* Prices may differ from that shown
If you do not want to waste your hard earned pennies on expensive coffee machines but you want the taste of real coffee then you will enjoy the coffee makers that work on the hob. There are easy to pick up, last for ages and require no plumping, electric or fancy equipment other than a good coffee blend.
This is a one cup Bialetti and it is made from aluminium which is shined up to look like silver. The coffee pot has two sections, one for the coffee to go in and the other for the coffee top boil into. There is a spout and a handle that is positioned at a slightly awkward angle so it is not that easy to pour.
The coffee machine is best used with fresh ground beans but you can always buy them ready ground. The idea is that the machine forces the water through the coffee so that you get a long, flavoured espresso. This machine is easy to use, but the quality of the coffee all depends on the coffee you use.
I used a ground coffee that was too thickly ground and the coffee was weak and unflavoured. It came out like brown water. I then found that too fine coffee can cause the drink to be a little bitty. Once you find the right grind, you will experience a good cup. The espresso is often frothy with a thin layer of oily foam on the top and for me, this is the test of a good espresso.
It has to have a layer of foam on the top. Then if you want it long and you like milk, the milk goes a little frothy too. This machine is a pain to clean though and although it opens up well, not all the coffee bangs out so the washing up bowl is always littered with little bits of coffee granules afterwards and it is annoying as the gritty bits stick to everything! The coffee from this machine is comparable to a true espresso machine that has a handle and tamper, there is no mistake about this.
The good thing, therefore is that this machine can be bought for £7-£10 from various home stores. This is the most reliable way of making coffee as along the pot is washed and cared for, it will not break! Not like machines that need plugging into the mains supply. This is a good quality machine that any coffee lover should be thinking about owning.
I love coffee and when do you need a cup the most? At 11 am on a Monday morning. And where am I at 11 am on Monday morning? At work. I can either have a cup of instant or a nip to Starbucks. I have a larger one of these at home and find them the cheapest, cleanest way of making coffee so I decided to buy a small version for the kitchen at work. It saves me money and it taste so much better than instant.
==Price and availability==
The moka express in the small version costs £11 but I have seen it in TK Maxx for £6 so this is a complete bargain. Who needs to spend £100 on a pod machine, not I!
Bialetti is an expensive brand because of the high quality materials used, once you buy one of these you are making an investment for a long time.
The espresso maker is designed for the hob and it with electric or gas stoves. The material used is cast aluminum so it lighter than the original models. This one has a black plastic handle that is heat resistant but you can not put the whole thing in the oven as it cannot stand high temperatures. The handle is easy to hold and pour with. This pot is small as it is for two people so you may need a stand to pop it on, as we have an electric stove at work, it fits on here without a stand.
The machine comes in two sections and to make the coffee you need to fill the kettle with water and place this in the base. There is a compartment in the base for the coffee to go in. Once you have screwed the top part on the bottom all you need to do then boil the water and the steam forces the water up through the coffee and you have a pot full of lovely coffee. There is no set time for this process but the machine does make a really loud gurgling sounds when it is in full swing, it should be then ready for you to take the pot off the heat. The pot then has a thin spout so you can pour directly into a cup. The coffee stays warm in here but it is best to serve straight away. To clean, empty all the old coffee out and rinse it. Every so often I will give it a proper clean and let it dry. I do not have a dishwasher at work but it is safe for using in here.
This works really well and it is just as quick as making a cup of instant coffee. I love the taste though and if you spend a bit of money getting a high quality roast coffee, you will think you have died and gone to coffee heaven. The coffee is full of flavour, rich and it has a bitterness but it does not taste burnt. The coffee pot is traditional and stylish and these are becoming more and more affordable. Once you have this and the coffee you do not need anything else.
For a solid cup of espresso coffee, you do not need anything else other than the pot. I have one of these for the home and one for my office so I can always have a cup of fresh coffee. I have just bought some Chai syrup so I can have a flavoured cup of coffee now and it is delicious.
I have had a Bialetti 6 cup for a few years now and use it every morning. I think the cup sizes must equate to the tiny espresso cups because I find that the pot makes just enough for 2 people. I use it in conjunction with a milk frother. The Bialetti is so simple to use, easy to clean and definitely doesn't clutter up you kitchen workspace as some coffee makers do. They are also very good value and once you get the hang of making coffee in it you won't want a Starbucks or Costa coffee again!
