If you like espresso straight up, a perfectly balanced Americano, or you like to make quality after dinner coffee drinks then you need a good espresso maker. Sure, you could spend a fortune on a fancy espresso/cappuccino machine but I would prefer you spend as little as possible on a simple item that will make you excellent espresso for decades.
Espresso makers for the stovetop are some of the oldest tools of the trade and one of the primary ways many people across the world make their espresso. In America we sometimes go crazy with fancy gadgets while overlooking the simple solution.
Here are some of the best stove top espresso kettles money can buy. Note than the most expensive of these is still under $50, less than the cheapest counter-top espresso machine. Can you say bargain?
A Crash Course On Stove Top Espresso
Thanks to Stovpreso.com for help in putting this together.
The reason stovetop espresso is so simple and good is that it relies on boiling water to create the steam and pressure needed to make good espresso. Instead of a machine crating the pressure the burner creates the steam which rises through the grind. The processes is completely natural.
So long as you use grind that is slightly more coarse than traditional espresso ground coffee beans and so long as you don’t pack the grind to tightly the natural rise of steam through the grind will produce espresso just as good or better than any fancy machine you come across. These little pots will often make better espresso than your local coffe bar.
-A Note on Pricing-
All of these espresso pots are quite inexpensive compared to countertop machines. The lower end stove top units tend to be a little smaller. They produce less espresso than the bigger pots. The cheaper units also tend to be a little less durable. In most cases the plastic gasket on the inside of the kettle will slowly wear down over time. The more expensive kettles will tend to have higher quality gaskets that hold up better over time and they are easier to replace if need be.
-A Note on Size-
The way stove top espresso kettles work you can’t just make half a kettle. You have to use a full pot of water for the espresso to come out good on the other side. If you buy a 12-cup espresso pot thinking this will be big enough for parties even though you plan on only brewing 3-cups most mornings then your morning espresso will not turn out well.
A stove top espresso maker needs the water chamber full to create the pressure needed to brew properly. Likewise it needs a full size dose of grind too. It’s best to buy a kettle that is sized to the amount of espresso you are most frequently going to be making at a time. If you need multiple sizes then consider buying two different size kettles instead of trying to make one size work for you.