A Comparison of French Press Vs Moka Pot Coffee Makers

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Johny Morrisson


Both French Press and Moka pot make a delicious cup of coffee yet there are some obvious differences between these manual coffee makers.

The main difference is that French Press is a simple immersion-type coffee brewer in which coffee grounds are steeped in hot water to extract flavors, whereas Moka pot is a stovetop coffee maker that uses steam pressure to brew coffee.

The choice between a French press or a Moka pot depends on personal preferences and how you want to brew your coffee. To help you make an informed choice, I will explain their differences, pros and cons, and features in detail.

What is the French Press?

The French press is an immersion coffee brewing method that involves soaking coarsely ground beans in hot water and pressing the coffee through a metal filter to make a full-bodied and flavorful drink.

French Press only uses metal strainers to filter coffee and doesn’t use any kind of paper filter. That’s why it makes a rich and full-bodied cup of coffee with a thick and gritty texture.

French Press

A French press came to the scene in 1852 when it was introduced by two French men. In 1929, an Italian designer modified it and it’s almost the same as the one we use today.

It became very popular across Europe and the USA around 4% of American coffee drinkers use French Press to brew coffee

Basically, the French Press comprises two parts:

  1. Carafes: Carafes are typically made of Glass. However, Stainless steel and Ceramic options are also available.
  2. Plunger: It is a metal rod that pushes the coffee down
  3. Filters – It consists of a spiral plate and mesh screen that filter out the coffee residues from the brewed coffee.
French Press parts

Pros of French Press coffee maker over Moka pot

  • Makes a Rich and full-bodied cup of coffee full of flavors and coffee oils.
  • French Press is a Versatile device you can also make cold brew, iced coffee, and tea in it. And also you can froth milk in it for delicious milk-based coffee drinks.
  • French Press can be cleaned very easily and quickly.
  • French Press gives you complete control over the brewing process. You can easily adjust any brewing variable i-e amount of coffee, size of grounds, steeping time, and the water temperature according to your taste.

Cons of French Press

  • It’s not as easy to use as a regular drip coffee maker – A beginner can easily ruin a coffee with it.
  • Some small sediments of coffee grounds may end up in your cup. Some love it while others hate it! Anyway, you can use French Press paper filters for a grit-free cup of coffee.
  • Typically French Press is made of glass so it can break easily! However sturdy stainless steel options are also available.

What is Moka Pot (Bialetti)?

The Moka pot also known as the stovetop coffee maker or Bialetti is a popular Italian invention by Alfonso Bialetti. It’s made of aluminum and stainless steel with a bakelite handle to bear the heat. 

A Moka Pot uses steam pressure to force hot water through ground coffee to produce a strong, espresso-like drink. The brewed coffee rises through a tube and into the top chamber, which can be poured into a cup.

Moka Pot

It’s a popular coffee brewing device in Italian culture. Alfonso Bialetti expresses the motive behind his Invention: 

“To Brew a cup of coffee quickly and easily at home within minutes”

Moka Pot comprises “three main components”.

  1. Lower Chamber: It is where you add the water
  2. Filter Basket: It is where you add the coffee grounds
  3. Upper chamber: It is where brewed coffee is collected
Moka Pot parts

Pros of Moka Pot over French Press

  • Makes rich and strong Espresso-styled shots of coffee.
  • You can use Moka pot to prepare delicious milk-based Espresso drinks like Cappuccino and Latte.
  • Moka Pot is typically made of Aluminum and hence very durable.
  • Portable and Lightweight device – Can be your perfect travel partner.

Cons Of Moka Pot

  • Less control over the brewing process.
  • It’s a little trickier to clean.
  • Only suitable for small servings of coffee.
  • Many people complain about a bitter, burnt, or over-extracted cup of coffee

Read a Guide on How to Use Moka Pot

Moka Pot Vs French Press | (Main Differences)

Here is the showdown of the main differences between Moka Pot and French Press

French Press vs Moka Pot

1) Taste Profile

Both French Press and Moka Pot can make a delicious cup of coffee. But comparing the flavor profiles, they do have some differences.

A Moka pot coffee tastes like a hybrid between an espresso and a drip coffee.

  • It’s Bold, strong, sharp, and energizing.
  • It has a thick creamy texture. 
  • Has an Intense aroma
  • A Moka Pot Coffee can taste bitter or burnt if not used properly

French Press coffee makers typically don’t use any type of paper filters that’s why the final drink has:

  • Smooth and Rich mouth feel
  • Full of coffee oils
  • Gritty and Thick texture

To me, French Press coffee tastes better than Moka Pot as it is full-bodied and has more coffee flavors and the best thing is I can easily adjust the taste depending upon mood.

2) Ease of Use and Cleaning

Both French Press and Moka Pot are manual coffee makers and do require some effort to brew coffee.

A Moka pot is simple and less complicated to use. You just have to put the coffee grounds in the basket and pour water into the bottom chamber and turn on the heat.

The steam pressure passes through the coffee grounds and the final drink gets poured into the upper chamber.

In a French press coffee maker, first, you have to heat water to the near boiling point, then add coarse grounds and hot water into the jar, and let it steep for 4 minutes. Finally, press the plunger to separate the grounds from the liquid and pour the coffee into your cup.

Cleaning a French press involves removing the coarse ground residue and rinsing off the jar properly.

