PRODUCT REVIEW - ALESSI PULCINA ESPRESSO MAKER
By Tyler Workman
Today we will be reviewing the Alessi Pulcina Espresso Coffee Maker. This is a stovetop mokapot style espresso coffee maker produced by the Italian design factory Alessi in collaboration with illy Research & Development Lab, and designed by architect Michele De Lucchi.
This beautiful coffee maker comes in 1, 3, and 6 cup capacities (each “cup” of espresso is 1 ounce). It also comes in three finishes:
- Metallic and black
- Metallic and red
- Matte black
There is also an induction version with a magnetic steel bottom for induction-based stovetop ranges.
We are reviewing the Alessi Pulcina 3 cup model (MDL02/3 B)
The Alessi Pulcina usually ranges in price from about $77.00 - $125.00 depending on the finish/color and capacity.
The Alessi Pulcina is made of Aluminum and feels much sturdier than most mokapot makers on the market. This is especially true for the base/water chamber bottom of the Pulcina, which has the heaviest feel to any mokapot we’ve used. The unit consists of five parts:
- Base/water chamber
- Metal screen/filter
- Funnel/coffee grinds receptacle
- Serving chamber
From the Alessi Website:
“The Pulcina combines the technology developed by illycaffè and the design experience of Alessi. Designed by Michele de Lucchi, Pulcina encapsulates a small but substantial design innovation that stops dispensing the drink at the right time before the coffee gets a bitter aftertaste. This helps to enhance the full and rich aroma of this drink. The spout, which recalls a chick's beak (hence the name of the coffee maker) allows it to perfectly stop the drop.”
The biggest difference between the Alessi Pulcina and most other stovetop Mokapots (Aluminum or Stainless Steel) is that the Pulcina is designed to stop the flow of the coffee into the serving chamber prior to the “point of no return” when over extracted coffee makes its way from the brew chamber to the top pouring chamber resulting in a bitter, and sediment filled coffee.
The Alessi Pulcina really does make for a less bitter drink of espresso-like coffee compared to most other mokapot makers that we’ve tried. While the pressure generated by a stovetop mokapot does not approach the 9 bars of pressure that is required for true espresso, we think the Alessi Pulcina produces as close to coffee shop espresso as you can get at home without a true espresso machine.
As you may find, some people like to use a paper filter in addition to the metal filter that comes with most mokapots. While the paper filter will make for a cleaner and less bitter cup, it can add to more pressure building up in the mokapot which can cause a coffee burst to happen and cause burns.
Using the Alessi Pulcina has been the most consistent method of getting a smooth espresso-like cup of coffee at home. To get a consistently non-bitter cup of coffee using a traditional stovetop mokapot prior to using the Alessi Pulcina, we had to use a paper filter and pull the mokapot off the heat at just the right time so that the over-extracted bitter coffee did not come into the top chamber and that the pressure building up did not burst the paper filter causing a coffee explosion. If we pulled it off the heat too early we would have a low yield, if we pulled it off too late we would have a coffee explosion and bitter coffee.
We will note that there is more sediment in the output of the Alessi Pulcina than if we used a paper filter with a traditional mokapot, but the coffee is much less bitter than that produced by other traditional mokapots that we’ve used.
Pros & Cons
- Extremely easy to use
- Budget friendly compared to a true espresso machine
- Sturdy and well-crafted construction
- Beautiful/aesthetically pleasing design
- Consistently great tasting espresso-style coffee
- The cost is more than most stovetop mokapots
- Hand Wash only to retain the finish (do not put in the dishwasher)
Although the Alessi Pulcina costs more than most other stovetop mokapots, we think the consistent coffee produced by the Pulcina is well worth the cost. The fact that this is an absolutely gorgeous coffee maker is a bonus!
How we prepare a cup at home:
We use our Vertical Espresso Blend and grind our beans fresh right before making our coffee. To fill the funnel/coffee grinds receptacle, we find it requires approximately 18 grams of coffee for the 3 cup model.
We grind to a medium grind size (20 on the Baratza Encore) which is coarser than what most people recommend for a Mokapot, but we find that it cuts down on sediment and makes for the perfect balance between full flavor and extraction while cuttting down on bitterness and over extraction.
Fill Water Chamber with room temperature filtered or bottled water
How to Serve
When we make coffee using a stovetop mokapot at home, we typically also heat some milk and froth it in a French Press to make a latte, flat white, or cappuccino.
You can also see our Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe here. It uses a more traditional style stovetop mokapot, but you can use the same recipe with the Alessi Pulcina
To shop our Vertical Espresso Blend, click here: