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I don't drink espresso in fact I don't like it, its way too strong for me! My friend gave this expresso maker when she moved to Europe as she couldn't take much stuff her and I use it to make lattes and coffee milkshakes.
It does what it is supposed to do very well, however I wouldn't say it's made of the best quality metal or plastic handle. Close up it does look a little cheap and the metal base is very tarnished from being put on the gas hob. The espresso maker is made up of three components, the base which is where you add cold water, a middle section which is entirely enclosed within the base, which is where the ground coffee is added and filtered through and the top, which is where the final espresso is held.
~How it Works~
Add water to the base, then put the middle filter section on which is where the coffee is added, this part is a bit like a tea strainer, with filtration on the underside so when the water at the bottom boils it is pushed up through the coffee and up through a spout in the middle of the top part of the device where the coffee is held. It works very well, the espresso is strong, as you would expect and free from any coffee particles. It takes about 4-5 minutes for the whole process to work before the coffee comes up into the top cavity. You can here the coffee bubbling up through the spout, so can tell when it's nearly ready, plus the aroma is amazing!
~Uses for the Espresso~
As I said I don't like espresso so I use it for lattes by boiling milk in a pan and then adding some espresso to taste. I also leave the espresso to cool and make coffee milkshakes with it, again adding the espresso to taste into the cold milk. I like my coffee milkshakes with a bit of vanilla syrup. For a while now I have been drinking decaffinated coffee and buy this ground from Waitrose and I find the decaffinated coffee also works very well. The other use for the espresso is coffee cakes, its strong so it's really good for making coffee sponge cakes with coffee icing - yummy!
I wash it in hot water and washing up liquid so it's hygienically clean, however the base is very tarnished from the gas hob and fire is impossible to clean off, even with a little Jif and a scowler. I've never put it through the dishwasher, I'm not sure whether it it is dishwasher proof or not, but it may be worth a go to try and make it more sparkly clean again.
I don't think it's a very expensive espresso maker, costing around £8. You get what you pay for, but it more than does its job and makes a very good coffee. However, if you want to have an espresso maker which you can also put on display in your kitchen I wouldn't recommend this one.
All in all a 4/5, good value but loses a point for tarnishing so badly.
If your feeling Italian in the mornings then you must get yourself one of these stove pots. My particular one by MOKA cost me around £8.99 and makes 3-4 cups of espresso or one large mug of coffee.
It only needs heat underneath, there is no electricity involved.
The coffee maker has 3 sections, the bottom bit you fill with water to the line, then add the funnel and filter which you then heap with ground fresh coffee and then compress. The reason for compressing is so that the water has to work hard to go through the coffee and it tastes stronger and richer.
Then finally screw on the kettle bit making sure its really tight.
When placed on the hob you then have to wait around 3 minutes for all the water to go through the filter and into the kettle part. It doesnt go back down through the filter as it has to splutter its way out of a tall tunnel inside the kettle. You can then leave the drink in here to stay warm if your not drinking it all at once.
It makes a very authentically tasting coffee and its an essential part of my weekend mornings. It does require more effort than just making instant coffee and makes nicer espresso than a filter coffee jug.
Also to clean you have to take it apart, throw away the grounds and then wash up each bit individually. Its well worth it for a nice relaxing drink and costs a lot less over time than going to costa coffee.
Coffee...the unmistakable aroma wafting through the house is enough to get me out of bed. I like my coffee rich and dark (just like the way I like men!) to give me that kick to start to start the day. Studies in to coffee have found that the aroma of coffee can soothe frayed nerves and that just the whiff could be enough to reverse the effects of a poor night's sleep on the brain.
I like espresso coffee because it is short and on a busy morning, I do not have the time to sit down and drink a large pot. I bought the Moka express espresso maker because it is a cheap way of making good coffee.
*Price and availability*
The moka express comes in a variety of sizes, 1 cup, 3 cup, 6 cup and 9 cup. The 3 cup maker will cost you around £16.10. I found mine in T K MAXX and paid £7.99. A true bargain as Bialetti is an expensive brand.
It looks a bit like a kettle but there is more to it than this! It is made from cast aluminum and has a black acyclic handle that does not get hot on the heat but it can melt easily so do not have other burners on when in use. Depending on the size of your hob or your coffee maker, you may need a stand for your hob. I do not need one as I have stands already with my hob that fits the base on neatly.
