making espresso on the stove

stove top espresso

Now that I’ve been working from home more these past few months, I missed picking up an occasional espresso drink on my way into the office. I have a 15+ year old Krups coffee maker that does a decent job making drip coffee, but it’s nothing compared to a really good latte. I used to have a countertop espresso maker, but I gave it to a friend because I hated dealing with dragging it out and cleaning it. This holiday season, my sister brought espresso back into my home life by bequeathing me her Bialetti Musa stovetop espresso maker. I will admit, I was intimidated to use it, but after my first try, I’m sold! Here’s how I did it:

1. Fill the lower chamber of the espresso maker with water. Be sure not to cover the brass colored safety release valve.

2. Insert the metal filter basket into the lower boiler chamber.

3. Scoop coffee ground for espresso into the filter basket and lightly push down the grounds with the back of a spoon. (I’ve read several opinions about tamping the grounds – some say that tamping can clog the filter, other say it’s the only way to go. I decided to shoot for the middle.)

4. Place the rubber gasket on top of the filter basket, then the filter plate on top of the gasket.

5. Tightly crew the upper chamber onto the lower chamber.

6. Place the entire espresso maker onto a burner. Heat to boiling.

7. Once the water begins to boil, and you’ll hear it, let the upper chamber fill with brewed espresso (about a 45 seconds) and take it off the burner.

8. Finally, pour the brewed espresso into a cup and add milk and sugar, if you like.

Enjoy! – Rebecca F.

my awesome espresso machine rancilio silvia
how do you get your coffee fix?

Photo credit: Rebecca Firlik

From our partners

We use this exact Bialetti maker every day…great coffee and no countertop clutter. You can even take it camping.


I have the IKEA one ($15), and it works the exact same way. Great espresso. I miss my Gaggia, but I don’t think the $500 price tag is worth it compared to the espresso I get from my stovetop gadget.

But here’s what I’m really lusting over: A Nespresso milk frother.

Donna K.

Recently got the Mukka express stovetop espresso maker- it froths milk while it makes the coffee! Pretty amazing machine! A+++


If you keep using your Bialetti, one of these Dosacaffe dispensers is a great investment – sits on top of the filter basket and dispenses the perfect amount of coffee every time. For those of us whose aim isn’t the greatest in the morning, it’s a lifesaver.

ha, I got one of these for Christmas too and have been wondering how to use it. Thanks!

Megan B

Ginny: don’t buy the Nespresso aeroccino frother!!! NOOO! I work with them quite a bit and they have issues galore. Get the Capresso froth pro — its cheaper, the milk gets hotter, and you can wash it MUCH easier. The one caveat is its less attractive.

I love using the moka pot — it’s my traveling method of choice. Not true espresso, but tasty and satisfying in a pinch. One tip I was recently given that has made a huge flavor difference is to preheat the water before putting it in the lower chamber for brewing. It imparts less of that metallic flavor to the brew.

OH wow! I miss my expressos too, now that I’m a SAHM. THANKS for the scoop!


I have four Bialetti, from 2 demitasse to 6 demitasse. That is what most Italians use at home.

shelterrific » Blog Archive » five things we learned last week

[…] Your morning stovetop espresso is an important (and no fuss!) ritual. Rebecca F. gave a helpful how-to on the subject and we have fans and converts. ModFruGal says: “We use this exact Bialetti maker […]

coffee, anyone? « studio lovely

[…] A shelterrific post on stovetop espresso. […]

shelterrific » Blog Archive » kinda genius: capresso milk pro frother

[…] moved back to the States. Instead, I make my morning coffee the Italian way, with a very affordable stovetop espresso maker. And I’m OK with that. But a girl can still have her thick, luxurious froth, can’t she? With […]