badmajon Senior Member Joined: 26 Apr 2012 Posts: 13 Location: Pasadena, CA Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sun Aug 26, 2012, 4:50am Subject: Bialetti size taste difference
Hello, I started using a bialetti 3 cup mokka pot when I was away on business, and now that I'm living back home again I bought a 12 cup version in order to make enough to share. This morning, my wife slept in, so I dusted off the old 3 cup version since I was only making one for myself, and wow, the coffee tasted good!
Later, my wife woke up and I made a batch in the 12 cup model. Wow, inferior coffee. Why is this? My best coffee memories come from the small pot- coffee brewed in the 12 cup model just tastes thin and not nearly as flavorful.
My questions are 1) why is there a taste difference and 2) can I get the same 3 cup flavor in my 12 cup?
Posted Sun Aug 26, 2012, 3:53pm Subject: Re: Bialetti size taste difference
Nothing definite I'm afraid. I've always viewed stovetop coffee as being a bit of a folk art, and not lending itself easily to a precise and refined process. That is all part of its charm I think.
Having said that, although I don't have bialetti devices, I do have several stovetop brewers of various sizes. What is obvious is that the ratio of coffee to water differs depending on which one you use, and in the main it differs based on their relative sizes.
The coffee "puck" is deeper in the larger devices, and the smaller brewers also tend to go through the process more quickly than the larger ones both of which must have some impact on the extraction.
I wouldn't normally drink stovetop coffee black, but it does make good hefty coffee for café au lait even if not being strictly the way it should be done.
russel Senior Member Joined: 12 Mar 2010 Posts: 423 Location: Los Angeles Expertise: Professional
Espresso: 73' Cremina, '74 Club,... Grinder: Super Caimanos x2, Forte BG,... Drip: V60, Kalita Wave, Clever,...
Posted Sun Aug 26, 2012, 8:48pm Subject: Re: Bialetti size taste difference
Years ago stove top was all that I used. I have 6 or 7 of them in different sizes. I too have found that the smallest ones make the best coffee. I pre heat the water to just under boiling, and use some to pre warm the lower half before assembling them and putting them on the stove. My theory is that the ratio of metal to water is higher in the smaller pots, meaning that the smaller pots heat up less by the time the brew is done. I have some non-bialetti pots that are much heavier and use a lot more aluminum in their build. I find the coffee from the smallest of these to be the best.
I guess I should weigh each pot and see what those ratios actually are...
I did a side-by-side taste test this morning, and it's confirmed.
The Bialetti 12 cup makes crappy coffee.
It's really just not that good. The coffee made with the 12 cup bialetti moka express has very little body, and varetial notes are nearly impossible to discern. Meanwhile, the coffee brewed in the 3 cup version was absolutely wonderful.
My grinder is probably the weakest link in my production chain, but I could still easily taste the subtal varietal notes in the 3 cup version and the coffee had way more body.
So I guess it's back to the drawing board on how to make a good large pot of coffee for my wife and I to share. Chemex maybe? Neither of us are big on drip coffee or french press. Well, the search goes on. Of course the best solution is a $1000 dollar espresso machine, but that's too expensive for us now.
For good coffee on a Bialetti budget, I would suggest an aero press, or to make it easier to make multiple cups, two clever coffee drippers. The aero press will get you the "strong" cup your familiar with, but it's more technique driven and not the best thing to be doing in a rush while sleepy and un-caffeinated. For $50 you could get two clevers, a scale, a timer, and some filters and you would have all the equipment (other than a good grinder) you would need to make a two large cups of very good coffee. Spend what you would have spent moving to espresso making on some nice coffee subscriptions and all you would have left to do is to develop the palate and skills needed to get the best flavor in you cup. I know it's not espresso, but neither is a Moka pot, not by a long shot. Capable espresso equipment is expensive, period. Just making your self a really good cup of coffee in the morning doesn't have to be.
Then again, you might consider buying another 3 cup moka pot and just making two at a time...nothing wrong with that.
Out of curiosity, how do you think about your Moka pot coffee? Is it espresso? Espresso-like? Strong brew? The last coffee I had from a Moka pot was terrible (and well over a year ago), but it was being made as if it was some sort of psudo-cappuchino, so it was doomed from the start.
An affordable device that makes a rich, full-bodied brew, and enough for two? The new, larger Espro press (mine is on the way). The body of French press without the bitterness of the sludge. I prefer its mouthfeel and rich flavor over the Aeropress (when used with the paper filters). I have the smaller Espro Press (review on my website) and it is my #1 preferred brew method (and #1 recommended) after espresso.
Hey everyone. I ended up preordering the Behemor Brazen, so I'm currently waiting for that, but I have figured out how to make better coffee with the 12 cup bialetti. It's not as good as the 3 cup version, but its in the same ballpark if its done right.
I fill the resevoir only to about an inch below the water mark. Then, I fill the coffee 'basket' with coffee, assemble, then put it on the burner on 'high' for 2 minutes. Then I turn it down to medium. I then wait for the coffee to start percolating. I then control the heat so it only trickles out (taking about a minute to complete). Once it starts frothing/bubbling and the water level gets really low in the resevoir, I take it off the heat.
Then I top the brew off with hot water.
I think the problem has something to do with under extraction in the beginning and tannin extraction at the end. Moving the water slowly through the coffee but avoiding the bubbly stuff at the end improves the flavor immensely. Doing this takes a lot of skill too, my coffee quality varies day by day! Some days I get it just right, some days not so much. I guess in the end, it's not the best way of doing things.
I can't wait for that brazen brewer!
Oh and russel, I love the coffee that comes out of my 3 cup mokka pot. I actually brew with both in the morning, I drink the 3 cup's produce, and my wife and I split the 12 cup's. A drum roaster, a brataza grinder, and a 3 cup mokka pot = coffee heaven.
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