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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes a GREAT cup of mocha.
I actually bought this for my wife for her birthday - but I think I enjoy it more then she does.

I know that this doesn't make "true" espresso but it comes mighty close in my opinion (i'm not much of a connoisseur, but I do love a good cup). In fact this is better then most any other espressos i've had! I love the coffee this thing produces! The first night I...
Published on December 19, 2006 by Steven

versus
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bought 3 Brikkas, all three were defective
I just wanted to alert potential Brikka buyers that there may be several batches of defective Brikkas floating around on the market. So far I've gone through three of them and all three were defective -- very poorly machined, sharp jagged edges, gaskets that don't fit, loose safety valves, flakes of metal floating in the brewed coffee (not good!), etc. Maybe I'll try...
Published on August 24, 2007 by R. Dowling


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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes a GREAT cup of mocha., December 19, 2006
By 
Steven (Colorado, USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bialetti 6988 Brikka Stovetop Percolator, 4-Cup (Kitchen)
I actually bought this for my wife for her birthday - but I think I enjoy it more then she does.

I know that this doesn't make "true" espresso but it comes mighty close in my opinion (i'm not much of a connoisseur, but I do love a good cup). In fact this is better then most any other espressos i've had! I love the coffee this thing produces! The first night I ended up drinking 6 shots of 'espresso' made with fresh Baba Budan beans and I still wanted more! I couldn't do it though because it was 1:00 in the morning and I was wide awake from drinking so much coffee.

Here are a few tips for you...

Make sure you have a Burr grinder. You want a fine grind (but not too fine) to get the most out of your coffee. Burr grinders can be quite the investment but well worth it. You will need a Burr grinder for any espresso machine anyways.

Make sure you have cups close by. This thing will suddenly shoot out coffee and if you're not quick enough you might get some coffee on your stove... as soon as you hear the gurgle and whistle get your cup ready! (you'll know what i'm talkin about...), After a few rounds you'll have it down.

Chances are your first pot will not turn out perfect (unless you've done something like this before...which I haven't). The good news is that after your first time you will understand how the process works and everything will be fine after that!

Clean this as soon as you can! It will be hot for awhile but try to clean it ASAP to make cleaning easier. It's worth it... trust me.

Follow the instructions EXACTLY. It's not hard to do by any means but make sure you read the instructions. if you accidently do something wrong such as pack in the coffee tightly then you will be sorry. The instructions are very simple but very useful.

I noticed one reviewer mentioned that this coffee comes out tasting burnt. If you grind your coffee too fine then it gets caked inside the coffee holder and it takes longer for the coffee to make it up inside the main chamber (excuse my lack of correct terminology). This does cause a burnt flavor because only a little bit of coffee comes out at a time which causes that little bit to become a bit burnt before the next splash comes through. If you grind it slightly more coarse then this will not happen and your coffee will taste amazing. I have a feeling that the people that mention the burnt flavor are grinding their coffee a bit too fine. You want the coffee to be ground fine but not like flour... more like fine sugar.

Have fun! This simple little gadget makes a fine cup. Enjoy!
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fantastic, September 27, 2008
By 
RobCicca (Montreal, CANADA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bialetti 6988 Brikka Stovetop Percolator, 4-Cup (Kitchen)
I have both the 4-cup and 2-cup Brikkas, and I use both regularly. The last time I checked online a few months ago, both were available in North America.

They both can make an equally delicious espresso with a nice crema on top. It doesn't matter which one you use in my experience. You just have to have faith and keep trying them before giving up.

They are both "high maintenance" coffee pots compared to regular espresso pots. You can't just dump water & coffee in them and leave them on the stove for 5 minutes while you do something else. Brikkas are like fine pieces of art that need to be handled and pampered in special ways. Everything is a delicate balance, and you have to baby sit them during the whole process. But once you get the knack of it, you will get consistent results...and trust me, it is worth the effort. Here are 5 tips:

1) Just before assembling your pot with coffee, make sure the valve is not stuck. Jiggle it up and down a few times.

