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Feb 3, 2007 11:33 PM

stove top thermal espresso maker

Was wondering if anyone has used one of these and whether they liked it or not.

From the picture it seems that the bottom portion isn't big enough to hold 9 cups of espresso to go into the top portion....Anyone?

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  1. Never used it, but stove top espresso making is about controlling quality, not quantity. Even regular commercial espresso makers don't try to make more than one or two cups at once, much less nine. You run into over extraction of the coffee.

    If you use a stove top espresso maker and using a very fine grind, you only want the initial, rich, thick liquid that trickles and foams out. At the point that the liquid starts to gush out in spurts, you cut the heat and immediately pour off the rich part and cut off the bitter liquid that follows.

    1. These devises are called 'stove top espresso makers', what they really are is a 'Moka Pot', and they are nothing like real espresso. What they do is make a good cup of strong coffee if used correctly with fresh ground beans.

      The trick is to get the grind of the beans correct, (not nearly as fine as true espresso) and get it to finish brewing in about four minutes under a medium heat on your stove.

      1. Thansk Jkt and Chipman for your insights. Here's what I've been using to making my coffee. Whether you call it strong coffee or espresso, I generally make this one small portion and then add hot water to make a large cup of regualr coffee. If i can I use Lavazza d'Oro grounds, but when I'm poor, I use something like Bustelo...stuff you get in a bodega in NYC. I can't drink drip coffee as I don't like the acidity it produces.

        So is there a real difference between my little stove top coffee maker and those that have no upside down "J" shape spout, what you call 'Moka Pot"? I mean, with this little one I actually do see some "crema' when the coffee shoots into the cup.

        3 Replies
        1. re: HLing

          I suspect the difference is in size rather than principal. Your little maker has a bottom section you fill with water and a top section that holds the ground coffee, right? And the top part has a tube or funnel that dips down into the bottom section? When the water starts to boil the pressure rises and the only way out is into the tube, through the grounds, then into the cup.

          Can't see the inside of the big stovetop maker, but it's probably the same design except the brewed coffee is collected in the upper chamber instead of a cup. I use a small stovetop model that does the same thing. So I think there is not a real difference between the two, at least with regard to how they work.

          BTW, how much is 9 "cups" of espresso? Surely that thing doesn't produce 72 ounces (more than 1/2 gallon) of espresso! My stovetop model makes maybe 8-10 ounces.

          1. re: Zeldog

            I think that's it. A "cup" of espresso usually refers to the tiny "cups" it is served in, not the 8oz we commonly think of.

            Hope that helps answer why it says it holds 8 cups.

            Also agree with other posters on small batch production vs. pot o espresso.

          2. re: HLing

            The one with the J shaped spout is essentially the same as a Moka Pot. The bottom parts are identical, consisting of the container where the water boils, and a funnel that contains the grounds. Steam pressure in the lower container forces water up the funnel and through the grounds. With the Moka pot the upper half has a tube up the center. The brewed coffee rises through this tube and collects in the upper pot. In the other one, the coffee flows through the tube and drips into a cup set under it.


          3. I've been using the same stove top Alessi expresso maker for almost 30 years. I use a melitta grind. Its a terrific cup of coffee. I use a froth-au-lait for my milk. Its not really expresso but its good--and simple.

            1. As long as you like it, thats what counts. I own a Rancilio espresso machine and two Moka pots and enjoy all of them. In fact, if crema is used as the indicator for "real" espresso, then no espresso machine made up until Gaggia's produced 'real" espresso.