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The Little Guy (Otto) vs Moka Pot

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  • The Little Guy (Otto) vs Moka Pot

    I currently make my coffee with an Aeropress, which I'm happy with, but was interested in The Little Guy. I have used a Moka Pot years ago, but not recently.


    I wanted to look into The Little Guy. Has anyone had any experience with this product? Does it produce better coffee opposed to a Moka Pot? If not, is there a way to get steamed milk some other way?



    Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • #2
    + 1 - for the 'best how to steam / silk milk, - out on the road / camping'.
    Anyone who can relate their experiences / best equipment / method - as part of this thread.
    Apols cdhamo - not trying to kidnap your thread, thought kill two birds ( magpie season starting up here !!) with one stone
    ATM I just heat milk and run it thru a Plunger to 'aerate' - not the best but better than - characterless flat flat whites

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    • #3
      We have used our beautiful Otto many times when on the road and it makes espresso equal to or better than any single boiler machine I have tried.
      You do need to have a good hand grinder though and we use the same grind as for our VBM Levetta.
      It takes about 12 minutes on medium heat to get great sweet tasting double shot (we have never had bitter over extracted espresso from it).
      Reduce the heat and it will make lovely foam too.
      Otto makes true espresso whilst Moka pots make strong brewed coffee.
      There are plenty of Youtube videos about Otto and how to use it.
      Cheers ,
      Herbie.

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      • #4
        Hi,
        I have had one for a few years and use it when away from home
        I love it , it makes great coffee after a learning curve and is very transportable. I haven't used a Moka to compare
        Good luck
        Cheers
        Dr Dave

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        • #5
          I wish I had one a beutiful piece of coffee art!! Had a coffee from one and it was very good!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by herbie View Post
            Otto makes true espresso whilst Moka pots make strong brewed coffee.

            I don't understand how "true espresso" is possible if it doesn't use a pump or spring lever? I picked up a flyer when i saw it in DJ's because of how beautiful it is, it features a schematic (which is quite simple), but all I can see is a boiling chamber with two hoses, one to the steam wand and the other to the group head. This would suggest that it simply uses unimpeded steam pressure, just like a moka pot, so probably at less than 2 bar. Obviously being able to tamp the coffee builds some level of pressure, but this isn't impossible with a moka pot, the caution being that stream pressure gets too hot before it gets beyond 2bar.

            I would have bought one but I already have a Bellman which does allow pressure to be built up to 2bar before the water is necessarily too hot to be good.

            Which to weigh in on the debate of best portable steamed milk solution, I'd say the bellman is a very good option and $600 cheaper than Otto.

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            • #7
              Without trying to condescending, the reason you don't understand how it can make true espresso is because the little guys inventor worked with a professor of thermo dynamics when creating it. They worked out how to get the right pressure and temperature through the coffee in order to match espresso from a Giotto. They used the Giotto as the benchmark and matched the taste you get from it.
              I have used a moka pot, little guy, and various e61 machines, and the little guy will make espresso as tasty as the Giotto - no joke. Also steam pressure is very similar for steaming milk as the Giotto, and it microfoams beautifully.
              This thing is a serious high end espresso machine. For my money it will produce better espresso more consistently than even a Silvia. Temp swing on Silvia is tricky to work out.

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              • #8
                I was wrong with my initial assumptions, but that can be put down in part to an overly simplistic schematic that I was relying on and, as you say, my ignorance of thermal dynamics. I found an explanation on another coffee forum, to my understanding, a series of valves, the thermal 'wicking' properties of the thick metals and a 'pressure loop' in the units neck are able to build pressure up to a consistent 3 bar at the ideal temperature range of 90-94C. I'm guessing the reason that induction cooktops are preferable is because there is no ambient heat waving up the unit, just the measured and known amount in the boiler base. 3 bar still isn't true espresso in a strict sense, though it obviously produces crema and a thick body so I guess being pedantic is of no use. I am now quite intrigued by this unit and the sorrentina atomic remakes... I wonder if I can demo them anywhere...

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                • #9
                  I have not used a Moka Pot or an Atomic so cannot compare.

                  I have recently bought a Little Guy. The great design and build appeals to me.

                  Craig Hiron from Sydney has taken the external classic Italian style of the Atomic stove top coffee maker and with the help of experts has redesigned the internals and over four years came up with a gadget without moving parts or electronics that makes great coffee and froths milk as well as many more expensive machines do.

                  Its portability makes it very suitable for when travelling but as it makes only two cups of coffee at a time and must be cooled down between brewings, it is unsuitable for when entertaining.

                  While the Atomic is made from cast aluminium The Little Guy is made from cast stainless steel and should last forever.

                  Barry

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                  • #10
                    Hi all

                    Umm .... there is no such thing as a "professor of thermo dynamics". They might be a Professor of physics", in which case they will have an understanding of thermodynamics.

                    I had coffee from an Otto once, and perhaps the owner didn't know how to run it, but at the price of an Otto I decided to stay with Moka pots. There may be something to the heat transfer being better in the Otto though, through better design than the Moka pot. I am yet to be convinced. (I have a few Moka pots and I don't use the SS ones, only the Al ones, because the SS Moka pots make a "flat" brew compared to the Al ones. So metal choice and thermal conductivity are important.)

                    Mike

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by speleomike View Post
                      Hi all

                      Umm .... there is no such thing as a "professor of thermo dynamics". They might be a Professor of physics", in which case they will have an understanding of thermodynamics.
                      Ummm... beg to differ with you but a very close friend of mine has a PhD in Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics from Cambridge University and now teaches the same so I would think that makes him a Professor of Thermodynamics

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                      • #12
                        You get a PhD in Physics - it does not state the exact field of research. You get a PhD and you can get a Professorship and he prob teaches all sorts of physics. Its still just a "Professor of Physics" in most cases. We are off the topic a bit though :-)

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                        • #13
                          Such titled people do exist Mike...

                          Perhaps in Oz, the position and title have little to no relevance due to the extreme specialisation involved. By way of an example, I have read a lot of material published by this guy...
                          Professor John Young

                          Mal.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by speleomike View Post
                            You get a PhD in Physics - it does not state the exact field of research. You get a PhD and you can get a Professorship and he prob teaches all sorts of physics. Its still just a "Professor of Physics" in most cases. We are off the topic a bit though :-)
                            "Andrew McIntosh is professor of thermodynamics and combustion theory at the University of Leeds"

                            "PROFESSOR ERICH MULLER Professor of Thermodynamics, Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London"

                            The two first examples popping up when googling "Professor of Thermodynamics"

                            Just sayin' ;-P

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                            • #15
                              Okies :-)
                              Looks like in Engineering one gets Professors of Thermodynamics :-) Dimal and Vinitasse win.

                              back to the topic ...
                              A pump driven espresso machine with a 58mm PF needs 9bar and assuming the Otto uses a 49mm PF then all things being equal one would expect that it would need (49/58)^2 x 9 bar = 0.71 x 9 = 6.4 bar. But as it only uses 3 bar then it uses at most 1/2 the pressure of a pump driven espresso machine. So extraction can't be as fast. I would tempted to guess then that the flavour would be hard to match with a pump machine. I would imagine the extraction would be between an espresso machine and a Moka pot.

                              Mike
                              Last edited by speleomike; 12 January 2015, 09:46 PM.

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