The 9 Best Stovetop Espresso Makers

Updated November 17, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

9 Best Stovetop Espresso Makers
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We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Get your caffeine fix without having to head to the local café and shell out more than a few bucks. Assuming you have a stovetop, one of these espresso makers makes it cheap and easy to get a good cup of the strong stuff whenever you want it in the comfort of your own home. Just add your favorite ground beans and some water, and you'll be happily sipping in no time. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best stovetop espresso maker on Amazon.

9. Bialetti 06800

The signature octagonal shape, convenient pour spout, and polished aluminum construction make the Bialetti 06800 quite a showpiece for your home and guests. It looks great as a kitchen accent even when you're not using it to serve coffee.
  • available in myriad hues and styles
  • designed and made in italy
  • aluminum tends to corrode quickly
Brand Bialetti
Model 06800
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Minos Moka Pot

With its distinctive tea kettle-esque format, the stainless steel Minos Moka Pot is sure to turn heads when you use it to serve your breakfast guests. The 6-cup model produces 10 ounces of smooth and strong brew at a time and comes with three interchangeable handles.
  • design unchanged since 1933
  • tapered top helps prevent spills
  • difficult to wash thoroughly
Brand Minos
Model SYNCHKG109419
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Primula PES-4606

Available in both 4- and 6-cup capacities, the Primula PES-4606 is an excellent deal for a top-quality device. Its ergonomic silicone handle is sleek and comfortable to grasp, and the flip-top lid features a stay-cool trigger.
  • fragrant and concentrated brew
  • stainless steel won't rust
  • gasket may wear out over time
Brand Primula
Model PES-4606
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Osaka Nijo Castle

The Osaka Nijo Castle is made of sturdy aluminum and features a lovely flecked black coating on its outside that'll remind you of staring up at the night sky. Its nylon handle resists heat so you can pick it up and pour as soon as it's done brewing.
  • smooth polished interior
  • high-quality brass safety valve
  • funnel can be difficult to remove
Brand Osaka
Model pending
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. Venus 6-Cup

Shiny, sleek, and slim, the Venus 6-Cup is great for virtually any cooktop, and will complement the look of modern kitchens. Thanks to its streamlined design, the perfect cup is ready in just 4 to 5 minutes, so brewing multiple batches is no problem.
  • results have a smooth taste
  • provides a steady and even pour
  • must be hand washed
Brand Bialetti
Model 06969
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

4. GSI Outdoors 1 Cup Mini

For those who know exactly what they need in the morning and never invite any guests over, the GSI Outdoors 1 Cup Mini brews one double-shot of the strong stuff directly into your cup, no pouring necessary. Its compact size makes it a good option for use while camping.
  • rugged enough for years of use
  • includes helpful instructions
  • cup ledge is a bit small
Brand GSI
Model 65101
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Cuisinox Roma

The Cuisinox Roma is elegant and refined enough for table-side service at the fanciest gala or reception. Its flame- and induction-ready base make it a versatile option for the discerning coffee drinker, and it's available in 4-, 6-, and 10-cup capacities.
  • high quality stainless steel
  • includes a reducer and spare gasket
  • all parts are dishwasher safe
Brand Cuisinox
Model COF6R
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Alessi 9090

The Alessi 9090 by Richard Sapper is painstakingly crafted in Italy and designed to last a lifetime. It's much pricier than most other options simply because it is better quality, with an 18/10 stainless steel construction and a three-stage filtration system.
  • from a respected manufacturer
  • durable cast-iron handle
  • flared base for stability
Brand Alessi
Model 9090/6
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Vremi Moka Pot

The Vremi Moka Pot comes with a stylish black finish and a soft-touch contoured handle that complements the shape of your hand as you pour. It can be used on most types of burners and is a basic, efficient, and attractive option.
  • also available in silver
  • sturdily built for frequent use
  • safe for use on induction cooktops
Brand Vremi
Model SYNCHKG103154
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

It’s Easier To Drink Espresso With Your Nose Turned Up

There are times in life when it’s perfectly acceptable to act like a snob. Some of these occasions will arise on a small, personal level, like besting your classroom rival in a spelling bee, or having someone weigh in on an argument with your precise point of view.

