My Bialetti Brikka

I've had my Bialetti Brikka (bought here) for roughly a month now, and I really like it. Time to share some experiences!

You bought a what?!

The Brikka is a slight variation on what is traditionally known as a caffettiera. It is a method of brewing espresso which relies on the pressure that builds up when heating the water, and releases it all at once (about 2 bar, I heard) through the coffee.

How does that work?

The Bialetti Brikka consists of a base, a coffee holder, and a pot. The Brikka consists of three main parts, a base that holds the water, a holder that holds your ground coffee, and a pot that will collect the coffee once it's done.

1. Fill the base with water

I like to keep the water level slightly below the level on the measuring cup The unit comes with a measuring cup; I like to keep the water slightly below the marked line, but that's probably just my personal preference.

2. Grind yourself some coffee

Of course, you can go with pre-ground coffee, but if you're a little serious about this, get yourself a decent burr grinder. The amount of beans you need what you can easily fit in the cup of the Brikka. You will need about as many beans as you can fit in the cup I'm pretty sure you can use any espresso bean with this; I personally really like Simon Levelt's Corazon. I set my Solis Maestro on 24 I set my Solis Maestro on roughly 24, which is right in the middle of the Filter grade. I can go a little finer, but when I do, some particles get through to the coffee.

3. Put the coffee in

Put the coffee in the cup Don't compress the coffee Place the coffee holder on the base, and shake in the coffee. The coffee should sit loosely in the cup, so don't press it like you would when using an espresso machine.

4. Screw the parts together

Screw the images together, but not too tightly. Just put your hands around both pieces of the coffee maker, and don't use the handle for leverage. Also, make very sure that no particles of coffee get caught in the thread. If they do, it will not be possible to reach the required pressure, and water will start leaking from between the thread.

5. Put on a small fire

Put the Brikka on the smallest fire you can manage Although Bialetti states that you should put your coffee maker on a "small but intense heat source", I keep the fire as low as possible. This way, the water takes longer to reach the desired pressure, and I believe the pressure is slightly higher, resulting in better coffee. Could also just be me... It will take about five minutes to brew.

6. Pour!

Take the coffee of the heat as quickly as possible As soon as you hear the guzzling sound, turn of the heat as quickly as possible, and pour your coffee. If you wait too long (ten seconds would be long), you will lose that nice layer of froth.

Espresso in a Bodum glass There, doesn't that look awesome?

7. Clean soon

It's no fun, but you will have to keep this device really clean. Once I make my coffee, I put cold water in the pot, and leave it to cool. After about half an hour, unscrew, tap out the coffee (notice that it is almost dry), and rinse the whole installation with water. Dry it, leave to dry a bit further, and assemble the next day.

The verdict

This is one of most laborious way I know of making coffee; it will take you some ten minutes before you can start enjoying a single cup of espresso. For me, this does add to the fun (my other favorite way of making coffee is using a French press).

The coffee is great, I think it's on par with what you would get at most bars or restaurants, plus you can pick your own beans and grinding. Short of buying a serious espresso machine, this is the closest you can get to good espresso. Plus, I really love the sound of the brewing process.