How Does A Stove Top Espresso Maker Work?

For many of us, coffee is definitely life. After all, it can be difficult to function without a daily dose of espresso to keep us awake and ready to start our day-to-day tasks. Unfortunately, buying java every day is not really cost-effective, plus, it can be a hassle to go out of your way to buy them,

The good news for coffee lovers is this – it is possible to make your espresso in the comfort of your home. Doing this allows you to save money from buying commercial ones and also allows you to customize it entirely according to your preference.

How can you do this? The answer is buying your very own stovetop espresso maker.

What is a stovetop espresso maker?

Also known as a modern coffee percolator or Moka pot, a stovetop espresso maker allows java lovers to make their own cup of coffee without going outside. Since it is significantly cheaper than an espresso machine, more people are curious about it and if it will actually produce tasty coffee.

Stovetop espresso makers were first introduced in Italy back in the early 1930s.  A single Moka pot contains three parts or chambers – one to place water, one for the coffee grounds, and the last one is for the brewed coffee itself.

Most espresso makers have an industrial appeal, which is why it can be very charming as a display in your coffee corner. Of course, not all Moka pots come in their signature silver shade, as some brands paint theirs white and in other different colors.

The parts of a stovetop espresso maker

Allow us to tell you this: coffee made from stovetop espresso makers is as tasty as what you buy from your favorite coffee shops. Some coffee experts may even say that Moka pots make better coffee than some espresso machines.

To understand how it can produce a high-quality coffee taste at an affordable price, let us go into the details about how Moka pots work. And we can do so by first going into depth about its parts.

As mentioned earlier, there are three parts of a stovetop espresso maker. They are the following:

1.     The lower portion or chamber

2.     The coffee filter

3.     The upper portion or chamber

How the parts function

The lower chamber of the Moka pot is where you place your water. If you look closely inside, there will be a safety release valve on the upper part of the chamber. This is a reminder that your water should not exceed the suggested level, as it may overflow once heated.

The coffee basket or funnel is where you put your coffee. Most professionals suggest using coarse coffee instead of ground ones for better results. Of course, the roast you choose will depend on your preference.

Lastly, the upper chamber of the Moka pot is where the magic happens. It is the part where the final product of the coffeemaking process is visible.

The science behind the process of using a stovetop espresso maker

Are you curious as to how it is possible for a silver pot to rival the taste of leading (and expensive) espresso machines? The answer lies beneath the process of making the coffee itself.

When you use stovetop espresso makers, the way of making your coffee is very personal and even therapeutic. Below is the process of making espresso using the modern version of the percolator and some tidbits about the science in the approach.

How a Moka pot works, step by step

If you want to make an espresso using a Moka pot, you will need the following:

  • A functional Moka pot
  • A towel
  • A cup
  • Water
  • Coffee beans or ground coffee
  • Coffee grinder (optional)

Step 1: Grind your coffee if necessary

Some coffee enthusiasts take joy in the task of grinding their coffee beans themselves. If you are one of them, bring out your coffee grinder and get working. If you already have a ground coffee, proceed to the next step.

Expert tip: As mentioned earlier, we recommend using coarse coffee instead of fine ones when using a Moka pot. This is because finer ones usually result in a very bitter taste.

Step 2: Prepare your stovetop espresso maker

Do not believe it when other people suggest using pots with leftover coffee residue for a delicious taste. This is not true at all. Wash your pot thoroughly and wipe it dry before using it to make your coffee.

Expert tip: Using a clean pot gets rid of the leftover acidity and bitter taste of the past brew of your coffee. When storing your pot, make sure to wipe its gasket clean to make it last much longer.

Step 3: Fill the lower chamber with water

Take your pot’s water chamber and fill it halfway with cold water. Make sure to never overfill the chamber over the safety valve. Doing this will result in too much pressure which can lead to an exploding percolator.

Expert tip: If you prefer bitter coffee, you may try using hot water instead of a cold one. This allows your coffee to cook better and longer.

Step 4: Put your coffee into the basket

Now is the time to add your java to your Moka pot’s basket. When doing so, you need to fill it all the way to the top for a balanced taste.

Expert tip: Do not push the ground coffee beans in the basket. Instead, you can use a knife or the side of your palm to level the powder and remove the excess. This allows your coffee to have sufficient space when it gets cooking later on.

Step 5: Reassemble your espresso maker

Place the coffee basket on top of your water chamber. After that, screw the top part of the Moka pot to its bottom part just enough for your brew to be secure. After all, you would not want your precious coffee to leak once it is in the process of heating up.

Expert tip: If you used hot water, make sure to use a towel when reassembling your pot to avoid burns and accidents. Since most percolators are made with steel, you can injure yourself when you are not careful.

Step 6: Place your espresso maker on your stovetop

Finally, this is where the process of making your coffee happens. Set your stove in a low or medium heat level and wait until it makes a gurgling sound. When you hear this, you can turn off your stove.

What happens during this process?

  1. When you place your pot on the stove, the water on your lower chamber heats and boils, which produces steam.
  2. The latter allows the water to make its way to your pot’s coffee basket, which will ultimately rise to the uppermost chamber and creates your very own, tasty coffee.

Expert tip: Do not leave your Moka pot brewing without you in the kitchen. Make sure to watch your coffee closely to avoid accidents.

Step 7: Cool the bottom chamber down

After removing your pot from the stove, you can run cold water under it to stop the cooking process. Doing this instantly halts the heat from affecting your coffee and ensures that it will not be overcooked.

Step 8: Serve and enjoy

Pour your fresh coffee into your cup and add milk or sugar when desired.

The best way of cleaning your stovetop espresso maker

Done with enjoying your very own cup of delicious coffee? Now that you know how amazing Moka pots are, you may have a newly discovered desire of taking care of yours more carefully.

Since you already know how it works, what about the ways in how to clean it well? And please, do not say dishwashers.

Never put your Moka pots in your dishwasher

Contrary to what many people believe, you do not have to be an Italian grandmother to clean a Moka pot thoroughly. The reason why others are afraid to get a stovetop espresso maker is they can be a hassle to clean. However, with the right tools and some patience, you will not have any problems at all.

Using a dishwasher will just damage your pot, as it can cause salt to build-up on its aluminum surface. It can also oxidize your pot and tarnish it.

Handwashing your espresso maker will just require the following:

  • Warm water
  • Tough sponge
  • Mild dish soap

Before scrubbing your pot, put some warm water inside its chambers and let it sit for a couple of minutes. This allows the coffee residue to weaken and makes it easier to wash later. After a few minutes, add in a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid and scrub your pot clean.

Coffee does not have to be crazy expensive

There you have it! Make your own coffee without spending too much time and money. All you need is a trusted and reliable stovetop espresso maker and your choice of coffee beans.