What is a Stovetop Espresso Maker?
Stovetop espresso makers are a method of brewing coffee that relies on water pressure to brew. It consists of two chambers. Water is poured into the bottom one. A filter with your choice of grounds goes on top of that. When the water is boiling, it rises from the bottom chamber pushes through the grounds into the second chamber, giving you a strong, slightly bitter (but still delicious) cup of coffee.
When reading about these kinds of coffee makers, you may see them referred to as “moka pots.”
Why a Stovetop Espresso Maker?
Stovetop espresso makers are for those who love the taste of espresso but don’t want an expensive, bulky machine in their kitchen. These will make it easier to enjoy a strong robust coffee that tastes like something between espresso and an Americano.
Keep in mind that while moka pots make coffee that is similar in character to espresso, it isn’t espresso that you’re making (the end product lacks the rich crema that sits on top of the shot). The end result will still be a flavorful, aromatic treat for your senses.
This coffee maker is super easy to clean. It only takes a swish of hot water to clear out the residue. No need to buy tablets or brushes to get hard to reach corners. It has minimal parts and only needs your choice of a filter to brew.
These brewers are generally smaller than other coffee makers, even for ones that brew more coffee. It won’t take up space on your counters or cabinets and can be ideal for traveling as it doesn’t have a lot of parts to bother with.
Overall, it’s a perfectly low-maintenance appliance that gives you great coffee, won’t break the bank, looks nice on your counters without taking up a lot of space, and is extremely easy to clean.
Moka pots come in two materials: stainless steel and aluminum. Both are good options, but it really comes down to what you’re looking for. Stainless steel espresso makers are heavier, take longer to heat (and therefore brew), but are very durable. One pitfall of buying a stainless steel model is that it can burn your hands more than aluminum if you aren’t careful. These also tend to cost a little more than their aluminum counterparts.
Aluminum models are more budget-friendly and safer for your hands, and while there may be less of a variety of aesthetically pleasing aluminum designs, they’re still a viable option as they work just as well as stainless steel moka pots.
Moka pots can come big or small and generally make cups of 1, 3, 6, 9, or 12. When it comes to stovetop espresso makers, though, it’s important to note that “cups” doesn’t mean the same thing as with other coffee makers. In the case of this particular method, cups are more of a shot like espresso, poured into cute little demi mugs. If you are brewing for more than just yourself then a larger model would work best for you.
Make sure that it works on your stovetop (some electric stoves are not compatible). A lot of people tend to overlook this when shopping around for a moka pot. Double checking that the two appliances are compatible is crucial.
Tips and Tricks for Use
Stovetop espresso makers are very simple to use, but it can take a few tries to get the hang of making the right tasting cup. Perform several dry runs when the appliance is still new. This will help get rid of the metallic taste that some people report having after buying a moka pot.
Make sure you don’t let the pot over heat. Stovetop espresso makers already make a decently strong brew and letting the coffee over steep can ruin the entire batch.
If you find yourself trying all the tricks you know about brewing coffee, think about switching roasts. A more subtle light roast can really get a kick just by being brewed with a moka pot.
On that note, this brewer is a fun way to try out lighter roasts and get the most flavor out of the beans. Some people complain that light roasts are watery or don’t have much to offer in the flavor department. Because a moka pot brews such strong coffee, you can bring a light roast to a whole new level.
Have a scale on hand so you can properly measure the water and grounds before you put them in the chamber. The wrong ratio will affect how your coffee brews and may leave you disappointed.