I’ve never owned a stove-top espresso maker before, how do I decide where to start without doing a ton of research/making this my life’s work?

The quickest and easiest way to get started is by purchasing a gift pack.  Get the 3 cup version (Bialetti Kimbo Gift Pack - Piccolo) if you’re just going to be making espresso for yourself.  Get the 9 cup version (Bialetti Gift Pack -  Medio) if you’re sharing with others.

How do I know what size stove-top espresso maker to get?  How much does a 3 cup actually make versus a 6 or 9 cup?  Help!

The cup sizes are referring to tiny cups of espresso.  A 3 cup pot will make three cups if you’re using espresso cups (although espresso made by the stove-top maker is not as strong as by an electric espresso maker). In the US, where many people enjoy a bigger cup of coffee, a 3 cup pot will produce about one cup.  If I’m making my morning coffee for me alone, I use the 3 cup pot. If I’m making it for me and someone else, I’ll use the 6 cup pot.

See Still Life With Bialetti below to better illustrate this point (the one with two spouts is a different option where the espresso comes out directly into espresso cups that you would place on the surface above the reservoir).


Coffee in Italia has many espresso options that I’ve never tasted.  How do I know which one I’ll like?

Good question!  While we can’t tell you what you’ll like, we’ve put together a guide below, using descriptions from the roasters themselves that will give you a better understanding.  This may help you decide what you want, whether you’re looking for a medium roast or something with more intensity.  

Here is more on Lavazza’s “intensity” rating system:
1-4: coffee with a lighter body and a delicate flavor.
5-7:  balanced coffee, rich in flavor.
8-10: full bodied and bold, with an intense aroma: the perfect Italian dark flavor profile.  

Lavazza Dek - decaffeinated - medium roast
Intensity 3 with notes of honey and almond
This is a full-flavored decaffeinated coffee, produced by a natural method by using the state of the art CO2 decaffeination process.
Lavazza Qualità Oro - medium roast
Intensity 5 with notes that are floral and fruity
The excellence of Qualità Oro has been preserved for four generations. This is a selection of the finest 100% Arabica beans, mainly from Latin America, with an unmistakable flavor and hints of malt and honey. Fruity and aromatic, this blend is perfect for the true coffee connoisseurs, those who love to savor a premium blend daily.

Lavazza Gran Selezione - dark roast
Intensity 7 with notes of chocolate
Rainforest Alliance Certified™, this product is a blend of premium Arabica from Central and South Americas, with chocolatey tasting notes and a full-bodied aroma. It is 100% pure Arabica and 100% sustainable.
Lavazza Crema e Gusto - dark roast
Intensity 8 with notes of spices
Lavazza Crema e Gusto is a coffee with a distinctive character: the perfect combination of intense aroma and full-bodied taste. It consists of a selection of high quality Arabica and Robusta beans with a fragrant flavor and a pleasant chocolatey finish. This is ideal for those who want to enjoy an intense taste experience any time of the day.

Lavazza Intenso - dark roast
Intensity 9 with notes of chocolate
A full-flavored coffee that boasts smoky, caramelized notes. The dark roasting further strengthens the coffee's body and intensity, which makes Intenso so delicious, whether it is enjoyed black or with milk and sugar.

Illy Espresso Moka - medium roast
This espresso is rich and balanced with notes of caramel and chocolate.

Illy Espresso Black - dark roast
This is an intense, robust and full-flavored espresso with notes of deep cocoa.

Kimbo Espresso Napolitano - dark roast
With its intense flavor and long-lasting crema, this espresso is the ultimate of coffees, the most authentic interpretation of an all-Neapolitan art.  This classic, traditional Neapolitan dark roast is intense and full-bodied. It is well suited for a stronger morning coffee with extra oomph!

Kimbo Macinato Fresco - dark roast
The dark roasting, the full body and the strong aromatic notes enhance this espresso's vigorous character. It contains a perfect combination of sweetness of taste and intensity.

San Giusto Caffè - medium roast
Excellent body and creaminess. Complete, balanced, dense with an aromatic and chocolaty cup. Roasted using 100% Arabica beans. 

How do I use my new stovetop espresso maker?  It seems complicated!

The good news is that it’s not complicated at all!  Check out step-by-step directions on our blog.  You can also watch Illy's video.  

Who designed your amazing logo and how can I work with that talented person?

That would be TRACY KOPSACHILIS (another coffee lover) and you can find her at:  http://tracykop.squarespace.com/