Buying a Moka pot?
You’ll quickly realize there’s a range of sizes to choose from.
So which one is the best for you?
We’ll find that out today.
In this article, we’ll discuss what Moka pot sizes are there, as well as what to consider when choosing one.
Let’s dive in.
Moka Pot Sizes
Like other types of coffee brewers, Moka pots have their sizes indicated in cups. But if you’ve used different brewing methods before, I’m sure you know that the “cup size” isn’t exactly a reliable unit.
For a drip coffee maker, for instance, the golden ratio is 6 ounces. But when you look at the line indicators on a carafe, it turns out that a cup can be anything between 4 and 5 ounces. Pretty confusing, right?
Luckily, things are a bit more standardized when it comes to more concentrated cups of coffee.
For espresso coffee, a single cup is 2 ounces. And in case you don’t know, a Moka pot is otherwise known as the “stovetop espresso maker.” Naturally, it comes as no surprise that the same measurement is used for this brewing method as well.
There are 5 standard sizes of Moka pots: 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12-cup. And with first-grade math skills, we can easily calculate their capacity.
|1-cup||2 ounces||5¼ inches||2 ½ inches|
|3-cup||6 ounces||6¼ inches||3 ¼ inches|
|6-cup||10 ounces||8½ inches||4 inches|
|9-cup||18 ounces||10 inches||4⅛ inches|
|12-cup||25 ounces||11½ inches||5 inches|
Sure there are some brands that do make larger models as well. Even Bialetti, the brand that invented the Moka pot, offers larger coffee makers, such as 14 and 18-cup. But there’s only a handful of such big Moka pots, so we’re not counting them as standardized sizes.
Okay, we’ve covered the technical details of different Moka pot sizes. But what do they actually mean in practice?
1. The 1 Cup Size Moka Pot
A 1-cup Moka pot makes enough coffee to fill up a small demitasse espresso cup. If you drink no more than a single cup of coffee at a time, then you should definitely consider getting this tiny Moka pot. No leftover coffee means that the content of your cup has no time to cool down.
Personally, I find this Moka pot size to be too small for my needs. Moka coffee is not as strong as the one you get with an espresso machine, so 2 ounces won’t do enough to keep me awake in the morning.
And I know I’m not the only one. For a coffee lover that drinks a full mug of coffee at a time, a 1-cup Moka pot simply won’t do the work.
With all that being said, I must admit I do own a 1-cup Moka pot. It’s light and compact, which makes it perfect for traveling and camping. But for at-home use, I’d rather stick with a larger model.
2. The 3 Cup Size Moka Pot
A 3-cup Moka pot is the “real” single-serving model. It brews 6 ounces of coffee at a time, which is roughly the same amount of drip coffee most people drink. Your coffee will still stay warm by the time you reach the bottom of the mug.
If you like to slowly savor your coffee, this might be the perfect option for you.
This model is not a bad choice for couples or a pair of roommates that take a few quick sips before heading through the door in the morning. A 3-cup Moka pot can give you both a quick caffeine rush when you don’t have time to enjoy your drink.
But if both of you like to take your time and sip your delicious coffee for an hour, a 3-cup Moka pot won’t satisfy your needs.
3. The 6 Cup Size Moka Pot
Ah, the golden spot. The 6-cup Moka pot makes 10 ounces of java. This is the model I keep next to my stovetop, and it’s the model you’ll see in most households.
Coffee is best when enjoyed in a company, right? Well, with a Moka pot this size, you can make a large enough batch to serve 2 other people.
Of course, this model is also great for those who need that extra kick a single mug of coffee won’t give. And if you’re a fast drinker, the coffee will still remain warm when you come to grab another cup.
4. The 9 Cup Size Moka Pot
With a capacity of 18 ounces, a 9-cup Moka pot is the best option for medium-sized families and households. There’s enough coffee to share with each member without making another batch.
However, if you’re the only coffee drinker in the house, a brewer this size will simply be too big.
Why pay more for a brewer if you won’t use half of its capacity?
Plus, there are other reasons why you don’t want to use a Moka pot that’s too big, and we’ll get back to that in the section below.
5. The 12 Cup Size Moka Pot
For all the megalomaniacs out there, the 12-cup Moka pot was designed. With a whopping capacity of 25 ounces, this brewer makes enough coffee at once for when you’re entertaining guests. No one needs to wait for their turn to get a hot cup.
