It's been nearly two years since I bought this thing at the local close out store, and I am still delighted with it. The thing operates on the same principle as a stove top machiatto, but with the filter basket above the pot. The water boils in the resevoir beneath the pot, and is then forced up through the coffee maker into the sealed lid/basket assembly. From there, the water is distributed through numerous holes in the lid directly onto the coffee, and pressure continues forcing it through the coffee and into the pot. Repeat; this is a pressurized system, not a drip type brewer.
While the coffee is brewing, you see lots of nice caramel colored crema gurgling into the pot from above, making you wonder if it's a espresso maker or a drip brewer. Well, it's neither and it's both. Which ever, it makes a delicious pot of coffee. The heating element that boils the water continues to keep the pot hot after brewing. But, it is inside the stainless steel resevoir, so it's not in direct contact with the pot. The locking mechanism should be re-engaged each time the pot is replaced so as to maintain maximum freshness.
There were a couple of things I was not happy with at first, but both have been overcome. First of all, the danged thing was tricky to get locked properly, as the lid would not always be lined up exactly right under the little hole at the top of the coffee maker where the water comes through.
This would result in loss of pressure, and water running out over the lid all over the counter. For about three months I put up with having to wriggle the pot in just right to make sure it was lined up. Then one day while emptying the filter and grinds by banging the plastic basket against the inside of my trash can, the little plastic handle snapped. This handle lines up to fit on the top of the carafe handle while jutting out from under the lid. As it turns out, this fixed the problem of alignment. Without the little handle sticking out the side of the basket, it was super easy to get the whole assembly in place without error, and I haven't had a spillover since.
The second thing that displeased me was the cost of new filters. Krups is the only manufacturer of these, and they charge around ten bucks for a box of 100. Undaunted, I simply measured my last filter, made a cardboard cutout, and began cutting my own filters from standard supermarket brand #4 cone filters. They work just as well, and are a whole lot cheaper. Suprisingly, this being a paper filter machine, the coffee taste is very pure and untainted. By the way, a grind somewhere between espresso and auto-drip is what works best. I set my grinder to grind half the size I would use for auto-drip. And, despite manufacturer recommendations for brewing less than a full pot (place another filter on top of the gounds if basket isn't full), this thing really does not do as good a job with anything other than a full pot.
I have found that it really does a wonderful job of bringing out those subtle nuances in Pacific and Asian beans. I used to really like shade grown Sumatra and Indonesian beans. Now, with the Moka Brew, I truly love them. This machine gives about the best flavor you're going to get with the possible exception of a press pot, and without the silt. It really does a great job, folks. Unfortunately, Krups has discontinued it and it may be hard to find. Had I known then what I know now, I would have bought the entire lot of 20 that the close out store where I live had at the time. Even though I paid just under fifty bucks for mine, I still think it's a great machine for $100.