Congratulations! You are exploring the possibility of leaving your old automatic drip coffee maker behind.
If you are looking to step up from your automatic drip coffee maker to something that might make a better cup of coffee, two options you might want to look at are the Moka pot and the French press.
Of these two solutions, the French press is probably the more popular. The Moka pot is a bit more specialized and can make a different type of coffee – espresso.
In this post we’re going to look at the equipment and methodology that goes into making a good cup of coffee for each one. We will compare and contrast the two.
We have our favorite and will tell you what it is, you need to make your own decision. They are both inexpensive enough that you might purchase both and have a side-by-side coffee cook-off.
Moka Pot & French Press
What Is A Moka Pot? How Does A Moka Pot Work?
The moka pot is the simplest and possibly the most ingenious way of producing espressos. The moka pot is placed on top of your stove and the burner is turned on. As the water boils in the bottom chamber of this espresso machine, a steam is forced through the upper chamber of the pot.Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker and Filter (6-Cup)
The moka pot on the left is hands down, the most popular on Amazon with nearly 7,000 reviews and over 600 answered questions, If you need more info click on image to take you to Amazon.
A moka pot is an Italian percolator design that operates on the same basic principle as a pressure cooker. You put water in the bottom, coffee grounds right above it, and as the water boils the steam builds up and pushes the water upwards through the grounds at high temperature and some pressure, percolating upwards until it comes out in the upper chamber.
The filtering is done by a metal screen, and a bit of gravity since the water is actually flowing upwards, which means that it leaves in place the oils and the good, subtle stuff that a coffee aficionado would appreciate.
If you grind your own beans, you will need a high-quality grinder to properly use this Moka maker. Without a consistent grind, water will simply not pass through the grounds. Once when I was waiting for a replacement blade for my burr grinder I tried to use this with beans that I had ground with a standard blade grinder, and only one or two ounces of water were able to pass through. A consistent grind is absolutely essential.
Because the moka pot is not a mechanized espresso machine, the pressure produced from the process is weaker than its counterparts. The main feature of this espresso maker is its simplicity. The moka pot is the least expensive of all espresso machines on the market.
The Moka Pot Pos and Cons:
- The coffee tastes stronger than from my french press.
- Can Make a milky coffee more like a latte, or an intense shot more like an espresso.
- Very good value for its price.
- Very easy to clean.
- Makes great iced coffee base.
- Difficult to a great cup from without everything being in line not quite true espresso.
- No apparatus for steaming milk.
- Not a ‘true’ espresso – cannot develop the pressure of commercial espresso machines.
- Finicky to get the gasket and parts lined up.
What Is A French Press? How Does A French Press Work?
The French press was invented over a hundred years ago. It has received a few improvements over the years but remains relatively the same today. Ritual French Coffee Press, Bamboo Wood, Borosilicate Glass, and Copper Color Frame, Coffee Maker with Bonus Filter 36oz/1000mlThe brewing system remains the same. The only changes have been improvements to the filter and carafe design.
Basically, a French press coffee system consists of a straight walled carafe and a plunger which has a filter attached on the bottom. Crudely put, you put the coffee in the bottom of the carafe add hot water, wait for it to steep a certain amount of time and then press the plunger.
As you slowly press the plunger for coffee/water mixture will be forced to the bottom by the filter. The filter allows the drinkable coffee to rise to the top while “pressing” the grounds to the part of you then pour off the drinkable coffee.
French press coffee is remarkably easy to make and low-tech, since you can make it without electricity. For this reason, it’s great on camping trips, since the plunger pot fits easily in a backpack and can be used outdoors. Similarly, for those traveling without guarantee of a coffee machine at their destination, a French press coffee jug can fit easily in your travel bag and ensures you can have a cup wherever you go.
You can either go to your local coffee shop or you can make your own cup of coffee at home. Most individuals brew their coffee with just an ordinary electronic coffee maker.
However, there are better ways to make a good cup of coffee without spending big dollars on an extravagant cappuccino maker or something else equally expensive that are difficult to master and keep in good working condition.
The biggest advantage of using a French press system is that it is very easy to fiddle with. You can adjust the brewing time, ratio of coffee to water, and play with using different grinds of coffee very, very easily. Once you have your formula down it is simple to replicate time after time again.
The French press gives you complete control over all the variables that go into making a great cup of .
The French Press Coffee Maker Pros And Cons:
- Does not need electricity to operate.
- It is easy to use and easy to clean.
- They are very inexpensive to purchase, and operate.
- Coffee cools faster due to non-heated glass carafe.
- Sediment can appear at bottom of cup.
- Long brewing means increased caffeine
Moka Pot vs French Press
It is difficult to compare these two methods of coffee preparation. In just doing a little bit of research, and careful reading it appears that each of the two is designed to produce a different type of coffee.
To exaggerate things a little bit you might ask which makes a better cup of coffee a commercial espresso machine, or a 4 cups Mr. Coffee automatic drip. If you like espresso the answer is obvious, if you like a regular cup of coffee the answer is obvious.
To make it clear a moka pot is designed to produce small quantities of coffee similar to espresso. It is not easy to brew ‘regular coffee in a moka pot.Purists would argue that it’s not “real” espresso. But everyone agrees it produces a stronger cup of coffee than regular brewing methods.
The French press is designed to make ‘regular coffee’. It is extremely difficult to get a “normal” cup of coffee brewed in a moka pot.
A moka pot can be viewed as a trade-off for people who are not willing to invest massive amounts of money to get a true espresso machine but like espresso coffee, lattes, and cappuccinos. For some this may do the trick for an espresso fanatic, probably not.
Now, to put the shoe on the other foot it is very difficult to get an espresso out of a French press coffee system. Although you can fiddle with the amount of water, coffee, and grind you probably will not achieve anything really similar to true espresso.
The French press does allow you to make a truly superior cup of coffee. You are complete control of all the factors necessary for brewing: water temperature, grind, coffee beans, steeping time etc.
In all fairness to both brewing systems, I believe we are not truly comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges. It’s more like comparing an apple to an orange. They are both fruit. Well the mocha pot in French press both produce coffee.
Some people prefer apple, some will prefer an orange. Some people prefer the types of coffee that a moka pot is designed to, and capable of delivering.
Other people prefer the type of coffee (regular coffee) that are French presses design to produce.
If you prefer espresso type coffees get a moka pot.
If you prefer regular coffee get a French press.
Each to their own.
Wishing you the best in your coffee adventures!