So you want to learn how to use a stovetop espresso maker? Here are 7 steps to perfect Italian Moka Stovetop espresso coffee! A stove top espresso maker is also called an Italian coffee maker or a coffee percolator. It is a great stovetop coffee maker to making a rich dark coffee or a stovetop espresso. Also, it is a budget-friendly alternative to expensive electric espresso machines.
What is a stovetop espresso maker?
Stovetop espresso makers were first introduced in 1933 by Alfonso Bialetti in Italy. It is generally called an Italian coffee maker, or a moka pot. It is a type of Italian percolator for making stovetop espresso coffee. This is an easy to use stovetop coffee maker that makes a stovetop espresso coffee. They are still very popular around the world, especially in Europe and Latin America. That is because they make a very rich and tasty cup of coffee. The highest quality stove-top espresso makers have Italian safety valves. These safety valves make sure the coffee percolator can withstand the high water pressure that develops during the brewing process.
Stovetop espresso maker vs. espresso machine
You’d be surprised how good an espresso from a coffee percolator tastes. A stovetop espresso maker produces a richer and tastier coffee than your regular coffee machine. But it’s lighter and not has heavy as that from an electric espresso maker. Also they stovetop espresso’s are small and sleek and don’t take up a lot of counter or cupboard space.
It’s a budget-friendly alternative from bulky electric espresso machines. And all you need is an electric or gas stove-top.
How do they work?
A coffee percolator has three main parts. First, there is a bottom chamber for water. Secondly, a funnel to hold the coffee grinds. Finally, there is a top chamber that holds the coffee once it’s brewed. How an Italian coffee maker works is easy. The boiling water from the bottom of the chamber makes steam. The steam reaches enough pressure to force the hot water up the funnel. The hot water goes through the coffee grinds and into the top chamber. The steam brewing water gives a bold and rich coffee flavor. This way a Italian stovetop coffee maker brews a thick and rich moka coffee.
Aluminum Stovetop espresso makers come in many shapes and sizes. They range from a single server coffee maker to multiple cups to accommodate groups. The most common sizes are 3 cup, 6 cup and 9 cup.
But remember these are 3/6/9 “espresso cup” sizes, not 3 large cups or mugs of coffee!
—–Perfect for camping too! —–
Did you ever wonder how to use a stovetop espresso maker when camping? Turns out it’s perfect to take to a picnic, camping, or to your cottage. They are convenient, easy to use, and don’t need electricity. All you need is fresh coffee, a manual coffee grinder, and your Stovetop Espresso maker.
How to use a stovetop espresso maker to make moka coffee
So are you ready to try a stovetop espresso maker? Follow our quick step-by-step instructions on how to make espresso in a stovetop espresso maker.
Here is our 7 Steps to perfect Italian style espresso moka coffee in a aluminum espresso maker:
Step 1: Disassemble your Moka Pot stovetop coffee maker
First, take apart your coffee percolator into its three pieces. They are the bottom boiler, the middle coffee funnel, and the top coffee chamber.
Next, check to make sure the silicone seal on the bottom of the coffee chamber is there and is kink free. It should be in good condition for a good seal.
Step 2: Add in filtered water up to the safety valve
After that, pour filtered water into the bottom chamber. Fill it to just below the safety value for an Americano-styled coffee. For richer and thicker Italian espresso style coffee, only fill the bottom chamber half way.
Safety tip! Don’t fill water above the safety valve. The safety valve is there to release pressure in case the pressure is too high. That can be due to any blockages. The safety valve avoids possible explosion of the pot from high pressure. Make sure the stovetop coffee maker you use has an Italian safety valve. Some coffee percolators use cheap valves that can lead to dangerous accidents while making coffee. Check out the MILANO if you’re interested in buying one.
Step 3: Add fine ground coffee in the filter funnel
Fill the filter funnel with freshly ground medium to fine coffee or espresso grinds. The grinds should be level with the top of the filter.
Slightly pat the grinds down but don’t compress the grounds in the funnel or the water will not flow through. Tamping the coffee should only be done in electric espresso makers. Also, compressing the grinds can make excess pressure buildup in the boiler (bottom) water chamber. That can create a potentially unsafe situation.
Step 4: Re-assemble the espresso maker
After that, place your filter into the bottom chamber and screw the upper chamber to the bottom securely.
Here is a quick info graphic of the whole process
Step 5: Add on stove top on low heat
Next put your stovetop coffee maker on low to medium heat of your electric or gas stove. Make sure the handle is not in contact with the heat.
Step 6: Once coffee starts to brew, turn heat down to lowest setting
Once you hear the coffee start to emerge from the filter funnel, turn down the heat and leave it to complete percolating.
Step 7: Coffee is ready!
When the ‘gurgling’ stops in your stovetop coffee maker and top chamber is full of espresso, your coffee it ready.
How to clean your stovetop espresso maker
Now that you know how to use a stovetop espresso maker, it’s time to clean it. Cleaning your coffee percolator is important for maintaining great tasting coffee. We don’t recommend putting it in the dishwasher to prevent any salt-like built up from occurring. Also, the aluminum will oxidize and turn black and tarnish, and look rusted too.
The best way to clean your stovetop espresso maker is using warm water and a tough sponge. They say the older a moka pot gets the better its coffee tastes. And using soaps remove the conditioning that a moka pot gets with time.
Detergent is not necessary and also not recommended. That is why they say that the older these coffee makers get, the better the coffee tastes. You may have heard that in Italy grandma’s moka espresso maker is the prized possession of the family.
Replace the seals for your coffee percolator every 6 months!
Once you know how to use a stovetop espresso maker, you have to know about the seals. When cleaning your pot, take a look at the rubber seal and gasket for any hard build up. So if you find any build up or if the seal appears to be damaged, it’s time for replacements. Usually the seals should be changed every 6 months. Also if you are a heavy user of the moka pot you may need to replace them more often.
The gasket keeps the seal and safety of the pot, so it’s very important for it to be in good shape.
What are the sizes for espresso maker seals and gaskets?
There are three common sizes to the espresso maker gaskets. The seals come in 3, 6, or 9 cup sizes and are mostly universal in their fit. You should carefully remove the seal in your espresso pot and measure it and compare to the chart below. Then you can select the right one to buy for your moka pot gasket replacement.