Moka Pot vs French Press
Today we’re taking a look at Italy’s two most famous brewing methods: the Moka Pot and the French press.
You read that right. While it bears a different country’s name, the French press most likely originated in Italy, just like the Moka Pot.
And while both of these brewing methods eventually made their way over oceans to become beloved members of the coffee world at large, they seem like entirely unrelated ways to brew coffee.
Or are they? Read on to find out just how much the Moka Pot and the French press actually have in common. And which one you may want to try next.
Comparison: Moka Pot vs French Press?
Ease of Use
The Moka Pot isn’t necessarily hard to learn, but it might take a couple tries before you feel confident in it. Follow these steps, adjusting as you go, until you find just the right brew for you.
- Grind your beans very finely, about the same as table salt
- Boil water and use that water to fill the bottom half of your pot (some people skip this step and simply use cool water)
- Put the grounds in the filter basket and give them a shake to distribute evenly
- Place the basket in the bottom half of the pot
- Put together the rest of the Moka Pot and place the assembled pot on the stove (it’s best to place it on the corner of your burner to avoid scorching the coffee)
- Turn your burner on medium heat
- Wait until you hear a hissing sound, then carefully remove the pot, pour, and enjoy
You can learn the French press method quickly and without a lot of trouble, thankfully. Here are the basic steps:
- Heat your water to about 205F and pour it over course grounds
- Wait about 45 seconds for the coffee bloom and then stir
- Place the lid on and wait 3-4 minutes
- Slowly press down on the plunger but try to avoid squeezing the grounds at the end
- Pour and enjoy
The French press just can’t be beaten in simplicity. There’s not much skill involved, just some patience and you’ll turn out a delicious brew.
Moka Pots take 5-10 minutes to brew, depending on how quickly the water in the reservoir heats up. We also recommend pre-heating the water and using fresh beans, so add a couple of minutes for that.
3-4 minutes are all you need to let your French press coffee steep. Give yourself another 1-2 minutes to grind the beans while you’re heating up the water, and you’re looking at 6 minutes or less.
The French press brews in about the same amount of time it takes to pour a bowl of cereal or fry an egg, making it a perfect addition to even your hurried morning routine. So it takes the win here.
Ease of Cleanup
That stainless steel/aluminum pot gets extremely hot, so to avoid burning your hands, let the Moka Pot cool completely before cleaning. Then throw out the grounds and rinse with cool water. We also recommend letting it air dry completely before storing.
Cleaning a French press is easy, but it’s important to be thorough when cleaning the plunger. Left behind grounds make for bitter coffee, so make sure to remove those completely. And then just rinse the base with warm water and you’re done.
Even with the slightly annoying problem of leftover grounds sticking to the plunger, the French press is less finicky than a Moka Pot, so we give it the win.
Also called the Stovetop Espresso Maker, the Moka Pot brews in espresso-sized measurements (roughly 2oz). They range from a single cup all the way up to 12 of these tiny cups.
The average French press serves 8 cups (roughly 34oz), but you can also find ones ranging from 3-12 cups. Perfect for personal or party brewing.
The French press capacity nearly doubles that of the Moka Pot. But the winner depends on how you want to use it. And since they both come in adaptable sizes, they tie this category.
If you go the “preheat the water” route, you’ll definitely need a kettle. And for the freshest taste, use a burr grinder on the beans right before you brew. And that’s about it.
The only other equipment that’s 100% necessary is a kettle so you can heat and pour the water. Other than that, consider a grinder and timer, for freshness and precision respectively.
Again, these two methods tie because they really require the same extra equipment. In the realm of extra stuff, they don’t need much.
By investing around $30 for a Moka Pot, you’re getting as close to espresso as you can without splurging on an espresso machine. But if you really want to spend a lot, you can also find ones from $80-$100.
If you have $30 or less to spare, you can get a top-of-the-line French press. This classic brewing method is hard to improve on, which means prices stay low. If you’re looking for something fancy though, you can find that too.
As far as costs go, these two run neck and neck. But a slight advantage goes to the French press because you can find really good ones for less than $15.
Bright and slightly sweet, the Moka Pot makes you forget you’re not really drinking espresso. And if you do it just right, you’ll end up with some of that soft, lush crema on top too.
Thick, rich, and strong. The grounds and water stay in contact until the very end of the brewing cycle when you press the plunger down, thus producing a bold-flavored coffee. Just be careful to avoid any remaining grounds!
The flavor profiles of these two methods vary about as much as personal tastes do. So try them both to see which you prefer.
What’s the Use?
After comparing these methods, we’ve seen that they’re actually quite similar. So what’s the main difference?
Taste. The Moka Pot makes a sweet and subtle brew. But the French press produces an in-your-face, bold coffee taste with an extremely thick mouthfeel.
This may leave you questioning which one to test out at home. So consider this: what’s the use?
If you want an espresso-based drink, go for a Moka Pot. It’ll deliver the flavor and the texture most similar to what you need.
If, on the other hand, you want something strong to wake you up, opt for the French press. It’s a proven classic, sure to delight most coffee lovers.