Espresso maker for induction cooktop

eugenie11February 2, 2012

Does anyone know of a cooktop espresso maker that will work on induction?

I'm looking for something to replace the old-fashioned windmill-shaped 2-cup Italian espresso maker that I have - love it, but it's aluminum, so no good on induction.

Thanks!

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jscout

What about using a steel or cast iron simmer plate underneath?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 3:41PM
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eugenie11

Wow. Can you do that? Just put the aluminum espresso maker on top?

Never thought of that - thanks!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 5:30PM
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chac_mool

It should work, but its not likely as responsive as induction -- more like an old electric/radiant hob would be. This may not matter so much for making espresso, though.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 5:35PM
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eugenie11

Thanks chac mool - all that matters is that the water boils. I think. And rises into the top compartment. Dang. Have no idea how that old-fashioned-dag-nabbity thing works!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 6:02PM
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mojavean

I have always wondered how the steam doesn't wreck (burn) the taste of the coffee on those things. Many long years ago I had an old Krups steam pressure machine that used a boiler to force the water over the grounds. Because of the pressure-cooker nature of the device, superheated water would literally cook the grounds and make the coffee smell and taste very bitter. Is it the same deal with the stovetop types? Or have they figured out how to get around it?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 6:21PM
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marcolo

No steam pressure in a Moka. They're just percolators, more or less. It's the way Italians actually make their coffee at home, in contrast to the way the manufacturers of five-figure coffee makers would have us believe.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 6:51PM
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eugenie11

mojavean - my understanding of how these little gizmos work is that the basket of grounds sits in the water and as it boils from below it is forced up through that spout-thing up above (I peek inside to see if it's ready yet and see it gurgling away)...

But, no, my espresso never tasted burnt. On the other hand, I doused it with hot milk and sugar... It was the richest, most delicious four p.m. pick-me-up in the world. I miss it!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 6:52PM
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    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 7:15PM
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chac_mool

Thanks wallycat! Here's a different link (from yours), listing some purportedly induction capable stainless steel espresso makers, from $40 to $135 (at Amazon), dated June 2011. Since not all stainless steel is magnetic, they won't all work on induction.

I'd prefer an SS machine on induction over the metal disk thing (which would be cheaper), but that's me.

Here is a link that might be useful: stovetop espresso makers that should have induction base

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 7:30PM
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eugenie11

Thanks to all! I was just on Amazon looking at an electric Moka (the windmill-looking pot has a name - thank you, Marcolo), which looks just like the old-fashioned one, but, hey, you plug it in.

Who knew?

Love you guys!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 8:49PM
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mojavean

Thank you for the explanation, eugenie and marcolo! Sounds pretty good!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 11:23PM
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jscout

Marcolo's explanation is incorrect. The moka pot is not a percolator and does use steam pressure to make espresso. The water in the bottom part is separated from the top and sealed with a gasket. The cone holding the coffee grinds has a stem in the bottom that extends into the water below. As the water boils and steam builds up above the water level, water is pushed up through the grinds and further up through to the top chamber. There's a small vent in the water chamber to regulate the pressure. Once it gets going there is a steady stream of espresso into the upper pot. The only part of the process that resembles a percolator is the end when the water chamber is nearly empty and it's petering out.

I love the moka pot. After debating on and shopping for years for an espresso machine, a Cuban friend gave me a moka pot for making Cuban coffee. So simple yet it makes great espresso.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 6:15AM
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mojavean

Okay, so why is the temperature, which is well above the target temperature of ideal espresso-making water, not important here, but critically important in the case of a pump machine? To the point where people will wire in temperature controllers (PIDs) into their machines to obtain precise control?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 8:39AM
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eugenie11

So which espresso maker should I buy? Electric Moka? I like the stainless Biatletti Musa, too.

Does anyone have a recommendation?

