Stovetop Espresso Maker Reviews

On the surface, all stovetop espresso makers look about the same and serve the same purpose – make a delicious cup of espresso.  Since there are a number of choices, this post is dedicated to some stovetop espresso makers I have used in the past and my personal review of them.

Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Makers

Bialetti Moka Express

The Moka Express is the first stovetop espresso maker I ever owned.  For such a simplistic looking device, it still took me a couple weeks to get the process down and have consistent tasting espresso. Once I got my stovetop temperature correct and stopped messing with things, I had a great cup of espresso every time.

You can’t go wrong with this moka pot.  It is simple, durable and easy to clean.  One thing that did bother me with this was the rubber seal.  It seemed like I was buying a replacement for the rubber seal every few months after a while.

Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Makers


Bialetti Class 6-Cup Espresso Maker

Bialetti Class Black Espresso Maker

When I decided to buy a larger stovetop espresso maker for when I have company, I bought the 6-cup version of the Bialetti Class 6-Cup Espresso Maker.  I decided on this moka pot because I wanted a stainless steel pot and  I trusted the Bialetti name.

I was a bit disappointed though.  The quality of construction is not nearly as good as the Moka Express.  The coffee didn’t taste the same either.  The water is drawn through the filter differently and doesn’t provide nearly as rich of a flavor.  The espresso still tastes great compared to a drip maker and if I had not owned the Moka Express, I probably would have been very satisfied.

Bialetti Class 6-Cup Espresso Maker

Cuisinox Roma 6-Cup Stainless Steel Stovetop Espresso Maker

Cuisinox Roma 6-cup Stainless Steel Stovetop Espresso MakerThe Cuisinox Roma Stovetop Espresso Maker was my second attempt at a larger stainless steel moka pot for when we have company.  I was a little hesitant since it is not made in Italy but after my first use, I fell completely in love.   The moka pot is extremely sleek and attractive looking.  The espresso is very rich and full-bodied.  There is a filter insert so you can make only 3oz of espresso if you want.

Honestly, this has become my favorite stovetop espresso maker and I still use it whenever I have company.  This moka pot is a little pricey but totally worth the cost in my opinion.  As an added bonus, you can leave the top open without worrying about splattering.

Cuisinox Roma 6-Cup Stainless Steel Stovetop Espresso Maker

Videos – How to Use Your Stovetop Espresso Maker… and how not to.

Quick Update today…

Found this video the is a good example of how to use your stovetop espresso maker.  The video shows you exactly how to do it.  Making espresso at home really is not all that difficult, just takes a little bit of a learning curve to learn the technique.

The last minute or so of the video shows you how to clean the moka pot.  I don’t use any soap when washing my moka pot either.  Once, my girlfriend didn’t know any better.  She washed the pot in soapy water.  Took me a week to get that soapy taste finally out of there.

The video shows them dumping the used coffee grounds into the sink.  Don’t do that!  You probably will not have any trouble but there is a chance that the oils in the coffee can cause lasting issues to your drain pipes, creating clogs.  Some people don’t think so.  Better safe then sorry.  Dump the used espresso coffee into the garbage and rinse any leftover grounds with water.

Here’s the video:

One more video.  While digging around on YouTube, I stumbled across a video that should be called “How not to use a stovetop espresso maker.”

The person in the video pours far too much water into the bottom reservoir of the moka pot.  As you can see in the video, you also want to leave that lid closed until the espresso is done brewing.  I’ve made that mistake before.

Delicious Espresso Starts with the Bean – Choosing the Right Coffee Beans

So, you know how to make an espresso with your moka pot, but what kind of coffee beans do you use?

Let’s be sure to eliminate an assumption that I had for longer than I’d like to admit… There is no such thing as an “Espresso Bean, Espresso Roast or Espresso Blend.” There are specific roasts and blends that might be a better fit for making espresso, but to those companies that advertise “Espresso Beans”, shame on them.

Alright. Now that we have that out of the way. Here is some background on how to choose quality coffee beans to use with your stovetop espresso maker.

The first and most important characteristic to consider is freshness. It does not matter if you are buying pre-ground beans in a can, pre-ground beans in a bag or whole beans. Try to buy the freshest coffee possible.

Pre-Ground or Whole Beans

A delicious cup of espresso starts with grinding your own beans. By grinding the beans immediately before use (or even a couple days before), you’ll preserve the finer nuances of flavor within the beans. After the beans are ground, they rapidly lose their quality. (I will talk about grinders in a future posting.)

