Shall I try stovetop espresso, or not?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by devilot, Jan 19, 2008.

  1. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #1
    For Christmas I was gifted a lovely tin of illy espresso beans. Wonderful!

    41322FG895L.jpg




    ... Except I don't have an espresso machine or setup. :eek:

    I've since started to wonder if maybe I should spring for a simple little doohickey.
    A Bialetti Stovetop Espresso Maker (likeso).



    sku_478185_xl.jpg


    I understand fully that this won't be the optimal method of brewing espresso, but it's much more affordable and can be stowed away much more easily than a bulky, expensive, ornate machine I might not ever use. I mean, I might not ever buy espresso beans. But I'd also rather not let such yummy beans go to waste. ;)

    I've read the wiki article and read reviews on the specific pot I'm considering on Amazon and Peet's, but I guess I'm wondering if any of you wise folk have advice for me.
     
  2. Kashchei macrumors 65816

    Kashchei

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    #2
    Are you an espresso or cappuccino drinker? My wife lived in Italy for over a year and so I have a discriminating audience to buy presents for. The Bialetti model that you show is fine, just remember that the Italians like VERY STRONG espresso and so you might want to get a slightly larger model than recommended (I wanted to buy a 12-cup model to make coffee for the two of us and the shop owner in Rome refused to sell it to us on principle!). If you are a cappuccino drinker, this is a relatively inexpensive solution that my wife likes (it was her Xmas present in 2006). This model isn't too difficult to clean up and my wife likes the froth. Good luck and enjoy whatever you end up with!
     
  3. Macaddicttt macrumors 6502a

    Macaddicttt

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    #3
    Bialetti Moka machines are really great for espresso, and are often better than cheaper "real" espresso machines. Plus, making an espresso with a real espresso machine is a sort of art that takes practice, whereas a Moka machine makes the same coffee every time. Everyone in Italy has one, so that has to be some testament to how good they are. Sure they're not "true" espresso, but they're good. And if you like cappuccino, get a separate, manual milk frother. They're cheaper and often better than machines.

    And in response to Kashchei, how would a larger Moka machine make a weaker coffee? You always have to put in the correct amount of coffee or else it won't brew right, so you'll always have the same strength no matter what size machine you get. If you want it to be weaker, brew it and then add hot water. In other words, make an Americano.
     
  4. devilot thread starter Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #4
    I guess er, really neither? :eek: I mainly drink drip, and if I go out to a coffee shop I'll get a white mocha. Yeah it's espresso, but um, it's also a ton of milk and stuffs. *hangs head in shame*

    Yeah, no. :D I'm no connoisseur.

    OMFG. That video is so cool! It makes it seem so simple. Knowing what a klutz I am I'd find a way to mess these simple pots up, though. Hehe. But I'll give 'em a try. Now I'll have to search for that moo-moo one. Teehee.

    Woo hoo! More endorsement! :D Thanks, guys.

    Yup, I gathered as much. And again, I'm not a big enough espresso consumer to warrant any real investment in equipment. Really. I've yet to even buy my own drip machine. The two I've had have both been loaned to me. Oh wait. I did just recently buy a tiny Bodum French press but have yet to use it. :p

    Thanks all. It's nice to not feel so silly for wanting the Bialetti-style pot.
     
  5. Kashchei macrumors 65816

    Kashchei

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    #5
    This is an incorrect assumption. The Italians pride themselves on tamping down the coffee to make it as strong as possible, but the coffee brews just fine when no tamping is done or if the coffee grounds are put in more loosely.
     
  6. shecky Guest

    shecky

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    #6
    i use a bialetti regularly for espresso (i add hot water and have it americano style). for $20 you can't beat it. and i do find the machine brews just fine either tamped or not. i usually do a moderate tamp with the back of the spoon, but not as much as i would on a more traditional espresso machine. just enough to pack the grounds a bit.

    for the record, i think the illy coffee is horrible. great packaging tho.
     
  7. devilot thread starter Moderator emeritus

    devilot

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    May 1, 2005
    #7
    Poo. Well, guess I wouldn't know better anyway. Shrug. My sister's worked in a couple snooty upscale restaurants and cafés-- she said those were the only beans they'd get.

    But yes, the tin is quite pretty.
     
  8. Macaddicttt macrumors 6502a

    Macaddicttt

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    #8
    That's how a regular espresso is made. With a Bialetti Moka machine you're not supposed to tamp it at all, otherwise the pressure gets all messed up. The steam rising through the coffee tamps it. The strength is more determined by the roast of the bean.

