While many people choose automated espresso machines, there is something truly special about stovetop espresso.
One of the more well-known and popular options for stovetop espresso is the Bialetti Moka Express, a 9-cup espresso maker from an iconic Italian company. It has been a long-time fan favorite among espresso fans, but does it live up to the hype?
As unapologetic stovetop espresso lovers, we decided to give the Bialetti Moka Express an honest review. Here are some of the machine’s best features and biggest weaknesses, as well as our final verdict on whether it is worth its retail price:
Our Favorite Features
1. A Unique Shape For A Better Brew
The Bialetti’s interesting eight-sided shape gives it a unique appearance, but this shape (allegedly!) also improves the taste and aroma of the coffee.
Bialetti’s claim is that the shape allows heat to diffuse more evenly than other machines, leaving a stronger aroma and better taste. While this is obviously a matter of opinion, we definitely think the Bialetti produces a great brew, regardless of how much the machine’s shape is to blame.
At the very least, it makes for an interesting set-piece that stands out in any kitchen.
2. Easy To Use
If you are used to an automatic machine, the idea of switching to stovetop can seem intimidating. Fortunately, this machine is very straightforward and does not come with many small, easy-to-lose parts.
Overall, we would rank this machine as very beginner-friendly. On top of this, it is also a breeze to clean-- you simply open the top, dump out the grounds and wipe it clean with a cloth and warm water.
This machine is very portable, and, thanks to its simple design and lack of small parts, it can be used and cleaned from virtually everywhere. Next time you and your pals are planning on a weekend getaway or a backcountry camping trip, you can rest assured knowing that great espresso will still be on the menu.
Our Biggest Issues
1. A Smaller Capacity
This one is a bit of a toss-up. Compared to some other machines on the market, its 18-ounce brewing capacity might not seem like much. However, if you are a big fan of adding espresso to drinks like lattes, this is a much more impressive yield.
At the end of the day, whether this factor is a dealbreaker depends on how many people you are planning on brewing for, and which drinks you are planning on using your Bialetti to prepare.
2. Price Discrepancies
The Bialetti’s cost is dependent on its size and yield. While its smaller variations (such as the six cup) are very low-cost, the larger 12-cup is similar in price to some of the lower end automatic machines available on the market. While a stovetop fanatic could not ask for better value, a skeptic may be persuaded to spend just a little bit more for an automatic machine.
Our Final Verdict
Overall, the experience of using the Bialetti Moka Express is seamless and straightforward, and in minutes it is capable of producing truly exceptional espresso.
Even more impressive is the fact that it is more affordable than many automatic machines, and, as far as we were able to taste, the end results are certainly worth it.