My other coffee maker- 14th Feb 2022

Signore Bialetti

I have spoken of making coffee before but today I want to show you this. I have had this type of coffee maker, in varying sizes and types, for all of my adult life and it has been a love-hate relationship. Or rather, a love-disappointment relationship. I will explain.

There is a reason that so many of these things are in so many homes all over the world. They were a true wonder when they were invented in 1933 and for the first time people could make an espresso type coffee in their own homes for a small investment in terms of money. They last forever and all the component bits are replaceable. What’s not to like?

Well, making coffee in one of these pots can be akin to a dark art. For years, every time I tried, I brewed a bitter and burnt beverage that satisfied my longing to use the little pot but literally left a bad taste in my mouth. I just couldn’t get the hang of it.

Enter the internet. Pinterest, to be precise. Just about everything you might be interested in finding out an opinion on in your life is probably there. And so it was with these little coffee makers. My husband bought me this pot for Christmas this year and it is a new version made for use on an induction hob. I set to work experimenting. Talk about ritual! Here are the steps that work for me.

  • Add just off the boil water to just below the steam valve in the bottom chamber.
  • Put coffee basket into the bottom and fill it up with the appropriate grind of coffee (not as fine as espresso) Fill it and level it a bit but do not tamp it down hard as you might with an espresso machine.
  • Carefully screw top on and treat this process with care on several fronts: the top is aluminium (the bottom is Stainless Steel for the induction hob) and it can get cross threaded if care is not taken. Also, the bottom is full of very hot water. Please use an oven cloth.
  • Place on a low heat and raise the lid as in the picture. DO NOT WANDER OFF! This is the paying attention part. Because the water is already hot in the bottom it will not take very long until the dark, thick, coffee starts to slowly trickle out of the funnel in the middle. You want to keep a very careful eye on this. Because the heat is quite low (the heat IS quite low, isn’t it?) it will not splutter.
  • What is happening now is the alchemy part. The first part of the extraction is where the richest, most aromatic and flavourful part of the coffee is happening. The smell at this stage is worth getting out of bed for and would sell a house in a heart beat. At the very moment you see the liquid start to really change to being much lighter and thinner, you have reached the stage when the acidic parts of the extraction are happening. The top is now only just over half full of liquid and the temptation is to let it carry on. Trust me. Stop. Take it off and immediately pour what has been made into a small jug or waiting cup.
  • If you put the maker back on the heat and extract the rest of the brew and then smell it, you will see why I said to stop early. It is really just foul and it is the part that disappoints and makes the coffee taste acidic and burnt.
  • The coffee that you poured into jug or mug is very concentrated. It can be topped up with a bit of water and then treated in any fashion you like your coffee to be.


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