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I have been a fan of coffee for quite a while, but more recently have been branching out into many different ways of making coffee. While electric drip tends to be my go-to for a quick cup, I do also have a French Press and a Moka Pot that I use.
However in the end, the French Press would be my choice for the best coffee maker if I had to choose.
So for those that are looking to only buy one or the other (of which both are rather inexpensive, and I recommend getting both) this article is for those people.
Let’s dig into what each coffee maker does well, and maybe not so well. And decide which one is best overall!
How to make coffee with each
If you make each style of coffee the correct way, you will be boiling the water separately, rather than boiling it in the container. While you can boil the water in the Moka Pot, I don’t recommend it, as it can cause the coffee to become too bitter.
You can read my guide on how to make coffee with the French Press here, however basically it is an immersion style coffee maker. This means you put the grounds into the french press, pour water over top, and let it sit until the coffee extraction is complete.
As for the Moka Pot (you can read the complete how to for the Moka Pot here), it relies on pressure, much like an espresso machine, to push the water through the coffee grounds and into the chamber above.
The Moka Pot is actually really entertaining to watch, because as the pressure builds you get to see it move upwards into the chamber.
Taste of the coffee
This of course is the end result of why you are probably reading this article. You want to know which one ends up tasting the best after making the coffee.
French Press taste
I will start this off by saying that out of all the coffee methods (and I mean all of them), French Press is my favorite tasting style of coffee brewing. It gives a very full bodied, and substantial cup of coffee.
It also can make cheap coffee taste good, which is a big upside for those wanting to make coffee on a budget.
Moka Pot taste
I have to admit, I’m still relatively new to making Moka Pot coffee, however after making quite a few pots and doing a lot of research on best methods to make it, I still can’t make a cup of coffee that really does taste like espresso, and it always tends to have a metallic taste to it.
While this may come down to my personal taste, it just isn’t my favorite and sits lower down on my list of brew methods.
Price of the coffee makers
Both the Moka Pot and the French Press coffee makers can be purchased for around the same price. Any brand, or price range will really get you the same idea of a coffee maker, so you could probably get them for as low as $10 each.
Time it takes to make the coffee
Both methods of brewing are going to be really similar, however if you are trying to save time, the Moka Pot is probably going to be a bit quicker, as I generally let the water cool down for a couple minutes when making French Press.
However if you had something like the Stagg EKG by Fellow Products you wouldn’t have to worry about letting the water cool down.
Each will probably take you around 10-15 minutes to make the coffee. The Moka Pot will be a bit more involved because you need to keep an eye on it during the brew process, or else it may over cook, or explode if done wrong.
Cleaning up the coffee mess
Yes, unlike an electric coffee maker, you have to clean each unit after every brew.
This is one of the few places where the Moka Pot shines. The coffee grounds are trapped in a small container on the inside of the Moka Pot, and is also removable. This means you can easily put the grounds into the trash and move on.
Meanwhile the French Press takes some time to clean all the parts to the plunger, and then you have to find a way to get the grounds out of the bottom of the glass container.
While both methods aren’t exactly huge, and hard to take with you. The Moka Pot is not made of glass like the French Press is, so it is much less likely to break while in transit.
It is also much more common to find a smaller Moka Pot, with some of them easily bring able to fit into a carry on.
That said, if you want a coffee make that is truly portable, you might want to read more about the Aeropress Go here, and maybe get a Prismo attachment to get that espresso taste.
I really like the design of both styles of coffee maker. However the Moka Pot definitely has a cooler look with the metal design, and the angular creases. It looks more like a fashionable storage container than a coffee maker.
It is not as modern looking as the French Press can be, so of you want a cleaner look in your kitchen, then the French press is the better option.
So I guess it is up to the eye of the beholder.
Type of coffee needed
This is actually a really important one that not many people think about. Most homes have medium to coarse style of coffee grounds, because they use that in their coffee maker, and most store bought coffee is this style.
However the Moka Pot calls for a fine ground coffee to be used. This makes it a more difficult style of coffee to make, as you will probably want to get specific coffee to do it. You can use normal coffee but you won’t get the best possible results.
All of that said, I recently went to my local grocery store, and noticed you could buy beans and grind them there. So that could be a great option, as the grounds would be fresh and you could choose what you need.
Capacity of coffee made
French Presses and Moka Pots come in a wide variety of sizes, however the french press gives a little more flexibility of the amount you can make.
The Moka Pot has to use a specific amount of coffee and water to pressurize correctly, so you have to use the same amount every time. Meaning you are stuck with whatever size Moka Pot you bought.
I personally have bought too large of one for my needs. It looks like most Moka Pots will come in either 3 cup, or 6 cup versions. So make sure you buy the right one for your needs.
The French Press can make a full french press worth, or you could cut all of it in half and only make a half french press brew. So this is great for if you have visitors, or if you are just making coffee for yourself.
They also come in quite a few sizes, specifically 3 cup, and 8 cup versions, and you can find a couple options for this below.
Recommended Moka Pot
Moka pots over all are pretty much the same thing, let’s be honest! So going less expensive is ideal in this instance.
I found a great one on Target for under $20, and you can see it here on their site.
If you do want a cooler looking one, this is a great version on Brim’s site.
Recommended French Press
French Press like Moka Pots all do pretty much the same thing, so Bodum is my choice on this one. You can find a smaller 3 cup version here, or their larger 8 cup here.
In the end though, for both of these units, whatever you buy will pretty much work like the rest of them. I would buy the cheapest one I could get that I think looks nice. You can spend a lot more money for them, but be aware you won’t get much of a difference in taste, just the aesthetics.
I’m not even going to give you the generic answer of “It’s up to you and your taste of coffee to decide”. I’ll just give you the answer of, get the French Press first, it gives you the best of all worlds.
It makes great tasting coffee, is extremely easy to use and can even use it to make cold brew!
Once you want to branch out to other methods of coffee making, then get the Moka Pot. It can be fun, and is just cool to use.
However it definitely is not the best method of making coffee, and the French Press is just considerably easier to use, and better for everyday use.