Simple, portable option for good espresso. The Bialetti Moka Express is a simple aluminum pot designed for use on a stovetop. Owners like its simplicity, although it takes some practice to achieve the perfect brew. It's easy to store thanks to its compact size, which also makes it great for travel.
Ideal for daily use. The Bialetti's eight-sided design diffuses heat evenly to extract the best flavor from coffee grounds. It's available in 1-, 3-, 6-, 9- and 12-cup sizes ranging in price from about $25 to $75. At Amazon.com, a few owners say the smaller sizes produce better-tasting espresso. Surprisingly, some suggest that merely rinsing it out is better than cleaning it with dish soap, saying that continuous use produces richer flavor.
Amazon.com reviewers say the Moka Express makes "hands-down the best espresso ever," praising its simple, sturdy design that perfectly combines steam and pressure. Users say it's great for everyday use, and although it takes about 10 to 15 minutes per brew cycle, the taste achieved is well worth the wait and effort.
One of users' most common concerns is the actual serving size of the Moka Express pots. Espresso is typically served in much smaller portions, with a cup measuring about 2 ounces. Given this math, the 9-cup Moka Express produces about four typical servings of espresso rather than the traditional kitchen measurement.
Practice makes perfect. It takes some time to get the hang of using the Bialetti Moka Express, say editors at Good Housekeeping. Finding the perfect grind consistency is a trial-and-error process, and the pot must be hand-washed to avoid discoloration of the aluminum casing. In general, users say it takes between 10 and 15 minutes to produce the best cup of joe.
Because the Moka Express requires heat to work, it's typically used on a stovetop. However, several owners say at Amazon.com and Viewpoints.com that it's great for camping trips and traveling, because it can be used over nearly any heat source. For caffeine on the go, it's far more practical to tote this small, simple pot than to pack a 30-pound semi-automatic countertop machine.
Hand wash for durability. Constructed of aluminum, this simple stovetop pot is highly durable and will last for years with proper care, users say. It requires hand washing, mostly to prevent corrosion and discoloration of the aluminum. Because it's not electric, there are fewer parts and gadgets that could malfunction.
Iconic, old-fashioned appeal. With a simple, charming design, this octagonal pot is small enough to easily store in a cabinet or drawer. One owner says at Amazon.com that the Moka Express is "one of those rare items that does what it is supposed to do, is inexpensive, and is stylish (the octagonal design is iconic)."
Review Credibility: Excellent More than 375 owners review the 6-cup Bialetti Moka Express at Amazon.com, giving it 4.5 stars out of 5. All sizes of this model are identical in form and function, and users call this stovetop espresso maker simple to use, durable and easily portable. Product listings for other sizes also attract a good amount of feedback.
Review: Bialetti 6800 Moka Express 6-Cup Stovetop Espresso Maker, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2013
2. Good Housekeeping
Review Credibility: Excellent The 6-cup Bialetti Moka Express is among several inexpensive espresso machines tested in this roundup. Editors call it the "traditional aluminum pot that's synonymous with Italian coffee." They point out that it should be hand-washed and say it takes a little practice to master.
Review: Best Stovetop Espresso Makers, Editors of Good Housekeeping, Sept. 15, 2009
Review Credibility: Very Good About 35 owners review the 6-cup Moka Express on Cooking.com. Other sizes are grouped separately, but overall these espresso makers accumulate nearly 80 user reviews with high average ratings of 4.5 stars out of 5 or better. Owners say the Bialetti is quick and convenient, and makes a great cup of espresso.
Review: 6-c. Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker by Bialetti, Contributors to Cooking.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Good Here the Bialetti Moka Express gets a score of 91 out of 100, with about 25 owners weighing in. Reviews of all sizes are included, although each is identical in form and function. One user sums up, "It just plain works each and every time you want to make some [espresso]."
Review: Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Fair Just more than a dozen owners post reviews of the Bialetti Moka Express on CoffeeGeek.com, where it maintains an average rating of 8.7 out of 10. Users praise its low cost and ability to produce excellent espresso.
Review: Vac Pots & Others: Bialetti Moka Express, Contributors to CoffeeGeek.com, As of January 2013