How to Use a Stove Top Espresso Machine

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A stove top espresso machine is a great way to get a fantastic cup of espresso but, for some, the process of using a stop top espresso machine instead of a semi-automatic espresso machine can be a little daunting. The truth is that stove top espresso machine is actually pretty easy to use and the versatility makes them an especially useful tool for those who may want a great espresso coffee maker at home or out camping.

Of course, always consult your user manual for any instructions that may be unique to your stove top espresso maker. However, for the most part, stove top espresso makers largely work in the same way.

Easy as 1–2–3

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Stove top espresso coffee makers, or Moka pots, are typically make up of three parts: the base, the filter, and the top portion. Some may look different but they all follow this basic design principle. Putting these three parts together is easy. You may want to practice once or twice without any water or coffee grounds. Ensure you know what it feels like when the top and bottom parts are correctly attached. If you do not have an adequate seal then you will end up with a big mess and no espresso—not a good way to start your day.

Start with Cold Water

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In most cases, you can simply use cold water in your Moka pot. Some larger models may suggest that you use hot water to reduce boiling time and the chance you can “cook” the coffee grounds. Consult your manual and, if in doubt, use cold water. You can always experiment in the future with warm water to see what produces the best flavor.

Add Your Grounds

Now is when you will add the grounds to your stove top espresso maker. Again, you may want to do some experimenting with this part of the process. Depending on the filter you use, you might have to adjust the size of your grind if you typically use an electric espresso machine. Try using a slightly larger grind than you would normally use for espresso and see if that produces the flavor you want.

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You can either add the filter to the bottom piece of the espresso pot then fill it with grounds or add the grounds before attaching the two pieces—that’s your call. Be sure not to pack down the grounds or you may negatively affect the brewing process. Clean off any excess grounds as well and level off the filter before moving on.

Attach the Top Portion

This is probably the easiest step in the process. Simply attach the top portion to the base after the filter has been added. As mentioned earlier, be sure that the two parts are attached correctly or else you will end up with a major mess to clean up.

Add to Heat

This is where the magic happens. Using a low to medium heat is usually best for stove top espresso makers. If you are camping then you will want to use a low flame. You can check on the progress of your espresso by simply looking into the top portion of your stove top espresso maker. Once it is full you are ready to serve! Easy as that!

Cool Down and Clean

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For the best results during your next brew, you will want to clean your stove top espresso maker after use but be sure to let the unit cool down before cleaning. This is simply a safety issue. You don’t want to burn yourself while disassembling and cleaning. Take some time to enjoy the espresso you just brewed. Don’t worry—the cleaning can wait.

Not so Scary

There you have it! Using a stove top espresso maker isn’t so scary after all! It’s an especially handy tool for you espresso fans that also love to go camping. You can get a coffee shop quality espresso wherever you go! Experiment with water temperature and coffee ground size to find the combination that provides you with the absolute best espresso. Enjoy!​

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