Moka Pot vs. French Press: Which One to Choose?

You may want to expand your coffee routine beyond the standard drip coffee maker, but you are stuck on Moka Pot vs. French press dilemma. These two coffee-making methods are relatively affordable and easy to learn without much effort. However, each has strengths and weaknesses that you must measure against your personal preferences.

Moka Pot vs. French press comparison

Determining whether you should get a Moka Pot or a French press plunger requires looking at several factors. First, of course, you want delicious coffee. Also, your coffee maker needs to be easy to use and clean. Furthermore, the coffee maker you pick must fit your budget and brew the cuantity of coffee you want. Let’s analyze each of the criteria to help you decide which coffee maker is the best for you.

Moka pot vs french press

Ease of use

As you deliberate over Moka Pot vs. French press, you want to ensure you are not adding something overly complicated to your morning routine. Therefore, a vital part of the comparison requires looking at whether you have access to any extra equipment needed to produce coffee, such as a heat source.

Moka Pot

The classic octagonal Bialetti Moka Pot is probably what comes to mind when thinking of a stovetop espresso maker. It has two chambers that connect in the middle. You put water in the lower compartment and then add coffee grounds in a little metal basket that you insert at the top of the water chamber. Then, you screw the upper section on top. The water boils and pushes through the coffee grounds when you heat the Moka Pot on a stove burner, sending brewed coffee into the upper chamber.

Classic Moka Pots, like the old-school percolators, require a stove; therefore, they may not be ideal for office or travel settings. However, there are a few models that operate with electricity.

The best coffee for a Moka Pot is ground to medium-fine size. However, it can work well enough with pre-ground coffee of standard grind size. Using grinds sold in stores or coffee shops can be a big plus for coffee lovers with less time to spare.

While you can certainly grind your coffee beans at home, bear in mind not to use finely ground coffee, as it can clog the filter screen of your Moka Pot coffee maker. Likewise, tamping the coffee grounds in the filter basket may cause similar problems, and your Moka Pot will not brew any coffee or start leaking while brewing.

French press

Like AeroPress and coffee siphon, a French press is a form of immersion brewing where the coffee grounds soak in the water. In the classic French press brewing method, coarsely ground coffee and hot water steep together for four to five minutes inside the plunger. Then, you depress the plunger, and the metal mesh filter separates the grinds from the brewed coffee.

Coarsely ground beans are essential for the best results with plunger coffee. Unfortunately, the coarse grind size is generally not available packaged in stores. Therefore, grinding the coffee beans should be considered part of making French press coffee. This will add one step more to your morning routine.

A big plus is that you do not need access to a stove to use a French press. As long as you can add hot water, the plunger works. It will give it an edge in some office or travel settings.


While both coffee makers are relatively easy to use, a French press is an excellent choice if you can’t rely on a stove.

french press preparation

Brewing time

Both Moka Pot and French press take around five minutes to brew coffee. The differences in this category are therefore not significant. Still, the tricks that can alter brew time vary based on the brewing method.

Moka Pot

The Moka Pot will let you know when it finished brewing by making a gurgling noise. You can also open its lid and see whether coffee is still coming out. Either way, the Moka Pot requires that you pay attention to when it is done brewing, as leaving it on the burner too long can damage your coffee.

You may speed up the brewing time by filling the lower chamber with boiling water rather than cold water before you put it on the stove. Some people find this improves the flavor of the Moka Pot coffee, as it speeds up the extraction time resulting in a less bitter brew.

French press

With the French press, you can adjust the brewing time based on your preference. It will probably still wind up within a similar range of how long the Moka Pot takes, but you might feel like you have more control over the process. For example, brewing for only four minutes may be sufficient if you don’t want strong coffee.

You may end up with bitter coffee if you let your coffee grounds sit in the plunger too long, but unlike with a Moka Pot, there is no risk of burning your coffee. However, it is best to pour your coffee out of the French press when it is done brewing.


While the brew time of a French press is not much faster than that of a Moka Pot, a French press gives you greater flexibility and is harder to mess up.

french press on a balcony


Both Moka Pots and French presses are sold in different sizes, and you can pick the size that meets your needs. You might consider how many people drink coffee with you to decide what size to buy.

The capacity of a coffee maker is usually given in cups. Still, a key difference between these two brewing methods is what counts as a cup. What the marketing materials describe as a cup may be less than what you prefer to drink in one sitting. So be honest with yourself about how much coffee you plan to consume and check the size of the cup each manufacturer refers to.

Moka Pot

Moka coffee is not quite espresso, as it brews at a much lower pressure than an espresso machine does. Still, its basic idea is very similar to espresso.

For a Moka Pot, a cup of coffee is a  two-ounce espresso serving, not a mug. If you are used to drinking weak coffee from a drip machine, these small serving sizes can be hard to get used to.

Of course, you can buy a large-size Moka Pot and make a mug’s worth of coffee in one go. However, remember that Moka Pot coffee is much more concentrated than drip coffee, so be careful not to overdose. Add hot water or milk to dilute strong coffee and make cappuccinos or lattes at home.

French press

For a French press, a cup of coffee is four ounces, the same as a drip machine. Therefore, if you like to sip your cup of joe for a long time, it will give you more coffee. Also, the caffeine content of French press coffee is a little less than that of drip coffee.


A French press might be best for you if you prefer having a standard-sized cup of coffee.

french press gradation


One of the biggest reasons to try new coffee brewing methods is to make great coffee. Coffee snobs who don’t like the taste of what they are drinking can’t keep it up for long.

What these two brewing methods have in common is that neither uses a paper filter, which results in a more intense flavor. However, some researchers have found that brewing coffee without a paper filter results in more chemicals escaping into your coffee, which raises cholesterol levels. If this concerns you, you may want to alternate your French press or Moka Pot brew with coffee made using other brewing methods such as V60 or Chemex.

Moka Pot

While Moka Pot coffee can become bitter if you leave it on the burner too long or use cold water in the lower chamber, these problems are fixable. Once you know what you are doing, the Moka Pot brews strong coffee similar to espresso with an intense taste.

In terms of intensity, Moka Pot coffee can be compared to that brewed with AeroPress, even though AeroPress fans wold argue that the latter produces more subtle floral and fruity flavors, while Moka Pot elevates coffee bitterness.

Some Moka Pots can make crema – a golden foam on top of the coffee that gives a fuller flavor and more prolonged aftertaste.

French press

French press coffee is a full-bodied brew that can taste heavy and oily. Perhaps it is more accurately described as having a texture rather than a taste.

While depressing the plunger at the end of the French press brewing process is supposed to separate the coffee grounds from the brewed coffee, this separation is not always complete. The coffee may result in having more sediment than some drinkers would prefer. It is more likely to happen if you use pre-ground coffee of standard grind size rather than fresh, coarsely ground coffee, but you might put up with it if you are in a hurry.


Moka Pot wins as it will save you from the frustration of having grounds in your coffee that can be a part of the French press experience.

pouring coffee from moka pot


Both Moka Pot and French press should be washed after use. Unfortunately, the rumor that letting old coffee build up in your Moka Pot improves the flavor is false. A big part of the Moka Pot vs. French press decision is finding a cleaning method you can live with.

Moka Pot

Aluminum Moka Pots are easy to clean but are not dishwasher-safe. Bialetti recommends simply rinsing your Moka Pot with warm water when it cools down, as even dish soap can cause damage.

There are stainless steel Moka Pots that are dishwasher safe but among the more expensive stovetop coffee makers. However, when choosing the best Moka Pot for yourself, investing in a stainless steel coffee maker could be worth it if you have concerns about the health risks of aluminum cookware.

French press

French presses are usually made from glass framed in stainless steel or plastic so you can still see the water level inside. You can also find some plungers that are made from solid stainless steel.

Many French presses are dishwasher safe, though the glass carafe should go on the top shelf. If you’re unsure about putting your French press in the dishwasher, rinse it with water after each use, and occasionally do a deeper cleaning using dish soap.


French presses usually have the option of washing them in the dishwasher, which is convenient. Even if washing both coffee makers by hand, a French press has fewer parts to get dirty than a Moka Pot.

washed french press


Moka Pots and French presses are both relatively affordable. Either brew method is excellent for coffee connoisseurs to improve their skills without making an expensive investment like an espresso machine. As a bonus, neither brew method requires disposable filters, which saves money over time.

Moka Pot

Bialetti Moka Pots start at around $30, and the price increases from there, especially for higher-capacity coffee makers. However, some lesser-known brands are priced at about $20.

French press

The straightforward design of the French press gives a greater variety of manufacturers competing for your money. As a result, some French presses cost as little as $10. While higher-quality plungers cost more, average models cost $20 to $40.

However, there is one caveat. Since coarse grind size is necessary for best brewing results, you need to factor in your spending on getting a burr grinder or buying freshly ground coffee in specialty coffee shops.


Coffee plungers can be cheaper than Moka Pots, though you may get the quality you pay for. Spending about $30 might be a reasonable expectation with either coffee maker.

Using a Moka Pot and a French press are two convenient ways to prepare coffee at home. They can be great gifts for your mother or any coffee lover who prefers simple coffee-making. These coffee makers will give you more excitement and flavorsome coffee than a drip coffee machine. A Moka Pot might be your best option if you are a fan of short and concentrated espressos. However, a French press is worth a try if you enjoy sipping your long blacks or Americanos the whole day.

Looking for more coffee brewing options? Check out my Chemex vs. French Press comparison to make a better decision!

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