can give you a stronger brew that is closer to an espresso. This beverage also has a thicker consistency than the coffee brewed by a French press. Additionally, the bitterness of the coffee brewed in a Moka pot will cause many of us to use more sugar and sometimes milk to mask the taste.
The French press creates a full-bodied but clear tasting liquid that won’t be as bitter unless it is left to steep for too long. Again, taste depends largely on your preference. Do you prefer a clear tasting but full-bodied brew, or do you want that bold and thick espresso-like coffee that lingers on your taste buds?
Finally, it is important to note that a French press typically gives more flavor variety than a Moka pot because the oils from the beans add to the richness of the coffee, giving it a full-bodied taste.
Winner: Depends. If you like thicker, stronger coffee that is akin to an espresso, opt for a Moka pot. If you want full-bodied yet milder coffee, the French press might be better for you.
Having a coffee pot with your preferred capacity all depends on the life you lead. Generally, Moka pots have a smaller capacity when compared to French presses. It helps to understand that the Moka pot is designed to produce espresso-sized portions of coffee, which are smaller yet stronger than the typical cup.
Moka pots can usually produce anywhere from 1 to 9 cups of coffee at a time depending on the brand and size. On the other hand, French presses are able to deliver anywhere from 1 to as many as 12 cups of coffee at a time. Overall, French presses have a larger capacity.
Winner: French press
Check out how we pit the French press against percolators.
French Press vs Moka Pot: The Winner
Now that you know more about each of these machines and their features, what’s your pick?
The truth is, only you can decide your clear winner. Since we drink coffee for the taste, it is difficult to choose a clear, objective winner, because many consumers are willing to make sacrifices as far as cost, capacity, and preparation time to achieve the taste they crave.
With all this information about the Moka pot and the French press in mind, you can now make a clear decision based on your specific needs and preferences. Be sure to consider factors like price, taste, ease of use, and time when making your decision.
If you are willing to invest the time into learning how a Moka pot works, then go for it! If you want something a bit easier and more straightforward to start with, then you should choose the French press. However, if the taste is a big factor for you and you like stronger coffee that is reminiscent of espresso, you should definitely choose a Moka pot.