6 best Italian coffee makers
A stovetop espresso machine, also known as a mocha pot, is an ideal option for espresso lovers who do not appreciate the high price of home espresso machines. Moka coffee makers and espresso machines share the technique of using high pressure and temperature to achieve a fast extraction. And while the Moka coffee maker may not be as fast or convenient as other modern coffee makers, it is still renowned for its ability to make a good cup of coffee.
Moka coffee makers can vary greatly in quality, so it’s important to know what features to look for. The best stovetop espresso maker will consistently produce a great cup of espresso without compromising the quality of your drink. It also needs to meet your coffee drinking needs adequately, so factors such as capacity, size, and the number of cups it can make become important. You will also need to consider the type of cooker you have to ensure you get a product that is compatible with it.
To help you decide which type of espresso machine to invest in, our experts have put together a list of the six best products available in this category. You can find out a little more about each of them in the in-depth product descriptions that follow and supplement with our comprehensive buying guide that will answer all your questions about how to get the right stovetop espresso machine for your individual or family needs.
The 6 best Italian coffee makers
Cuisinox Double Walled
The Cuisinox Roma espresso maker is almost everything you want in a good cup: quality, good coffee and visual appeal. This beautifully finished espresso maker is made with superior materials and craftsmanship that make it beautiful and highly functional.
Made from high quality 18/10 stainless steel, the Roma espresso maker conducts heat well, resists rust and will retain its polished appearance for a long time. The sturdy welded stainless steel handle is ergonomically designed to be held easily and comfortably without the risk of breaking or melting like plastic handles. The handle conducts heat and can be hot at first, but cools down quickly.
Another advantage of the Roma espresso maker is its induction base which allows it to work on all cooking surfaces including gas, electric, ceramic, glass and induction.
To make half measures easier, this espresso maker includes an extra seal and reducer for those times when you don’t want a full cup. It also includes a basket and a filter plate.
The Roma espresso machine is dishwasher safe, but hand washing is recommended as it reduces the risk of damage and is fairly easy to clean anyway.
Some customers find the two chambers difficult to screw together and seal tightly, but when done correctly there are no leaks or messes.
This Cuisinox espresso maker is a premium product from a company that values form and function. Its elegant design and practical construction are just a few of the many reasons we’ve named it the Editor’s Choice on this list.
7 x 8 inches
Limited to 25 years
gasket and reducer included, 18/10 stainless steel, mirror polished finish, induction compatible
Alessi Espresso machine 9090
Alessi, the Italian company with almost a century of experience in manufacturing high quality products, offers the 9090 espresso machine as no exception. Designed by the famous industrial designer Richard Sapper, the 9090 is an elegant and attractive espresso machine, capable of producing excellent brews from the first time it is used.
It is one of the best, if not the best, induction espresso machines on this list.
Its magnetic base suitable for induction, simplistic and functional design, and the quality of the brew have made the 9090 a popular espresso machine that is appreciated by all.
The quality materials that make up the 9090 include polished, rust-resistant 18/10 stainless steel and a copper handle. The entire unit is sturdy and almost heavy, as it is made entirely of metal.
One of the most innovative features of the 9090 is its unique locking mechanism that seamlessly connects the upper and lower chambers without spills or mess. It is also much easier to manage than other espresso machines that require the chambers to be screwed together.
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The 9090 espresso machine is dishwasher safe, but it is also recommended to be hand washed only.
There’s not much to complain about with the 9090. It may seem expensive compared to other models, but that price is easily offset by the promise of longevity and consistent brew quality.
- 10 oz
- 5 x 7 inches
- 14 day return policy, 2 year warranty
- induction compatible, 18/10 stainless steel
5 x 7 inches
14 day return policy, 2 year warranty
induction compatible, 18/10 stainless steel
Delonghi EMK6 Alicia
The Delonghi EMK6 Alicia espresso machine is an innovative appliance that combines the traditional look of a classic Bialetti mocha maker with the inventive twists of electric appliances. Respected for its innovative and quality small appliances, the Italian company has provided us with the best “on fire” electric espresso machine on this list.
The distinctive geometric look that inspired the EMK6 is very apparent in the aluminium lower chamber, while the top is replaced by a clear plastic container that adds a more modern look while allowing you to easily see the brewing process for yourself.
This electric espresso machine has several features that make it both safe and easy to use. The espresso machine is controlled by push buttons and includes an indicator light that tells you when the machine is in use. The filter adapter allows you to halve the number of cups you wish to prepare. An automatic safety shut-off function prevents your coffee from overheating and burning, and is activated when the container is lifted. The espresso machine itself is cordless and can be completely detached from the base for easy cleaning.
Conveniences include a keep-warm function that keeps your espresso from getting cold for up to half an hour after use. It works directly on the base, so you don’t necessarily need a cooker.
The downside is that if you don’t like plastics, you may not be a fan of this device. However, it is made with great quality and is certainly one of the most affordable electric cookers on the market.
