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Italian style stovetop espresso coffee maker

Updated on August 31, 2015
Jonathan McIntosh
Jonathan McIntosh | Source


The easiest and most convenient way to make your own espresso at home is to use a stovetop espresso maker.

You do not need to spend a small fortune on an automatic machine only to find yourself intimidated by it. You do not need to listen to numerous experts selling you tips on how to make the perfect cup with “crema”.

What you need is a simple and affordable way to make your own drink, at home, whenever you please. A stovetop espresso maker is the coffee machine that gives you exactly what you need.

This coffee maker has become so popular that it can be found in every italian home and in lots of european households.

What is a stovetop espresso maker and how it works

A stovetop espresso maker, sometimes called the Mocha pot or “la macchinetta”, is a  two parts device that brews coffee under steam to make an espresso. It was invented by Luigi Di Ponti and manufactured by Bialetti Industry in 1933. Today, this coffee maker is made out of aluminum or stainless steal.
The machine is made to be place on an electric or gas stove burner. The water is heated to a high temperature. The steam passes through very fine ground coffee extracting the caffeine and the flavours. The result is a very strong coffee drink.
Some people would argue that the drink is just espresso like and not an actual espresso, or that this device doesn’t work like an espresso machine so the coffee is not an authentic espresso. The truth is that Italians have been using it for more then 70 years without complaining and probably they are brewing an espresso right now, as we speak.
A traditional shot of espresso measures 30 ml or 1 oz (U.S.) an it has less caffeine then
a normal cup of drip coffee that measures 180 ml or 6 oz.  

How to use a stovetop espresso maker

 To start, you’ll need to have a burner. Than the Mocha pot. Then you’ll need a good coffee. I recommend Lavazza or Illy,  but any espresso coffee could be use.

Here are step by step directions:
1. Fill the bottom chamber with cold water and make sure you stop bellow the pressure valve.
2. Place the filter funnel inside the bottom chamber.
3. Fill the filter with coffee.
4. Make sure the filter plate is attached to the bottom of the top chamber.
5. Screw the top chamber over the filter.
6. Set the espresso machine over medium heat.
7. Listen for a whistle like noise coming from your stovetope espresso machine.
8. Then remove it from heat and let set for couple of minute.
9. Pour in cups, add sugar to taste and enjoy.

Some stovetop espresso makers

Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop
This is the original Bialetti espresso maker. It has the shape of an octagon, has an insulated handle, a flip top and a side-pour spout. It makes 3 cups espresso in five minutes.
It’s dimensions, 4 and 1/4 by 6 and 1/2 makes it easy to store. It needs to be hand washed and dried before storing.

 Vev Vigano Kontessa Espresso maker
This one is made out of stainless steal with polished brass handle and knob. It holds 2 cups.It is 7 inches tall with a slender silhouette that looks good on any kitchen counter. Some customers complained that this machine takes longer to brew then other stovetops.

Bialetti Mini Express 2 cup stovetop percolator

 Bialetti Mini Express 2 cup stovetop percolator
This is an ingenious espresso maker. It works just like the traditional Bialetti  but  brews the coffee right into cups, like an automated machine. People says that it makes a nice coffee and one tip would be to use taller cups to avoid splashing. Some customers have complained that it doesn’t make 2 equal cups but fortunatelly these cases are rare.

Alessi Richard Sapper Stovetop Espresso Maker

 Alessi Richard Sapper Stovetop Espresso Maker

This espresso maker is the expensive version of a regular stovetop. It i stainless steal, has a magnetic heat diffusing base, and makes six cups. It is a very nice looking coffee maker that could impress your guests. It is meant to last forever and make you endless cups of espresso.

Espresso based drinks

Espresso is one of the most popular way of preparing coffee. It can be consumed in small shots of concentrated caffeine or mixed with other ingredients. Espresso coffee is the base ingredient for many caffeinated drinks.
Here is a list:
Caffe Latte
Espresso Macchiato
Latte Macchiato
Caffe Mocha
Iced Cappuccino
Espresso Granita

Some espresso recipes
Italian Delight Espresso
1/4 to 1/2 oz (or 7 to 15 ml) amaretto or amaretto flavored syrup
2 to 4 oz (60 to 113 ml) hot espresso
1/2 to 1 oz (15 to 30 ml) sambuca (an italian liqueur)
whipped cream for garnish
Pour amaretto into tempered glass
Add espresso and sambuco
Add a dollop of whipped cream

Toffee Coffee Latte
1/4 oz (7 ml) banana flavored syrup or liqueur
1/4 oz (7 ml) hazelnut flavored syrup or liqueur
1/4 oz (7 ml) caramel or English toffee syrup
2 oz (60 ml) hot espresso
5 to 6 oz (145 to 170 ml) steamed milk
Ground hazelnuts for garnish
Pour the three syrups into a 12 oz latte mug
Add the espresso
Add the steamed milk
Stir once around, lifting the syrups from the bottom of the mug
Garnish with ground hazelnut

Insieme Coffee drink (4 servings)
1 egg yolk
3/4 oz (12 g) sugar
1 oz (15 g) bittersweet chocolate, grated
a pinch of curry
4 oz (113 ml) milk
6 oz (170 ml) hot espresso
In a bowl, wisk together the yolk, sugar, chocolate, curry, and milk
Pour the mixture into a steaming pitcher and steam
Devide the espresso into 4 tempered glasses
Pour the steamed mixture over espresso
Serve immediately

For more great espresso based recipes see “I love coffee” by Susan Zimmer


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    • SummerSurf profile image

      SummerSurf 6 years ago

      Yes i love mine :) It's a great job...but no need to buy one as the stove top one is just a good...the end result is the same. I take my stove top one when i go travelling and keep the electric one at home.

    • cameciob profile image

      cameciob 6 years ago

      SummerSurf, thank you for stopping and commenting. How's the electric one working for you. I have not even thought to consider buying one but I may change my mind.

    • SummerSurf profile image

      SummerSurf 6 years ago

      Totally with you on this one! I too have been on a journey to get the best, inexpensive espresso. I use the electric form of the stove-top coffee maker. I found it whilst on holiday in Sorrento in South-West Italy. Nice to meet a fellow coffee lover.

    • cameciob profile image

      cameciob 7 years ago

      Hi Peter, and thank you for your visit. I understand your father very well. We are creatures of habbits. I'm glad that the little espresso maker works for you. I think it makes decent coffee.

    • Peter Owen profile image

      Peter Owen 7 years ago from West Hempstead, NY

      I have one and it works just fine. However, many of my fellow Boomers feel that it just does not have the glitz, ease and trendy style of the expensive Expresso makers. I can still hear my dad's foot steps on the stairs at 5:30 am when he would go down to light the coffee, then go back up and take a shower and shave. Secure feeling in that sound.

    • cameciob profile image

      cameciob 7 years ago

      Hyphenbird, thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you loke my article. I had one of these mocha pots years ago and I like it very much. I wrote this hub because I am just about to buy another one.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 7 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Very informative. I am a coffee lover and really enjoyed this Hub. I will read more of your Hubs. Thank you, Hyphenbird.