A stovetop espresso maker is fairly simple in design. With these espresso makers, the water is boiled in the bottom compartment of the maker and the steam forces the water through the coffee compartment in the middle. The pressure then forces the finished coffee into the upper chamber. The steam creates an intense coffee. The basics for these espresso makers started with the moka pot. The moka pot was invented in Italy for Alfonso Bialetti, in 1933. Bialetti Industries continues to manufacture the moka pot today. This simple low-cost coffee maker is common in Europe and in Latin America. It is estimated that 9 in 10 homes in Italy have one of these pots. Stovetop espresso machines will vary in sizes but the basic design has remained the same for a long time.
It’s important to note that although these makers are called “espresso” makers, some people do not consider coffee made a “true espresso” because a moka pot only produces a 1.5 bar pressure. The Italian Espresso National Institute’s definition of espresso requires a minimum bar pressure of 8.5. This added pressure creates more steam and thus a more intense and flavorful coffee then regular coffee, but not a true espresso. But, many people can’t tell the difference. In our opinion, you can’t go wrong for the price.
Features to Consider with Stovetop Espresso Makers
These types of machines are fairly simple and therefore, there aren’t a lot of things to consider when purchasing them. But, type of material used, size and cost all need to be considered.
Stainless Steel vs Aluminum
This is the largest feature you need to consider in purchasing a stovetop espresso maker. If you have an induction stove top, you cannot use aluminum. Also, aluminum will chip over time and you will need to monitor the wear and tear to not drink any aluminum chips. Aluminum is the traditional method of making these pots and will give you the classic look. But, it is harder to clean then stainless steel.
Stovetop espresso makers come in a variety of sizes. Be sure to choose based on what you think you will need. If you plan on travelling with it, you will want to consider a small 3 cup maker so that it easily fits in your luggage.
Stovetop espresso makers will vary in price anywhere from $10 to over $100. The main different will be in the material used. But, when you compare coffee in the different machines, you will find that you can get a great cup from a $20 makers as much as a more expensive one.
Best stovetop espresso makers
1. Bialetti Moka Stovetop Espresso Maker
This is the best-selling moka pot espresso maker in the world. Manufactured by the original creator and with the same classic octagon design and classic logo, it’s no wonder it’s still seen as the best. The design is simple, easy to use, and can be used anywhere there is a heat source. So, people will often bring it on camping trips. This maker is made from durable and beautiful aluminum and has Bakelite handles giving it a distinguished classic look. Note that this maker cannot be used on an induction stove top.
2. Cuisinox Roma Stainless Steel Stovetop Espresso Maker
The Cuisinox Roma is a medium sized stovetop espresso maker made with heavy-gauge stainless steel and a beautiful polished finish that is easy to clean. Since it is made of stainless steel and an induction base that allows you to cook with it on all surfaces. This is a great looking espresso maker that will be very durable and practical.
3. Vev Vigano 8160 Vespress Gold
This is a very stylish, Italian made stovetop espresso maker that is great for hosting large groups (up to 14 cups of espresso). It is made of 18/10 heavy gauge stainless steel and brass accents and pressure release valve to give you excellent durability and allow you to cook on all surfaces. The maker is also very easy to clean.