Fill the water to the line in the bottom part, coffee goes in the middle filter bit, don't press it down too much, then put it on a low heat and when you hear the water bubbling away, its done. I then zap my milk in the microwave for a couple of minutes, froth it up and pour on top of coffee. The whole process takes 5/6 minutes and once the pot has cooled it can be rinsed out.
I'm really not a morning person. I always try to set the alarm clock on my phone but my eyes are always half open in the morning unless I get some caffeine as soon as possible. I used to rely on instant coffee but lately I found that I'm getting tired of not-so-real coffee. My mum recommended me this coffee machine, which they have been using for more than a year now; they refer to the coffee machine as a magic jug. So when I saw this Bialetti coffee machine at local TK Maxx, I decided to give this a go.
From looking around online, I found that Bialetti coffee machines comes in a variety of sizes: 1, 3, 6 and 9 cups. The one I bought is a 3-cup one, even though I'm probably the only one drinking from it; kind of shows how much I crave coffee (although I'm not really sure if it's a good thing). I bought my very own Bialetti for £10.99, which I think is pretty reasonable as I've been coffee machines go up and beyond hundred mark. When I first bought it, I was at a loss of how to make a cup of coffee with this but I eventually figured it out (I have a bad habit of not reading instructions first).
The design of this Bialetti coffee machine is pretty good; it has two compartments. The bottom compartment has a container to be filled with water and a sieve-like compartment for the powdered coffee beans of your choice. I usually use medium espresso powdered beans, but I'm not fussy and I like to try new things. The top compartment is where the boiling liquid coffee will be collected for consumption, so it doesn't need filling with anything. As the water boils, it rises through the sieve and collects in the top compartment to give liquid espresso. I use a hob at medium/high heat level for about 7-9 mins and aromatic coffee is ready to be served. The coffee machine has a black acrylic handle that is temperature-resistant. However, from my experience, the handle is too close to the main aluminium body and the transferred heat is too much for me to not use a kitchen towel.
It does deliver smooth and rich coffee. I don't usually drink espresso because I will be a hyperactive harmless menace to others around me. So, I fashion my own espresso latte by adding milk and some sugar if I feel like it. Personally, after drinking Bialetti coffee, I don't think I can go back to instant ones.
The only drawback I can find with this product is that it is a bit difficult to clean the machine. I always wash by hand but I have to be careful to leave it until it has cooled down properly and make sure the sieve-like compartment for powdered coffee is squeaky clean. Nevertheless, the rich taste of coffee in the morning justifies the relatively time-consuming task of cleaning the machine.
Overall, I think this does a better job at waking me up than my alarm clock. The coffee is rich, tasty and aromatic. For such a small price, it is definitely a great buy for me. I would recommend this to all coffee lovers.
Thank you for reading. :) x
I own one of these mini Bialetti Espresso Makers myself, and also bought my dad one for his birthday last year, as he loves Espresso and really enjoyed using mine every time he came round. First things first, this is not a hi-tech contraption; this is a traditional way to make espresso at home using simple methods.
How it works...
The unit consists of a main water reservoir at the bottom, including a small perforated tray. This attaches to the top 'pouring' unit via a screw fitting. You simply fill the reservoir with water, pour your ground coffee into the tray, screw on the top of the unit, and place the espresso maker onto the hob. As the water boils, it evaporates, passes through the perforated tray and through the coffee, rises up the central tube and condenses in the top pot as delicious, strong espresso. I recommend starting on a high heat for a minute or two to get the water boiling, and then turn it down low and leave it for a few minutes. The simple and traditional method is quite a satisfying departure from over-elaborate modern machines, and is actually fun to see in action. Be careful though, because if you filled the reservoir up, the pot at the top will be almost brimming with scalding coffee!!!
Quality of Coffee...
This is a great way of making coffee, and the gentle steaming of the ground coffee releases a lovely flavour. Crucially, your coffee wont be floating with bits, as the water has evaporated and passed through the grounds, before condensing at the top and leaving the grounds in the tray. The most important thing to remember is that whilst this is a great method, the actual taste depends almost entirely on the coffee that you choose, which is a matter of personal choice.
As I mentioned before, my dad is a great fan of espresso, and will have his plain. In one brewing you will typically have enough for 2 regular servings of espresso. Personally though, espresso is a little too bitter and intense for me, so I prefer to add the final mixture to hot milk, and have a latte, or even to let it cool, and have it with milk, ice and a little ice cream - a delicious iced coffee! Either way, you should have enough for 2 nice strength lattes, or if you like it a little tamer, you could manage 3 servings.
