Great value. Between a moka pot and an espresso machine. Best of both worlds
Negative Product Points
Started drinking moka pot coffee at age 16 and have been partial to standard 6 cup moka pots ever since (currently 33). Tried several pots. The standard Bialetti-shaped aluminum ones have been very good and are often quite cheap. Have been saying that moka pot coffee is often *much* better than espresso made with low- to mid-range machines. The Brikka brings moka pot to another level. A level of complexity, depth, intensity, significance...
Those who judge coffee through a set list of criteria might fail to discover the beauty of Brikka coffee. This is especially true of /crema/ snobs (you know who you are). Yes, the Brikka generates something similar to crema (there's some argument as to whether or not it's the same thing as crema). This crema-like emulsion may even stay in the cup for a while and have some texture. Even the colour might be similar to what you would expect from espresso. But that's not the point.
As CGists keep mentioning, moka pot coffee is a very special thing. Brikka coffee brings to this special thing most of the advantages of espresso.
Coffee made with a Brikka makes a statement. Very often, it's the type of coffee you will meditate on, savouring its every moment, heeding its call to reflect upon the experience that is coffee. The only way to get an average to subpar cup from the Brikka is to use subpar coffee or to forget the pot on the stove after it's finished brewing. As the pot is quite loud, that's a difficult thing to do... ;-)
The only problem is that it only makes a small volume of brewed coffee. Be warned that the volume of water shouldn't be more than the recommended amount. Unlike other moka pots, the Brikka will easily make a MESS if you OVERFILL it with water. It can be a good strategy to put a bit of water in the coffee basket of moka pots. NOT SO with the Brikka. You've been warned. ;-)
Been experimenting and weighing. The optimal ratios seem to be about 100ml water for 6 or 7g of rather finely ground coffee. Medium-high heat. Take off the heat as soon as brewed. Poor directly in an espresso cup. A closed lid doesn't seem to make much of a difference in terms of crema or flavour. Grind doesn't seem to matter much but it shouldn't be coarse.
The Brikka really lets the varietal and roast character shine through. Custom, complex blends (say with some East African and/or South East Asian beans) really show the Brikka's potential, the pot extracting all the subtleties in flavour and aroma of each component. Yet clean and "simple" coffee varieties (say, your typical Columbian Supremo) may seem more interesting than in most other situations.
Got it as a gift. Apparently, it was rather hard to find in specialty stores despite the fact that Montreal has great specialty stores in Little Italy and elsewhere. Most people don't seem to know about the Brikka yet.
Three Month Followup
Haven't been using the pot lately: burnt one of the gaskets and these are hard to find. So, as a negative point, non-standard pieces.