In many parts of Italy, it’s considered a major faux pas to use an automatic espresso machine to make a cup of espresso. That’s because many of the espresso experts in that country believe that the only way to make a cup of espresso that has depth and charm to it is to use a stovetop model. And we understand that sentiment quite well. Although we don’t have problems with home baristas using semi-automatic and automatic models, we feel that using a stovetop model creates something special. We believe in that sentiment so much, we’ve decided to review the best stovetop espresso makers currently available.
Quick Summary of the Best Stovetop Espresso Makers
- Best Overall: LuxHaus Stovetop 6-Cup Espresso Maker (Amazon) – Review
- Best Affordable: Bellemain Stovetop Moka Pot (Amazon) – Review
- Best Style: Bon Vivo Intenca Stovetop Espresso Pot (Amazon) – Review
- Best Aluminum: Grosche Red Milano Stovetop Espresso Maker (Amazon) – Review
Best Overall: LuxHaus Stovetop 6-Cup Espresso Maker
The problem with a lot of the Moka pots manufactured nowadays is that they’re made out of thin aluminum. Although aluminum might be fine material for other applications, for a stovetop espresso maker it isn’t the most ideal material to use. It works, but it doesn’t distribute the heat the way that heat should be distributed. Fortunately, this espresso maker is made out of 100% stainless steel. That means that it not only distributes heat in a way that’s beneficial to make a great cup of espresso but also that it’s very durable. This is a pot that’s sure to last the consumer quite a long time. And since it’s food-grade stainless-steel, the consumer also doesn’t have to worry about toxins working their way into their espresso.
This model holds up to 6-cups of espresso, and by 6-cups we mean 6 demitasse cups, so the consumer will have plenty of espresso for themselves or their family. If the consumer needs a smaller model, however, it should be stated here that this company also makes a nice 3-cup model that works just as well. This model can be used on just about any stovetop, including gas, electric or induction stovetops. Other features found on this stovetop espresso maker includes a heat-resistant handle, a certified safety-valve, and an easy-pour spout that prevents spills. Although this pot is a little bit heavier than other ones, due to its solid construction, it’s still the best one available.
Best Affordable: Bellemain Stovetop Moka Pot
When we first saw this espresso maker, we weren’t very sure about how it was going to hold up to regular use or even if it was going to be able to craft a perfect pot of espresso. Those concerns were mostly fueled by the fact that it’s made out of aluminum, but also by the fact that it seems very inexpensive. It had a price tag that was at least half of the major Moka pots available, so we just assumed that this was a low budget model that wouldn’t work very well. Fortunately, we were wrong. Not only did this product feel durable enough for everyday use, but it also did a good job of making a pot of espresso.
This pot was capable of brewing six 2-ounce cups of espresso and could easily be used on induction, electric or gas stovetops. Although we were doubtful of its aluminum construction conducting and distributing heat evenly, the shape of this pot seems to be able to do just that. There wasn’t any scorching, and the espresso came out quite nice. Although this pot doesn’t seem to have the fine detailing of major espresso makers, we think it’s a good model for consumers who aren’t finicky about their espresso and are just looking for a budget espresso maker. And because it had a handle that stayed cool to the touch, this espresso maker was easy to pour as well.
Best Style: Bon Vivo Intenca Stovetop Espresso Pot
One of the first things that we noticed about this stovetop espresso maker is that it’s one of the most beautiful Moka pots that we’ve ever seen. We loved its styling, and the copper model just looks like a luxurious espresso pot. It looks like something we would show off to our friends and family. Of course, if the consumer doesn’t like the copper color of this model, the company also makes stainless steel and black models that are just as impressive as this one. We knew after seeing this model that we had to review it, and honestly, this pot almost became our number one pick. Yes, it’s that good.
Some people may wonder what prevented us from placing this in our number one spot, and quite frankly, it’s the cost that kept us from making it the number one Moka pot. It’s the most expensive model of all of the ones we’ve reviewed, and we feel that its cost might be prohibitive for some people. Other than its cost, however, we feel that this model is a great one. It’s made out of stainless steel with a chrome finish, has a beautiful style to it, and has a quality safety-valve. It’s a model that stands 7.9-inches and holds approximately 11.8-ounces of espresso. That enough for almost 6 2-ounce cups of coffee.
