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  1. #1
    Forum Member KmK's Avatar
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    Stovetop Espresso Maker?

    I love Bihn bags...I love coffee. I don't have much of it, but I do So Enjoy a fine cup of morning glory. I am considering the purchase of a stovetop espresso maker-- perhaps a Bialetti Venus? in the four cup size.

    I do already use an Aeropress, but like the idea of the stainless steel versus plastic.

    I thought I'd see if anyone here had thoughts in general about stovetop espresso makers or about that particular one...and whether there really is a discernible difference in the final product of a stovetop maker vs. an Aeropress.

    Thanks for any thoughts-insights!

  2. #2
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    “Stovetop espresso” is kind of an oxymoron: no stovetop pot can produce enough pressure to create anything like espresso.

    The Bialetti is really a “moka pot.”

    Moka pots extract at 1-2 bar, whereas espresso machines have a pressure of at least 9 bar; a lot of modern espresso machines advertise as much as 17-18 bar.

    That said, moka pots can still make a tasty cup of strong coffee. :-)

    I had the stainless steel Venus for a while, and would recommend it over the aluminum Bialettis, for sure.

    I gave up the Venus in favor of a lever espresso machine (and Chemex, French press, and vacuum pot for regular coffee), though, as I found i preferred the results of those to what I could achieve with the Bialetti… YMMV!

    Good luck in your search for the perfect brew.
    Last edited by bb93fo57; 02-01-2016 at 09:05 AM.

  3. #3
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    I don't have a suggestion for an alternative espresso maker, but I recently got an Aeropress and have been super impressed with the quality of coffee I get from it. Rich, strong, and much smoother than I get with our drip coffee maker. I'd prefer not to use plastic, but I'm not noticing any flavor issues with the plastic in the Aeropress, and I like that it's light and small enough to travel with (I doubt I'd take a heavier stainless steel one on a trip).

    If a french press is good enough, you might look at this one, which I recently tried out while visiting family, and it was great.
    Donít make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, donít hesitate to make it beautiful. ó Shaker Philosophy

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bb93fo57 View Post
    Moka pots extract at 1-2 bar, whereas espresso machines have a pressure of at least 9 bar; a lot of modern espresso machines advertise as much as 17-18 bar.
    I too love the aeropress and have stopped using my stove pot espresso maker because I prefer it. More impressively some of my coffee fanatic friends prefer it too - which says a lot as Australians take coffee very seriously. It is also so light-weight and easy to take camping/travelling.

    bb93fo57 - do you know what pressure the aeropress is? I have never heard of bar ratings and am just curious.

    Sorry I can't help with a stove top recommendation.

  5. #5
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    I have the Aeropress and a Moka Pot. I use the Aeropress for travel. For home, I use the Moka Pot makes a lovely espresso. Highly recommend it.

  6. #6
    Forum Member flaneuse's Avatar
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    When I lived in Italy I went through a bunch of stove top moka makers, all Bialetti, trying to find a good one. I tried the grocery store classic--the aluminum one, I tried a step up--the Stainless Steel one that I bought at an Italian furniture/home goods store, and I tried the Mukka Maker. In the end, they all make decent percolated coffee My favorite out of the bunch was the Stainless Steel Bialetti. I would not buy another one again in this lifetime though. It is true that just about every italian household has them for every day coffee.

    My favorite expresso/coffee machine, going on 6 years, is my Nespresso Citzi. It's held up great over the overseas moves, you can get capsules for it in Europe and the US, and it makes a great expresso and related drinks, or lungos/americanos in 30 seconds (yes, I need my coffee that quickly in the morning!) I even use it to make chai/matcha lattes by running hot water through it once, and then into a cup with the powdered tea, then adding the steamed milk. I would definitely repurchase it.

  7. #7
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    You have already received great advice. I have been through the complete cycle of home coffee and espresso makers and have come to the conclusion that I will visit a coffee shop if I want a true espresso. If you are determined to get a stove top "espresso" maker, I would also recommend the stainless Bialettis (I had and liked the 4 cup Kitty). At home, I use either the Aeropress or a single serve (2 cup) Melitta with #2 paper filters. Cleanup is easy and there is no risk of "burning" the coffee as there is with the stove top pots. For a sorta latte, I foam milk in Nespresso Aerocccino.

  8. #8
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    I should have added that there is no discernible plastic taste with either of the methods I use. I think the Aeropress produces marginally better coffee than the Melitta drip, but it is close. I think the best thing you can do to improve your home coffee experience is to purchase a burr coffee grinder, get the best beans you can find (locally or via mail order), and grind the beans fresh when you want to make coffee. You can spend a lot of money for a grinder, or you can get this one (Capresso) for $100. It works great; I have used the same one daily for several years without problems.

    http://www.capresso.com/coffee-grind...ss-finish.html

  9. #9
    Forum Member KmK's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your feedback-- Much appreciated!

  10. #10
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    I use a bottom of the line aluminum Bialetti and have for years. For some reason, I think the smaller sized ones make better tasting coffee. I have tried a lot of this type of coffee maker. Some were great (and also expensive), some were not. I'd recommend starting with a lower-cost Bialetti, and then trying around. You will also find that grind makes a big difference. there are some good sites on the Internet which explain how to use a mocha pot (and everything else).
    Good luck!

  11. #11
    Forum Member binje's Avatar
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    We have the 6-cup aluminum Bialetti and used it extensively for our weekend coffee until we got a Nespresso Inissia last year. Now the Nespresso is our weekend treat, although we still get out the Bialetti from time to time. It takes a little experimentation with grind, quantity and heat to get the brew you want so consider any instructions you might find as a starting point.

    As others have noted it's not a true espresso. It is a strong little coffee, though. I think it's much better than an Aeropress, but I've only experienced that at a friend's house. They love it, but I was underwhelmed. Like so many things, it's what makes you happy that counts.

  12. #12
    Forum Member KmK's Avatar
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    I love a true espresso, but that is going to have to wait for a coffeeshop stop. For home brew, I think I will try the Bialetti. If nothing else, it will remind me of early mornings in Cuba where we tossed back several tiny dense cup-fuls of moka brewed glory before heading out to work with kids... Good memories to associate with something I already enjoy. ( I always had mine before the sugar got added-- otherwise, it was as sweet as it was strong!)

  13. #13
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    Kmk:

    Have you tried the Bialetti yet? I was just reminded that the magazine Cook's Illustrated did a review article on these pots in the January 2012 issue.they agree that the Bialetti is the best choice among the pots they review.

    I also wanted to add another tip: the gasket which seals the top and the bottom is a key part of any mocha pot. They eventually wear out, making the pot useless. Bialettei sells replacements, but I prefer to go on-line and buy silicon gaskets (they are made in the same sizes specifically for mocha pots). they last longer, seal very well, and surprisingly, I think they make better coffee. When my original gasket wears out, I now replace them with these.

    enjoy your coffee!

  14. #14
    Forum Member KmK's Avatar
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    Yes, I bought the Bialetti-- the shop nearest me that carries them had the Musa so I went with that one. Delicious! We're I to compare the result to the Aeropress, I'd say it was "cleaner" tasting. I love them both, though!

    Thanks for the tip on silicon gaskets... I'll keep an eye out.

  15. #15
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    Timely: Renato Bialetti just passed away yesterday.
    Blue Parapack Brain Bag with Brain Cell

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