This is one of the smaller Bialetti units, and is available for around £15-£25. I purchased both of mine in 'Fenwick', a department store in Newcastle, for just under £20.
== Background ==
Bialetti are well known maker of coffee equipment the world over. The company was founded by Alfonso Bialetti in 1919 and in 1933 he invented the Moka Express. The design of this Moka Pot hasn't changed to this day.
== The Moka Pot ==
Moka Pots are also referred to as stove-top espresso makers as the way you have to make the coffee is on a stove. To make the coffee you need to use finely ground coffee beans (preferably Espresso coffee although any will work - I've also used single origin coffee before and that tasted good) which you can grind yourself with the use of a burr grinder.
Note: Using a Blade grinder will produce uneven sizes of coffee granules and will produce an inferior cup so try get yourself a decent Burr grinder.
Once you have your ground coffee, unscrew the Moka Pot, it'll come apart into 3 pieces. You fill up the bottom chamber of the Moka Pot with cold water, fill the funnel shaped filter with the ground coffee and screw the pot back together again. After that you place the pot on the stove on a low heat for around 5 minutes. The water boils and the steam flows up through the coffee and collects in the top chamber. You should be able to hear the pot make a gurgling sound when the water has run out and your coffee is ready.
Note: You should not drink the first cup (or two) of coffee you make and instead throw it away. The coffee will not taste good and this helps the Moka Pot get conditioned before you start using it properly.
== My Experience ==
After a slight learning curve the pot is easy to use and easy to maintain, there's not a lot of cleaning that needs to be done. It's made out of steel and is really solid so there's no worrying about breaking it in the cleaning process.
I prefer the taste of espresso out of Moka Pots to Espresso Machines as I think they're not quite as strong and I just prefer the taste. I usually add hot water to the espressos I make and have Americanos but if I buy a particularly nice bag of espresso I will just drink it as is and enjoy the flavour.
I highly recommend this make of Moka Pot, these are very affordable, solid and reliable Moka Pots and look pretty cool too. I don't use it quite as often as my Bodum French Press but I have had the glass break 3 times now with French Presses, I doubt this Bialetti Moka Pot will ever break as it's built like a tank.
For a slightly stronger espresso I would recommend you buy the smaller sized Moka Pot, you'll also use less espresso this way and you wont need to drink a jug of coffee either.
The only disadvantages for me is that I have a gas stove and the Moka Pot only just sits on top of the stoves mount. So far it's hasn't falled over whilst boiling but I can see this has being something that could happen so now I use the rear burners on the stove.
Overall, I'd say get one, your taste buds will love you forever which is good because the Moka Pot will last you forever also!
I love my coffee; instant, proper, cappuccino, espresso, latte, black, white, anything but sugared. When my partner came home with one of these (amongst other coffee related things) several years ago, I wasn't overly fussed. I thought they were nice things to have, but expensive and not that useful. I mean, how easy is it to just flick the kettle switch? But I was wrong (rarely will I admit this within His earshot) The Bialetti Moka Express espresso maker has become an invaluable addition to our coffee-making arsenal. It looks good sitting on my shelf, is easy to use and simple to clean.
It's the 6 cup version we have, so makes plenty in one go for the two of us to get our caffeine fix. It is generally octagonal in shape, with a black handle (which stays cool to the touch) and a matching black knob on top. I love the little Bialetti man that is on all their products, I think he is quintessentially the Italian barista! This thing really looks the part.
It is comprised of three parts; the section on the bottom which is where you put the water, the strainer which sits on the rim of the water section into which your ground coffee of choice is placed, and the top 'teapot' shaped section, which is where your coffee brews. The two main sections come apart really easily via screw threads, but stay together securely so long as you screw it tight enough. The bottom compartment for the water has a fill line to indicate the maximum water level you should use. Another good point to make, is that the hinged lid is sturdy; the moving parts of the hinge itself are mainly concealed, which means it's less likely/easy to break. The overall construction feels solid and this is reassuringly heavy, though not prohibitively so.