In order to use the espresso maker fill the base with water. While I am preparing the coffee I usually have a separate kettle boiling in order to speed the process up, so I use boiled water from the kettle.
In the base there is a funnel shaped container for the special roast espresso coffee. Once you pop the coffee in and make sure you fill it to the top, it needs tamping down which is in effect pressing it closer together so that the water takes longer to drain through, giving a richer cup of coffee. You can pick this up at supermarkets and there are a variety of brands and blends to choose from. Next you simply screw on the upper unit tightly till it doesn't want to screw on anymore. It needs to be tight for the right pressure so that the steam forces the water up from the base. You also need to make sure the lid is on tight, otherwise coffee can escape out of the top! So as the machine is bubbling away nicely on the hob, you are unaware that this little baby is reaching a whopping temperature of 100 degrees and the water is moving from the base, travelling through a spout and into the top unit. Once the bubbling takes on louder gurgle, it is time to turn off the heat and gradually let the rest of water be forced up before the coffee is ready to serve. Once you are happy that the coffee is made and this is recognisable by the aroma and the reduction in noise, serve the coffee for you and your friends.
*Cleaning and maintenance*
Usually coffee makers are quite hard to clean but this one is really simple. Once it has cooled down, unscrew everything, empty out the coffee grounds and rinse it all in warm water with a little washing up liquid if needed. I've put mine through the dishwasher and it is fine, so long as you let all the bits dry out properly.
I love this little espresso maker, it is really easy to use and you do not need to buy filters or spend hours cleaning it. Once you buy a good bag of coffee, you cannot go wrong. It takes no time at all to make, especially if you use water that has already boiled.
The design of the pot is stylish and sophisticated and if you have guests, you can even serve them straight from the pot as it looks great stood on the table.
Very Italian, even if we are in Yorkshire.
I am a complete coffee addict and drink many cups throughout the day. Most of the time I drink instant because of the convenience but I do like to occasionally make a proper strong cup of fresh coffee.
When living in Spain I got into drinking coffee using an on stove espresso maker as these seemed to be all anyone ever used to make coffee so when I returned to the UK I bought myself one. I originally was just going to get myself a one cup version as I knew I would only use it as an occasional treat for myself but when I went to buy it the 3 cup version was only a couple of pounds more so I thought it made good financial sense to get myself the larger capacity one. Besides I know that one coffee would never satisfy me.
I paid £14.99 for my bialetti espresso maker which I personally thought was a good price as it is clear from just looking at it that this is a quality product.
I love the art deco shape and think it looks extremely stylish. With it being a silver coloured metal it should fit into the look of most modern kitchens with ease.
The maker consists of three parts which all fit together to make the coffee. In the bottom half you need to add cold water to the indicated line. The coffee goes in the middle part which you really need to make sure you really pack in tightly and finally the top half is the part that fills up with your freshly made cup of coffee. All these parts then screw together to form the completed espresso maker.
You then place the maker on the stove and turn on the gas. Because the bottom half is completely sealed the pressure forces the water up through the coffee grounds into the top part ready for pouring. Be warned that the maker can and will get extremely hot so make sure that you have secured all the parts together or the coffee will explode out of the maker.
It is really easy to use but is a little fiddly hence why I don't use it as often as I would like. Once you have drunk your coffee you need to unscrew it all and clean all the parts ready for the next time you use it. This doesn't take long but is a little annoying to do if you use it often.
The coffee always tastes absolutely fantastic made this way and really will give you a jolt in the morning however it is an espresso maker not a coffee maker so not ideal for those who like a cup of coffee in the morning. You can get around this a couple of ways firstly there is the option to dilute the espresso with water or secondly if like me you find espresso just a little too strong you can make it the Spanish way by adding the espresso into a cup and then adding hot milk to it. For me the ideal combination is one part espresso to two parts hot milk this will give you a perfect cup of hot coffee by diluting the espresso but still leaving a cup of good strong coffee.
As I said earlier this is a quality product and really looks and feels solid and the only thing that lets it down slightly is the handle. This is made from plastic and not only looks and feels a little cheap in comparison to the rest of the maker but can actually burn and melt if the flames from a gas stove touch it so be careful.
