GSI Backcountry Espresso 1 Cup, Veg Vigano Stainless 6 Cup
Produces excellent coffee that exceeds steam machine results and mediocre cafe espresso.
Positive Product Points
The Dama is an inexpensive alternative to a steam "espresso" maker and produces an excellent cup of homemade Italian coffee.
Negative Product Points
It is aluminum, somewhat difficult to clean and the finish does not hold up on the exterior of the pot with extended use.
The Bialetti Dama was purchased for my lost/stolen GSI one shot backcountry espresso maker. I never looked back.
I use the Dama daily to make my "espresso", and it produces a beverage that is full bodied, hot, very strong and full of flavor. With quality roasted beans, my "shots" exceed anything that comes out of a steam machine, which can be many times the price of a Bialetti.
I have found that the best results are achieved when the entire six cups are made. This involves a nearly full basket of finely ground fresh beans tamped very gently; water filled to the mark provided on the inside of the reservoir and the assembled pot put on medium heat. I am sure I would be able to extract even better coffee with a better grinder. Regardless, even with a blade or mill-type grinder, excellent coffee may be brewed. I do not recommend getting your beans pre-ground, unless of course you do that daily.
On the negative side, the Dama is made of aluminum and with that comes all the various health issues that are associated with aluminum cookware. Stainless steel apparently brews better coffee. With the abuse I've put mine through, I have found that the Dama is easily marked on the exterior and now it has lost its initial shine.
The cleaning of the Dama can get tedious. Though I find a quick rinse before use will suffice, I do a complete clean of it weekly. This can be difficult, especially with the reservoir, which does not accommodate large hands very well. I have not noticed any performance differences due to this.
Overall, the Dama performs very well and it will be my coffee companion until I am able to afford a machine/grinder combo of my own. I definitely recommend it or other Bialetti caffetieras to anybody looking for a cost effective method of brewing very strong coffee. It is of note that the average person cannot discern it from espresso anyway (see comments).
I (unfortunately) purchased this at Starbucks, but due to a sale, I picked this up for $30 CDN. Since I live in the rural suburbs of the city, I phoned the nearest location to see if they had any available. The employee who picked up had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. It says something when an employee is unfamiliar with an outlet's small inventory. I would only purchase another there if I found prices as low as those.