Brewing Guide to Stove-top Espresso Makers
Stove-top espresso makers (also referred to as espresso or moka pots) are a simple and affordable way to brew espresso style coffee at home or on your travels.
A stove-top uses steam pressure to brew a strong coffee with some of the characteristics of espresso, such as: added texture, viscosity and flavour. Therefore they make a great alternative if you don't want the expense of, or don't have the space for, a genuine espresso machine.
1. Pre-heat the Cups: Pre-heat the cups by filling them with hot water.
2. Fill Water Tank: Fill the water tank with freshly drawn cold water to just below the level of the pressure safety valve.
Tip - If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, it’s worth investing in a water filter such as a Britta jug. This is also important if you live in a hard water area, as hard water contains alkalines which can neutralise the acids that give coffee its bright and subtle flavours.
3. Add Coffee to Filter Funnel: Place the filter funnel on top of the water tank and fill with ground coffee until it’s level with the top of the filter basket. The coffee should be ground medium-fine (like demerara sugar) with the largest particles approximately 1mm in length.
Be careful when filling to ensuring that no coffee grounds get on the rim or screw thread of the water tank. Do not tamp (pack) the coffee as it needs room to expand during the brewing process.
Don’t use espresso grind. This is designed for espresso machines which work under much higher pressure.
4. Reassemble: Screw the upper part to the water tank as tightly as you can without using the handle for extra leverage.
5. Place on Heat: Put the stove-top espresso maker on a medium heat source. If using gas, make sure the flames do not exceed the base of the water tank. If using electric, make sure the handle isn’t directly over the hob.
It should take between 3-4 minutes from the moment you turn on the heat until the coffee starts pouring into the upper part.
If you have an electric hob that takes a while to warm up, you made need to turn on the hob for a few minutes prior to putting the espresso maker on it.
Small stove-top espresso makers can be unstable on gas rings, as they are too small for the pan supports. This can easily be resolved by using a gas ring reducer.
6. Remove from Heat: As soon as the coffee starts pouring through at a steady flow, remove from the heat.
7. Serve Immediately: Once the flow of coffee has stopped, serve immediately. Don’t leave it in the pot, as it will continue to heat the coffee turning it bitter.
|Stove-top takes more than 4 minutes to brew or the coffee tastes bitter||
|Stove-top takes less than 3 minutes to brew or the coffee tastes weak||
|Liquid or steam leaks from join between the water tank and upper part||
Cleaning Your Stove-top Espresso Maker
As soon as you’ve served the coffee, (whilst the pot is still assembled) rinse the upper part under the hot tap. This will prevent coffee staining the sides.
Once cooled, carefully disassemble the pot, remembering not to use the handle for extra leverage. Stove-tops made from aluminium should be washed with soapy water and must not be left to soak for prolonged periods (over 1 hour). Stove-tops made from stainless steel can usually be washed in the dishwasher.
Every 1-2 weeks (depending on usage) the washer and filter plate should be removed and cleaned. The washer can be prised out using a flat-head screwdriver or similar implement.