    And even with regular espresso, you can't just tamp it down as much as possible to make it stronger. That'll ruin it and there'll be no crema. There's a fine balance to how much you tamp it down.

    Plus, if you wanted weaker coffee (i.e. not espresso), why wouldn't you just get a drip machine and not bother with the Moka in the first place?

    I think Illy is great. It's very popular and known for being quite good. Give it a try, you might love it.
     
  9. Berlepsch macrumors 6502

    Berlepsch

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    Oct 22, 2007
    #9
    There is a difference in taste between stovetop and most stand-alone espresso machines due to the high water temperature that the stovetops use. Since they use steam to generate the pressure, the water is around 120 °C hot; the other machines use a pump for pressurizing and use ~80 °C temperature. The higher temperatures of the stovetops are killing a lot of the aroma from the coffee.

    But unless you are an espresso addict, the stovetops do a great job for their price. What you might consider is buying a stainless steel model, which will cost a few bucks more than the simple Bialetti made from aluminium. The Al ones tend to oxidize inside, especially if you use soft water or clean them in the dishwasher.
     
  10. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #10
    I like illy beans for their consistency of flavour and those lovely reusable tins. I've got a few coffee roasters that I use when I pass them but there is always a can of illy around.

    The stovetops are fine particularly if you don't drink espresso regularly enough to justify an expensive dedicated machine. They also take up a lot less space.

    My mother has one of those ones that make the frothed milk too in the top half. They do work surprisingly well although not a patch on frothing milk separately and you can only do one mug at a time otherwise you run the risk of scalding yourself when trying to unscrew the base.

    Hmm, my FrancisFrancis has just warmed up so off to make a latte here
     
  11. telecomm macrumors 65816

    telecomm

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    Rome
    #11
    My wife (an Italian who loves her coffee) swears by Illy. In fact, I've just finished drinking an espresso made with exactly the coffee you've got, and with the Bialetti you've got pictured (although we've got the 6-cup model, which is probably more then enough for anyone's needs!).

    Also, I remember her once explaining that Illy had a particularly commendable corporate history (something about their treatment of employees), thought I don't remember the details. Maybe I'll get her to fill me in once she wakes up and drinks her espresso. :D
     
  12. devilot thread starter Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #12
    Curse you, Kashchei! I was looking all over the web last night and this AM to find the moo-moo mukka express at a good price. :eek: So far, the best I can find it for (including coupons and whatnot) is $68.85. Almost 3x the price of the beans I was gifted. I really shouldn't since I doubt I'd buy more beans assuming I ever finished these. But but but, the moo-moo is so tempting! :D

    Hmm, I wonder if I could taste the difference between stovetop and what I'm used to getting from my Peeties (er, minus the sugary death syrup and all).

    Yup, so I've read. People have expressed good results (as in no oxidation) if only rinsed out w/ tap water and taken apart and stored apart to allow it to fully dry. That's likely what I'd do anyway as I'd be the only espresso-drinker in the house and it'd have to be stashed away.

    Hee. I've inherited at least one bad habit from my mom-- we will be sorely tempted to purchase goods we might not like or ever use, if only for the reusable packaging they come in. :D

    Bongo! Er, an inside joke, meant to be, "Bingo!"

    And again, a non-issue as I'm the sole espresso-drinker and haven't any friends to invite over anyway. *sniff* ;) But damn you all. I'm sooo tempted to get the moo-moo one w/ the milk and all. *pouts* Should really get on w/ that job search, shouldn't I? Hee.

    Aww, you gonna make her a cup so that it's all ready and perfectly timed for when she walks in the kitchen? *swoon*
     
  13. Kashchei macrumors 65816

    Kashchei

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    #13
    $68.85--that's a steal! Just think how few cappuccino's at (fill in your favorite coffee shop here) it would take to reach this figure. You owe it to yourself to buy this today--just think how much productive a good cappuccino would make you!

    MacAddict--I finally figured out why we've been talking at cross purposes. I meant that a larger Bialetti model would make weaker espresso, while I see now that you specifically mentioned the Moka cappuccino machine. My bad for now seeing that earlier.
     
  14. Macaddicttt macrumors 6502a

    Macaddicttt

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    #14
    No, I don't think that's it. The Moka is the normal stovetop model. The Mukka is the cappuccino one. Oh well. I don't think it's really worth it debating any more. I know how I like my coffee and you know how you like yours, and that's really all that matters, right? :)

    And speaking of the Mukka, I've heard bad things about it. Like I mentioned earlier, I'd recommend a manual milk frother. They're much cheaper. You can get one for only $10-$20 and the milk is just as good, if not better. You just heat some milk in the microwave, put it in the frother, then pump the thing at the top until it's frothy. So combined with a normal stovetop Moka machine, you're looking at only $35-$45.
     
