I love this thing. I don't like calling it an "espresso maker" since it doesn't make anything that resembles espresso. That doesn't detract from the device, but let's call a duck a duck here. This is a moka coffee maker. One of many varieties of coffee. It should be called moka coffee. That's what it is. You have drip coffee, french press coffee, instant coffee, etc.. now you have moka coffee.
The quality of construction is what sets this apart. If you pick up any of the sub $30 models from other makers, the machining is rough, the interior rough, and the metal is very thin. The Bodum has a little craftsmanship in it and there's some work put into the fit and finish. It looks future retro. The kind of thing that someone designed in 1935 thinking of what a coffee pot would look like in 1987. If that makes any sense. Future retro in that World's Fair kind of way.
I bought this after trying a Primula pot. What a difference. There's more holes in the basket, the holes are finer, the handle is a much more durable construction and doesn't get hot at all. Because it has such thick walls, it holds heat very well. It takes a lot longer to heat up, but the difference is 2-3 minutes more than other pots I tried.
You will get enough moka coffee to fill about two 6 ounce cups with room for cream. That's what I love about moka coffee. Even after adding milk or cream, the coffee isn't watered down. There's a nice fullness and just a teensy amount of coffee grit that comes though to the cup. If you've ever had french press coffee, you can feel that fullness and thickness that comes though. This has a little of that as well, but more zing from the moka process. The coffee chamber walls are smooth, so you don't get a lot of greasy buildup from the oils. It takes nothing more than a little wipe to clean the thing out.
One tip: don't let water sit in the bottom. There's going to be a little dribble of water that remains in the bottom chamber after use. You need to clean it out. Coffee grinds fall into the bottom and stain the interior. Then if you are very careless, you will find mold growing in it. I did not have this issue with the Bodum, but trust me, I was dumb enough to leave some water in another moka pot for about a week and the mold thanked me. That pot had to be trashed.
If you pick one of these up, just run water though it the first time. Then the second time, find some junky drip coffee to run though it. Trash that coffee too. Don't drink it. You're set now for the third time, and the first brew worth drinking. It seems like the oils need to season the metal a bit or you get a funny flavor from the aluminum. I don't use soap on mine either. Just a rag. In short, approach it the same way as cast iron cookware and you'll be fine.
Maybe a little overkill, but using a flame burner vs electric works better too. I actually use a camp stove. Electric works fine, but I like being able to keep the heat directly under the chamber without cooking the handle and o-rings. It's a little hard to do that with an electric range.