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Bialetti Review: This Mini Espresso Made Me Love Making Iced Lattes at Home

Recreating the coffee shop drinks that you love at home has always been difficult for me. It’s hard to beat the quality of coffee beans and expensive coffee machinery that come from coffee shops. Trust me, I tried changing up the coffee beans, milk types, and different forms of coffee machines. And when businesses were shut down this past year my daily coffee shop visits were halted completely. While I fell in love Dalgona Coffee I preferred something stronger. Luckily, when I discovered this handy espresso machine by Bialetti it became my go-to coffee drink at home.

Bialetti is an Italian brand that was founded by Alfonso Bialetti in the early 1920s. The coffee-making brand produces everything from its own coffee beans to coffee makers and a line of coffee in capsules. It’s most popular and well-known item is the Bialetti Moka Coffee Maker. Its simplistic and functional design has made it a staple in kitchens across the world. The Mini Express is a variation of the Moka. I’ll dive into what makes it unique and why it’s worth adding to your kitchen.

Out of the Box

As the name suggests the espresso machine is super small but it’s also very sturdy. The directions on the box were very simple — though in Italian. The language barrier wasn’t a big deal because a simple Google search told us everything we needed to know. I grabbed this set in red because it was on sale and I love a great espresso machine deal but there are many designs available online such as aluminum design or a green cup set.

This machine does not come with the Illy Classico Espresso Ground Coffee but I definitely recommend buying it to pair with this.

Design

The components of the machine are comprised of three parts: the bottom heater or pot for water, the funnel for coffee grounds, and the top with the aluminum plates for you to place your two cups. There are several features of this machine that make it an excellent piece.

First off, the bottom pot has a distinctive eight-sided shape which allows your coffee to diffuse heat and perfectly enhances its aroma. The top seals tightly, which helps evenly distribute the coffee beans so that water is infused evenly. You don’t have to worry about a coffee distributor. And the aluminum saucer helps keep your two shots warm if you leave it on after brewing.

How it Works

Bialetti made it all very simple. The same rules as using a regular Moka pot apply for this tiny two-cup pot.

Start by filling up the pot with cold water but don’t overfill it. I normally fill only fill around 3/4  or up to the safety valve for a one cup iced latte or a cortado. Next add your espresso to the funnel. One ounce is a shot of espresso, two ounces make a double shot. You don’t have to press hard after adding to the funnel because as mentioned, the sealing helps distribute the espresso throughout. Seal your machine and place one cup on either side. Turn on your stovetop to low heat. I made the mistake of using medium to high heat and the handle melted slightly. The flame should not go over the rim of the machine. Then simply wait for your coffee to brew. You need to stay nearby because while it does make some noise, it’s not very loud and you don’t want your espresso machine to burn. It should only take around 5-7 minutes depending on the amount you’re making.

I made my iced latte by filling a cup with ice, adding my choice of milk which is the Califia Farms Almond Milk, and then adding my two espresso shots. I add a pump of Tarrani Caramel Syrup for some light added sweetness and mix. It makes a perfect iced latte.

The only con in evaluating this espresso machine is that it can cause a mess if you brew too much espresso. I place a paper towel underneath sometimes to fix this but it is an issue that might come up when brewing.

To take care of the Mini Espresso, make sure to only hand wash and check that the holes on the funnel filter plate are thoroughly washed.

Value

I’ve had the Bialetti Mini Espresso Machine for over a year now and other than the tiny melted mark on the handle from my initial use it’s in perfect shape. I especially love that it’s super small for my tiny kitchen apartment. At just $40 it’s definitely worth the price if you calculate how much you’ll be saving from visiting coffee shops.

Most days I’m only making coffee for myself and it provides the just the right amount. If you’re just one or two people in an apartment you’ll appreciate this device. And while this machine isn’t for a huge family or group it definitely makes for a great conversation starter. Impress your friends with some quality Italian espresso the next time they’re around.

In short, making my own coffee at home was never fun until I discovered this unique two cup espresso machine and now I fully enjoy my iced lattes at home.

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