Coffee Pot Sizes: Guide to Buying the Best Stovetop Moka or French PressJan 25, 2023
When I quit drinking alcohol, I very quickly replaced it with coffee. I LUUUURVE coffee and have had all sorts of different sizes of pots and machines and contraptions in order to turn hot water into a delight for coffee lovers over the years.
Remember those little spinning milk frothers? Yep, even them!
The Right Coffee Pot Sizes for your Life!
My most recent contraption, a Nespresso espresso machine by Magimix, has died. Sad face.
But far from lamenting its passing (well I definitely did for a week or so), I've decided it is a good thing because:
a) it didn't really make a great coffee - it was just ok;
b) I drank far too much of said coffee because it was so easy; and,
c) it's both pricey and wasteful to keep using all those little pods.
So, I'm on the hunt for the right sized coffee pot
I'm going back to basics because the main thing is it is definitely cheaper to buy coffee grounds and I definitely reduce the amount of coffee I drink when it's not just the push of a button. Oh, and you can buy some delicious coffee beans so it tastes so much better!
A note on Coffee Grounds
Just last week I was in the Pumpfrey's Coffee Shop where they have a huge selection of teas and coffee, and roast their own coffee beans. I bought a bag of their "bean of the month" and have been making my own ground coffee fresh in my nutribullet.
Although this means it takes longer, it also makes it more of a 'thing'.
It's more special, tastes better and means I don't drink quite so many cups of coffee overall! Win win.
The right Coffee pots - what size Moka Pot?
(Keep scrolling if you want to know about French Presses)
So I've read that if you go for a stovetop espresso maker, these come in all shapes and sizes and materials and colours and for an induction stove and everything else coffee drinkers might need ...
The classic stovetop is the Moka, that traditional Italian aluminium stovetop pot. And you can get a Moka pot size to suit literally every eventuality and all the ounces of coffee you might need.
It works by filling the bottom chamber with cold water, placing fresh coffee grounds in the middle chamber and then screwing on the top chamber where the handle and spout are. As the water temperature increases over a medium heat, the water is pushed from the bottom chamber, through the coffee grounds and then up into the top chamber. Like magic.
6-cup Moka Pot - the perfect size?
In terms of the size of your Moka pot, because of the way the water is forced through the coffee, there is apparently a sweet spot.
A smaller pot will produce a weaker coffee, whereas a larger pot will produce a bitter coffee. So, the best Moka pot is considered to be a 6-cup Moka pot or the 8-cup pot.
Unfortunately, the number of cups the pot says does not actually correspond to the number you'll get. It is referring to espresso cups!
Depending on how strong you like your coffee, a 6-cup Moka Pot makes about 12-ounces (350 ml) coffee. Either one mug of strong coffee or two medium-strength coffees, when diluted with water. Or, if you have some cute little espresso cups, you can crack them out and make 2-3 doubles, Italian style.
1-cup and 3-cup pot
The smallest Aluminum Moka Pots are the 1-cup and 3-cup pot and while they might not make the best tasting coffee, they are by far the most convenient as the coffee is ready quicker, they're great for a single person, they are compact (making them popular for taking to work or camping) and they look really cute.
So if you're not a massive coffee drinker, or you are but you travel a lot, the 3-cup Moka pot is still a good option.
Different Moka Pot options
Ooh there are some lovely ones on the market depending on your kitchen decor and your favourite colours, these pots come highly recommended and I just like how they look!
£32.30 - Classic Aluminum 8-cup Moka Pot in Red (available in other sizes and colours): Zulay Classic Stovetop Espresso Maker for Great Flavored Strong Espresso, Classic Italian Style 8 Espresso Cup Moka Pot, Makes Delicious Coffee, Easy to Operate & Quick Cleanup Pot (Red)
£25 - 6-cup Moka Pot in Grey: MazingJR Moka Pot Stovetop Espresso Maker 300ml for 6 Cup, Aluminum with Dark Gray Finish
£26.99 - 6-cup Moka Pot suitable for an Induction Hob: Godmorn Stovetop Espresso Maker, Italian Coffee Maker Moka Pot, 300ml/6 Cup (Espresso Cup=50ml), 430 Stainless Steel Classic Cafe Maker, Suitable for Induction Hob
£10.99 - 1-cup Moka Pot (couldn't resist!): Italian Espresso Maker 1 Cup Italian Stove Top Coffee Percolator Moka Pot 1 Cup / 50ml
Pros and cons of a Moka Pot
Pros of Moka Pot
1. You get a beautifully smooth coffee, that has no coffee grounds in!
2. Drinking less coffee - Using a smaller Moka pot like this means I'll still get my couple of coffees but it might stop me from reaching for a third quite so quickly!