- 450 W
- 5 x 8 x 10.6 inches
- 3 to 6 years
- Limited to 1 year
- auto shut-off function, 30 minute keep warm function, transparent container, removable base
5 x 8 x 10.6 inches
3 to 6 years
Limited to 1 year
auto shut-off function, 30 minute keep warm function, transparent container, removable base
Alessi La Conica espresso machine
La Conica, another espresso machine from Alessi, is as much a work of art as it is a functional coffee maker. Designed by the famous architect and designer Aldo Rossi, the La Conica has a distinctive geometric look and conical lid that have become icons of housewares since the 1980s.
This product is the best premium espresso maker on this list. With high quality materials and an expressive design, the La Conica will stand the test of time while making a decorative statement. Not to mention, of course, that it will make a great espresso, the classic Italian way. This espresso machine has the capacity to make up to 6 excellent cups of coffee at a time.
The whole unit is made of metal, both high grade 18/10 stainless steel for the body and handle, and copper for the bottom to add extra conductivity. It won’t rust, lose its polish and, with proper care, can last you decades.
Of course, as a high-end product from a high-end company, this product is expensive and not what many are looking for in a stovetop espresso machine.
Overall, this is an excellent quality product that has the charm of contemporary architecture and blurs the line between art and everyday objects.
- 5 oz
- 9.25 x 2.95 inches
- 14 day return policy, 2 year warranty
- 18/10 stainless steel, copper bottom, Aldo Rossi design
9.25 x 2.95 inches
14 day return policy, 2 year warranty
18/10 stainless steel, copper bottom, Aldo Rossi design
Bialetti Elegance Venus
The Bialetti Elegance Venus is a product of the company responsible for the invention and production of the first Moka coffee maker, whose experience dates back to the 1930s. The Elegance Venus is a much newer product, without the messy and possibly toxic aluminium components of its predecessors.
If you’re looking for an affordable espresso machine built with the right materials, this is the best stainless steel espresso machine for use on the stovetop. The body of this stylish model is made entirely of 18/10 stainless steel, and is designed not to get dirty during brewing (unlike the Moka) and to be easy to clean afterwards. No plastic components are used in the brewing part of the espresso machine. The only plastic component is the black insulated handle, which blends in very well with the rest of the espresso machine and prevents any chance of burning your hand when picking it up from the cooker.
The Venus is suitable for all cooktops, whether electric, gas or induction. Even campfires can heat it properly, although open flames may discolour the stainless steel body.
Like some of the other high-end products on this list, you can potentially make more than just espresso with the Venus, if you know the tricks to do so.
To avoid damage from cleaning, this espresso machine is hand washable only.
- 16 oz
- 5.9 x 5.3 x 10 inches
- Limited to 2 years
- 18/10 stainless steel, insulated handle, induction compatible, dishwasher safe.
5.9 x 5.3 x 10 inches
Limited to 2 years
18/10 stainless steel, insulated handle, induction compatible, dishwasher safe.
The intention of bonVIVO
The bonVIVO brand consists of a variety of household and kitchen appliances that focus on both design and price. Their products are practical, pleasing to the eye and affordable. The Intenca espresso machine is one of these products, and we have every reason to call it the budget choice on this list.
The Intenca has a contemporary look, with simple shapes and a bright chrome finish that comes in silver or copper. Designed for quality and aromatic espresso, the Intenca prepares it in the traditional way and is easy to use. Every component of this espresso machine is made of stainless steel with a chrome exterior finish to protect it from rusting and losing its shine over time. The Intenca is also easy to clean and dishwasher safe. Hand washing is recommended as it is gentler on the appliance.
You can make espresso with the Intenca on any cooker: gas, electric, induction or ceramic. As mentioned, it can also be used as a coffee maker with a machine or a percolator.
It includes many of the standard features of espresso machines, including a sieve basket, filter and sealing washer. For safety reasons, a safety valve prevents extra pressure from building up during use.
There are not many problems with the bonVIVO Intenca. The handle is stainless steel and can get hot, but this should not be a problem if you take this precaution. Some people report problems with the two chambers closing, but this is a fairly common problem for espresso machines with a screw lock mechanism, which should not be a problem if it is properly tightened.
7 x 5.4 inches
silver chrome finish, safety valve, heat resistant handle, induction compatible, open lid cooking option
Benefits of having a mocha pot in your kitchen
Moka pots are extremely easy to use, which means that the job gets done faster and more people can adapt to the technique of using a moka pot.
Using a mocha pot offers a great deal of freedom. Many people appreciate this factor because it means they can make their coffee the way they like it and even customise it and try new recipes.
Moka coffee makers are durable. They can take a beating and can be carried anywhere you go.
A stovetop espresso machine can either be a cheap investment or a long-term investment that you are willing to pay the price for.
For people who don’t believe in spending too much on a mocha pot, the cheapest models cost between £30 and £40. For others who want the best of the best in their kitchen, prices can exceed €300 to find the best Moka pot.
