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

sivyaleah Nov 13, 2006 01:30 AM

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.


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  1. sivyaleah RE: sivyaleah Nov 13, 2006 01:49 AM

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

    1. monku RE: sivyaleah Nov 13, 2006 02:13 AM

      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. yayadave RE: sivyaleah Nov 13, 2006 03:50 AM


        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
          elgringoviejo RE: yayadave Nov 13, 2006 01:34 PM

          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
            sivyaleah RE: elgringoviejo Nov 13, 2006 02:33 PM

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

        2. sivyaleah RE: sivyaleah Nov 13, 2006 01:24 PM

          No, this is what I found out it is, but aluminum:


          1. yayadave RE: sivyaleah Nov 13, 2006 02:30 PM

            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
              sivyaleah RE: yayadave Nov 13, 2006 02:33 PM

              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. yayadave RE: sivyaleah Nov 13, 2006 03:22 PM

              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
                sivyaleah RE: yayadave Nov 13, 2006 03:52 PM

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

              2. m
                MakingSense RE: sivyaleah Nov 13, 2006 06:34 PM

                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.

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