Best Stovetop Espresso Maker

Reviewed by our expert Cristian Guasch | Updated: November 26, 2020

ReviewedGuide is reader-supported. We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Here’s our process.

To buy an automatic espresso maker for your home use can be costly. So one of the alternatives is the stovetop espresso maker or manual espresso pot.

The result might not quite be like what you get from one of these machines with all bells and whistles, but to make an espresso for you and a bunch other people, it is definitely a good alternative.

It is quite easy to make a latte or a cappuccino with the espresso from this pot. They come in all makes and sizes. The thing to remember is never to make less espresso than what the pot is intended for, this would result in an inferior quality espresso or cappuccino.

To use the stove top espresso maker, you should use espresso coffee since this is a much finer ground coffee.

The espresso pot consists of 3 parts. Take the espresso pot apart by unscrewing the top. You can now take the basket out of the lower chamber.

  1. The bottom of the pot. This where the water goes for brewing the espresso
  2. The basket, which will take the ground espresso
  3. The top chamber is where the finished espresso will appear.

Learn how to use the stove top espresso maker following the instructions.

  1. Fill the bottom chamber with water, make sure to go as far as the valve
  2. Fill the basket with ground espresso, when this is done press the coffee down, so are not any gaps left. Put the basket in the bottom chamber.
  3. Wipe any loose coffee from the rim and the outside of the bottom chamber
  4. Put the top basket on the bottom one, screwing it on tight
  5. Now is the time to put the espresso pot on the heat.
  6. After a while you will see the finished brew coming out of the funnel and running into the pot. When the espresso pot starts making spluttering noises, now it is time to move the pot off the heat. Leaving it there would make the espresso bitter.
  7. When the bubbling has stopped, you can pour the espresso into the cups
  8. Wait until the pot has cooled down, before you touch the metal as it will be very hot

After use the pot should be emptied and cleaned before you store it. When you look underneath the top half of the pot you will see a filter and a rubber seal. Check if either of these is worn or damaged and needs replacing.

How To Use the Espresso Pots

Espresso pots, which are also called moka pots, produce dark coffee almost equal in strength from that produced by a conventional espresso maker.

Although it is unfairly called the poor man’s espresso, you will still definitely enjoy its good flavor, aroma and texture.

These pots are good for individuals who want fast espresso at home without spending too much on expensive espresso machines.

Tips on Choosing

When choosing the right moka pot for your household, you only need to worry about two things – materials used and coffee capacity.

You can choose based on beauty when you have satisfied these two requirements since espresso pots are made to brew espresso-like coffee, not become the primary attractions on your countertop.

With that said, you should always buy the stainless steel models over the aluminum kinds.

You will appreciate the difference in the form of better coffee especially as aluminum tends to impart a bad flavor to the coffee.

Also, you should purchase based on your household’s daily coffee consumption. In this aspect, you have two, four and six cup sizes to choose from.

The size is very important in choosing since you want to be precise with the measurements in relation to water and the coffee beans so as to get the most flavorful coffee possible.

Steps in Brewing

Before using your espresso pots, you should clean them out using old used coffee grounds during the first brew.
This way, you also ensure that the pressure relief valve is working as expected.

First, you must heat cold water in a kettle that will be poured later on into the moka pot. Of course, you can directly pour cold water into the moka pot but hot water makes the process faster, not to mention that you get less bitter-tasting coffee. Plus, it does help in enhancing the flavor if you use filtered water.

Second, you should grind the coffee beans in such a way that it is a little coarser than the fine powder used in an espresso machine but still finer than the grounds used in a filter coffeemaker. It takes a little practice but it is one that must be somewhat perfected where the use of espresso pots is concerned.

Third, you must then pour the hot water into the bottom section but just enough to reach the safety valve level. Then, carefully insert the filter basket and fill it with the ground coffee. Remember to be precise about the measurements in each moka pot since you do not want either a bitter (under filling) or a weak (over filling) coffee. Also, make sure that the top portion is securely fastened to the bottom portion.

Fourth, you will then place the moka pot on the stovetop. Stick to a medium to medium-high heat to avoid over-cooking your coffee.

Now, wait for the gurgling sound to be heard before immediately taking the moka pot off the stove. The brewing process takes approximately 4-5 minutes although a higher heat can speed up the process.

You can then pour the finished coffee into a cup and enjoy.

Indeed, when used properly, espresso pots can provide strong, flavorful and aromatic coffee that can rival the best brews in the most expensive coffee in the neighborhood.

Cristian Guasch: