Bialetti Musa Review
Cons: Only brews enough for one person, odd shape for travel, too heavy for backpacking, spendy
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Bialetti Musa is a stainless steel update on the classic Bialetti Moka Pot. This stove-top espresso maker is elegant for its simplicity, but it isn't noteworthy solely for its stylish form — it excels in terms of function as well. With only the boiler, the portafilter, and the chamber to contend with, this brewer is easy to use and easy to clean. Anyone can make excellent espresso, regardless of technical expertise or experience. Furthermore, the Musa proves more versatile and user-friendly than other espresso makers in our review. It has an ergonomic plastic handle, so you don't burn yourself when you grab it from the stove, and it is compatible with a wide range of burner shapers and sizes. All of these reasons and more are why the Musa earned a Top Pick for Camp Espresso.
Anyone familiar with a Moka Pot style espresso maker will quickly recognize how the Musa works. To make coffee, simply add water up to the valve in the boiler, fill the portafilter/funnel with coffee, screw the upper chamber to the base and place the brewer on the stove. When you begin to hear bubbling noises, remove your coffee-maker from the heat, and enjoy your delicious cup of espresso.
While the Musa did not earn the highest marks in our taste-tests, it did brew consistently delicious coffee and fared well in our blind-taste-tests.
Coffee from the Musa produces a clean-tasting but rich cup of espresso with minimal sediment, and in blind taste-tests, it scored relatively high in terms of mouthfeel and balance. One of our taste-testers was so impressed that she decided to seek out a Musa of her own.
Ease of Use
The Musa requires minimal expertise to produce an excellent cup of coffee and is one of the easier brewers to clean — in a pinch you can simply tap the portafilter on your trashcan, wipe it out with a dry rag, and call it good. However, Bialetti suggests you thoroughly rinse your Musa and allow it to fully dry before packing back together for storing.
Loading the Musa with coffee and water is a fairly straight-forward process that is difficult to mess-up. However, if you want to use the Musa on a two-burner stove while car-camping in Indian Creek or while rafting the Grand Canyon, it is essential to clean sand and coffee grounds out of both the threads and out of the gasket. The Musa doesn't take too kindly to smashing sand or grit into the threads. This seems a bit easier to grapple with if you are on a river than if you are car-camping in the desert, where water for cleaning may be at a premium. For quick and dirty cleaning, gently tap the portafilter into your trashcan or fire pit, and use a dry rag to clean up the grounds.
To our delight, we found that the Musa was one of the easier coffee brewers to learn how to use. Fill the water up to the valve level and fill the portafilter to the top (no tamping needed), and you're good to go. Many of the other coffee makers require specific recipes and patience to perfect. The Musa, by contrast, is about as easy as they come.
The Musa is not an ideal brewer for making quart after quart of coffee. That said, we tested the 4-cup size (a "cup" being about 2 ounces of espresso), but this brewer is also available in a 6-cup size for just a few bucks more.
In a pinch, you could use the Musa to satisfy a legion of your friends or family. Given that it is easy to use and clean, it lends itself to a fast turn-around time, so you can use this little gem to bust through multiple cups to caffeinate your whole posse if needed.
The Musa isn't the ideal size or weight for backpacking — and with its plastic handle it does take up some extra space in a kitchen bin, making it an awkward shape for packing.
Still, this is a fantastic option for car camping or even rafting, as long as you are able to keep sand out of the threads. Just be mindful of how you pack the Musa, to avoid putting pressure or leverage on the handle.
At 19.19 ounces, the Musa is on the heavier end of the spectrum, in terms of coffee makers we reviewed.
However, we think the Musa is a great option for car camping or any backcountry adventure where weight is not a concern.
For the sleek, well-designed Musa, be prepared to drop a little dough. Sadly, they aren't just giving these things away. That being said, you get what you pay for. The Musa makes excellent coffee with minimal effort or expertise, and as long as you care for it properly, it will last for years.
If you are of the mind that no good adventure begins without a delicious cup of coffee, then the Bialetti Musa is a great option for a car-camping or base-camp stove-top espresso maker. It is a stylish and sleek stainless-steel update on the traditional aluminum Moka-Pot that is sure to elevate your coffee game. This Musa makes excellent coffee with minimal effort or expertise and is wicked easy to clean. During the course of our review, one reviewer and one taste-tester were so impressed by this gem of a coffee-maker, that they have started using the Musa as their daily brewers. For car-camping or rafting adventures, where weight is not an issue, it's a great option. While it is a bit expensive and it isn't ideal for large groups, we love the Musa enough to award it our coveted Top Pick for Camp Espresso.
— Mary Witlacil