our first stove top espresso maker was a nondescript version belonging to my sister. we used it the whole time we were in kona, with much success and adoration. one of our first purchases after moving to covelo was a stove top espresso maker of our own. we went w/ the italian brand, bialetti, a company founded in 1919 which made the first stovetop espresso maker, the moka pot, in 1933.
this type of coffee maker produces a small amount of thick, rich espresso-shaped brew. if you are into large pots of drip
coffee, this may not be the machine for you. a 'four cup' bialetti produces 4 ozs of coffee. for a cup of traditional coffee, just add a bit of hot water. we enjoy ours 'cafe con leche' style... slowly heating about 12 oz of milk or half and half in a pot while brewing the espresso then splitting both the espresso and milk into two pre-heated mugs (sometimes w/ a bit of honey or sugar). the result is an enjoyably strong silky brew.
clean your bialetti w/ a sponge and cold water (no soap).
fill the bottom reservoir w/ fresh filtered cold water until it comes up to the tiny
hole in the side but does not cover it (this is an air valve).
grind a few tablespoons of coffee to a medium/fine grind, place the funnel-shaped piece on the reservoir and carefully spoon in your fresh grind - it is key to not tamp down the grounds (as you would w/ espresso).
clean the coffee grinds off the lip and thread of the bialetti.
slowly screw the carafe part of the bialetti onto the bottom half getting a snug fit w/ out prizing on the handle too much.
place over a medium to low flame or med electric heat
in 10 minutes or so the water will have heated, soaked through the grounds and poured into the carafe and often a gurgling sound will ensue a sure sign your espresso is ready (you can also lift the lid and peak at the espresso level). remove from heat and enjoy.