2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Tricky little thing,
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This review is from: Bialetti Elegance Venus Induction 4 Cup Stainless Steel Espresso Maker (Kitchen & Home)
I have had mine for about two month now. Compared with the variety of aluminum ones I have had before it's much more difficult to use.
Firstly, apparently, to stop the scorching of the nicely polished, shiny steel exterior, it is designed to leave much more water at the bottom, as a coolant, even after the coffee has been made. This makes it somewhat difficult to tell, from sound alone, whether it has finished. The sound doesn't change, as it used to with my aluminum ones, and if you are not careful you can end up stewing the coffee; I open the lid to check on its progress now.
Secondly, as others have mentioned, it vents steam from the reservoir holding the finished coffee in only one place, directly onto the handle; no accidents as yet but I approach using the handle with caution. It also drips coffee from the handle, being lazy my cooker has a coffee stain which I periodically wipe clean (this too is mentioned by other reviewers).
Thirdly, I was puzzled at first how the amount of coffee it produces seemed to vary considerably. In an attempt to correct this, I began to monitor the amount of water I use, curiously this didn't affect the outcome, sometimes I would get a very concentrated coffee, and when I came to empty it I found a lot of the water still in the bottom chamber, no matter how long I let it bubble away for. At other times, it seemed that almost all of the water from the bottom had been used and on these occasions it produced a much better coffee. I took to tightening the seal with extra vigor, thinking pressure might be a factor, but this didn't affect the outcome either. After some time I hit upon changing the grind of my beans (I grind the fresh beans each time I make coffee). I found this was the cause of the variability in the quantity of coffee it makes. When I use a much rougher, larger grained grind, it produces much more volume of coffee, and if I grind my beans closer to a powder, in the espresso style, I get a much smaller amount, about half I would guess- but much stronger of course. I don't have a grinder with variable settings and have learned from experience how to produce a grind that produces a good volume of coffee at the strength I like. I can only speculate why the grind affects the volume of the coffee, but in some way the finer grains restrict how much of the water in the bottom chamber is used. So for anyone struggling to get the desired volume from this machine I would suggest varying the grind and observing the results. Previously, with my aluminum devices, I never had to concern myself with grain size and could comfortably put the beans in the grinder and go to sleep whilst it ground them, now I listen carefully to the sounds to determine the grain size so as to get the desired volume and strength of coffee. Ah, the lengths we addicts will go to.