2) Experiment with different types and brands of espresso coffee. Sometimes the grains may be too small (or too large). Unfortunately, you can't really tell just by looking at the grains. This is one reason why people give up on the Brikka too soon.

3) When the pot is on the stove, you have to keep an eye on the valve. If it is "stuck down" then the coffee will struggle too much to come up, and it will be over-brewed (has a burnt caramel smell and taste). If you feel it is "stuck" then immediately prop it up with a metal utensil (definitely not with your fingers). I rarely have to do this anymore with my pots. I always pre-jiggle the valve, and adding a drop of vegetable oil to a disassembled valve seems to have helped. But this is one reason why you have to keep an eye on your Brikka while it brews.

4) Also, I often pour the coffee before it has finished brewing. I'd say that when it is just over half brewed, that is when I pour it into the cup(s). Then I put it back on the hot stove for a few more seconds while the rest of the coffee comes up. Then I pour the rest of that into the cup(s). I seem to get more crema that way than just waiting for all the coffee to come up.

5) If you're adding milk to your espresso (cold or warm), I recommend pouring the milk into the cup(s) before the coffee. This seems to keep the amount of crema at its maximum when serving your cup. That is actually what you are showing off (the crema), so the last thing you wanna do is cover that crema with anything. I don't add sugar, but if I did, I probably would add it and stir it along with the milk. Again, you want to serve the coffee as soon as possible after pouring it so you and your guests can enjoy the maximum amount of crema.

All of this eventually becomes second nature to you once you get used to it.

Whenever guests come over now, they EXPECT me to use my Brikkas for them, otherwise they are insulted.

The coffee is just as good as any fancy $1000 machine could make and for a fraction of the cost, and a Brikka will outlast any expensive machine. And although a Brikka may be more complicated to use than a typical espresso pot, I don't think it is more complicated to use than a machine. For a cappuccino/latte, I use either a glass Bodem milk frother (for the microwave) or a metal Bialetti milk frother (on the stove-top).

I wouldn't recommend a Brikka for people with limited patience in the kitchen or a limited appreciation for a fine cup of espresso with crema.

You should note that the crema doesn't last too long, so the person waiting for his/her cup has to be ready to drink it soon after you pour it.

Also, the amount of coffee these pots produce is a lot lower than you would think for the physical sizes of the pots. This is my biggest complaint. Most would agree that the 2-cup Brikka barely makes 1.5 cups and the 4-cup Brikka barely makes 3 cups (I would say it only makes 2 cups!). So, I often have to use both pots at the same time depending how many people are over.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better with Brikka : ), May 1, 2005
By 
CC "Globetrekker" (Palos Verdes, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bialetti 6988 Brikka Stovetop Percolator, 4-Cup (Kitchen)
The Bialetti Brikka makes the best Italian style espresso I've had outside of Italy - the flavor and texture will take you back to the piazza cafes. Add some warm milk and froth for a perfect cappucino (I bought the Nissan/Frabosk milk frother as well). I found the directions and method easy - with room for a little flexibility with amounts of water, coffee, etc. for your own individual taste. Making the espresso is fun - I love waiting for the "whooosh" telling me the delicious crema is almost ready to pour into my cup. Clean up is easy, and the coffee tastes better each time I use the Brikka. One of my best purchases for the kitchen.
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105 of 119 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars get the 2 cup from italy, August 26, 2004
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bialetti 6988 Brikka Stovetop Percolator, 4-Cup (Kitchen)
this is the best espresso maker you can get. better than espresso made on $1k+ machines. the brikka is unlike any other bialetti stovetop, trust me. it looks similar but it ain't the same beast. the way the coffee EXPLODES out of the brikka makes it seem like something terribly wrong has happened (it's horrifying the first time you hear it). but it's actually making a delicious crema just for you. it's a delicate art form, you have to follow preparation directions to a "T." I'm still trying to figure out the best time to turn off the heat, the best time to remove from heat, the best time to pour... because it all affects the crema. HAVING SAID ALL THIS, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND GETTING THE 2 CUP INSTEAD OF THE 4 CUP. THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE. I have both and the 4 cup never gets use because it doesn't taste as good as the 2 cup version. honestly. unfortunately, there is no distribution for the 2 cup in america so you have to find an italian website that has it and order from there. it will take four weeks or more to get to you. yeah, I know. it blows. but I have both and I know what I'm talking about. I'm not even a connoisseur, I just want coffee that doesn't totally suck. the 4 cup is just okay, but you're missing out on the real deal.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is it "real espresso"? Who cares as the results are superb., May 15, 2007
By 
Stui (Rio De Janeiro, Brasil) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bialetti 6988 Brikka Stovetop Percolator, 4-Cup (Kitchen)
I caught some reviews for this little wonder and would have been sceptical had it not been for the fact that it was developed and manufactured by Bialetti. Anyone who has ever been to Italy will know that everywhere you look you see Bialetti logo and since coffee is a way of life in Italy you know it's a brand that you can trust.

