Is Moka Coffee As Strong As Espresso? (Really?)

There’s nothing better than savoring a delicious hot cup of Moka coffee, and equally, there’s nothing that quite beats an espresso too. So which one is stronger in terms of the caffeine count?

Moka tastes stronger than espresso as its caffeine count is a lot higher. There’s typically over 100 mg of caffeine in a 2 oz shot of Moka, whereas a similar-sized espresso shot has about 30 mg of caffeine. 

I love comparing the relative merits of different types of coffee (it makes my mouth water), so let’s literally dive into the comparative strengths and characters of both Moka and espresso…

Is Moka Coffee As Strong As Espresso?

What is Moka Coffee? (Is it Really as Strong as Espresso?)

Anyone with an Italian family knows the Moka pot. This distinctive coffee maker brews coffee by passing boiling water through the coffee grounds, at pressure. The coffee it makes is exceptional – and strong.

How does a Moka coffee compare with that wake-me-up staple, the espresso? Moka tastes stronger than an espresso, and its caffeine count is a lot higher. You’ll find 106 mg of caffeine in a shot of Moka (typically 2 oz). In comparison, an espresso has about 30 mg of caffeine. 

Of course, the strength also depends upon the type of coffee grounds you use. However, if you’re after a robust hit of caffeine, it’s the Moka every time.

Do Moka Pots Make Good Coffee?

Moka pots make fantastic coffee – if you like your coffee strong and dark. If you’re more of a leisurely latte drinker, you might not enjoy the intensity of a Moka shot. However, like an espresso shot, you can mix it with water or milk, and enjoy a quality coffee as you like it.

If you’re a coffee purist (or Italian), you’ll definitely be a fan of this tough little machine. They’re also easy to look after. In this short film, Mamma Guiliana shows you how to keep your Moka pot clean.

What is Moka Coffee Supposed to Taste Like?

Ideally, Moka coffee has a rich and intense flavor. It’s often described as “full-bodied” and tastes like a good espresso. It’s strong on its own, and also makes a great base for other coffees on the menu, as its rich flavor carries through the milk, cream, and syrups.

It shouldn’t taste bitter, as this is a result of using cheap or stale coffee, or not having the right type of grounds (coarser tastes better).

How Many Shots of Espresso Are in a Moka?

This depends on the size of your Moka pot. However, a one-cup Moka pot can make two shots of coffee, so if you like your coffee short and strong, this can be an efficient way of getting your fix.

A big advantage of a Moka pot is that you can make more than one shot at a time, so if there’s a group of you all wanting an espresso-sized coffee, a six-cup Moka pot will serve everyone at once.

However, let’s bust a myth here: Moka pots do not make espressos. The word “espresso” has come to be synonymous with coffee shot, but a genuine espresso is a specific thing. 

An espresso coffee has been made under extremely high pressure (hence the name). The hot water is forced through the coffee grounds at 8-10 bars of pressure. A Moka pot also uses pressure, but is much lower at around 2 bars. So, it makes coffee, but not espressos.

How Many Shots of Espresso Are in a Moka?
How Many Shots of Espresso Are in a Moka?

How Do I Make My Moka Stronger?

The simple answer is to use stronger coffee grounds! Our favorite tip for making a great coffee in a Moka pot is to use hot water to start with. This not only speeds up the process, but prevents the grounds from being “cooked”, which can spoil the taste.

Here’s how to make good, strong Moka coffee. You’ll need ready-boiled water and coffee with a medium-fine ground (a bit coarser than you’d use for espresso). Use freshly ground for the best flavor. How much of each? The ratio of coffee ground to water should be around 1:7. 

  1. Pour the already-boiled water up to the line at the bottom of the pot
  2. Insert the filter and fill it generously with coffee grounds. Level if off, but do not tamp
  3. Screw the top and bottom of the pot together. Mind you don’t over-tighten it, and remember that the pot is already hot from the boiled water
  4. Leaving the top open, put the pot on a moderate heat on the stove
  5. When it starts to hiss, remove it from the heat
  6. If you like, you can wrap a slightly damp, cool towel around the pot to stop the extraction. This means that your coffee won’t keep cooking, which can give it a metallic taste
  7. Enjoy!

Does a Moka Extract More Caffeine?

If you want your coffee to be heavy on the caffeine, a Moka pot is a good way to go. There’s around 106 mg of caffeine in a typical shot of Moka (about 2 oz). 

Not a caffeine fan? Here’s some good news. A Moka pot actually makes fantastic decaf coffee. This method of brewing really releases the flavors, so a decaf coffee can be as beautifully rich and intense as its full-fat cousin.

Is Moka Better Than Drip?

Now this is a tricky question, as a Moka pot and a drip machine make such different coffees, and which is the best is entirely down to how you take your coffee. 

If you like to have a pot of coffee on the go, and enjoy a simple black or white cup, then a drip coffee is a good option. However, if you prefer an intense hit or want to use the coffee as the base for an Americano or a mocha, then you’re better off with a Moka pot or espresso machine.

There are other differences between the two coffee brewing methods. Drips use filter papers (usually biodegradable), which capture oils and impurities. Moka pots let everything through, so you can end up with a cloudier brew.

The drip machine needs an electric source. Unless you have an electric Moka pot, you just need some sort of stovetop. This means you can make a good coffee when you’re on a camping trip: if you love both the great outdoors and great coffee, this makes the Moka pot a no-brainer.

Do Italians Use Moka Pots?

Yes, they do. Many Italian kitchens have at least one Moka pot, and any other brewing method will be looked upon with horror by Nonna. The Moka pot was actually patented in Italy in 1933 by Alfonso Bialetti (the Bialetti pot remains a go-to brand to this day). 

It’s easy to use, inexpensive, looks great and makes a fantastic cup of coffee: who wouldn’t want to use one?

Summary On The Relative Strength of Moka Vs Espresso

When it comes to the comparative strengths of Moka Vs espresso – it seems that on caffeine count alone Moka comes out on top.

However, each of these coffees is designed for different moods, and perhaps even different times of the day and occasions.

So if you want an early morning pick-me-up then choose a Moka – but if you want a milder caffeine hit after a meal later in the day, then an espresso should fit the bill.

The point is they’re both great coffees to enjoy in the right setting. 🙂