How to use a Stovetop Espresso Maker

What is the best way to get a fantastic tasting coffee while living or sailing on a boat? How can you ensure that when you’re anchored off a beautiful tropical island, your coffee cravings are not left wanting? The answer – learn how to use a stovetop espresso maker! (Video at bottom of the post)

How to use a stovetop espresso maker

How to use a stovetop espresso maker

Without a doubt, having a Stovetop Espresso Maker onboard is an absolute must.

Upon waking, the necessary energy needed for my body to rise has always been provided by the thought of my life-sustaining cup of Joe. Previous to moving aboard our sailboat I faithfully stopped by a café every morning to enjoy my medium-sized café latte.

Out of all my worries about being a full-time sailing live aboard, the question of finding good coffee was high on my list!

Thankfully, when we took over our boat, Britican, we discovered a Stovetop Espresso Maker in the cupboard. Not knowing what to do with it, my husband and I looked at it for weeks. Thankfully, my cousin, Loryn, came aboard and gave us our first stovetop coffee making tutorial (Loryn is pictured above).

Since that day my coffee needs have always been met and the money I’ve saved isn’t just pocket change!

Aside from being able to make a great cup of coffee these handy stovetop coffee makers help coffee lovers save money drinking at home rather than at a high-priced café. And heck, once you’re out sailing the seas, it becomes obvious that getting a proper cup of coffee is rarely possible.

Furthermore, what you think is a good coffee doesn’t necessarily translate in other countries. I remember having a coffee in Cyprus. The coffee looked like a shot of espresso. It was very strong. Milk was not offered but sugar was. Not only was the coffee strong but the coffee grinds were in the bottom! With an already tiny cup of coffee, the drinker was limited to only the available liquid above the grinds. One wrong swig and you’d have a mouth full of inedible shavings.

Anyway, the stovetop espresso maker has benefits over and above making a good cup of inexpensive gourmet coffee:

  • It’s easy to clean.
  • It’s easy to store.
  • If the coffee maker goes hurling off the stove it’s very unlikely to break (no glass). It might, however, dent the boat or someone’s toe, so make sure to secure it if you’re sailing!
  • No electrical cords.
  • Doesn’t take long to brew.
  • Can percolate any type of coffee. It’s not a proprietary machine where you have to buy coffee packages to fit the machine.
  • They’re super inexpensive to buy. These little stovetop jobbers make the same quality espresso as a industrial mega-expensive machine.

So, how do you use the stovetop coffee maker?!

  1. Pour water into the lower base unit ensuring that it does not go above the steam hole.
  2. Put the funnel into the basin and fill with ground coffee. Make sure to press it down quite firm. Note that that you need to use ground coffee and not instant coffee. Furthermore, if you have coffee beans, you’ll need to grind them first.
  3. Screw on the top of the coffee maker.
  4. Put the unit on the stovetop at high heat.
  5. In the meantime, heat a pan of water and/or a pan of milk depending on your coffee tastes. Put the milk on low – otherwise it will boil and curdle. Put the water on high if you like very hot coffee.
  6. Once the coffee maker starts to percolate and/or steam let it go for 10 to 30 seconds and then remove from the heat. Let it finish percolating.
  7. Once the coffee maker stops making noises, pour your desired amount of espresso into a cup and add water and/or milk to taste.

Where can you buy a stovetop coffee maker?

My answer to any question about purchasing items is almost always, ‘Amazon’. Below I’ve showcased a few coffee makers that will do the job. Ideally, you want to find one that is sturdy with a solid handle. We’ve had to superglue a handle on a few times, but ultimately these coffee makers stand the test of time. Also keep in mind how much coffee you’ll want to make (routinely).

I suggest getting one that isn’t painted (although I did highlight one above to show you various options). We have a black large stovetop coffee maker, as shown in the video, and it has scratches in it displaying the aluminum. I just doesn’t look very nice.

Regarding the size of the coffee maker. Consider how many people will regularly being using it. For our boat, we have a 2-person size and a 4-person size when we have guests. It’s not difficult, however, to brew our 2-person pot twice!

How can I see a live demonstration of using a stovetop coffee maker? (watch the video below)

If you want to know about other ‘MUST-HAVES’ on a boat, read: Top 10 Essentials for Living on a Sailboat And if you’re looking to buy a boat, maintain a boat or anything to do with being a boat owner, please visit my Sailing Britican Shop to check out our handy guides and books.

Finally…if you have any questions, comments or want to add a tip or suggestion, please leave a note in the comments below.