Best Aluminum: Grosche Red Milano Stovetop Espresso Maker
Okay, even we have to admit that this espresso pot is probably more style than substance. Now, we’re not saying that it doesn’t do a good job of making espresso because it does. Despite it being made out of aluminum instead of stainless steel, it does a decent job of brewing a cup of espresso. We would’ve preferred if it were made out of stainless steel, but it has a good capacity, makes decent espresso, and has a 6-cup capacity. It also has a decent price-point. And it’s available in some pretty exciting colors that are sure to spice up just about any kitchen and these colors include red, silver, black and black steel.
This espresso pot can be used on electric or gas stovetops. It can be used on a propane camping stove as well. What it can’t be used on, however, is an induction stove. That’s because it’s non-magnetic, so if it were to be used on an induction stove, then it either wouldn’t get hot or would get hot extremely slowly. The one thing we would like to put in its plus category, however, is that it has an Italian-made safety valve that keeps this model as safe as possible. It also has a soft-touch handle and top that make it easier to pour than some other Moka pots.
The Ultimate Stovetop Espresso Maker Guide
It doesn’t matter if you call it a stovetop espresso maker or a Moka pot, these devices allow consumers to craft a perfect cup of espresso using a method that’s been used for almost a hundred years now. We’re talking about a handcrafted espresso that will blow all of your friends away and will make you the talk of the town. However, before that level of espresso fame can be achieved by the common man or woman, they first have to buy the best espresso maker and then they have to learn how to use it. With both of those propositions, we’re here to help. This guide will help our readers find the espresso maker that’s right for them and use that with the skill to make the perfect pot of espresso. Let’s get started on our adventure.
How To Purchase A Stovetop Espresso Maker
Buying a great espresso maker for stovetop use isn’t difficult, it just requires the consumer to think about a few details before they choose one. Below are some recommendations for choosing the best stovetop espresso maker for making the perfect pot of coffee.
Choose The Right Metal
Modern manual espresso makers are made with one of two different metals. Manufacturers usually make them either out of aluminum or out of stainless steel. Although either of these metals will usually hold up well to daily use, stainless-steel is usually the preferred choice for high-end espresso makers. That’s because stainless-steel does a better job of distributing heat. However, aluminum Moka pots are often a cheaper choice, so if the consumer values price over quality, then aluminum espresso makers are the way to go.
Choose The Right Size
Another thing the consumer will want to consider is the size of the espresso pot. These pots come in sizes as small as 3-cups up to sizes of 9+ cups, so consumers have plenty of choices available to them. However, it should be stated clearly that when most manufacturers state the cup size of their pots, they are usually talking about demitasse cups. Demitasse cups are only 2-ounces, so a Moka pot that says it has a 6-cup capacity will usually just hold about 11.8 to 12-ounces of espresso. Keep that in mind when choosing a new stovetop espresso pot to ensure that you’re not disappointed with your purchase.
Think About The Pot’s Additional Features
Before we conclude this section of the guide, we want to talk about some of the other features that the pot should have. The following features make the pot easier to handle or safer to use, so consumers are going to want to be sure their pot has them.
- Safety Valve
- Stay-Cool Handle And/Or Tops
- Drip-Proof Spout
Making The Best Pot Of Stovetop Espresso
Now that we’ve reviewed the best espresso pots and have gone over in-depth how to purchase the best one for your needs, it’s time to turn our attention to using that pot to achieve the best results possible. Although espresso makers are generally easy to use, they do take a bit of finesse to make a great pot of coffee. Below are some recommendations to help our readers craft the perfect pot of coffee.
Grind Coffee Beans & Filter Water
The first step to making the perfect pot of espresso is starting with the right raw materials, and in our estimation, that mean means making sure to freshly ground your coffee beans and filtering your water. Freshly ground coffee beans and purified water make for the best espressos, so this isn’t a step that we’d recommend skipping. BTW, we feel medium-ground coffee is the best for making espresso.
Load Up The Espresso Pot
Open the lid of the espresso maker, and remove the filter basket. Fill the Moka pot with your distilled water, being sure to not overfill it. Now, replace the filter basket and place the recommended amount of coffee grounds into it. Before closing the lid, be sure that you remove any coffee grounds that might be lingering around the edges of the basket. Coffee should only be in the basket, not around its edges. When that’s done, place the lid back on the Moka pot.
Brew Your Espresso
Place the espresso maker on the stovetop and turn it on. If the stovetop is electric, make sure to set it on medium-high and if it’s gas, make sure that the flame isn’t larger than the bottom of the pot. When the pot begins to gurgle and coffee begins to bubble out of it, then turn down the stovetop’s heat. Allow the pot to percolate. The consumer knows that the espresso maker is done when steam begins to come out of the spot. When this happens, remove the pot from the stove and serve immediately.