So to make the perfect espresso, all you must do is fill with water, put the appropriate measure of ground coffee in the strainer, screw the top back on and stick it on to boil! As the water boils, it is pushed up through the coffee grounds into the top section via a tube which you will see when you look inside. You can hear when it is finished and ready as the bubbly brewing sounds will stop, but you can open the lid (carefully) and have a peek. The pouring spout is an excellent shape and drips or spillages are minimal. You also don't hav the worry of the lid flapping open whilst pouring. There are no coffee grounds which have managed to make their way into your cuppa either which lets you enjoy every last drop!
Cleaning this is very easy, since it comes apart so well. This allows you access to all parts. The only bit you can't get into is the tube through which the coffee travels into the 'teapot'. You can clean this by soaking it though which is better than nothing, or you could get a pipe brush in there. The outside can be cleaned like anything else, and it takes a good scrubbing, coming up like new.
Overall, I am very glad we own this. It is used a lot (way more than it should be probably!) and it does exactly what it says on the tin, with no messing, no complication and above all else quick and easy espresso. I couldn't tell you what we paid for it, as a lot of other things were purchased along with it (milk frother, cafetieres) but I know it wasn't cheap. It is a trusted and well known brand though, and although you can get cheaper, they are nice products, as well as highly functional. Plus, He bought it, not me!
Being that the 6 cup version is NOT in the DOOYOO catalogue but the 1 cup is I have posted this 6 cup review here. The only difference is the size, everything else is the same. If you feel I've infringed then I guess lots of NOT USEFUL's will pop up. Anyway hope you do find it more than useful.
I like my coffee, but it is the fresh ground coffee taste that I prefer. The smell alone is so inviting. The aroma of fresh coffee and the promise of a decent cuppa is very appealing. I do have a coffee maker, which also makes espresso and cappuccino, but sometimes when I'm in alone I just want to make a quick cup. Setting up the main coffee maker isn't hard but for just one it is a waste of coffee, electric and time. A much quicker method is to use a Bialetti espresso maker, available at varying prices from Amazon depending on which size you require. I chose the 6 cup since an espresso is very small, and I kinda like a big cup full. We have large cups especially for our cappuccinos and latte's.
The Bialetti espresso Maker
The quite large unit is designed to be run from a gas stove, it may have problems fitting some hobs if you try to use it on the larger ring. For this reason I have to use the smallest gas ring and it fits quite well. It is obviously not a good idea to use this unit if it does not sit firmly and safely on the hob. I can't speak for all cookers but I'm pretty sure the small ring on most will be safe enough.
The unit is basically in three parts, the top the bottom and the filter. A simple screwing of the top and bottom will either separate or join the top and bottom portions. However to enable the production of some nice fresh coffee the filter must have the coffee added.
The amount depends entirely on the individual preferences of the user and how strong they wish their cuppa to be, but I generally find one and a half good tablespoons adequate. Now fill the base unit with cold water there is a mark to indicate the maximum amount of water. So filter filled and water added simply place the filter and secure it the top of the base portion. Now screw the top portion together with the base unit and your almost there.
Finally screw the top and base together and place on the stove. Adjust the flame on the gas stove so that it is not coming up the sides of the Bialetti. Once it starts to boil you will here all sorts of weird noises but this is normal. Being that there isn't a vast amount of water in the base unit boiling doesn't take very long, and very soon the smell of the coffee filtering through will become evident.
The pressure of the boiling water forces it up internal metal tubes on the unit and then flows over the filter and up to the main top part of the unit. The top portion has a flip lid so that you can see the progress should you wish. This is handy if you want to stop the process once you have enough coffee made. If you do intend to stop the process by turning of the gas it will result in a much stronger cuppa depending on when you stop it.
Add milk and sugar to taste pour in the fresh filtered coffee and hey presto a delicious cuppa. By using less water you will get your espresso, there is a little guesswork until you get your desired strength, but it is worth it.
There is a small valve on the side of the base unit, which serves for safety purposes in the unlikely event there is a blockage. There really isn't a problem here at all, I guess if you are boiling water there is always a chance of steam burning so the valve is a great addition to the unit.
The unit is a nice looking one, which is not over heavy but does feel solid. Its shiny silver looking finish gives it a very professional look, and indeed it does work very well. Everyone has different coffee tastes, so experimenting for a few brews might well prove beneficial in getting the best possible brew for your chosen taste.
