The stovetop espresso maker, also know as the Moka Pot may sound a little complicated compared to other types of coffee machines, but in truth it’s actually a relatively simple espresso maker that has been in use for more than three-quarters of a century.
It was first patented by Luigi De Ponti, an Italian inventor, for Alfonso Bialetti in 1933. Today, the Bialetti Industries still produce the same Bialetti espresso maker under the brand name Moka Express. It’s one of the best at home espresso machines available and its also the most cost effective.
So, how exactly does the stovetop coffee maker work?
To understand its mechanism, we must know the three parts of the moka pot that are all tightly screwed together to make an airtight container. These parts are the chamber where the cold water is poured; the chamber at the top where the brewed coffee is collected; and the funnel-shaped filter at the middle where the ground coffee is placed.
When the water in the bottom chamber becomes heated, steam is generated. The subsequent pressure pushes up the hot water through the filter and then into the top chamber. The rising water then reaches the ground coffee and soaks the grinds, thus, allowing these to expand – a process similar to tamping. The pressure continues to push the now-brewed coffee up to the top chamber.
When the gurgling sound is heard, it means that every last bit of the espresso has been pressed upwards and the espresso is now ready for drinking. Just remember that the moka pot should not be left exposed to heat for too long until the coffee boils because then you will have burnt, bitter coffee.
For a detailed explanation have a look at how to make espresso on a stovetop coffee maker and achieve fantastic results every time.
Let’s Take A Look At The Best Stovetop Espresso Makers
1) Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker
It is logical that the best stovetop espresso maker in the market today comes from the company that first manufactured it.
Available in 1, 3, 6, 9 or 12 cup sizes and with more than 5000 five star reviews (incredible!), the Bialetti Moka Express is widely considered by espresso aficionados to be the gold standard of the moka pot and for good reasons, too.
Depending on which size you purchase this Moka Pot can make up to 12 two-ounce cups of perfect espresso in just 5 minutes after setting it on the stove – just perfect for a small party of family or friends.
The style of this espresso maker is also a signature Bialetti design and harks back to its original design – octagon in shape with the distinctive logo on one side. Owners love the sleek style and great functionality of the durable polished aluminum with Bakelite handles complemented by the side-pour spout and flip-up top.
This is, indeed, a work of art in its design and, thus, deserving of its place in modern art museums as well as on the espresso connoisseur countertops. Even its operation has changed little since it first came into the market. As such, if you do not know how to use a moka pot, ask your espresso-loving grandmother and she is more likely to be a master at it!
Just fill the bottom chamber with cold water and the top filter with the finely-grounded almost powder-like coffee. Place it on the stove, light it up and wait for the water to boil. In 5 minutes, your espresso should be ready.
Bialetti Moka Express 9-Cup Stovetop Espresso Maker
If the 3 or 6-cup Bialetti are not sufficient for your needs, we suggest an upgrade to its counterpart the 9-cup Bialetti Moka Express.
Obviously, coffee fanatics can make nine two-ounce cups of espresso from a single brewing cycle lasting for just 4-5 minutes. This means that even the most hardcore of the espresso fans will never run out of the concentrated caffeinated beverage even in a small party.
Just rinse clean the stovetop coffee maker after each use and then repeat the brewing process again until all the guests have been served.
As with other moka pots from Bialetti Industries, it is made from durable, functional and beautiful aluminum with Bakelite handles at the sides and the lid.
The flip-up cover and the side-pour spout make for easy pouring of the coffee and cleaning of the moka pot itself. When washing, be sure to clean by hand only using lukewarm water (preferably soapy) and then rinse with tap water.
This 9-cup Bialetti stovetop espresso maker makes cups of perfect, rich and authentic espresso that tastes even better than those found in commercial cafés.
2) Cuisinox Liberta 6 cup Espresso Coffeemaker
There are other brands of stovetop coffee maker that will give the Bialetti models good competition. One such unit is the Cuisinox Liberta 6 cup Espresso Coffeemaker.
Cuisinox has has a nice line in top quality stainless-steel espresso makers and with an average 5 stars on Amazon this Coffee maker can not be ignored.
Influenced by the Italian culture, this model is beautifully made. It features a sturdy structure as well as neatly concealed safety valve all house inside a top-notch high quality 18/10 stainless-steel mirror finish.
It has an induction base appropriate for all cooking surfaces. This excellent 6 cup espresso coffee maker is unique as well as functional, and additional sizes are also offered.
3) Richard Sapper Alessi 9090 Stovetop Coffee Maker
The top of range stovetop coffee maker could be the Richard Sapper Alessi 9090 espresso maker, it is constructed from 100% stainless steel polished to mirror-perfection. There are no plastic parts on this pot making it a lot more expensive, but it’s worth every penny.
This one has a handle made from copper with and an all metal body. In fact, such is the elegance of its design that it has been given prestigious awards like the 1979 Compasso d’Oro Award.
The top and bottom are attached using a tight locking mechanism, thus, facilitating the efficacy of this excellent stovetop espresso maker.
The base is heavy, wide and stable, which means suitability for use atop the gas stove without fear of it falling over. Of course, we are recommending this product because of the resulting espresso.
Choose a stovetop espresso maker from one of the brands mentioned above. Your money will go a long way towards creating the type of delicious, rich and creamy espresso you can enjoy every day.