Currently 2 of the most popular manual coffee brewing devices in the world, the French Press and Moka Pot are a household essential for many people. They allow more control over coffee brewing and flavor, are fairly inexpensive, and you don’t need to be a trained barista to use either. But when it comes to the moka pot vs french press, which one is better?
Some people won’t actually notice the difference between the two, and more importantly, they won’t care. But to those that do, each device can be very different depending on how it’s used.
We are going to look at the French Press vs Moka Pot in terms of price, brewing efficiency, flavor, ease of use, and ultimately decide which one is better. Although, it is worth noting that this is subjective and your choice would be based on your taste preferences.
Related: French Press VS Aeropress
The French Press
The French Press is a coffee brewing device that uses a plunging mechanism to separate coffee grounds from the water. It has been around since the early 1900s and can be found everywhere around the world.
Coffee grounds are added to the glass carafe and boiling water is poured onto the grounds. The plunger is then put into the carafe to sit just underneath the level of water. After waiting 2 – 5 minutes (depending on preference), the plunger is pushed gently down.
The coffee can then be poured into the cup and you have a flavorful cup of joe. The benefit of using a french press is the wide variety of beans and grounds that can be used. Just remember to get the correct french press coffee ratio and also to use a coarse grind.
Related: What is a French Press?
The Moka Pot
The Moka pot is a stovetop espresso maker that was invented in Italy. It’s also called a stove-top coffee pot, Moka pot, mocha pot, and an Italian coffee maker. It is generally inexpensive and comes in stainless steel or aluminum. In Italy, it would be strange if a household did not own a moka pot.
The design consists of three parts: a bottom chamber, a filter, and a top chamber. The bottom chamber is filled with water, the filter is filled with fine coffee grounds (lightly tamped), and the top chamber is empty.
When added to a heat source, the water will begin to boil and steam and water will rise up through the coffee, extracting oils and entering the top chamber. After around 5 minutes, the top chamber will have your coffee drink ready to pour.
Moka Pots uses pressure to produce coffee similar to that of an espresso maker. They are slightly more inconvenient to use than a French Press, but not after some practice.
Related: What is a Moka Pot?
French Press VS Moka Pot
1. Comparing The Price
The great thing about the French Press and the Moka Pot is that they both are very affordable. As far as coffee makers go, these are two of the most affordable options out there and just because they are a budget option, it doesn’t mean they make poor quality coffee.
French Press: A French Press can range anywhere from $20 to $120. There are various options that include stainless steel plungers and outer casings, plus fancy designs, these add costs to the french press. However, if you just want a basic traditional French Press, you can get one for $15-$20
Moka Pot: A moka pot can cost as low as $5 on Amazon. It depends on the cup size and type you want. For example, an aluminum pot will be cheaper as the material is cheaper but not as durable. However, a stainless steel option will be more expensive. For 1 person to purchase a moka pot, it can be $5. However, if you choose a large cup size and high-quality build/brand, you could spend in excess of $100.
The Moka pot – This is only a narrow victory, prices are very similar, but you can get the moka pot for slightly cheaper at its lowest model.
2. Ease of Brewing & Preparation
Both of these manual coffee makers require ground coffee. So you will either have to purchase pre-ground coffee or grind your own beans at home (recommended). They both require water too.
French Press: For the French Press, a coarse grind is added to the carafe and a kettle then needs to be boiled. Water gets poured in slowly and the grounds get stirred. The plunger is placed below the waterline where the coffee is allowed to steep for 2-5 minutes. The longer the steep the stronger the coffee will taste.
The plunger is gently pressed down and the drink can then be poured into the cup. That’s all that’s required for the French Press, so you need access to boiling water and coffee grounds.
Moka Pot: The Moka Pot is slightly more complicated for first-time uses. The three chambers need to be taken apart. Regular water is placed in the bottom chamber to start. Then finely ground coffee gets placed into the filter section, this should be lightly tamped (compacted) but not too much otherwise the coffee will not allow water/steam to pass through.
