Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bialetti Brikka 2 Cup Stovetop Percolator Review

In my previous post on my coffee journey, I briefly mentioned that I had transitioned to using my Bialetti Brikka. What I didn't really include is how coming to rely on this little lady for my coffee in the morning has been almost 5 years in the making.

You see the Brikka is not a precision piece of machinery. It has taken years of experimentation and a few replacement parts to get the coffee to come out consistently tasting the same.

When we first bought it we really had no clue what we had just bought. We were in Venice and our bed and breakfast had another Bialetti. We decided we would get one to remember Venice by (we usually buy things for the kitchen when traveling so when we get home we use it and remember our trips). Well, we walked into the store and the lady sold us this one.

We brought our little coffee maker home to see what we could turn out. The first time, and every time after all that came out was coffee spurting out the side like this:

So when we moved back to the US, I packed it up in a box and forgot about it until my latest coffee maker broke. I pulled it out and tried it again, hoping that a new stove might make a difference -- it didn't. I tried every combination of heat, water, coffee grounds and nothing would work. I finally thought to email the VERY helpful people at Bialetti Shop and they told me that I probably needed new rubber seals. So I bought the seals they suggested and it worked (kind of)...now it only leaks about 10% of the time.

Why does it still leak 10% of the time? I really don't know, but I don't care. Because even when it leaks, I have figured out a way to still get my coffee.

Here is my leaking strategy:

1. As soon as it starts leaking I put the heat up to high and turn the water on my sink to cold.
2. Once it has been leaking for about 15-30 seconds, I turn off the water, remove it from the heat and put in in my sink. Then it cooks just like it should. I don't loose that much coffee from the leaking and the coffee still tastes great.

A few tips I have noticed to make it not leak:
1. Your beans should be ground course
2. Your heat should be medium to medium high
3. Remove from heat as soon as you hear the first noise that says it is coming to the top.

Here are a few different views of the Brikka. First from the top:

Here are the pieces that make up the Brikka:

Notice that the coffee is ground a little bit coarse:

My final tip -- if you need to quickly make another cup, but the machine is hot, just run it under cold water for about 30 seconds, and then it should be cool enough to touch so you can open it up.

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