Hostel Survival Guide: The Stove Top Espresso Maker

If you stay in hostels a lot, at some point you’re going to run into a stove top espresso maker.

My first encounter with a stove top espresso maker was in Budapest a couple of years ago. It was my first morning at Mandala Hostel and when I came into the kitchen it was sitting there mysteriously on the stove. I was intrigued.

I’d owned a french press before but couldn’t say why I’d never come across an espresso maker. Needless to say, I didn’t have a clue how to use one. After a couple of minutes of embarrassed chin scratching I was saved by Nuno, a gentle and amiable guy from Portugal working at the hostel. He demonstrated how it was done and I was soon enjoying my brew.

I can’t have watched Nuno very carefully because at my next meeting with an espresso maker, at Moreto & Caffeto Hostel in Sofia last November, I had already forgotten! Luckily I was rescued once again, this time by Stefania, a gentle and kind spirited traveler from Italy (who also has the most beautiful tattoos, by the way). Over a nice chat with our coffee in the kitchen that morning, I learnt that she is a travel writer with her own amazing blog over at

And so I had the sudden idea to write a guide to espresso makers, in the hope of permanently saving clueless travelers  – namely myself – the embarrassment of not knowing how to use one. In collaboration with Stefania, who provided the beautiful photos of herself making the coffee, I present the following step-by-step instructions.

How to use a stove top espresso maker


You’ll need: Course ground espresso coffee of your choice, a measure of cold water and of course an espresso maker.


The espresso maker is made up of 3 sections, the top part, the filter funnel and the lower part. Unscrew the top part from the bottom and remove the funnel. Fill the bottom part with water. Don’t fill it past the safety valve ie the screw bolt on the side.


Place the filter funnel back into the bottom section and fill it with espresso coffee.


Screw the top and bottom sections back together and place the espresso maker onto the stove at boil temperature. The top section will fill with coffee as the water begins to boil.


As soon as the top section is filled with coffee remove the espresso maker from the stove, taking care as it will be very hot. Lastly, enjoy your freshly brewed cuppa with a snack of your choice!

I hope this guide comes in handy! An enromous thanks again to Stefania for all her help! Please make sure to check out her adventures.

2 thoughts on “Hostel Survival Guide: The Stove Top Espresso Maker

    1. Hi, thanks for reading! Yes me too – as well as the taste, the ritual of making coffee this way is so satisfying 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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