I love my bialetti espresso maker and think it probably makes the best coffee of all the different options around and now I have moved into my new house that has a gas cooker I am going to make the effort to use it much more often.
This review is for the Moka Express coffee maker, the three cup version. It is also available, for just a few pounds more, in a six cup version as well.
The product is made by Bialetti, who are known for their quality coffee makers, many of which are of course substantially more expensive. The quality of this item is more than reasonable given the price, and mine has remained robust.
This machine is a espresso maker, so when it refers to three cups, it refers to three cups of espresso, so make sure that will be enough for you. You can alternatively use it as a coffee maker, and there is space to make around one cup with this model.
In terms of the quality of the espresso that it produces, I was pleased with the taste, and it's a consistent taste which I strongly approve of. One thing that never occurred to me though was that it needs washing and using a few times to get rid of the taste of the machine, so maybe make a few cups without drinking them, to help break the machine in so to speak!
The machine also appears to me to be quite fast, I've limited experiences of other machines, having had this for a while, but it certainly speeds up the whole process of coffee making up!
This machine doesn't come with a milk frother as standard, but you can purchase this separately. This doesn't interest me personally, but many purchasers might well like to have this addition to make the most from their machine.
In terms of cleaning, the machine is easy to clean, although it's worth noting that it's sensible to keep it clean, as the water holder can pick up signs of staining and marks, and inevitably the machine will mark from the coffee, but this arguably adds to the taste of the coffee.
As mentioned above, the quality of the item is good, from a reputed manufacturer. If I had to pick fault at the construction of the machine, I'd suggest that maybe the plastic handle isn't of such good quality as the rest of the espresso maker. Given the price of the product though, it's not surprising and doesn't really detract from the machine.
I referred at the beginning of the review to the six cup version, and to be honest, this is probably a better purchase for many people, as it's only a couple of pounds more to purchase, and of course has twice the coffee making potential. So if you have guests, it's a much quicker solution.
The machine retails for 19.99 pounds, and is currently available new for 18 pounds including postage from Amazon. if you're happy with a second hand machine, these at the time of writing can be had for about ten pounds including postage on sites such as eBay.
Overall, I like this model, it's well-built, good value and remains robust despite frequent use. The only real disadvantage that I can say in buying this is that it might make you drink far more strong coffee than you otherwise might have done!
It's the gurgle just before the hiss that tells me my morning espresso is about ready.
It's the kind of personal relationship with your morning blast of caffeine that you just don't get with a teaspoonful of instant - or even with an electric espresso machine.
My espresso comes out of a stove top espresso maker which is the cheapest and simplest way to make the perfect cup of coffee. I started using one when I lived in Rome - no Italian home is without one - and although the espresso it makes is not as good as that made by the handsome 'barista' in your favourite Italian cafe (it's true, they are *always* handsome!) it's a pretty good substitute.
If you've not tried espresso then you've never really tried coffee - it's a short drink, no more than a couple of mouthfuls but perfectly bitter and with a long aftertaste that tells your whole body it's time to get up and go. Let me also say that, although espresso is supposed to extract more caffeine from the coffee than other forms of preparation, I find that it never makes me twitchy. Whereas if I drink a couple of mugs of filtered coffee, I get quite jumpy. Don't know why, that's just the way it is for me.
These espresso makers consist of four parts: the base that holds the water, a funnel shaped container for the coffee, a filter and the distinctively shaped top into which the coffee filters.
So how does it work?
You put water (cold or, for speed, just boiled from the kettle) into the base. A funnel shaped container for the coffee fits into it. Into this, you put the special roast espresso coffee. It should be filled to the top and 'tamped' down so that it's closely packed (if you don't the resulting coffee will be weak and thin). The upper unit then screws on tightly (if it's loose then the intense pressure created in the lower container will force the coffee to leak).
When you put the coffee maker onto heat, the water in the lower container starts to boil. Because it is a sealed unit, pressure builds up thanks to the steam being created. Eventually the pressure is so great that the water is forced up through the coffee grounds, through a spout and into the upper container. The high pressure apparently can bring the temperature as high as 100 degrees and it is this that extracts the maximum flavour from the ground beans.