On the other hand, Moka pot requires a more thorough cleaning.  As the coffee residues can get stuck inside the tubes.

In terms of Ease of use, both the French press and the Moka pot are almost the same however cleaning the Moka pot is a little trickier than the French press.

3) Time to Brew

French press takes 4-5 minutes to brew a coffee and the same amount of time is required to grind the beans and heat the water. That makes around 8 to 10 minutes in total for making French Press coffee from bean to brew.

In a Moka pot extracting the coffee and heating the water takes place at the same place. Moka Pot takes around 5-8 minutes to fully prepare a cup of strong coffee.

4) Affordability and Variety

The price of both Moka Pot and French Press is almost similar with some variations according to the size, features, brewing capacity, and brand.

There are many variations in the French press in terms of material, size, filters, and plunger assembly. A good French press costs can cost around $30. However, expensive models are also available with more features that can cost up to 100 dollars.

The design and build material of Moka Pot is pretty much standard and there are not many variants available. You can easily buy a good Moka pot in the $35-$50 range.

5) Flexibility and Versatility

A Moka pot that’s also referred to as a “stove-top espresso maker” can brew coffee that tastes nearly like an espresso but without the signature layer of crema Of course!

Moka Pot coffee can be used to prepare other delicious Espresso drinks such as:

  • Latte
  • Iced coffee
  • Tea
  • Americano

A French press is considered a flexible brewer since it gives all the control of the brewing process to your hands. You can easily adjust any brewing parameter to change the taste of coffee depending on your mood.

In addition to hot coffee, French Press can prepare:

Also, you can use French Press to froth milk for preparing milk-based coffee drinks.

In terms of Flexibility and Versatility, a French press is better than a Moka Pot as you can easily adjust the taste and prepare cold coffee drinks in it. Although you can also prepare a Latte and Cappuccino with Moka pot but it won’t taste that good.

6) Health Benefits

Drinking coffee has several benefits such as lower blood pressure, aiding in weight loss, boosting metabolic and physical activity, and improving mood.

Besides having multiple benefits it can have some negative impacts too!

A Moka pot is made of aluminum. Low-quality and cheap aluminum pots can have fluctuations due to high temperatures. Which can result in aluminum particles ending up in your cup that can be injurious to your health.

A study carried out by the journal of inorganic biochemistry concluded that:

“The method used to prepare coffee in an aluminum pot can significantly impact the infusion amount of aluminum in the final brew”

So, never buy a cheap Moka pot from unknown brands.

Both French Press and Moka pot use only metal filters to brew coffee.

Research shows that coffee made without a paper filter lets go of oils from the coffee bean that can result in triggering cholesterol levels.

“Five to eight cups a day of unfiltered coffee may actually raise your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol,”

Dr. Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

However, drinking French press coffee in moderation (2-3 cups a day) doesn’t have any harmful side effects.

Read a detailed guide on whether French Press coffee is good or bad

7) Coffee-to-Water Ratio and the Grind size

The ideal water-coffee ratio for the French press is 1:15 (15g of water for every 1 g of coffee grounds)

The optimal Moka pot coffee-to-water ratio is 1:10 (1 gram of coffee for every 10 grams of water)

The ideal ground size for both French Press and Moka pot is different. You can’t use French Press grinds in a Moka Pot!

A coarser ground works best for French presses, as it prevents the coffee from being muddy and over-extracted.

The Correct rind size for a Moka Pot is medium or medium fine ground so the water can get passed through the filter basket properly.

Usually, pre-ground coffee available in the market works perfectly with a Moka pot but for a French Press, you need a separate grinder to grind the beans to coarse settings.

8) Caffeine Content

While Moka Pot tastes stronger compared to French Press the caffeine content in both French Press and Moka Pot is almost the same.

A 6 oz coffee drink from both Moka Pot and French Press contains around 100-150 mg of caffeine.

The caffeine content mainly depends on other factors instead of the brewing method such as the type of beans, brewing time, and the coffee-to-water ratio used.

What’s right for you, French Press or Moka Pot?

Being up-front while wrapping up “What’s going to be best for you?” 

French Press makes a thick and full-bodied coffee drink. It can brew 7-8 cups within a single round. It is a versatile coffee maker that can make cold coffee drinks and allows you to control the entire brewing process. However, you have to accept little sediments in your cup!

A Moka pot is small, lightweight, and portable. If you love an espresso-style coffee at a cheaper price with a minimum hurdle then the Moka pot is a good option to go with. You should only choose Moka Pot if you love strong and intense coffee (Bitter too!). Otherwise, you’ll be disappointed.

That’s all for the French Press vs Moka Pot the final decision is finally yours! 

Also Read Other French Press Comparisons

FAQs

Is Moka Pot the same as Espresso?

No, Moka pot’s coffee doesn’t exactly taste like an espresso but it’s much similar. An espresso requires (9 to 10 bars) of pressure while a Moka pot generates only (1.5 to 2 bars) of pressure. So clearly there’s a difference between the strength and depth of both machines. And Moka Pot coffee doesn’t have a signature layer of Crema that is exclusive to espresso.
Read a guide on Moka Pot vs Espresso

Is a French press or Moka Pot better for travel?

Moka pot is perfect for camping and traveling. It’s small, lightweight, and easy to carry. You can buy a portable burner too. While a French press is not suitable to carry around as it’s heavy and larger, and the glass can break. However, Steel French Press can be a good option too!

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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