Can’t visualize the capacity of this large Moka pot? Well, that’s roughly the same as 2 tall cups of coffee you’d get at Starbucks.
Of course, you don’t want to brew the whole thing if it’s just you – even if you’re brewing the daily amount. A full 12-cup Moka pot coffee would have roughly 1400 milligrams of caffeine. So even if you like strong coffee, that’s more than 3 times the recommended daily caffeine intake for a healthy adult.
How to Choose the Right Moka Pot Size
Now that you have a general idea about the way Moka pots are sized, let’s see which one is for you.
First, let’s do some math.
Take into consideration the amount of coffee you want to see in your cup. Is a 2-ounce shot enough to get you going, or do you need at least a full mug before you can start the day?
Do the same for any other household member that also enjoys Moka pot coffee.
Now, multiply the amount by the number of members that drink coffee. And voila, that’s your desired Moka pot size.
Of course, the answer isn’t always that simple. Maybe you’re the only one that drinks coffee, but you often have coffee-loving friends over?
In that case, you might want to go with a larger cup size. But when choosing how much larger, there are a few things to take into consideration.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
You might be thinking – why not simply go with the largest one available? Who knows when it can come in handy…
While you can simply add less water and fewer coffee grounds to make a small cup of coffee with your huge Moka pot, that’s not recommended.
A Moka pot is designed to be filled with coffee grounds up to the rim of the filter basket. At the same, the water should be poured right to the bottom part of the release valve.
What happens when you try to tailor your brew differently? Well, there’s a good chance your coffee can end up over-extracted. This can occur because too little water and ground coffee won’t create adequate pressure for optimal extraction.
On the other hand, if you use that Moka pot in its entire capacity, you’ll end up with too much leftover coffee. And by the time you’re ready to pour yourself another cup, that coffee won’t taste all that great anymore.
The Stove Power
Of course, there’s also the fact that a larger Moka pot takes longer to heat up. Especially when half of it is only filled with air. And who wants to unnecessarily increase the brew time of their first-morning coffee?
You should also take your stovetop power into consideration. Placing a tiny Moka pot on a fast and powerful appliance could quickly result in burnt coffee.
On the other hand, water can take a lot to heat up inside the Moka pot if you’re using a weaker, portable stove.
Now imagine putting a huge 12-cup Moka pot on that stovetop. In that case, brewing can take more than 10 minutes.
Not only is waiting that long for a cup of Moka pot coffee a heresy, but it can also over-extract your coffee.
The beauty of the Moka pot lies in the fact that you can pack it up and take it with you when traveling. Whether you’re staying at a hotel or camping in the wilderness, you can use it for brewing coffee.
If that sounds like something you’d do, then definitely consider going with one of the smaller cup sizes. Or, like me, you can get Moka pots in different sizes for different occasions. An extra brewer can’t hurt.
Have other questions related to the Moka pot? Let’s solve them now. Here are some commonly asked questions about this type of brewer.
How much caffeine is in 3 cups of Moka?
The actual amount of caffeine depends on the type of beans and roast you’re using, as well as the amount you’re adding. But generally, 3 cups of Moka pot coffee, which is 6 ounces, should contain 300 milligrams of caffeine.
Can you make less coffee in a Moka pot?
Technically, you can. You just need to add fewer coffee grounds and less water, while keeping the ratio the same. However, with less content, the Moka pot will create less pressure to push hot water through the grounds. The final result can taste somewhat bitter and burnt.
How many shots of espresso does a Moka pot make?
A shot of espresso is 2 ounces, which is the same measurement a Moka pot uses for cup sizes. Therefore, the cup size of a certain Moka pot tells you how many shots it can make at a time.
To Sum Things Up
Moka pots generally come in 5 sizes, ranging from 1 to 12-cup.
Which one is the best for you depends on several factors. These include the number of household members drinking coffee, as well as the amount of coffee they drink in one sitting.
While going for the largest size seems practical, it’s quite the contrary when you’re not using its full capacity. With less water and coffee grounds inside the Moka pot, the brewer won’t work as well as it does when full.
Need an explanation on how to use a Moka pot? Check out our article with step-by-step instructions on the subject.
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