Bialetti is an Italian brand best known for its Moka Express the #1 seller in Italy. The company is expanding into US and international markets with a push to become the portable coffeemaker for outdoor and fitness enthusiasts. Bialetti sent a Brikka and grinder my way, here’s what I thought:
The Brikka pot is made of solid aluminum with a Bakelite handle. It’s heavy and feels well constructed. There are three distinct parts which need to be assembled for making coffee. The bottom pot portion is where you pour in water, and then put the funnel on top where you place the coffee grounds. Finally, you screw on the top and you are ready to make coffee.
The principle of making coffee in the Brikka is quite simple. Water is heated in the lower container and forced by its own steam up, through the metal filter, through the coffee grounds at high pressure and into the upper container. The Brikka pot includes a special dual-valve in its design, which allows for higher pressure in the lower container.
This produces a large amount of froth and foam. You’ll notice that the lower section of the pot has a safety valve, so you do not have to worry about it turning into a stove-top explosive device.
The Bialetti Brikka did take some time to get used to. While the system is quite easy to assemble and making a cup of coffee can be accomplished in just minutes, getting perfect results takes a little trial and error. It took me five tries to get coffee with smooth flavor and thick, rich cream. But, once you have all the tricks down you will end up with results that are really quite incredible for such a quick process. Here’s what I learned:
- Use cold water. While many online guides suggest pre-heating water, I found cold water produced the smoothest flavor (plus there’s no risk of burning yourself while trying to attach the upper portion to a lower vessel filled with hot water)
- Don’t under-fill. Under filling reduces pressure which can cause the Brikka to stall out and overcook the coffee and reduce foam.
- Use good coffee. Using good, freshly ground, freshly roasted coffee will give the best results. I used fresh ground beans from Corvus here in Denver and the results were fantastic.
- Don’t pack, but tap. Don’t pack the coffee into the filter, but do give it a few taps to settle the grounds and remove air bubbles.
- Go hot. Turn your burner to high, this will create the most pressure.
Overall, this stove-top espresso maker is great for making delicious espresso with cream in a hurry without expensive equipment. The pot is very easy to clean, portable and a great value for the money. But, it does require a bit of a learning curve to get great results and the manual process won’t be for everyone.
I can see why the Bialetti espresso maker has been around for 80 years. It’s simple to use and is designed to last forever.