3. The other benefit of using a stovetop coffee pot is it is much easier to dispose of the coffee grounds compared to a french press, because the grounds are compacted into the middle chamber, which comes apart easily (run the metal under a cold tap if it's still hot!) so you can just knock the grounds straight into your bin.
Cons of a Moka Pot
1. Drinking less coffee! If you're a big coffee drinker, it might be a bit of a hassle to have to keep cleaning, refilling and then waiting for the brewing process.
2. It requires slightly more concentration! If you are half asleep and forget to put cold water in the bottom chamber, the handle will melt off. I know this because that's how my last Moka pot died when I did it once. There is a tiny safety valve, but that's more of a helpful feature when you remember to put water in!
The right Coffee Pots - What Size French Press?
Of course, there are different ways to make a cup of Joe and a French Press or cafetiere is also a good option.
A cafetiere totally reminds me of growing up in the 90s - as coffee started to become more popular, it felt like everyone had one. The height of sophistication. My parents still use their one daily, despite having a machine, because it's still the best option, in my opinion, when there are a few of you drinking coffee and you don't want to just have instant granulated coffee.
The most common sizes of French Press are the 350ml or the 1lt (or 8-cup coffee pot - please note that cafetiere cup sizes are different to the Moka Pot!). For me, a 1lt pot is perfect, as you can get about 3-4 mugs of coffee out of each pot. If the pot has gone cold by the time I come to get my third coffee, I just warm it up in the microwave. I'll be honest, I'll even come back the next day to reheat a coffee from a cafetiere. Probably shouldn't admit that, but I'm not fussy!
I also find that it's really versatile because it's a great option if you need to make more than 3 cups. You can just put a lot of coffee grounds in, and make a super strong pot. Dilute each mug with warm water from the kettle and, voila, you've now got 6 cups of coffee out of one pot!
What TYPE of French Press
But not all cafetieres or French Presses are equal and, while the sizes may be pretty standard, the actual pot can vary wildly in style, quality and sturdiness.
I personally LOVE a ceramic french press, and would absolutely LOVE this Le Creuset one but I can't justify the £65 it would cost to get it! (it's my 40th Birthday soon... just saying!)
As a second-best option, I did, however, get this ceramic press and it's my go-to at the moment, while I decide which coffee pot to buy next.
£24 - Ceramic French Press: La Cafetière Barcelona French Press Coffee Maker, Ceramic, Cool Grey, 6 Cups (850 ml)
It looks good, but it's a bit temperamental - you need to be careful not to fill it too full or coffee will spill all over the kitchen top as you push down the metal mesh. And there are ALWAYS bits of coffee ground in your coffee no matter how careful I am when plunging!
So, when it comes to French Presses, you can either forgo style and get a good quality glass one, like this... which will always give you a good cup of coffee.
£20.57 - 1ltr Glass Cafetiere: BODUM Cafeteria 8 Cup French Press Coffee Maker, Black, 1.0 l, 34 oz
Or ... you can pay through the nose and get a sexy Le Creuset!
Pros of French Press
1. It's dead easy to use
2. You can make larger quantities by making a stronger pot of coffee and diluting it down in each mug
3. As long as you get a good quality glass one, you will always get a good cup of coffee (less any coffee grounds)
Cons of a French Press
1. Don't be fooled by the cheaper ceramic presses - they might look good, but the coffee they make can be a bit hit and miss.
2. it's easy to drink too much coffee if you're drinking it on your own!
3. Cleaning it can be a bit annoying as the grounds are mixed in with water - pouring down the sink will clog your drains and pouring on your plants might kill them in the end!
Overall, I think I'm going to stick with my temperamental ceramic french press for when I have guests but get a 6-cup Moka Pot for daily use!