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Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?

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  • Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?

    Hi all ,

    Thanks to this forum , I have been home roasting now for a few months
    and am enjoying the shots I am getting out of a Sunbeam em5800 that
    has had its baskets pimped out (de-pressurised)
    by its previous Coffee Snobber owner.

    My problem is this... When we have guests I am finding it quite labour
    intensive to keep everyone happy and coffeed up . By the time I get
    to drink my own cup an hour seems to pass and everyone seems to be leaving !

    So , after seeing some impressive pics of a stovetop brew elsewhere in the forums
    Id like to purchase a few stovetops of varying cup sizes and try my luck..

    Is there anything I should be looking for when purchasing ?
    ie:- Brand name ? Shape ? Construction ?


  • #2
    Re: Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?

    Have you thought about a decent plunger or filter machine?

    Stovetops over the 3 cup size is IMHO are too large to get excellent results like the ones you see here on this forum...

    Just my 2 cents worth,
    Marc

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?

      Glad to hear my old machine is still kicking on Wont disagree with the conclusion on slow heating times for big groups!

      Im still waiting for the budget to roll over enough for the VBM/Mini combo Im looking at, and living with plunger brew in the meantime, microwave for the milk heating... Fast enough, luckily I never have to do big groups as we dont have friends over... (new country and all)

      Sorry that this post contains no useful info... but I cant disagree with the plunger conclusion, Im loving trying different beans and getting to appreciate the taste differences that the plunger really brings out.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?

        Too true Matt ...

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?

          If you go for a stove-top, look for one with a big basket relative to the bottom water chamber size. Just open them all up and compare. Mine has a huge basket for a 4-cup (I think its a 4-cup) and youve obviously seen the photos. I reckon a 6-cup should still produce good results. The bigger they are, the longer they take to brew (in my experience) and thats probably not a great thing.

          The other thing to think about would be a vac-pot.

          I dont plunge much because I find grinding to the right level hard to gauge, but that would be the cheapest, easiest solution.

          Of course, youre looking at a longer, thinner brew with a plunger than with a stove-top. The stove-top can give 30ml espresso-like shots, which would mean also using your EM5800 to steam milk for the white-coffee drinkers.

          - Rob

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?

            Thanks for the advice guys !

            Im yet to get a decent brew out of the plunger but I may start experimenting
            with it again to see what I can come up with...

            As for stovetops , thanks for pointing out the limitations. I will get hold of a 3 cup
            to play around with and if the results are satisfactory I may just buy another of the
            same size and have both going at the same time to keep the mob happy.



            p.s. .. yes Matt , the machine is still soldiering on despite all of the swearing and
            shaking of fists it had to endure through my first few attempts =]

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?

              Originally posted by donny darkroast link=1179533130/0#0 date=1179533130

              Is there anything I should be looking for when purchasing ?
              ie:- Brand name ? Shape ? Construction ?
              I know that in my stovetop days 25 years ago, the popular wisdom was that the stainless steel stovetops made inferior coffee to the hexagonally-shaped aluminium ones.

              Bialetti was always THE brand, and the others were not as good.

              I remember being rapt finding a Lavazza Carmencita (cheap too!) in a hardware shop in Florence in the early 80s, the same model that used to feature in so many kitchen design ads and brochures. It looked so COOL!

              It sat proudly on my stove for a couple of years, but I could never bring myself to concede that the coffee it produced was not quite as good as the aluminium cheapie it had replaced....

              I still have it in the cupboard in case of machine breakdown.




              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?

                I have a Bialetti aluminium 3 cup and a Bialetti stainless 10 cup.
                1. The 10cup process can be speeded up by using very hot water to start with (not boiling though).
                2. The main reason for a better taste out of the 3 cup is IMHO due to the fact that it gets used at least three times a day, whereas the 10 cup only gets used when we have visitors. The relative porosity of the aluminium is more able to hold the "seasoning" that a moka pot requires, sort of like seasoning a wok.
                3. Most of my visitors wouldnt know a good cup of coffee if it threw itself at them.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?

                  Originally posted by Bill44A link=1179533130/0#7 date=1179617949

                  3. Most of my visitors wouldnt know a good cup of coffee if it threw itself at them.
                  ROFL ;D ;D ;D ;D

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?


                    I have two stove-top pots, and I can categorically say that not all stove-tops are created equally!

                    My first was a cheap, cheap ali one from Big W. It was like, $15 on special! It made better coffee than I was used to, but not as good as a friends stove-top.

                    I then bought a good stainless steel one, and it made the world of difference. I still drag it out of the cupboard every now and again.

                    Be careful of the middle of the range ones, they tend to be stainless steel or ali on the outside, but then use cheap ali for the basket, meaning it will add taste to the coffee.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?

                      Mine is an Italian G.A.T. brand Stainless Steel with Stainless steel basket and was $30 in a department store just over a year ago. The basket must hold about 30-35g of coffee, which is pretty good for a 3-cup (or is it 4-cup)?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?

                        In my (limited in range but frequent in consumption) experience, all stovetops are created inequal.

                        3-cups are my size - 2 cups dont produce enough end result for me and 6 cups take too long and I cant get the grip of them, they always seem to overbrew or some simply require too much cofee in the pot for a single person to drink.

                        My personal rankings go as follows:

                        #1 - Bialetti 3-cup. This italian made, original stovetop is forgiving, consistent and reliable. It doesnt sputter or spurt and pulls through happily every time. Highly recommended - if you like stovetops youll love this one, despite the comparatively higher price ($90+)

                        #2 - Whittards of Chelsea 3-cup. Reliable and well built, doesnt spray or bubble but not as forgiving with the grind/heat as the Bialetti. (15GBP)

                        #3 - Verna stainless 2-3 cup. Has a narrow but deep filter & a gimmicky optional spacer. Chuck the spacer and fill it deep. You wont be able to tamp this normally so practise finger pressure. Bubbles occasionally around the screw which is made of slightly soft metal. Not bad for the (low) price but doesnt produce enough of the end result. ($35-45)

                        #4 - random 3-cup from victorias basement. Unforgiving but well built and didnt spray often. With a medium heat and practice it was tamed after a couple of weeks. ($30-40)

                        #5 - Verna 3-cup aluminium. Unforgiving, tended to heat up too much and made of thinner aluminium than others. Lid was badly fitting and spout had a limiting pour speed - it would just dribble down the side. Used 3 of these and one was markedly better than the other two. Very cheap though! ($17)

                        hope that helps someone!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?

                          (so hexagonal are the way to go, with wide baskets, good screws and my preference is for a stainless basket in a aluminium pot)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?

                            Originally posted by Identity link=1179533130/0#11 date=1181456459
                            My personal rankings go as follows:

                            #1 - Bialetti 3-cup. This italian made, original stovetop is forgiving, consistent and reliable. It doesnt sputter or spurt and pulls through happily every time. Highly recommended - if you like stovetops youll love this one, despite the comparatively higher price ($90+)
                            Thanks for the thorough run-down.

                            Wow. I regularly see aluminium Bialetti pots at the supermarket and other places for around $30. Who is charging $90? Or are you talking about a Bialetti Brikka or perhaps one of their electric ones?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Are All StoveTops Created Equal ?

                              OK Mods, where did my post on the history of aluminium Moka pots go?

                              Comment

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