I have long since become used to some good results from Bialetti's Moka coffee makers, but they do require some practice to get the best results otherwise the coffee can taste burnt or over extracted and bitter. Moka coffee is not espresso in that it lacks the strength body and crema associated with espresso.

The Brika however delivers the kind of strength and body that a Moka cannot. Add to this the production of a very satisfying crema then you are on to a winner.

I went ahead and bought the four cup model despite seeing a lot of reviews that favour the two cup version. Contrary to what I have seen in many other reviews the four cup model does produce crema and plenty of it. If the two cup version really is better then I cant wait to get my hands on one of these as well.

Straight out of the box I have had great results even using some run of the mill coffee. The Brika can produce coffee that is very close to espresso in body and taste and with the addition of crema who needs one of those very expensive home espresso machines.

Does the Brika produce "real espresso"? I have read a few online debates on this but really who cares as the results are superb!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far better than normal moka pot, or cheap espresso machine!, March 1, 2006
By 
This review is from: Bialetti 6988 Brikka Stovetop Percolator, 4-Cup (Kitchen)
Full review with pictures and video: [...]

Wonder how Brikka makes crema? Actually, it's a simple and neat trick at the nodule of the upper chamber from where the coffee comes out. Brikka has a metallic valve on the nodule that keeps the coffee from coming out until the pressure of the coffee from the bottom chamber becomes string enough to push up the valve.

Once the valve opens, the coffee comes out with a strong pressure going through the narrow exit of the nodule. This makes the similar effect of the espresso machine, and thus foams the crema.

How does it taste? It's by far superior than moka pot, or cheap espresso machine when you carefully follow the instruction that comes with Brikka. The crema is very smooth, and the coffee has the characteristic of espresso.

The instruction includes the careful measurement of water, strength of the stove flame, and shaking down the new Brikka for the first use. The crema is such a delicate matter, and you also have to be careful when you pour the coffee into the cup. All these things may sound too much work, but actually it's not bad at all after you get use to it. Washing Brikka may be more pain than the all in one espresso maker, but I cannot complain when given this good production of coffee, and brewing a good coffee in a traditional way is always fun.

The pot is made with aluminum. I saw some reviews that complained that it is not made from stainless steel, but I also heard most of the Italian makers say aluminum pots make better coffee, and I believe it is because of its high conductivity. This review is based on two-cup.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Espresso on the cheap?, May 12, 2007
This review is from: Bialetti 6988 Brikka Stovetop Percolator, 4-Cup (Kitchen)
I'd been looking at espresso machines both new and used on Ebay. I even considered getting the espresso machine sold at most Starbucks. After looking at the prices of Espresso machines, I decided I wasn't ready to throw $200 on something that was considered a cheap espresso machine and I wasn't read to spend $500.

