Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
May 14, 2007 09:49 AM

Stovetop Espresso Machines, etc

This might be a dumb question so sorry in advance. Can I use a stovetop espresso maker with a gas stove?

Also, what are some favorite AND affordable home espresso makers - stovetop or other? I'm looking for a decent one to get for my husband for fathers day.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. First even though they are called stove top espresso makers they are not TRUE espresso makers. By definition espresso showed be brewed with ~ 9 bars of pressure. These stove top makers are also called moka pots. They brew a strong dark cup of coffee but do not have the heavy crema layer on top. Something true espresso has. I have several moka pots and I use mine on my gas rangetop. For some stoves a diffuser type ring may need to be used, not so much to diffuse but to allow a stable surface since the bottom of the small mokas may not fit securely on the cast iron grates of some gas stove tops. You should look at the web site for reviews on home espresso makers.

    1. I use my Moka pot (from amazon for about $17) on my gas range with no problems. My range has a pretty good "low" setting so the flame is fairly tame on its own.

      My suggestion is to stick with that as I've not found an "affordable" (which to me would be less than, say, $200) home espresso machine that turns out really good espresso. My sense is that it would take about twice that amount to get to really quality espresso at home. So, I stick with the moka pot, happily.

      1. Stovetop espresso makers, like the Bialetti, function very well on gas stoves although you might need a stabilizer ring with a small one. Remember that the cup measure is for very small cups so order accordingly. A 6-cup model makes 12 ounces. Sur La Table stocks them and a good mail order source is
        Remember that millions of Italians have used these at home for generations to make what they all call espresso. Put on your fireproof Nomex gear and be prepared for the flamethrowing of those who will tell you that only expensive electronic machines invented recently can make something that's been around for a very long time. That's like saying there's no music without an iPod.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MakingSense

          I always look for your responses because they always end up making sense.

          The OP might want to look at the Aeropress. There have been a couple of threads. Here's a recent one.

        2. Be careful! I had a Bialetti. One of the ones which make "capuccinno." One day I was using it, following the instructions in the same way I had done dozens of times before. All of a sudden it was raining coffee in my kitchen. The thing "blew!" It was like a geyser. A powerful jet of coffee shot straight up and hit the ceiling! I'm still not sure what went wrong, but I was so spooked I just trashed it. BTW, I was using it on a gas stove, but I don't think that is related to what happened.

          1. Thanks.
            I should say that this is for my husband only (and guests, I suppose) because I sadly can no longer drink coffee.
            His not-so-old Krups coffee maker just died a few days ago so I'd like to surprise him with an espresso maker, since he'd much rather drink espresso than coffee. Sure, I'd love to get a fancy schmancy one but that's not financially doable so I'll settle for the kind without the heavy crema layer. I think my husband will be ok with that.
            I do have to say I'd like to stay away from aluminum and it seems as though most of the Mokas are aluminum. Has anyone used a stainless steel one?

            Thanks for the tip about the trivet. I'll keep that in mind.

            Are there any coffee/espresso machine combos that are decent or are they all overpriced and not that great?

            I tried to check out coffeegeek but got dizzy from their site. Yikes!

            Makingsense - I like your analogy. :)
            I'll try to stay safe over here.