Neapolitan coffee makers

Today we are going to know a type of coffee machine not too popular on the Internet but in Italy. And more specifically, in Naples, which is where this original way of preparing espresso coffee comes from. We are referring to the Neapolitan coffee machines, also known by the name of Cucumella.

What is a Neapolitan coffee maker?

A Cucumella, or Neapolitan coffee maker, is usually made of stainless steel. It can also be found in aluminium or even other materials) and consists of two similar containers. They are not precisely the same because one has an exit hole and the other does not.

In the centre of both is a screw-in filter, which is where the ground coffee is placed. The three pieces are screwed together and remain as a single piece, similar in appearance, as we have already said, to the Mokas or Italian coffee machines of all life.

Many Neapolitan coffee machines have a lid incorporated with a knob to grasp it. In these cases, we must point out that the top can be placed at either end of the coffee machine, as both are the same: both need to be set as the base of the coffee machine at some point in the brewing process (we will see this better later).

Neapolitan-style coffee is strong, tasty, dense, with an intense flavour and a light body. These qualities come from the extreme slowness with which the filtering process is developed. It is usually consumed in small cups (the same ones that would be used for espresso coffee).

How does the Neapolitan coffee maker work?

Not everyone knows how to use a Neapolitan coffee maker. Many people use it badly because they think it works like an Italian coffee maker (or Moka). To make good Neapolitan coffee, follow these steps:

  1. Add the coffee to the filter of your Neapolitan coffee maker. The grind should be medium, and the dose should not exceed 6 grams.
  2. In the lower part of the coffee maker, you should add the water. Never exceed the limit, or the coffee will overflow later.
  3. Screw the filter with coffee in the lower part, and then screw in the upper part as well (which will be empty now at the beginning). Make sure that the entire brewer is well sealed and fitted.
  4. Put the coffee maker on the kitchen stove, with the nose (hole) facing down. Make sure that the handles are not near the heat source because then you will have to put your hands on them.
  5. Bring the water to a boil. After a few minutes, the water will boil. You will know because a thread of steam will come out of the hole in the coffee maker.
  6. Here comes the critical operation: grab the brewer firmly by the two handles, and turn it around. The movement has to be fast.
  7. Now the coffee will be filtering into the bottom tank. It is filtered by gravity because now the hot water will be at the top and will fall to the bottom through the filter where the coffee is. Let a few minutes pass, and your coffee will be ready.

If you want to know how a Neapolitan coffee maker works, watch the following video:

Neapolitan coffee maker: Prices and models

Where to Buy a Neapolitan Coffee Maker? Well, unless you live in Italy, the easiest thing to do is to buy a Neapolitan coffee machine online. In other words, on Amazon.

The offer is not very extensive, but there are different models and brands of Neapolitan coffee machines on the market. In this list, we review the most important and update daily their prices and offers. Some of them are on sale!!

The best Neapolitan coffee maker

Let’s take a closer look at three Neapolitan coffee machines, which seem to us to be the most interesting on the market. A good starting point if you want to buy a Neapolitan coffee maker and you don’t know where to start:

Ilsa Neapolitan coffee maker

The famous company Ilsa sells two models of Neapolitan coffee makers: one in aluminium and the other in stainless steel, which is slightly more expensive. You can already imagine the difference between the two: the steel one is more durable and will be suitable for induction cookers.

The two models are similar in terms of aesthetics and performance, and they are also available in three sizes: small (1 cup), medium (3-4 cups) and large (6 cups). You will also find them referred to as Ilsa Napoletana.

You may find these figures a little short, but it is very difficult to find large Neapolitan coffee machines with a capacity of close to one litre.

Alessi Neapolitan coffee maker

Alessi, as usual, is at the forefront of the sector, and in the case of Neapolitan coffee machines, offers us what is probably the piece of the highest quality of this entire catalogue. Of course, its price is notably above average.

This Neapolitan coffee maker by Alessi is made of 18/10 stainless steel, with a walnut handle. The author’s design corresponds to Riccardo Dalisi. It has a capacity of one-third of a litre (which should be 5-6 cups of Neapolitan espresso), and its dimensions are 25 cm. High by 14 in diameter.

Passalacqua Neapolitan coffee maker

We finally arrived at a typically Italian firm: Passalacqua. Passalacqua’s Neapolitan coffee machines are made of stainless steel and have no lid. The design, where curved lines predominate, is beautiful, and they are marketed in three sizes: Neapolitan coffee maker for 1 cup, 3-4 cups and 5-6 cups.

Maintenance: How to clean a Neapolitan coffee maker

The support of a Neapolitan coffee maker, or Cucumella, is similar to that of an Italian coffee maker. Although the pieces are dishwasher safe, it is always advisable to wash them carefully by hand.

Use only hot water, and be sure to dry it thoroughly before storing.

Differences between an Italian coffee maker and a Neapolitan coffee maker

They look the same, they look similar, they both come from Italy, but they are not the same. Let’s take a look at the three main differences between Italian coffee machines and Neapolitan coffee machines.

  • Firstly, the two containers of the Neapolitan coffee maker are the same (except for the one with the outlet hole). It is not the case with Mokas.
  • The lid on Italian coffee machines is fixed (always goes on top). In the case of Neapolitan coffee machines, the cover can be placed indistinctly at any end.
  • The two bodies of the Neapolitan coffee machines have their handle, as they are handled independently. The two are put together (as if it were a double handle) when the two pieces are screwed together.

ILSA Neapolitan aluminum coffee maker x 6 cups Moka