This may sound a bit expensive at around £24, but it is definitely easier and quicker than the now normal coffee makers, especially if as I am sometimes you are on your own. I find it an invaluable piece of equipment, when the body caffeine runs out and needs refilling. A brief little booklet comes with the unit, but it really is pretty much idiot proof. As with anything that invloves flame and heat I would not recommend that you let a child make you your brew since the dangers are self evident. All in all it only takes 5 or 10 mins to get a really good cuppa, and the aroma whilst it is brewing simply gets the old juices flowing in anticipation. I consider it a really good buy and have no qualms about recommending it.
I had never seen or heard of a Bialetti espresso maker until a few years ago. I had always been content to make do with my Nescafe instant coffee and (if I really wanted to push the boat out) a trip to Starbucks. Changing job circumstances meant that I ended up moving into a large shared house where I got to know a housemate who hailed from Italy. He first introduced me to Bialetti espresso makers and would often talk about them. He would neither hear a bad word about a Bialetti or a good word about any rival product. Over the year I was there he gradually convinced the rest of the housemates to join him in his post dinner espresso (the Italian way mind you, with no milk) and by the end of my time there I had decided to buy one of my own. £20 from habitat if you must know...
The espresso maker looks wonderfully stylish although it is hardly a new design. In fact Alfonso Bialetti 1st designed it in 1933. Each genuine Bialetti item will also show a moustached little man holding his finger aloft as though ordering another drink. The man is said to be a caricature of Alfonso Bialetti's son (who would later take over the running of the company from his father).
The idea is that you fill the base with water, fill the sieve like tray with coffee and place it on top. You then screw the top part on and end up with something that resembles a very small kettle. You put it on the hob and as the water boils it rises up through the coffee, through the spout and out the other end into the top section. The water in here will start to make a bubbling sound when the drink is ready. You will end up with an espresso every bit as good as the ones you can buy in the usual coffee chains. Milk is optional as is sugar or lemon. Don't be mislead by the description stating this is for one person. There is easily enough for two.
My Italian friend did teach me a few tricks to improve the quality of the coffee. Firstly never drink coffee from new espresso maker. You make at least 5 loads and throw them away or you end up with a metal taste to your drink. Secondly never ever wash it. A simple rinse will do. The older a Bialetti is the better the taste will be. Timing is also very important, boil the water too quickly or too slowly and the drink may have a bitter taste. I found using the hob on medium heat for 4 or 5 minutes usually did the trick.
As for disadvantages you will notice on the picture that there is a nice plastic handle to hold it with...well this is also very close to the main part of the product that is made from metal which will become very very hot. I learnt the hard way to use a tea towel to pick it up with. Also at the point where you screw the base into the top section mine had a tendency to leak when pouring. Lastly once the metal hot it stays hot. Do not even attempt to pick it up to rinse it out it until at least 15 minutes after you have poured your drinks
I do not drink espresso on its own. I have tried a cup of the powerful drink on perhaps two occasions, and for the rest of the day discovered that I was in a hyperactive state and unable to fully appreciate the taste of anything else. What I do enjoy though, is a nice mocha or cappuccino, and when the Bialetti Moka Express was bought for me as a gift, I realised that instead of banishing it to the back of the cupboard as a useless object, I could use it as a starting point for drinks I enjoyed.
To make a mocha I prepare an espresso from the Bialetti Moka as per if I was intending to drink it on its own. I then heat some milk, add a few teaspoons of drinking chocolate to it, then combine with the espresso shot. Similarly, to prepare a cappuccino I take the espresso shot, combine it with hot milk, and whip up some froth to sit on top of it. I say this to demonstrate that even if you do not enjoy drinking espresso on its own, this should not necessarily deter you from purchasing this product. Admittedly though, if you do enjoy a shot of espresso of a morning, you may appreciate this device all the more.
The Bialetti Moka Express is, in appearance, almost as diminutive as an espresso cup. It is fashioned from brushed aluminium, which can become exceedingly hot exceedingly quickly when it is in use. Fortunately it is equipped with a plastic handle and lid which, while significantly cooler to the touch, do have a tendency to get very warm during operation. The body of the machine is multifaceted, and while I cannot say whether this is helpful in its operation in any way, it is interesting to look at, certainly. It is also very similar to a kettle in appearance, and is so compact it can be easily stored away even in a cupboard with limited space.
The product has several layers, which have their individual functions. While the espresso collects in the body of the kettle and can be easily decanted though the spout, the hot water passes through the espresso grounds in the bottom of the device first. The thick base of the espresso maker makes it very effective when it is heated on the stove, as the heat enters the machine gradually, yet will heat the contents evenly and retain heat for a significant period. This is excellent if you have prepared the coffee for yourself and are planning on enjoying it slowly, for although the machine is advertised as holding one cup of espresso, it will actually fill 2 - 3 cups modestly.
