When you think about it, there are about as many different ways to make coffee as there are coffee connoisseurs on earth. It’s a drink that can be personalized and tweaked to perfection, which is why we all have our favorite coffee brewing methods and tools for making it.
If you’re looking for a delicious cup of Joe and want to try something new, a Moka pot might be the way to go. Moka pots are simple stovetop coffee makers that use pressure to create a rich, flavorful coffee similar in strength to espresso.
But before you rush out and buy a Moka pot of your own, you should know that not all Moka pots are created equally for every purpose. Moka pots come in a wide range of sizes, and you must understand which size is right for you so that you can get the best out of your morning coffee routine. Check out our tips below to help you determine the right Moka pot size for you!
What You Should Know About Moka Pots
How does a Moka Pot Work?
The Moka pot is a classic Italian coffee maker made of aluminum and has three parts: the pot, the filter basket, and the base. It’s a simple construction that, given the necessary care, can brew perfectly crafted, high-quality coffee for decades without replacement.
But how does it work? The pot is filled with cold water and put on the heat. Once it starts boiling, the heat is turned down to a simmer, and coffee grounds are added to the filter. The heated water creates pressure that pushes through the fresh coffee in the filter up into the pot itself.
These humble coffee makers are often called stovetop espresso makers because the resulting coffee is strong and served in small portions, much like the shot of espresso you’d get at any coffee shop.
Check out an overview of the Moka pot here:
Do Moka Pots Make Espresso?
There may be some confusion over whether Moka pots actually make espresso, but the quick answer is no, the bold coffee that a Moka pot produces isn’t technically espresso. The brewing process to make espresso uses a great deal of pressure, and a great espresso machine will deliver around 9 bars of pressure. The Moka pot simply won’t be able to produce that kind of pressure.
So while the coffee it creates is undoubtedly strong, and you can use it to make espresso drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and more, what you’re drinking doesn’t actually qualify as espresso. It can be classified more as an espresso-like coffee.
Why does Moka Pot Size Matter?
It may seem like a lot of fuss over nothing, but the size of your Moka pot will not only determine how much coffee you make but how strong it is and how long it takes to brew.
Finding the right size Moka pot is vital to ensure that you make the perfect cup of espresso-style coffee. If your pot is too small, your coffee will be weak, while a too large pot will make your coffee bitter.
Choosing the Right Moka Pot Size for You
What Moka Pot Sizes are Available?
There are six different sizes of Moka Pots available. The different sizes available in the Moka pot lineup are 3-cup, 6-cup, 8-cup, 10-cup, 12-cup, and 18-cup. The size you need depends on how much coffee you want to make at one time.
The standard size for a Moka pot is six cups, but the most common choice among coffee lovers is the 3-cup size. The exact amount of delicious coffee you’ll want to brew daily is up to you and your tolerance for “almost” espresso. Read on to learn more about how cups are measured and whether a large Moka pot is really right for you.
How Many Ounces is a “Cup” of Moka Pot Coffee?
The term “cup” is often used to describe the amount of coffee in a Moka pot, but what does that mean? The problem is that there is no standard definition for a cup of coffee. Depending on where you are in the world, a cup could mean anywhere from 120 to 240 milliliters.
So what exactly does a “cup” mean in the context of a Moka pot? Unlike the standard 8-ounce cup you may be used to, a Moka pot cup uses the Italian definition of a single serving; 120 milliliters, or about two ounces. That doesn’t sound like much, but remember that Moka pots produce strong Italian-style coffee similar to espresso, and it’s traditionally served in 2-ounce portions.
Think of a 3-cup Moka pot as being able to create the equivalent of 3 shots of espresso, while an extra-large 18-cup Moka pot can produce 36 ounces of the super-strong coffee, enough for brunches, dinner parties, or coffee with friends.
There are plenty of ways to make your 2-ounce cup of coffee stretch, from adding water (a makeshift Americano) to adding it to milk in the form of lattes, macchiatos, or cappuccinos. Keep in mind how many servings of coffee you’ll be brewing in a day when determining the right size for your needs.
What to Consider When Choosing Your Moka Pot
There are a few things to remember when choosing the size of your Moka pot. The first is how much coffee you plan on making at once. If you’re brewing for a small crowd, you’ll want something larger than if you’re making coffee for yourself.
The other thing to consider is how powerful your stovetop is. A small Moka pot on a weak stove may take forever to brew, while a large one on a powerful stove might scorch the coffee.
The second thing to consider is how strong you like your coffee. If you like your coffee strong enough to wake you up with a metaphorical punch in the face every morning, you may want a larger Moka pot so that you can drink the strong coffee straight.
If you prefer your coffee with lots of milk or creamer or simply want it to be the same strength as a regular cup of coffee, you’ll want to go with a smaller size and dilute the coffee with water or milk.
An Overview of the Moka Pot Sizes
The 3-cup Moka pot is the perfect size for people who live alone, don’t drink much more than a shot of coffee at a time, or travel frequently. Since it’s lightweight and doesn’t take up a lot of space, it’s a popular size for campers and backpackers. It brews about six ounces of coffee, which can be diluted with water for a standard 8 to 12-ounce mug of coffee, or it can serve 2-3 people Italian-style.
The 6-cup Moka pot is by far the most popular size for most coffee drinkers. It’s enough to deliver one very strong 12-ounce mug of coffee or a couple of servings to last you throughout your morning. It’s also a great option if you’re making coffee for two every morning.
