When buying a moka pot, you will notice there are different sizes. Which size do you need for your needs? Here’s what you want to know.
Moka pots sizes are often advertised in cups. These cups are roughly 1.5 oz./45 ml big. Percolator coffee is not as strong as espresso but a 3-4 oz serving is still enough for most people. So multiply the amount of people drinking coffee by 2-2.5 to get an indication of which size moka pot you need.
The dimensions and sizes of moka pots can get quite confusing so let’s clear up some of the confusion below.
Moka Pot Sizes
When looking for moka pots you must pick the right size. Too small and you won’t have enough coffee, too big and the coffee won’t taste as good if only half filled. So picking the right size is important.
Moka pots are usually measured in cups. Most of the time, those cups mean 45 milliliter/1.5 oz portions. So if you have a 3 cup moka pot, it will brew about 135 ml of coffee at a time. Mind you, this is for Bialetti moka pots. Other brands can follow different standards. Always read the description carefully if buying a different brand.
Sometimes you’ll read that 1 moka pot cup is 2 oz/60 ml but that is the amount of water before brewing. You lose a bit of water along the way which turns 1 cup into about 45 ml/1.5 oz. of coffee.
So those cups are an indication of how much liquid you can expect in the collector (upper part) after brewing.
Sometimes you see a size in milliliters. You have to be really careful to check if that’s the amount of liquid that fits in the boiler or the amount of coffee you get. Those two are not the same.
Know which size you need and now have to decide on the right model for you? Click here for the best moka pots you can buy.
Often the advertised amount of milliliters is the maximum amount of water you can put in the boiler (lower part). The maximum amount is not filled to the rim but to the lower part of the safety valve. It is also not the amount of liquid you ultimately get into the upper collector since you have some losses along the way.
You lose a bit of water that stays in the boiler. At some point there isn’t enough water anymore to create enough steam to push it through the coffee so that water stays behind. The coffee grounds themselves also hold on to some water that doesn’t end up in your cup. Every gram of grounds holds on to about 2 grams of water. That’s also liquid you don’t get into your cup.
Per cup of 45 ml, you need about 5.6 grams of coffee. This means 11.2 grams of water per cup is lost right there. The amount of water that’s left in the boiler depends on the size of the moka pot but ranges from 5-30 ml.
Also Read: My Moka Pot Doesn’t Use All The Water, Is That Normal?
Bialetti Moka Pot Size Chart
Let’s take a look at the Bialleti Moka pots first. They are the original and most popular brand after all. They’ve got a few different model lines but they tend to have them available in the same sizes although some models more than others.
|Cups (Bialetti)||Milliliter||Fl. Oz.|
Does Percolator Size Matter?
You might wonder if it matters which size you buy. Just get the biggest one and fill it only a little bit to make less coffee when you don’t need it. However, there are some issues with that.
You can’t just make a lot less coffee in a percolator and expect it to taste good or similar as when its used to its design capacity. You can use a moka pot down to about 60% of capacity at the absolute lowest and still brew decent coffee. You can read why that is in this article.
So you need a size that comes close to the amount of coffee you need on a regular basis. If there are two widely different amounts you need, just get two different sizes, they’re not that expensive and last very long.
You can oversize slightly by a few cups, that’s not a problem and gives you a bit extra space when necessary but be aware that percolators work best when used to their design capacity which means filling the boiler to the bottom of the safety valve and the filter basket flush to the rim.
Which Size Moka Pot Should You Get?
To calculate the size moka pot you need (in cups) multiply the amount of people you want to serve by 2 or 2.5. For example, if you need to serve coffee to 4 people, you need a 8-10 cup moka pot.
Which size percolator you should get depends on how many people you share your coffee with and how much everyone drinks. And as you can read above, it is actually important to match your percolator size to the amount of coffee you need.
If you’re interested in moka pots for one person, I’ve written a whole separate article you can find by clicking here. Here I will focus on moka pots for two people or more.
Keep in mind that while percolator coffee isn’t quite as strong as espresso, you still don’t want to be drinking as much of it as normal drip coffee. You can expect 200 mg or more per 8 oz serving of moka pot coffee while drip coffee is about 90-110 per 8 oz serving. So roughly double the caffeine content.
The taste is also a lot more intense than drip coffee so you probably won’t be drinking it in large 16 oz. mugs. 2-3 oz. Is probably the most moka pot coffee you’ll be drinking at a time per person. It also depends how you drink your coffee. When making cappuccino, most coffeeshops will use a single shot of espresso (+-25-30 gr) for every 5 oz/130 ml of milk. With a moka pot you can use about 1.5 the amount of coffee since it’s not as strong as espresso. So you’ll likely use about 3 oz. of percolator coffee to make a 10-12 oz. Cappuccino.
Drinking it black, I personally have enough after about 3-4 oz. That means you need about 2 to 2.5 cups of percolator coffee per person. If all the people you serve drink a lot of coffee, 2.5 cups is more likely, for average coffee drinkers, 2 cups is fine.
I would recommend just brewing a fresh batch if you have more than 1 coffee drinking session per morning/afternoon. Coffee doesn’t stay warm very long in a percolator and reheating coffee is a bad idea.