Timing is important when using the Bialetti Moka Express. I began by heating the device for seven to eight minutes before pouring, but discovered this yielded a bitter coffee that was overpowering to the senses. Since then I have got it down to around five minutes, and found this to be ideal when it comes to brewing a coffee that is rich and full bodied, without being overly intense. Although I enjoy using this coffee maker and it is a talking point when I use it to prepare drinks for friends, I do find that for the amount of coffee it yields the cleaning can be an issue. Firstly you must wait until the machine completely cools before attempting cleaning, and by this point the grounds have a tendency to adhere themselves under the ledges and around the edges of the device. I do not use the machine in the dishwasher, so a good deal of scrubbing is required. For just over £15 however, this is a great device whose coffee may even rival some coffee machines. Just be aware of the safety issues and cleaning requirements.
Renato Bialetti, son of founder Alfonso Bialetti, is credited with being the man behind the Moka Express back in 1933. Story has it the Moka Expresso "revolutionised" the way of making coffee at home thanks to a successful advertising campaign on Italian TV. The Group's trademark is the "Man with the moustache" picture that was developed by Paul Campani in the 1950s.
The range of products is actually manufactured by Rondine Italia, a company that is famous for producing aluminium saucepans. In 1993 Bialetti was taken over by Rondine but the two companies didn't actually 'merge' until 1998. The famous Moka Express range now had a new manufacturer.
A full history of Bialetti can be found on their website.
****What is it?****
The Bialetti Moka Express maker is a non-electric coffee maker that is of the stove top variety. It consists of an aluminium jug made out of two distinct sections. The first consists of the bottom water holding vessel and the second is a top pouring pot. The two sections are screwed together to make a single unit, in which water and coffee is added before the pot is heated up on a hob, a gas ring, a camping stove or any other cooker that you may wish to use.
****The Moka Express range****
The Moka Expresso is available in a variety of sizes including a 1cup, 3 cup, 6 cup, 9 cup, 12 cup and 18 cup.
The range of sizes in good but are they all really needed? I can see the point of the 1, 3 and even 6 cup versions but everything above this seems pointless to me. When you consider the boiling times, the actual energy you are going to use in boiling such large vessels and the hassle of cleaning the large pots (all of which are described later on in this review) I see major disadvantages in the 9, 12 and 18 cup versions.
****How does it work?****
Before using the Moka Express I had only ever had experience of the traditional percolator jug style coffee makers. You know, the ones where the coffee and water is put in a storage vessel above the jug and allowed to drip through a cone of filter paper (to remove the coffee bean/powder sediment) in to a collection jug sat on a hot plate to keep everything hot. Thanks to the findings of Mr Newton and his apple, I naturally assumed that all coffee makers worked on this 'drip' system, so I was very surprised when I saw the gravity defying method the Moka Express used. I admit that I was sceptical at first but any concerns I had soon disappeared as I was supping down my first Moka Express pot made coffee.
The Moka Express pot produces the drink using water pressure to fuse the water and coffee powder, rather than gravity and although I still find it difficult to comprehend and struggle to get my hear around the concept, it works very well.
****The science bit****
From what I can remember from my high school physics classes (please note that these were a few years ago now so feel free to point out any errors I have made) as the water is heated the molecules gain momentum (kinetic energy) and collide with each other. As the temperature increases, the kinetic energy increases (as does the amount of collisions) which in turn increases the pressure. The aluminium pot is made to withstand the additional pressure and keeps its shape, i.e. it does not expand. As the pressure increases the water is forced upwards (well it has to go somewhere) through what is effectively a colander in which there is coffee powder through a gauze (designed to allow the coffee and water through but not the sediment) and through a spout and in to a pouring vessel.
I'm sure the inquisitive amongst you are wondering how the coffee remains in the pouring vessel and doesn't just fall back down through the gauze and the colander and in to the bottom half of the pot. After all gravity should take hold right?
The spout goes through the middle of the pouring pot so the water and coffee is forced through the spout and spills over in to the pouring vessel, where it is trapped, and can be poured for consumption.