The typical gurgling, recognisable by any expresso aficionado, is the sound of the water being forced into the upper container. My preference is to take the espresso maker off the heat at that point because if the coffee boils at all, the taste is ruined. The residual heat will ensure that all the water is forced through. It's best to serve the coffee immediately because if you leave it sitting in the espresso maker, I think it takes on a metallic taste. Anyway, once you've made the coffee, the wonderful smell will mean you want to drink it at once.
There are a couple of things about espresso makers you forget at your peril. One is that you MUST keep the lid closed as the coffee starts coming through or face a massive clearing up job. The coffee is being forced through at such a high pressure that, if you don't keep the lid down, it will manage to spatter over the entire hob surface, the wall behind, the floor surrounding the oven and even the filter hood if you have one. How do I know? Let's just say I don't always remember to follow my own good advice.
The other problem is that, with a smaller espresso maker such as mine, if you're using it on a gas hob you'll need a stand because the circumference of the base is so small.
Oh, I nearly forgot. There is something else to remember. And that's to keep the handle well away from the heat. I'm not sure what it's made of but if it gets too hot it will start to melt and the smell is unbelievably dreadful. Enough to put you off espresso for a couple of weeks.
Cleaning the espresso maker is simple. Just unscrew everything, empty out the coffee grounds (excellent compost) and rinse it all in warm water. I try not to use detergent to avoid any unwanted tainting and then I leave it to air dry. Because of its size and ease of use, these little espresso makers are perfect for just one person. I use the 3 person one and it makes just the right amount to get me started in the morning.
So how does this espresso maker compare to the machines? If you have a bit of spare cash, spare room in your kitchen and there are several of you drinking espresso, then an electric machine is probably worth investing in. However, for an individual espresso lover on a budget this is an acceptable way of recreating a taste of Italy.
I bought my Hob Espresso maker in Italy for 10 Euros 10 years ago. It has been a great cost-effective bit of coffee kit over the years and as long as you don't leave it burning on the stove ie it does not switch itself off! it will reward you year after year with balanced tasting coffee.
Two words of warning though: when you wash the bottom compartment, which holds the water that filters up through the coffee into the top compartment ready for pouring, make sure you dry it properly. You can either do this by warming the bottom compartment on the hob after you have washed it or by leaving it on your drainer upside down longer- rather than 'drying' it with a cloth and putting it back in the cupboard with all the bits screwed together. I noticed mould after about a year of using it and even though I do bleach it occasionally with heavy rinsing afterwards of course, the mould has not gone away completely. This doesn't bother me but it may bother you. The other thing to note is the rubber ring seal in that is placed on the underside of the top compartment. The ring will deteriorate in time and I could not replace mine easily in the UK (took 5 years to become unusable) but trips to Italy meant I could pick these components up easily.
Overall, this coffee maker is easy to use, cheap and quick for making espresso or Americanos (just add more hot water). If you don't want the expense or space of a machine or if you don't like coffee that much and just need to use it occasionally, this is ideal.
I use this every morning to have my espresso. My mum bought it for me about 5 years ago after I developed a liking for espresso in Italy.
The only trouble is Im the only one who likes it, so I always end up drinking a lot more coffee than I should. I would have preferred the one person version.
It is very hardwearing, I have put it on all kinds of stoves, gas, electric and the bottom is still perfectly shiny although slightly discoloured.
You put water in the bottom, coffee in the filter compartment in the middle, and the boiling water pushes through the filter and mixes with the coffee.
It pops out a spout in the top, keep the lid on otherwise it goes everywhere. Then you have fresh coffee. It doesnt take long, just like a kettle but tastes a lot nicer than instant coffee.
With this version you get 3 or more cups of espresso, or one medium mug. I tend to put it in a mug with some sugar and it really wakes me up and gets me alert for the day.
The handle is good as it is plastic covered so you dont burn yourself. Dont touch any of the rest of it apart from the top of the lid, as it gets extremely hot and stays hot for a long time afterwards.
The filter needs to be cleaned after each use, and also the top part.
To put the water in you unscrew the bottom section, so this doesnt need washing so often, as it just has water in it.
Its a great little present for all coffee lovers, and its so quick you can use it in the morning before you leave, saving you loads of money on an electric coffee maker.
I dont know how much it cost but I have seen a 1 person one for £15 in Hob in Leeds, so this one would be a bit more expensive.