  15. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #15
    One thing that worries me: the reviews here are very much love it or hate it, and strongly suggest quality issues (it works well or it breaks down, often quickly, or it works randomly). I realize people can misuse a product, but I doubt so many were completely screwing it up.

    Complete set for $42. Just like you said. :)
     
  16. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #16
    I'd agree with the regular stovetop and separate frother. Gives far more versatility and quality. While Mum is more or less happy with the mukka one, there have been issues with the screw threads on it and there have been times where it just doesn't work since the froth just doesn't come

    If you really want to drink latte then it might be worthwhile. If you want espresso and mocha milky drinks then go for separates
     
  17. teleromeo macrumors 65816

    teleromeo

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    #17
    with the stovetop expressomaker you will have a result you will like, not real expresso maybe but much better than what you get from a coffee machine. In fact it is an italian device that does not have to cost that much. We got one for our wedding and used it once in a while when we went picnicking. Get one without a brand on it in a simple cardboard box. Years ago I saw that Ikea was selling them over heren, maybe they still do.
     
  18. devilot thread starter Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
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    #18
    About 18 drinks. :eek:

    I don't doubt it for a second. :D So few people bother reading directions, or in this case, even watching the instructional DVD and following said directions was too much to ask. In fact, the correlation is "stunning." Reviewers saying, "I already own x, y, z stovetop espresso maker so I'm quite familiar.. blah blah blah" and having issues w/ the moo-cow is remarkable. Hmph. Different products work differently. Those who didn't own other kinds, or took the time to read/follow the directions figured out the moo-cow. Hmph.

    Damn. I miss my Prime membership already. :eek:

    <n00b> What's the difference between latte and "mocha milky?" </n00b>

    I just get the white mocha drink from Peeties. :eek:
     
  19. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #19
    cappuccino needs a good half inch of foam or it's really just an overfoamed latte.

    Mocha needs chocolate syrup or powder added to the coffee and froth mix and I wouldn't put that in the cappuccino mukka maker. The mukka mixes the coffee and milk together. I guess you could always put the powder or syrup I'm the cup, pour in half the mix and stir before filling up
     
  20. devilot thread starter Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
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    #20
    worship.gif worship.gif worship.gif

    Yup, that's what I'd likely do. I do that now if I feel like having a lil' sugar in my coffee, I put sugar in a glass, pour a little hot coffee into it, swirl it about, then add more coffee. :)

    Hmm, we'll see. I've gotta wait a bit to see if other funds kick in. :eek:
     
  21. Kashchei macrumors 65816

    Kashchei

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    #21
    Wow, you really are thoroughly disagreeable! I admire your consistency if not your obstinacy.
     
  22. Macaddicttt macrumors 6502a

    Macaddicttt

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    #22
    Sorry. I didn't mean to be disagreeable and obstinate. :eek:
     
  23. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

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    #23
    As a coffee addict and appreciater of fine coffee, I have to say, I use a Moka pot at home. I have the six cup Moka Express and it makes a fine espresso. As said before it's not quite a "true" espresso. Modern espresso machines force water that's about 90–95°C under about nine bars of pressure through coffee grounds packed to about 30psi. Moka pots are about one-and-one-half bars, with water that's about 100°C, and not tamped at all. Moka is an easy way to make good, strong coffee and it's hard to screw it up. Don't clean your Moka pot with soap; just rinse it out and let it air dry, but DO wipe the coffee oils out of the filter basket with a dampened cloth. The Moka is meant to "season" like a cast iron pan. This does not apply to stainless steel models—those need to be washed like anything else.

    That said, the Moka makes a fine brew. I wouldn't use it were this not the case. If you want, you can use a French press or similar milk frother to make frothed milk for your lattés and mochas. This is what I do when serving someone who doesn't want straight up espresso. There's a knack to it, where you take one big plunge with the plunger, and then several small ones just beneath the surface of the milk. Then you repeat. The first big plung gets air into the milk, then the small ones break that air up into smaller packets, creating the "microfoam" that is normally associated with steam frothing. You have to do this with hot milk, of course.
     
  24. tjcampbell macrumors 6502a

    tjcampbell

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    #24
    I swear by the stovetop espresso. It's super quick, tastes awesome, easy to store and creates and amazing aroma.
     
  25. mgguy macrumors 6502

    mgguy

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    #25
    Have you tried coffee made by a french press? It is much richer and stronger than drip, but not as bitter as expresso. Try it, you may like it better than expresso. I know I do.
     

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