So, I found this nice little machine. It's hardly a machine, though. It's more of a stove top steam pump that uses pressure to push water up through the coffee and into the top reservoir. Much like a percolating coffe maker. Make no mistake though, this thing generates rich espresso and crema. You must follow the directions though.

As soon as you hear the Brikka percolate, turn off the flame and place it on a hot plate. Have your cup ready before hand, pour the coffee into the cup even if the Brikka is still making some noise. You will see a beautiful crema on the top of your coffee.

For $49 bucks, I don't think you can beat this thing. I use it all the time.

One note however, If making more than two cups, let's say for guests, it will become a difficult and time consuming thing to use. But those who get a taste of the coffee or espresso you make with it will be in for a treat.

You may need a milk frother and a coffee grinder as well.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Economical Substitute for an Espresso Machine, October 28, 2006
By 
This review is from: Bialetti 6988 Brikka Stovetop Percolator, 4-Cup (Kitchen)
First I'd like to thank my friend Tony from Italia for introducing me to this little gadget on our campout last month. Secondly I'd like to thank Daigo for his excellent write up and Brikka blog.

If you are a coffee addict especially to espresso, macchiato or cordato AND are a cheapskate like myself then you've found yourself the right product. While technically mokka isn't espresso, it's pretty darn close and only an espresso aficionado will know the difference.

This product does a great job of making that intense, robust elixir to sharpen the senses. I've had it for about a month now and find myself daily back on any street in Italy or Spain. Mornings start out with a couple machiatos/cordatos (espresso with foamed milk) and then comes the afternoon espresso bump. It's great! If you don't want to drop the $500 for the official machine then this little guy will do the job.

A note concerning the crème and 4 cup/2 cup controversy. To be honest, my 4 cup maker cranks out the crème. You have to play with the grind, the way it's packed and even the volume of water you add. Folks say the 4 cup won't do it but down here in Texas it does it's job. Lot's of crème in the pot and on my lips! :) So, maybe it's the water or technique, I don't know. But rather than going through the cost and hassle of getting an Italian 2 cup version I recommend you get this.

Criticisms?? Well I gave this 4 stars because it is a bit tedious to get your coffee going and more of a pain to clean. My biggest gripe is unscrewing the bottom tank from the top - It's a real bear even when completely cool.

All in all, it's a great product worth the money. I'd buy it again given the chance. If you love espresso and don't want to buy the Ferrari then get this, you won't be disappointed.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of the 2 Cup model, February 10, 2008
By 
Shopper (New England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bialetti 6988 Brikka Stovetop Percolator, 4-Cup (Kitchen)
I am very picky when it comes to espresso... and I have been very surprised by the good quality espresso this machine is capable of! The 2-cup model is preferable - especially if you only intend to serve 1-3 cups at a time. You need to make the whole amount, so it ends up being wasteful if you buy the 4-cup version (if only 1-2 people are served). Americans are accustomed to "double espresso" size servings - if you make single espresso size shots a 2-cup model can easily produce 3 generous portions.
I have found the Brikka espresso tastier than the Moka. And if prepared correctly, there really is a decent crema on top. There's no comparing homemade to professionally made espresso - but this little brikka is better than most home machines that cost hundreds of dollars. I highly recommend!
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bought 3 Brikkas, all three were defective, August 24, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bialetti 6988 Brikka Stovetop Percolator, 4-Cup (Kitchen)
I just wanted to alert potential Brikka buyers that there may be several batches of defective Brikkas floating around on the market. So far I've gone through three of them and all three were defective -- very poorly machined, sharp jagged edges, gaskets that don't fit, loose safety valves, flakes of metal floating in the brewed coffee (not good!), etc. Maybe I'll try again at some point in the future once the defective batches have disappeared. Hopefully Bialetti's quality control will improve by then.

On the bright side, Amazon makes it very easy to return defective merchandise. Kudos for that.
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Bialetti 6988 Brikka Stovetop Percolator, 4-Cup
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