On a more general level, it’s harder to find socially acceptable times to really throw your nose up in the air with that combination of distinction and self-righteousness that only a true snob can perfect. More often than not, the temptation to do so arises out of some cultural artistic preference like a certain musical performer or artist. Snobbery here can get you into some hot water, though, especially if you run into someone with both opposing tastes and a deeper knowledge base in the area. Ultimately, you can fall back on the argument that it’s all a matter of taste, but that often cedes the snobbery high ground to your opponent.

The coffee world offers us a different opportunity to be snobs, however, as there are scientifically measurable ways to determine — at least in part — the quality of a cup of coffee. And if you pit the taste profile of a shot of your homemade stovetop espresso up against that of a cup of mud from the burner at your local gas station, yours is pretty well guaranteed to emerge as the winner.

If you’re not made of time and money, the stovetop espresso maker will provide you with the added benefits of being inexpensive and very fast — particularly if you only need to make a shot or two of the good stuff. High-quality espresso machines can cost well into the thousands of dollars, making the elite brew seem unreachable to the common man. Fortunately, stovetop espresso makers are much more economical, and their contents are ready as soon as the water cooks, though they don’t have the ability to store heated water as some countertop models can, which means you may have to wait longer to brew shots for a larger number of people.

Do keep in mind that if you choose to invest in a stovetop espresso maker over the more haute countertop variety, owners of the latter will, technically, be in the right if they choose to turn their nose up at your device.

How A Stovetop Espresso Maker Brews

Espresso is all about pressure. In a drip coffee machine, hot water slowly makes its way into a basin containing coffee grounds. Once enough of that water builds up, it filters through the ground beans and falls down into a waiting receptacle, often a pot or single-serve cup.

Traditional espresso machines heat up water and force it through a tube that delivers it to the espresso grounds at extremely high pressures, pushing the liquid through the grounds with significant force. These units allow users to precisely dial in the amount of pressure they want to apply to the beans, and a debate over the perfect amount of pressure is liable to rage on until climate change renders the coffee bean itself extinct.

A stovetop brewer marries the simplicity or a drip coffee machine — or more precisely, a percolator — with the high-pressure environment of an espresso maker. The unit consists of three main compartments: a water well, a filter, and a coffee pot.

To make a pot of espresso, you fill the water well to the fill line (or below if you want a smaller, stronger serving). When you place the pot over a heat source, the water’s temperature — and the pressure in the well — rises. The filter at the middle of the pot contains your espresso beans. At the bottom of that filter is a valve that only opens when a certain water pressure is reached in the chamber below. Once the valve opens, it allows hot, high-pressure water to move steadily through the grounds in the filter and collect inside the coffee pot above.

A Brief History Of Espresso

The American blood in my veins recoils to learn that an invention brought about by sheer capitalistic yearning for more efficiency and a better product took place far away from the 50 states. The Italian blood in my veins, however, delights to learn that espresso, quite possibly the best form of coffee available to mankind, was created in Italy.

Fans of the steampunk genre will probably also enjoy the tale, as it includes a great deal of experimentation with different pressures of steam at a time when the substance powered a lot of incredible inventions. At the time (the late 1800s), inventors sought to decrease the time it took to brew coffee, as cafes were cropping up all around Europe and the drink had become more popular than ever.

One of these inventors, Angelo Moriondo, received a patent for a machine that pushed hot water through coffee grounds at 1.5 bars of pressure. Over the course of the next few decades, competitors of Moriondo’s successful espresso machine would experiment with ways to increase that pressure and deliver even faster, more flavorful brews.

Today, you can still purchase large boilers that greatly resemble the machines of the early 19th century, many of which come in fine brass finishes complete with ornate statuettes and other artistic flourishes. Compared to the espresso makers of old, modern models have highly adjustable pressure settings, with nine bars being the common starting point for most brewers as they refine their combination of coffee bean, grind size, and water pressure.

Most of the stovetop espresso makers on the market are designed to draw their pressure from a direct heat source in such a way that the pressure itself opens a valve that lets the water interact with the beans. In order to ensure that this water isn’t so hot that it burns the coffee, these stovetop valves allow water through at approximately 1.5 bars. As such, a cup of stovetop espresso will greatly resemble a cup that would have been produced by Mr. Moriondo all those years ago.

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Last updated on November 17, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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