The stove top espresso maker is the cheaper version of an espresso machine. For those at home who want to have their regular dose of espresso without having to walk to the nearest café, having an espresso pot is the most practical solution.
The stove-top espresso maker is also called moka pots. It was patented in 1933 under the name moka espresso. The mechanism used is almost similar to that of an espresso machine. Same as espresso machines, steam pressure is used to create espresso in the moka pot. Steam created in the lowest chamber is pushed upwards into the upper chamber. The steam passes through a metal filter with coffee grounds which results to the concentrated espresso collecting in the upper chamber of the pot.
Because of the size of a moka pot, it’s very convenient for personal use and easy to carry with you when you travel. It is also cheaper and occupies less space than a genuine espresso machine. There are versions of moka pots that can brew one cup to five cups. You might even find bigger versions in the market but basically, moka pots or stove-top coffee makers were made for personal use and not meant for serving large groups.
How to brew stove top espresso
Pre-heating cups is not really part of the process of brewing espresso but when you’re preparing one cup for yourself, the liquid cools quickly. If you want to retain heat, pre-heat your cup or mug so you can enjoy a hot cup of espresso longer.
- Fill the lower chamber with water. Make sure to fill it just below the level of the safety valve. Most models have a line indicating the correct level. You can use tap water or distilled water. If you live in an area with hard water, it’s best to use purified or distilled water because alkalines in the water can alter the taste of the coffee.
- Place coffee grounds in the filter funnel. Put the filter above the water tank and fill it with ground coffee of your choice. There’s also a level indicator for the grounds. Also, for the moka pot to produce good espresso, ensure that the coffee is grounded medium-fine and not larger than 1mm. You need to make sure the grounds don’t go through the holes in the filter basket. Check for coffee grounds stuck in the rim of the water tank to make sure it can be sealed properly. Lastly, unlike with an espresso machine where you need to tamp and pack the grounds, do not press the grounds when using a moka pot. Space is needed because the coffee expands during the process.
- Reassemble the stove-top espresso maker. Screw the upper chamber to the water tank tightly so the pressure builds up properly inside.
- Place on top of the stove. It takes 3-4 minutes before coffee fills up into the upper chamber. When the brewing is done, a gurgling sound is heard. This is made by the steam bubbles mixing with the upstream water.
- Remove from the heat and serve immediately. If you’re making stove top espresso for two, make sure to stir before pouring.