If you’ve got a few regular coffee drinkers in your household, you frequently like to entertain, or even if you’ve got a caffeine habit that just won’t quit, consider the larger-sized 8-cup Moka pot. It makes about 16 ounces of strong coffee, which can be diluted to serve several people, or guzzled throughout the workday. It’s even a good option if you want to make a pitcher of iced coffee all at once!
When it comes to the 10-cup, 12-cup, and 18-cup Moka pots, you’re unlikely to need that much coffee unless you’ve got a large household of coffee drinkers or you’re making coffee for your whole office every morning. It may be the right option if you’re into making batches of iced coffee to keep for a few days at a time.
But, before getting a Moka pot this size, really consider if you’re going to be making 20, 24, or 36 ounces of coffee at a time regularly (remember that the serving of coffee they produce is much stronger!).
Can a Large Moka Pot Make Less Coffee?
So you might be thinking to yourself, “Wait a minute, it seems silly that there are so many different size options. Can’t I just get a larger Moka pot and make the amount of coffee that I need on any given day?” We like how you think, but unfortunately, the answer is no.
Because of the Moka pot’s design and how it utilizes pressure to create coffee, you can’t simply fill it with less hot water and ground coffee and expect to see the same results (we don’t blame you for wondering, though!).
You’ll have to choose a Moka pot suited to your everyday needs or buy a few different Moka pots in varying sizes. It’s not the most convenient option, but the Moka pot is a specialty coffee maker, so flexibility is key.
1-cup vs. 3-cup Moka Pot
1-cup pots will give you two ounces of coffee or about the amount of a double espresso, and a 3-cup pot makes 6-7 ounces, which is closer to a small cup in size and a full cup in strength.
3-cup pots are much easier to use, fitting most gas stoves and being less fiddly to handle, especially over the heat of a kitchen stove. While 1-cup pots make a nice single shot, so does a 3-cup pot once you get good with technique and familiar with your grind.
6-cup vs. 9-cup Moka Pot
For the real coffee aficionado, the 6-cup is better for the coffee experience, while the 9-cup is best for a single amount to get you through an entire morning.
The 9-cup, while using more ground coffee, produces a less rich result, so unless it’s drunk as a large, single cup, it isn’t as flavorful and rich when divided up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Make 3 Cups of Coffee in a 6-cup Moka Pot?
Making half the amount of coffee or the volume of a 3-cup pot is possible with practice. Otherwise, it’s easier to simply discard the coffee you don’t want.
How Do I Know What Size My Moka Pot Is?
- 1-cup Moka pots look almost like toys, and if what you get fits in an espresso cup, that’s what you have. This pot almost always needs an adapter for the stove burner.
- 3-cup pots make about the volume of a short black. The pot is short and squat and what many will think of as a standard.
- The 6-cup size produces a regular-sized cup of coffee though it will be much stronger, and the pot is the classic elegant shape usually depicted.
- 9-cup pots are less common and make two cups of coffee or a single large coffee strong enough to knock your hat off.
- 12-cup pots are rarely seen, and you will know if this is what you have because they will fit on a large gas burner and produce enough coffee to fill a water bottle.
Does the Size of the Moka Pot Matter?
- The 1-cup makes a brew the closest size to espresso, but there’s not enough coffee used to taste like it, though it does make a great short coffee.
- A 3-cup pot makes coffee closest to espresso in taste and richness and is among the best coffee brewers to bring out a bean’s flavor profile.
- The 6-cup is the greatest overlap of volume, caffeine, and richness, and a strong cup of coffee good for early starts.
- 9-cup pots make a lot of strong coffee, but the deep and big flavors are waning, and the time it takes to extract means astringency can creep in.
- 12-cup pots can be hard to use as they require a good heat source. Otherwise, the brew time needed can begin scorching the grinds and burning the extraction. You’ll need a good setup to get several cups of coffee as good as you will brew with a 6-cup, and it may be worth making two of those batches to get the most from your beans.
How Do You Make 1-cup Espresso With 3 Cups of Moka Pot?
- Slightly lower the grind size to not quite espresso grind.
- Load the filter basket, tap the grinds well into place, and have a slight dome that compresses when screwed on.
- Use near-boiling water, so it heats fast and fills to the bottom of the safety valve.
- You want a very highly viscous extraction. Reduce the heat while it starts to fill.
- Remove from the heat when about 2/3 in, and before it starts to aerate, place it into a cold bowl of water to rapidly halt the extraction before it starts to splutter.
What Size Moka Pot is Appropriate for Two People?
The 6-cup pot will make two small cups that equal about one full standard cup in strength, so it can be topped up with water or milk.
What Size For One Person?
This writer believes the 6-cup pot covers the most bases. And once you know how to wrangle the extraction, it can make good single-cup batches that balance strength, flavor, and richness and bring out the best of the beans and what a Moka pot can do.
As you can tell, there’s more that goes into this deceptively simple yet beautiful coffee maker than meets the eye. If you’ve never delved into the world of Italian-style coffee and Moka pots, we invite you to do so; after a bit of practice, you’ll wonder why you ever had a standard drip coffee maker!
We hope this article has broken down the varying Moka pot sizes and helped you determine which size may be right for you. Remember to keep in mind how strong you want your coffee, how many cups you’ll be drinking regularly, and how many people you’re serving in your household.
If you’re set on the Moka pot being your go-to coffee brewing system in the long run, it may be worth getting a couple of different sizes for various occasions.