The coffee basket is placed on top of the water chamber and the top half is screwed on (not too tight). Then the moka pot should be placed on low/medium heat. You will have to stay around to make sure that the coffee is entering the top chamber and doesn’t get blocked. The process will take around 10 minutes.
French Press – For us, the french press is much easier to use. You can boil water whilst prepping the beans/grounds and the time waiting is not as long.
3. The Brew Quality
When it comes to brewing great quality coffee, it’s easier to perfect a cup of joe using a French Press compared to a Moka Pot. Moka Pots require a bit more skill and it has the potential to become under or overly extracted.
French Press: When brewing with the french press, you can see the coffee and the water, combine that with a timer and you can brew the perfect cup. Now, the quality of the brew will depend on how much coffee you add compared to water, and how long you let the coffee steep for.
It will take some practice to get the perfect French Press ratio and timing, but once you do, it will become routine and the quality of the brew will be excellent.
Moka Pot: The moka pot is all about timing. As you can’t see the coffee being produced, you have be sure you stop brewing at the exact right time to get the perfect flavor. You also cannot really adjust the amount of coffee used, as the moka pot will have a limited size basket.
You can still get a high-quality brew, but you will need to perfect the skill first.
French Press – The French Press is easier when it comes to controlling the quality of the coffee.
4. The Brewing Time
Aside from the quality of the brew, you should also keep in mind how much brew time you want to devote. Both the Moka Pot and the French press are manual coffee makers, which means that they need a lot of patience and time to complete the brewing process.
French Press: Depending on how you do it, brewing coffee in a French Press could take 5 minutes. You can set the water to boil, grind and prepare your coffee while it is boiling, then pour instantly. Allow it to steep for the minimum 2-minute mark, and you have your coffee.
Of course, it can be longer if you want the coffee to steep longer and be stronger.
Moka Pot : With a Moka Pot, most of the time spent will be waiting for the water to heat up and boil. You need to keep an eye on the stove for the whole brewing process or risk getting a bitter and overly extracted cup of coffee. The brewing process of a Moka Pot will take about 10 minutes to complete.
French Press – The French Press can be quicker and more convenient than using the moka pot.
5. The Taste
This is one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to the French Press vs moka pot debate. However, it is important to understand that taste is subjective and our opinion may not be your preference.
Taste also entirely depends on the brewing process, grind size, water temperature, and beans. So, it’s very hard to judge this one. This comparison takes into account Starbucks Pike Place Beans, with minimum brewing/steeping times.
French Press: The French Press can create a smooth and rich coffee taste, dark with chocolaty notes. The coffee texture is a bit thicker than say Aeropress. There was sediment left in the bottom of the cup. Overall, the taste is much stronger than regular coffee.
Moka Pot: The Moka Pot created a more concentrated cup of coffee compared to French Press since it uses pressure to brew coffee similar to an espresso coffee maker. Moka Pots offer a concentrated coffee drink with a thin crema on top. This created a bolder flavor than became watery if brewing a larger sized cup.
Both – Both of these brewing methods offer unique outcomes in terms of flavor. It can be too hard to judge collectively and should be tested based on your palette.
The Verdict: Which is Better the French Press or Moka Pot?
The French Press in our opinion slightly edges the Moka pot on which one is better, however, the margins on this are very thin. Let’s summarize:
- Price – Both are relatively similar, moka pot can be cheaper slightly.
- Brewing – Both require grinding, steeping/boiling, and waiting.
- Taste – Both have unique tastes and cannot really be compared fairly or accurately.
- Time – The French Press can be slightly quicker, but both take around 10 minutes.
If you want to purchase a moka pot or french press, these are our top picks:
The Final Sip
When it comes to the French Press vs Moka Pot, the French Press slightly takes the lead in our opinion. This is due to the ease of use and slightly faster brewing time. Which one do you think is better, let us know in the comments.