Features to consider when buying the best stovetop espresso maker
The stovetop espresso maker doesn’t have many features, so it’s best to look at all of them, as they will all matter in your final decision.
What is it made of?
There are two ways to choose the material: aluminium or stainless steel. Aluminium is the traditional material to use, but it has some disadvantages. Aluminium can corrode and become a maintenance problem over time.
Stainless steel lasts longer than aluminium and is easier to maintain. Stainless steel is non-corrosive and non-porous, which means there is less chance of damage overtime. The extra cost of stainless steel is worth it, as it lasts longer and gives better results.
The Bialetti Elegance Venus, Alessi La Conica and Alessi Espresso Maker 9090 are all superior stainless steel models.
How much can your Moka pot hold? The amount it can make depends on how much you can create at one time. If you are serving just one person, it is fine to have a capacity of one person each time you brew coffee. If you are a couple or a family who like the idea of strong coffee in the morning, you will need a Moka coffee maker that can hold and brew a lot of coffee at once.
The Bialetti Elegance Venus has a generous capacity of 10 cups at a time, while the Alessi Espresso Maker 9090 and the Delonghi EMK6 Alicia can hold up to 6 cups of coffee at a time. For smaller models, take a look at the Cuisinox COF-4R Roma or the bonVIVO Intenca, both of which can give you 4 cups at a time. Our smallest model featured today is the Alessi La Conica, which produces 3 cups of espresso at a time.
With electric mocha coffee makers, you don’t have to worry about temperature and time consistency. Everything will be done for you, which for some people is an advantage. If you are busy in the morning and don’t have time to stand over your mocha pot, then electric is for you.
Other people don’t want to pay the extra money for the electric mocha pot because it means they give up control. After you buy the electric pot, all you have to worry about is the grind size, which is not for some deep L lovers.
Not all cookers are the same. Some are induction and some are gas. Just as cooktops are different, so are mocha pots. Mocha pots are designed to work with certain cookers or to fit several cookers.
If you want one just for your cooker, then the search for a specific mocha pot will take time. On the other hand, finding a versatile moka pot will cost more.
Judge the appearance
A stovetop espresso machine isn’t a big deal, honestly. Most coffee makers you’ll come across will have virtually all the same features and capabilities. Therefore, appearance is a great way to make the final choice. Having looked at material, price, durability, warranty and everything else, you can now look at the elegance of your model to choose your winning mocha pot.
Safe and sound?
Is your mocha pot safe? The best way to check is to see how hot your coffee pot gets when you use it. Naturally, you want your pot to be a heat conductor so that the coffee heats up, but you don’t want it to be so hot that your hand gets burned if you touch it.
You want the handle to stay cool, the parts to fit together well, and you don’t hear hissing noises when you turn on the pot or put it on the cooker. Check your mocha pot to make sure nothing is wrong with it.
The best kind of espresso machine is the one that lasts a long time. You get used to using it, you get comfortable with the utensils you use, and you get consistent results that you love every morning.
Make sure the mocha pot you get is sturdy, won’t chip, corrode or smell after use. You also don’t want a pot that burns easily. Clean it after each use and store it in a safe place so that it will last longer. You don’t want someone to accidentally drop it, leaving an irreparable mark on their body.
Solid materials, quality construction and efficient performance are all factors that will help you choose a durable espresso machine.
Obviously, nothing is worth buying if you don’t have a warranty. The warranty does not determine whether a product is faulty or not, it simply helps you solve the problem in case there is one.
Warranties on stovetop espresso machines can range from one year to twenty-five full years. Some models also offer a full refund within 14 days if you are not satisfied with your mocha pot within that time.
Tips for perfect coffee with a stovetop espresso machine
With coffee being such a popular beverage, there are bound to be people willing to give tips on how to improve your coffee. Even with a Moka coffee maker, you can make a memorable coffee, and this video can provide you with some useful tips:
You can stick to the absolute basics of coffee making, and keep your pot clean. Always store it in a place where there will be no dust collection, and keep the parts apart from each other to ensure that no pressure stiffens the Moka pot. When using the coffee maker, you need to keep everything snug to prevent air from getting through and ruining the Moka coffee maker process.
The Cuisinox Roma espresso maker is our top choice in this list. A lot of care has gone into this product, making it stylish, practical, and high quality in both its design and the coffee brewed. This is one of many products that would be a worthy investment to last you decades and produce a consistent brew.
Another excellent choice is the 9090 from Alessi. Known for the quality and popularity of its products, you can be sure to get your money’s worth with this induction espresso maker whose innovations were made by a distinguished designer.
For electric options, the best stovetop espresso machine would be the EMK6 Alicia from Delonghi. It takes visual inspiration from the classic design of the Bialetti Moka coffee maker and adds modern touches of convenience and safety, without sacrificing the traditional Italian brewing method that espresso lovers have come to know and love.
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