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Newbie saying hi - and canvassing thoughts on Otto vs Bellman

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  • Newbie saying hi - and canvassing thoughts on Otto vs Bellman

    Hi everyone, new snob in incubation here - early stages, spending too many work hours Googling my new obsession and browsing these forums, you know the drill.  ;D

    As an all-grain home (beer) brewer I guess I already tend towards getting a bit obsessed with things, and I get as much fun out of the gear and processes involved as the results. However, not being a coffee snob thus far my coffee brewing has been limited to the occasional plunger brew with supermarket beans (better than instant, nothing to get excited about). Ive recently bought a house and now waking up in my own place on weekends I find myself craving a decent coffee, so its time to ramp things up a notch.

    At this stage Im keen to keep it stovetop - Im becoming a bit retro in my old age and I have a wood-burning stove which gives me a nice hot hotplate for free all winter, so why burn extra electrons. I picked up a moka pot from the Oppy last week, but forgot to buy some coffee (duh) so Ill give it its maiden run this weekend. However, I already know that Ill want more - some frothy milk would be nice, and Im not the biggest fan of aluminium cookware. I dont mind spending a bit of money on quality gear that will function well and last for years.

    I have lustful feelings towards an Atomic style machine - even if the coffee is no better than a moka, I would get the steam, as well as a particularly sexy addition to my kitchen. Once you start considering spending Atomic money, however, the Otto looks like pretty good value for what is essentially an Atomic on steroids, in glorious polished stainless. Its a lot of money, sure, but it is a beautiful thing and by all accounts makes a fine brew. My concern though is how well itll go on a wood stove - fine temperature control is not exactly their forte, and amounts to moving the pot between the hot side and the warm side. What is potentially more of a problem is that I am unable to start it on a cold stove - it will be placed onto a very hot surface, and I dont know whether that is OK for these machines.  Perhaps I could pre-heat by filling with hot water first. Any thoughts?

    Once youve been tenderised to the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on a stovetop machine (even a nice stainless moka pot can run to over $150) the Bellman looks postively budget. I imagine the pressure gauge would go some way towards getting consistent results from an inconsistent heat source, and the interchangeable basket makes a lot of sense and means I can just as easily brew for one as rustle up a handful of coffees after a dinner party, which is also appealing (presumably in those situations the Atomic/Otto would just sit there looking pretty and making steam while I brewed up a separate plunger for my guests). However, it isnt very pretty to look at, and I will probably still lust after the Otto. On the other hand I could get a Bellman tomorrow, whereas Id have to start saving my pennies for the Otto.

    So, any thoughts on the Bellman and/or Otto, or any other suggestions?

  • #2
    Re: Newbie saying hi - and canvassing thoughts on Otto vs Bellman

    I think you will find that the Otto, and I know the Belman tend to work best if you put hot water into them at the start, so that isnt going to cause you any problems either way.
    How often will you be making several coffees for guests, as opposed to only 1 or 2 coffees?
    Or Get the Belman now, and save for something else down the track.