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How Do I Use An Old Fashioned Espresso Maker & Other Questions

My MIL gave me her seriously ancient Italian espresso maker. However, it's been so long since she used it and she is a bit on the ditzy side and can't remember how to put the thing together, let along exactly how she used to brew the coffee!

I'm a novice to this type of brewing at home. I have a french press that I can never remember the ratio of coffee to water, so I'm hopeless to figure this out on my own, let alone there are so many pieces and between her, my husband, and both my BIL and SIL, none of us could figure out what when where and in what order.

So, how do you put this together? I assume you brew hot water and pour over the grinds, right? Not perk through the pot? What type of coffee is best? What is the correct ratio to use? Best grind? Etc.! It seems to be a 4-5 cup (demitesse) size.

Also, it hasn't been used in years - best way to clean it? It's in pretty good shape overall but does have a few stains probably more from just being in storage.

Thanks!

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  1. BTW, it's a "flip" type pot. I guess you do boil the water in the pot, and flip over.

    1. Is it an espresso pot made out of metal and goes on the stove or does it have a glass bowl on the bottom and one on the top...then its a vacuum coffee maker and you don't flip it over.

      1. http://fantes.com/espresso_stovetop.htm

        Here is a site to see! Scroll down a little to see the information about a gadget called a macchinetta. Does that look familiar?

        2 Replies
        1. re: yayadave

          Looks real familiar to me as I use one every morning. Saves me from paying the high price of coffeehouse beverages and produces a great caffelatte.

          1. re: elgringoviejo

            That's what I wanted it for - to make caffe latte for myself :-)

          1. http://www.fantes.com/coffeemakers_ma...
            You'll have to scroll down 'till you see the title -
            How to Use the "Napoletana"

            Tanks for da education.

            1 Reply
            1. re: yayadave

              Tanks! We were going crazy at my MIL's last night. She kind of remembered, then kept getting herself mixed up about it! I can't wait to try it out, although I did read that you shouldn't let the water quite come to a boil - that it tends to over cook the coffee somewhat, so I may have some playing around to do before I get it quite right.

            2. I just read the instructions and I want to say, "Lots a luck." This looks really tricky. Maybe the reason Italians invented electricity was so they could make a machine to do this automatically.

              1 Reply
              1. re: yayadave

                LOL! My MIL used it for years tho - I'm willing to give it a go. Doesn't hurt to try :-)

              2. It may take you a little practice. I hand drip my coffee and have done so forever - just like my mother and grandmothers before me. It is smoother and thicker than any machine and never bitter.
                Once you get just the right proportion for that pot and get the hang of it you can do it even in your morning half-awake blear. It's worth the effort.
                BTW, it may take a little experimenting to get just the right grind for your pot.