Friday, July 18, 2008

Italian Stovetop Espresso Maker

I was on my way from the farmers' market to my Sunday morning coffee place, Pannikan, when I walked by a store that was going out of business. "Big Sale" the signs read so of course I had to go in. It was a home decor store that happen to have a ton of kitchen appliances and gadgets at 75% off. TEB bought an Italian stovetop espresso maker, like the one pictured in the italian kitchen above. It sat in a cabinet for months, until I broke our normal glass, electric coffeepot.

Now that I have been using it for a few months, I love it. For the first few weeks I made more bad coffee than drinkable coffee. Despite the learning curve this beauty is a keeper.

Stovetop Espresso

1. Buy a nice Italian stovetop espresso maker. Generally, the more expensive the better. I thought ours was ~20$.

2. Buy your favorite whole bean coffee and grind on a daily basis for each pot.

3. Italian expresso makers have a top and a bottom that unscrew from each other. I have read on the internet somewhere that you should not wash your pot with soap - just rinse it out.

4. Fill the bottom vessel with water up to the steam spout. While this step may seem trivial, it is not. You must do this in order for the pot to create enough pressure and steam inside to move up through the coffee grounds that are in layer 2.
5. Now to layer 2 - the coffee. I have been told that your grinder is very important. That the finer it can grind the better your coffee is going to taste, if you have a stovetot pot that is decent. That said, I have no idea what the quality or how expensive my grinder is. I got it for free and it works so I am not complaining. Fill the cup with grounds. Be care to fill such that you leave a few millimeters of room on the top and to level the grounds but do NOT pack them down.

6. Set the cup inside the bottom vessel and screw in the top part with the handle.
7. Turn your smallest burner on high, set the coffee pot on top and wait.
8. Depending on your burner this time frame is variable. But you need to be close by to keep an eye on it when the boiling starts. Steam will come out of the pouring spout and you will hear sputtering coffee percolating to the top vessel.

9. When the sputtering stops remove the pot from the heat and carefully peak inside. You should see a full pot of coffee. If not then you made a mistake somewhere with the water in the bottom, the coffee levels or the temperature you used to boil the water.

I get all crazy about my 2 tablespoons of coffee. It is after all only a small amount of coffee and I want it to be good.

Good Luck!

photo credit: italian kitchen by cityflickr ; Bialetti Moka Express

No comments: