I feel no need for an espresso machine now and I think others might agree if the tried it.
Positive Product Points
The Brikka does not drip or spill . It also does not leak steam while pouring. The coffee produced is consistently tasty and makes it easy to tell which beans were used. The aluminium alloy used has not yet been stained by coffee or my electric hotplate.
Negative Product Points
The capacity is just wrong. It's about 5ml more than a double espresso cup and less than half a coffee mug. Not as attractive as other moka pots.
I like coffee more than I like espresso but I like crema. I decided I couldn't afford a decent espresso machine and grinder and my Russell Hobbs burr grinder won't grind finely enough for espresso nor coarsely enough for my plunger.
The Brikka is meant to make something close to crema so I started checking the local stores and online retailers. "Everyone" sold Bialetti Moka Express pots. None of them had heard of the Brikka. But I finally tracked down Global imports who specialise in gifts for Italian weddings.
Apart from the capacity this device could have been made for me. It keeps itself clean (high polish, self cleaning valves) announces unambiguously when the coffee's ready with an angry-cat hiss that can be heard two rooms away and produces coffee at exactly the temperature at which I like to drink it. No cooling period rerquired. I think I prefer my coffee cooler than other people do though so I'd suggest trying before purchasing or being prepared to add a little boilng water.
So does it make crema? About as much as your average coffee shop espresso - not much - but this varies with bean type. Coffee for Connisseurs' "Alan's Blend" made a thin covering over the full cup. Their "Mocha/Java" which is meant to make "gobs of crema" when brewed as machine espresso made hardly any. I think playing with gind and beans will result in a covering of foam that will last.
And the taste? No metallic taint, no separate water taste so they obviously use a good alloy. Bean variations are easy to discern and I've never had a cup less than delicious.
The body/mouthfeel is thinner than with other moka pots but the difference is less than between two types of related beans.
Once I located Global Imports I found them much cheaper (40%+) than department stores with friendly staff.
Three Month Followup
If you prefer a hotter coffee just leave the Brikka on the heat for 10 to 30 secs after the coffee has entered the top chamber.
Do not overfill with ground coffee or tamp. The pot won't explode but may leak from the thread between the sections. If you can't tighten the two halves easily so that the handle aligns with the valve then the thread needs cleaning or you've overfilled.
Remember, what Moka pots make is not espresso. It doesn't have the true crema or aftertaste.
But then neither do most short blacks made at Australian coffeeshops on megabuck pro machines.
22/4/04 - I've reduced the overall to 9 since I have now bought an espresso mahine and there is slight surface corrosion showing on the outside only.