Planning to buy a moka pot but are a bit confused about all the different available sizes? Don’t worry, here is what you have to know to decide.
The best size moka pot for a single person depends on how much coffee you drink and in which style. If a double espresso or 8oz. mug is enough for you, a 2 cup (90ml) moka pot is a good size. For people that need/want more, a three cup (130ml) moka pot will be more suitable.
Wondering how I got to that conclusion and how to tailor your moka pot to your situation? Keep reading below.
The original moka express is still a very good choice almost a century after it’s invention. The Bialletti 3 cup Moka Express is the one to go for one person for most people. Get it here on Amazon
Moka pot sizes
First let’s take a look at which choices there are in the first place. Of course you can always find exceptions to the rule but in general, moka pots are available in different sizes. Also, not all brands and manufacturers quote their sizes in the same way.
The most common way to describe the sizes is in cups. Those cups are espresso shots, not mugs. However, it’s not as simple as multiplying the average espresso shot (30 ml) by the amount of cups.
If we take a look at the sizes of one of the most well-known producers of moka pots, Bialetti, we can see that the amount of cups and the milliliters don’t quite line up;
Bialetti moka pot cups vs. quoted milliliter size
|Cups||Milliliter||ml/cup||Minus 10 ml||Effective ml/cup||Link|
|1||60||60||50||50||1 Cup Bialetti (Amazon)|
|2||90||45||80||40||2 Cup Bialetti (Amazon)|
|3||130||43.3||120||40||3 Cup Bialetti (Amazon)|
|4||190||47.5||180||45||4 Cup Bialetti (Amazon)|
|6||270||45||260||43.3||6 Cup Bialetti (Amazon)|
|9||420||46.6||410||45.5||9 Cup Bialetti (Amazon)|
|12||670||55.8||660||55||12 Cup Bialetti (Amazon)|
As you can see the quoted amount of cups doesn’t directly translate into the amount of coffee you brew. The quoted amount of brew produced divided by the quoted amount of cups is different for every size so the amount of cups is just a very rough indication.
However, don’t forget you can’t get every milliliter from the pot. There will always be a little bit of liquid left and the relative amount left in the pot is larger for smaller pots. That’s why I subtracted 10 ml which is roughly what’s left behind. When you do that, the quoted amount of cups makes more sense although it’s still not the same amount of ml for different sizes.
The chart above is just for a single brand, other brands can vary slightly.
Other brands quote the amount of milliliters. This does give you a clearer picture of how much coffee you’re going to get from a single brewing session.
How much coffee does a moka pot make?
The size (even in milliliters) doesn’t necessarily mean that’s exactly how much coffee you’re going to get after brewing.
The amount of coffee in the end depends on a few things;
- Amount of water you start with
- Amount of coffee grounds
- Grind size of grounds
- Roast of grounds
Those factors all depend on the person making the coffee though and don’t change the actual size of the moka pot. The size in milliliters is what you will get under normal circumstances so it’s a good guide to go by when buying a moka pot.
Best moka pot size for one person
So now we know our options, what’s the best size moka pot for one person? Well clearly, that largely depends on how much coffee you want to drink. Let’s dive a little deeper into it.
Keep in mind, how you spread out your coffee consumption over the day matters. If you want to drink a cup in the morning and one in the afternoon, it’s better to make fresh coffee at both times. So, in that case you only need a single cup moka pot.
How much coffee does one person need?
How much coffee you need depends completely on your drinking habits and which style you drink. A moka pot brews a type of coffee that’s quite similar to espresso. It’s not exactly the same but quite close. That means the amount of liquid might seem small but it’s strong in taste and high in caffeine.
Many people like to drink coffee from a big mug. A moka pot doesn’t brew amount of coffee in those kinds of quantities unless you get a 6 cup one. However, it doesn’t have to. Since you’re brewing an espresso like coffee, you can create quite a few coffee drinks with it. Cappuchino, Latte and Americano being some of the most popular ones.
From one or two shots of espresso, you can create all of those drinks that are much more voluminous than the brew you start with. Two shots of espresso is about 60 ml which means the one cup moka pot would be enough.
If you want a big mug full, making an Americano is a great option. Just add hot water to your coffee in 1:1 up to 2:1 ratio. Most coffee mugs are 8 to 10 oz. (+-235 ml-295 ml). For a 1:1 ratio you would need a moka pot that brews +-120 to 150 ml of coffee.
Keep in mind that that’s a lot of caffeine. If you insist on drinking big mugs, you might want to go to a 1.5:1 or even 2:1 ratio. For a 2:1 ratio Americano you would need a roughly 80 to 100 ml of coffee from a moka pot. A two or three cup pot would be good for that purpose.
If you’re drinking coffee for the caffeine content (let’s face it, many of us do) here’s a little guide to see how moka pot coffee compares to regular pour over coffee;
Moka pot: +-120mg / 50ml
Espresso: +-63 mg / 30ml
Pour over: +-90 mg / 235ml (8oz)
So you can see that 50 milliliter of coffee from a moka pot has more caffeine on average than an 8 oz cup of pour over coffee. So an Americano with 100 ml moka coffee and 200 ml water (2:1 ratio) has about double the amount of caffeine as a 10 oz. mug of pour over coffee.
Decide what you want
Dependent on what kind of coffee you want and how much you drink, make a decision of which size is right for you. Either for the amount of coffee you want to drink or how much caffeine you need.
For most people, a double espresso or large mug of pour over coffee is enough to get them through most of the day. That means a 60 ml (1 cup) moka pot would be enough.
It might be tempting to go for a bigger pot and just fill it less when you don’t need it. However, moka pots don’t really work that way. A certain size is designed to work with a certain amount of water and coffee grounds. That means completely filling to the recommended amount will produce the best results.
Of course you can use a little bit less but I’d say using about half the recommended capacity is pushing it and will produce less than ideal results. Getting a 2 cup (90ml) moka pot and filling it to about 60ml will be fine. This leaves you a little bit of flexibility for when you need that extra kick.
Of course if you regularly drink 5 espressos to get started in the morning, you should size up. Although you might want to take a look at your sleeping habits if you need that.
If you have two situations that regularly occur and require different amounts of coffee (one vs. multiple people), it’s better to just buy two moka pots that serve their specific purpose. They don’t cost that much anyways.