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stove top espresso makers

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I've got a stove top espresso maker. The strange thing is, sometimes it works fine, and sometimes it doesnt work at all. The steam will just evaporate out of the spout, and the water undeneath just does't bubble through to the pot, meaning there is no or sometimes a small amout of coffee collected in the pot, long after the water has started to boil.

What am I doing wrong?

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  1. You may be grinding too fine preventing the water from making it's way up through the puck. This is the equivalent of "choking" an espresso machine.

    5 Replies
    1. re: scubadoo97

      or packing the coffee too tight.

      1. re: paulj

        Good point paulj. I'm pretty sure the instructions tell you NOT to tamp and let the pressure compact the puck. Usually you just fill the basket to form a mound with a little peak /\ and when you screw the top part on it levels the grinds.

        1. re: scubadoo97

          Could be either one. Experiment with your grind: I have to do a notch coarser than my coffee shop's "recommended" grind for my stovetop machine, and still have to fill the basket carefully.

          1. re: heidipie

            Thanks for the tips.

            I am using ready ground coffee from Monmouh coffee (THE coffee specialists in London) which is supposed to be ground especially for stovetops. I'll try again, and see what happens

            1. re: foreignmuck

              Could also be that the rubber seals between the pot sections no longer make an adequate seal. Like wise the pressure release valve may also not hold sufficient pressue.

    2. This happens mostly to me when my grind is too coarse and/or packing the coffee too tightly. I think when the ground coffee is too big, the pieces block the holes in the top filter.