****Making the coffee****
Making the coffee is simple but it is long winded and unlike the electric coffee makers and machines it requires constant attention. Coffee is made as follows;
i) Unscrew the top pouring vessel and fill the bottom section with water. The instructions state fill up to the line marked on the inside of the bottom section and no further. Being a bit of a 'yeah, whatever" person I ignored this advice after a couple of uses and ended up regretting it. Fill it up to much and the water will spill over the top of the pouring vessel as the water boils. Fill it to the line and the water remains in the pot. Take heed.
ii) Insert the gauze and spoon in the coffee of your choice. There are loads to choose from and include all different strengths and types, different flavours etc. etc. The amount to use will depend on your own taste but consult the back of the coffee packet (as a starting point) and then adjust for your own requirements.
iii) Screw the pouring vessel back on to the bottom section and put on a hob.
iv) When the pot starts steaming, remove from the hob and pour in to a mug/cup. Add milk and sugar to taste and Hey presto. How easy (although time consuming in practice) is that?
Filling the bottom water bowl to the recommended 325ml mark with cold water straight out of the tap and put on to my Electrolux cooker hob takes 6 minutes to boil. This is not as fast as an electric kettle but they say the best things come to those who wait and waiting 7 minutes for a proper cup of coffee is no big deal.
What I find irritating is the fact the pot requires constant supervision to ensure that you get to remove the pot before the coffee burns. Providing the 325ml mark is not exceeded the water will not boil over. There will be a rumbling noise as the pot wobbles under the pressure but the steam valve is efficient enough to ensure that the water remains in the pot. I find the best time to remove the pot is when the pot just starts to steam as the water is boiling and the coffee is just right. Leave it a split second too long and the coffee will burn, which ruins the taste considerably.
The boiling time of the 1 cup is about the same time as my mother's coffee machine, but you only get one coffee with my Moka Express, unlike the machine that delivers multiple cups. This is ideal for one person but no good at all, if you are entertaining. Whilst there are many different sizes of Moka Express available I would not like to hazard a guess as to the boiling times, especially considering the 1 cup takes about 6 minutes. Larger versions are likely to take much longer and considering it is the same as boiling a saucepan of water for potatoes or pasta or something similar, I am imagining it could take a while, especially with the 18 cup version. I would think it best to use a machine in these circumstances
Unfortunately, cleaning is part and parcel of owning a coffee machine. Whether it is one like the Moka Express, a large all singing and all dancing top of the range maker or one of the old fashioned percolators there's no getting away from it.
Cleaning the Moka Express pot is a messy business and the coffee powder tends to go everywhere. Firstly, you have to let the pot cool down although this is more for safety reasons and to minimise the mess (I always find that I am a bit violent with hot things(it is a human reaction to flinch after all) and find I end up flicking mess everywhere when cleaning out the pot when it is too hot).
Once cool the top pouring vessel needs to be unscrewed from the bottom water holding pot. The coffee sediment will not only be in the colander but it will also be stuck to the bottom of the gauze in the top pouring pot (as shown in the photograph) which makes this quite a messy affair. Whilst the coffee sediment can be washed down the sink, I would advise against this as it will block the U-bend sooner, or later. I find the best thing to do is to wrap the sediment in a couple of sheets of newspaper before disposing in the bin. No matter how much I scrape the colander and the gauze I can never seem to get rid of all the sediment and there is always some surplus that needs to be washed down the plughole.
Providing the Moka Express does what it should do, i.e. allows users to make great cups of coffee, then its looks and appearance should be of no relevance. This is how it should be, but since we live in a bit of a fake and materialistic world where there is a lot of emphasis on looks, consumers will often buy products based on looks rather than functionality.
I think the Moka Express is a stylish looking product. Made out of plain aluminium that looks stainless steel and 'retro', which is currently the style to have, it is modern and attractive. It looks bang up to date and is far more tasteful than the old percolator styles, which were a bit of an eyesore. The pot is not your typical cylindrical shape. It is octagonal in design and has some nice looking angles, which in my opinion, gives it a unique selling point.
Whilst it looks pretty to begin with the pot will soon get dis-coloured, faded, scratched and start to look tired after a few uses, but this happens to all functional aluminium and stainless steel looking products. It will only be a 'show piece' for so long and you'll soon find a suitable home for it out of the way.
The Moka Express appears to be made out of good quality aluminium and, providing it is not too badly mistreated, it is more than good enough for its purpose. Mine has taken a few knocks and bangs (although nothing too severe) and thanks to the thick metal it has managed not to bend out of shape or dent. It has suffered from scratches though but this has not affected the way in which this product performs.
