Moka Pot Sizes

Navigating the Range of Moka Pot Sizes (There Is No One-Size-Fits-All)

The Moka pot is a must-have for coffee lovers that want to have a reliable coffee maker at home.

One thing that can be puzzling for first-timers, however, is the different sizes of Moka pots to choose from.

Let’s dig into how to choose the best size for your needs and how much coffee you can brew with each of them.

Why Does Moka Pot Size Matter?

Moka pots are designed to use the correct coffee-to-water ratios depending on the size. You always use the set amount of coffee and water for a given size Moka pot. Not less, not more.

Size is important, because:

  • The coffee best served just a few minutes after brewing,
  • It has to be fully filled for you to get the best brewing results.
  • You don’t want to waste coffee, or have too little.

If you’re having coffee alone, for example, you don’t want to always end up with extra coffee. If you throw it out, it’s going to be a big waste!

4 Cups Of Coffee Moka Pot

Can You Make Smaller Amounts Using a Large Moka pot?

No, you cannot half-fill a Moka pot. It should be fully filled for each brew to produce the best results.

If you don’t fill your pot with enough water, the Moka pot will produce thick, under-extracted coffee that tastes sour.

If you’ve read my article on how to use a Moka pot, you’ll know that it uses pressure from steam to brew the coffee. When you use half the intended amount of water, it will be harder for your pot to create enough pressure, resulting in less coffee than desired.

If you half-fill with coffee grounds, on the other hand, the water will easily shoot through the filter basket and over-extract the coffee. Then the grinds left towards the edge of the basket will be under-extracted, leaving you with an undesirable brew.

What Size of Moka Pot Do I Need?

As a general rule, you should choose a Moka pot that will match the number of people sharing the coffee with each brew.

For example, a 3-cup size Moka pot will serve three people.

Before we jump into the different Moka pot sizes, I want you to keep in mind that the ratios for each size are more of general guidelines and you can adjust them depending on your preference.

I will be using Bialetti Moka Pot measurements and sizes, other makers will differ.

Moka Pot Coffee Featured

Here is a table of the capacity of the various 2023 model Bialetti Moka Express’s, so you can see how much coffee each size makes:

SizeBrew volumeWidthHeight
0.5 cup40 ml55120
1 cup60 ml62 mm130
2 cup90 ml68141
3 cup130 ml72155
4 cup190 ml82180
6 cup340 ml95205
9 cup540 ml103245
12 cup670 ml120280
18 cup810 ml116320
Bialetti Moka Express Capacity by Size (2023)

You will always put a little more water into the boiler chamber, since there will be water retention in the coffee grounds. Water retention is a factor of:

  • grind size,
  • type of coffee,
  • roast
Moka Pot Sizes

0.5-Cup La Mokina Moka pot

This is the smallest size Moka pot you can get, and the resulting volume of coffee can best be described as a shot of espresso.

This is strictly a 1-person Moka pot, not suitable for making more coffee than this at a time.

The pot itself is super small, almost verging on “cute” 🙂

1-Cup Moka pot – For One Person

A 1-cup Moka pot is ideal for those who only drink one cup of coffee a day or have a cup individually hours apart. A smaller Moka pot like this is also a practical choice if you usually try recipes that involve a shot of strong coffee or espresso.

Conversely, you would be better off with a bigger size if you typically need to make more than a cup at a time. If your family likes to brew or drink coffee, for example, or you frequently have guests over.

Coffee-to-water ratio: 1-cup size pots can brew approximately 60 ml of coffee. A normal brew ratio would then be 7-8 grams of coffee per 60 ml of water.

A good time to adjust this is if you’re using dark roast coffee grounds to make coffee. In this case, you’ll need to increase to around 8-10 grams to get the flavor out of your beans.

2, 3, 4, 6-Cup Moka pots – For Couples

This range of sizes is suitable for making stovetop coffee for more than 1 person at a time.

  • The 2-cup is sort of an oddball in size, I don’t recommend it.
  • The 3-cup size is a great choice for coffee for 2 people, or if use large cups to serve your coffee. Some people even consider it the best size for one person.
    Naturally, it will also be the go-to for couples who love to drink their Moka pot coffee together.
  • The 4-cup is slightly larger than the 3-cup, so again, it is an oddball in my opinion.
  • The 6-cup Moka pot is arguably the most popular choice of Moka pot for serving more than one person. It is ideal for couples who drink more than a cup a day or if you both need a couple of servings to last throughout the morning.
    This size takes up considerably more space compared to the smaller models. Keep this in mind if you have limited space but still like to drink more than 2-3 cups of coffee a day.

For the 6-cup pot, use 30-35 grams of coffee per 300 ml of water. Brewing will start to get a little more complicated the more coffee and water you need. Use this as a guideline and adjust accordingly.

9, 12, 18-Cup Moka pots – For Groups

These models are HUGE, and I’m guessing they are aimed at restaurants or large multi-generational families. They will be the largest Moka pot cup size you will typically see in a household of coffee drinkers.

It’s also okay to buy a Moka pot of this size if you regularly have friends over for coffee.

  • The 9-cup Moka pots are larger and heavier. Another thing to take note of is that it takes longer to brew coffee so you’ll need to coordinate with others in your home to make sure no coffee is wasted. Depending on the model, 9-cup pots can make around 500 ml of coffee which is already quite the jump from the smaller ones. You’ll need around 50-55 grams of coffee. This will make 7-9 servings of coffee.
  • The 12-cup Moka pot is even larger, and makes 10-12 servings per brew.
  • The 18-cup Moka pot is a monster of a coffee brewer. It is more of a niche size, not many people need such an amount of coffee a day. This is typically for coffee enthusiasts that always make large batches at once, whether it’s for parties or hosting events. You might not even find it in most coffee shops.

Again, brewing time will take longer, so make sure to give each cup a good stir before serving.

moka pot spanish coffee image

Barista Tip

Weighing your coffee grinds might be useful not only to stay consistent but also to know how to adjust if you don’t get your desired taste.

But to be honest, no one wants to keep doing that with every single brew.

So, a nice trick is to weigh the first few times you brew with your Moka pot, then simply take note of how much the filter basket is filled. You’ll soon get used to the levels and will eventually be able to do it by eye.

Conclusion

One of the most crucial parts of buying or owning a Moka pot is to make sure that the size is right. We went through the main Moka pot sizes and how to balance the brew depending on the size of your Moka pot.

Tell me how your experience has been in choosing a Moka pot size that best suits your needs.

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