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Moka Pot VS Drip: What’s the difference?

There are so many ways to make coffee these days. I look back at history and am astonished at how far the coffee world has evolved. I have never seen so many ways of making coffee nor this many coffee makers in my life. Not too long ago was I posed this question: “What is the difference between a moka pot and a drip coffee maker?” Due to that question, I felt the need to write to all of you coffee fanatics out there. Let’s start with taking a look at each method.

Brewing Method

Moka Pot:

The moka pot is often misleadingly referred to a stovetop espresso maker. There are many variations in design of the moka pot but the basic process is the same. Here is a general layout of what the moka pot consists of:

  1. There is a chamber at the bottom for water. It has a threaded opening for the top section, and a pressure relief valve. You should only fill to right before the relief valve. Never fill completely. The brewed coffee flows into the top section but also is poured out through there, which has a threaded opening for the top section and is sealed off by a lid (the lid is usually one that flips open and closed). This section, on some models, is made with a clear, heat-resistant plastic that provides the user a clear visual of this process.
  2. The middle part of the moka pot holds the ground coffee beans. It is a metal ring that has a funnel attached to it. The funnel is joined to the metal ring by a metal screen. This middle part just drops into the lower section and ground coffee is spooned into it until full or perhaps just till you have reached a slight heap.
  3. The brewed coffee flows into and out of the top section. It has a threaded opening for the bottom section and is closed off by a common lid that flaps open and closed. The bottom of this section has a screen much like the middle section that leads to a tube that points up to the top section. Since the upper section gets threaded onto the bottom section, it slightly packs the coffee bean grind in the middle section.

Once the moka pot is put together, it is placed on a stove so the water can be heated. Since the lower section of the moka pot is air tight, the air that expands due to the heat forces the water down and into the tube, through the ground coffee beans and into the top tube. As it comes out of the tube the coffee drops down into the bottom of the top reservoir. That is where you get your coffee from. Keep in mind that you will want a coarser grind of coffee beans for this than you would for drip.

Related Reading – The Differences Between Moka & French Press Coffee

Drip:

Here is an interesting fact: Most of the coffee that is consumed in the United States is produced via some variant of the drip method.

The drip method is simply like this: Hot water is poured over coffee beans ground to a medium coarseness, contained within a filter. The water floods the grind and drips through the filter, yielding coffee. So the only real hindrance to the water is the resistance from the ground coffee and, of course, the filter.

As I mentioned above, there are variants to the drip method.

  1. Chemex Brewers-These use a special and much thicker filter than the standard paper filter drip coffee makers. These trap sediment while still having the ability to pass aromatic substances through. For these brewers, you will need to be more involved in the brewing process than other variants.
  2. One-Cup Brewers- These make coffee small enough to fit right into a mug. They brew one cup at a time. Some of these brewers come with inserts that fit on top and into the filter. These inserts have small holes at the bottoms of them designed to regulate the flow of water that drips into the coffee. These often come with metal filters that are part of the design.
  3. Filter Holders- Similar to one-cup brewers, but they make a much larger quantity of coffee, dispensing the coffee directly into thermally insulated containers.
  4. Vietnamese Coffee Maker- This is pretty much like a one-cup brewer, with some differences, of course. This coffee maker has 3 parts: The lid, the main body and the bottom. The maker has an interesting appearance…it looks like a small coffee cup with a saucer melted together. The bottom of this “cup” is actually a filter. Now, there is a second filter that fits into the mug-like main body. Finally, there’s the lid. The cup or mug should first be heated by putting boiling water into it for a little while, then you drain it. Place the main body into the mug, fill it with with  finely ground coffee beans and screw the second filter down tightly. Then splash a bit of hot water into the brewer. Make sure that the device is filled up no more than a quarter of the way because the ground coffee will absorb the water and expand. After 30 seconds have passed, unscrew the second filter a couple turns, fill the device with hot water and cover it. It will be a while til it drains…about 5 minutes.
  5. Reversible Coffee Pot/Flip Pots/Napoletana- These seem to have about 4 parts. One part looks like a small pot but has tall sides. A second seems to look like a watering can with a large opening up top. These two parts snap together and inside of this is a two-piece assembly that looks like a saltshaker. If you open this “saltshaker” up, you will see that there will be a perforated surface. The coffee grounds are put inside and then the top is screwed on. Water is placed in the part that looks like a small pot and then all of the pieces are assembled. The side with the water is placed on a hot stove. When the water reaches correct temperature, it will start seeping through the coffee and into the piece that looks like a spout. When it is finished, the top and middle parts of the device are removed and now the coffee can be served.
  6. Auto-Drip- This is the most common variant of the drip method. For these you can use paper or metal mesh filters (which require a more coarse grind). These have the upper hand in simplicity of the brewing process when compared to all the others. Water is heated in one chamber and then introduced to the coffee grounds (which are within a filter) when adequate temperature is reached. Water seeps through the grind and filter into the coffee container (carafe). The most common disadvantages of low-end auto-drip machines is that they don’t tend to heat up water adequately. Also, the manufacturers like to brag about how their machine keeps coffee hot, but do you know what happens when coffee is continually heated? It becomes bitter.

I hope that this article has been beneficial for you. Thank you for reading!