I have used my Moka Express on the hob, on a camping gaz stove (I should stress that it takes an age to boil on these camping gaz cookers but then most things do) and on a Coleman petrol stove which kicks out a whopping 2,200Kw of power (i.e. an awful lot of heat) and it is still going strong. The petrol stove charred the bottom of the pot, but then it has charred everything that has ever been subjected to its immense heat, but the Moka Express still works fine, although it now looks a bit second hand.
****Prices to buy and use****
The Moka Express range is cheaper than the equivalent sized coffee machines but then given the simplistic design, and what actually goes in to making the product this is not surprising. A brief search on the internet has indicated that prices start at around £18.95 for the 1 cup and rise to £59.95 for the 18 cup, which is very expensive in my opinion especially given they are little more than an aluminium kettle. What I do find strange is that many of the smaller sizes are cheaper than their larger counter-parts. I can only assume this is due to the fact that the smaller versions are more popular, hence the retailers can hike up the price somewhat.
Whilst the Moka Express may be the cheaper outlay we need to consider if using it will be cheaper than using an electric coffee machine. Whilst the Moka Express doesn't directly rely on electricity to boil, and keep warm, it does require the use of an oven (be it gas or electricity) or some other kind of stove. The 1 cup has a poor boiling time (i.e. it takes ages) and larger versions are likely to take even longer. So, is the energy required to boil a 6 cup version likely to exceed the electricity needed for an equivalent size machine? I am unable to comment on this but it is something that should be taken in to consideration if you are thinking of purchasing a larger sized Moka Express.
Being the only coffee drinker in a two-person household makes it awkward to experience the taste of real coffee at home, which is a shame since I do get bored of instant coffee. I appreciate that there are several brands of instant coffee and some are clearly 'better' than others but I still think they are all a bit 'samey' regardless of the manufacturer. I have found most coffee makers are far too large and making coffee is wasteful since a couple of cups down and I am done. This product allows me, as a single person, to enjoy top quality coffee.
This is clearly a one-person coffee pot, which is suitable for my needs, but I think it is just a bit too small. I like to drink out of mugs. Call me uncouth but I can't be doing with small cups and saucers with handles so small I can just about squeeze my little finger in (I do suffer from fat finger syndrome) so, in order to actually drink the coffee as opposed to spilling it all over myself a mug is the only viable option. We all have our favourite drinking vessel and mine is a Kit Kat mug (One I got with an Easter Egg many years ago and whilst it has suffered with a bit of fading, a small crack and a few stains it is still going strong) but it can only be filled up once with this pot. After the first fill up there is a tiny bit left, but it is so miniscule it is not worth bothering about.
One coffee is never enough in my opinion so the amount this pot holds is a major disadvantage for me. I suppose I could just make another pot but making a coffee (as described above) is a chore, (what with the cleaning procedure, standing around and waiting for it to boil etc.), and to be brutally honest I can't be bothered since although I like coffee I am not than fond of it.
I pride myself with being decisive, however on this occasion I'm afraid that I have to sit on the fence about the Moka Express since there are many positives but there are many negatives, as follows;
i) It is ideal for one or two people
ii) It is much cheaper than other coffee machines
iii) It is tough and durable
iv) It doesn't require a 240V electric supply, therefore making it portable and ideal for camping, boating and other leisure activities
i) The 1 cup version is just too small
ii) It doesn't look pretty for long
iii) It takes ages to boil
iv) It is a nightmare to clean
v) Potentially, it can cost more to use than the alternative machines
vi) It is not suitable for lots of people
If you are a single person that likes the taste of 'real' coffee then, providing you don't mind the cleaning and the waiting around, I would recommend the Moka Express. I would advise against the 1 cup and go for the 3 cup since this gives you more than one serving.
If you are in a household of coffee drinkers, or looking for a coffee making solution for entertaining, dinner parties and the like I would not recommend any of the Moka Express range and would suggest looking at the more conventional electric coffee machines.
This Bialetti Espresso maker is the original and best way to make authentic espresso coffee in your home / This clever device works by passing the boiling water through the espresso coffee that is contained in the middle, and collects the espresso in the top compartment ready to pour / Made from cast Aluminium, the Italians favour this method of making espresso as the Bialetti Espresso maker improves with use and age.