Daily grinding definitely is not for everyone. Heck, grinding is messy, the grinders can be expensive, they are noisy and it’s one more gadget to take up space in the pantry. For some people (sometimes myself included), it is worth going through the extra work. For the less obsessed and more reasonable people of the world, there’s pre-ground beans.

A great cup of espresso can be had from pre-ground beans as long as you make a little extra effort to preserve the freshness (there’s that word again). A clean, airtight container will keep pre-ground coffee beans fresh for about a week – two weeks is pushing it.

“But I keep my coffee in the fridge. That definitely preserves the freshness for 3 or 4 weeks.”

Nope, don’t fool yourself. I’ve tried the fridge, the freezer, those vacuum-sealers and always come to the same conclusion – 2 weeks tops. If you are a casual espresso drinker, I suggest buying half-pound quantities of whole beans and asking the store where you bought them to grind the beans for you. You will pay a little bit more, but you will always be using fresh espresso beans.

Arabica, Robusta, Medium Roast, Dark Roast – Huh???

Everyone has a different preference when it comes to the bean they prefer their espresso made with. A friend of mine only uses medium-roasted beans with his pump-espresso machine and dark-roasted beans in his stovetop espresso maker.  The more espresso you drink, the more your preferences will develop.

My suggestion?

Start with a Medium-Roasted Arabica bean. This bean has a very nice, complex flavor to it. Try to determine what you like about the flavor and what flavors you’d like more of. Prefer a little bit more acidity? Buy a lighter roasted bean next. Want a bolder flavor? Go for the dark-roast.

Have a preferred coffee bean for your espressos?  Leave a comment telling us what you enjoy.

Two Ways to Make Your Stovetop Espresso Even Better

A stovetop espresso maker will pump out some strong flavor. Usually, I’m a fan of drinking my espresso as-is. Most people I meet prefer adding a little sweetness. Here are two ways to add a little extra to your stovetop espresso – one traditional method, and a not so traditional method.

Italian caffè

Traditional Italian caffè involves mixing a little bit of sugar with your espresso before serving.

You’ll need:

  • Sugar
  • Container for mixing and serving
  • Spoon
  • Small Whisk (a spoon or fork will work too)

In the mixing container, add half a teaspoon to a full teaspoon per cup of espresso. When espresso starts peculating, remove the moka pot from the heat and pour a little bit of this fresh espresso into the mixing container. Add just enough espresso to dissolve the espresso into a thick consistency. Put the moka pot back on the stove to finish brewing.
When your espresso is done brewing, pour about a third of the espresso into the mixing container. Using your whisk, aerate the mixture for 30 seconds or so. After mixing, you should have a nice thick foam. Add in the rest of the espresso and give it one more quick mix. Pour and Enjoy your Italian caffè.

Mocha Coffee

A less than traditional way to add some flavor to your espresso is to add a little bit of cocoa. Some people use cocoa powder. I prefer adding shaved cocoa or Ghirardelli Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix. Don’t confuse this with a Cafe Mocha that you might get at Starbucks or other coffee shop.

I make a mocha coffee similarly to the Italian caffè, but much easier. I add about half a teaspoon of cocoa powder per cup to my mixing container. In this situation, you can let the espresso finish brewing. When your stove top espresso is fully brewed, pour about half of the espresso into your mixing container. Whisk the cocoa into the espresso. This time, the goal isn’t to create a foam but to melt and emulsify the cocoa into the espresso. Once the shaved cocoa is completely incorporated, add the rest of your espresso. Again, a quick mix then enjoy the chocolaty goodness.

5 Easy Steps to Brew Stovetop Espresso

The whole reason we are here is to enjoy espresso at home. Here is a quick 5 Step Process to enjoy espresso at home today:

Step 1

Fill the bottom reservoir of the moka pot with cold water. Most moka pots have a fill line inside. If your pot doesn’t have a line, fill the

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An Intro to Stovetop Espresso Makers (The Moka Pot)


A Stovetop Espresso Maker is commonly known as a “moka pot”. I’m sure I will switch back and forth between using the name “moka pot” and “stovetop espresso maker” but I will try to be consistent. The moka pot was designed by Luigi De Ponti for Alfonso Bialetti. The original model of the moka

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Welcome to The Stove Top Espresso Maker

A little background

I started out drinking coffee in college out of necessity to help wake up early or stay up late studying. Back then, I never did enjoy the taste much and was a “extra cream, extra sugar” kind of person. After college, I was hooked – making at least 5-6 trips to Starbucks

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