You guys are so knowledgable... TIA

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 8:59AM
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jscout

Simple, people who require that precision are nuts. LOL. Don't forget those same nuts also require a certain grind too.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 9:00AM
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jscout

Sorry, Mo, I didn't mean to brush you off. But to answer you original inquiry, the ground sit above and are shielded from the heat of the burner. As long as there is water in the bottom it won't burn. Once the water is gone, the pot can get hot and over heat, burning the grinds. That's why you have to watch it and take it off the heat when it's done.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 9:14AM
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marcolo

A Moka is absolutely considered a type of percolator. It doesn't push steam through the coffee--the steam pressure (which is pretty low, in fact) pushes the water through the coffee.

A lot of Italians believe that aluminum makes better coffee than stainless steel. Aluminum is very traditional in Italy and not just because it's cheap. It has to be seasoned and you can never, ever put it in the dishwasher. My mom's sad old Moka, though heavier and better made than the new ones, is looking a little pekid and I might break with tradition and get a SS one anyway.

Personally I think the very concept of fancy home espresso makers are bizarre anyway. Of course many people who have them think they're being more authentic by not putting sugar in their coffee, so I don't think much of their judgment. Espresso is to be drunk standing up in public and downed in just a couple of minutes. You don't nurse it, you spend your time yakking with your friends.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 9:41AM
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trixieinthegarden

My husband, who is Italian and who's family has used the Moka (we call it a maganette) for generations, has recently declared the Aeropress made better espresso than anything he's ever tried. It's worth a look!

Here is a link that might be useful: Aeropress Espresso Maker

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 10:41AM
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eugenie11

I am actually kind of particular about my grind - if it's too fine, when I drink the coffee it feels like suede - I keep thinking it's staining my teeth, too.

On the other hand, if it's not fine enough, the flavor is too thin. I buy it pre-ground at the supermarket (they sell Peet's) though I know this is a sacrilege to the faithful. I haven't kept it in the refrigerator for years (we go through it fast enough) and I feel like I tithe enough to the Church of Caffeine in buying the spendy brand.

I don't go too OTT with fancy food, but with coffee, I do think you get what you pay for.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 11:07AM
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jsceva

The Krups machine mojavean refers to was probably the machine currently sold as the Krups "Moka Brew" - per the name, it does work essentially the same way as a moka pot, but on a larger scale. Water is boiled in a comparment at the bottom, under pressure, and the steam pushes the hot water up to a sprinkler above the grounds. Its a really old Krups design. I actually really like the coffee they make (their espresso machines, on the other hand, are horrid - but thats another story...).

Anyway, their biggest flaw is that that after the water is forced through they can allow some steam to actually hit the grounds, producing a distinctive and disgusting "cooked grounds" smell. I think this is what Mojavean is referring to. They shouldn't, however, actually produce coffee that tastes like the smell... if they are, it is is probably an issue with your grind, or a fault in the machine. The coffee is very extracted, however, which might be interpreted as bitter by some palates.

The issue doesn't apply to a Moka IF you use proper technique and take the pot off the heat source early enough. Its a matter of timing...after a whiel, you get a feel for it.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 9:19PM
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herring_maven

Vev Vigano Kontessa Nuova (6 cup).

End of story.

Example (with a little shoe leather, you might do better): http://www.amazon.com/Stovetop-Espresso-Maker-Vigano-Kontessa/dp/B001J0C2YC

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 10:01PM
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wallycat

Has anyone with induction purchased an SS moka pot and have their burner not recognize the size of the base of the moka pot??

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 2:26PM
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lightlystarched

I have the Ikea stovetop espresso pot and it works great on my induction cooktop.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ikea Radig

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 5:28PM
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Seattlelandlord

I received a Vev Vigano Vespress stovetop espresso maker for Christmas. Am in the process of kitchen remodel, so right now I have only a small induction cooktop (Max Burton). The espresso maker won't work on it because it requires a 4" bottom, and the Vespresso has only a 3-3/4" bottom. Don't know whether a standard induction range (I have a Whirlpool on order) will recognize the 3-3/4" base, but I'm thinking of replacing it with one that has a larger base. Does anyone have any info on induction espresso makers that would have a 4" base?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 9:02PM
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