How to Use the Alessi 9090

In this video and tutorial post, you will learn how to use the Alessi 9090.  I have owned this espresso maker for over 10 years and I have not regretted my purchase one bit.  

It has saved me money, made my espresso drinking more convenient and allowed me to prepare healthier drinks than ordering out.

But the secret is to know how to use the Alessi 9090 properly.

The 9090 is perfect for those who are looking for a stainless steel stovetop espresso maker that is made of the best quality, designed to last, and can serve a number of purposes which I will explain later. 

You can also check out my full review of the Alessi 9090 here, however this post is more about how to use it.

How to use the alessi 9090

But there are a few things to know about how to use the Alessi 9090 so you can get the best-tasting espresso made over the stove which you’ll see in my video below.

How to Use the Alessi 9090

I prepared a video for how to use the Alessi 9090. I recommend you watch the video below as well as read the manual.

In the video:

  • You learn how to handle the 9090 as it does not open and close like average stovetop espresso makers which screw together – it’s way better!  In fact, there’s a patent on the design.
  • You learn how to operate the maker from adding the ground espresso, water, and how to use it on your stove for best results.
  • You learn how to use it properly on the stovetop.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a gas stove, I have electric and it works just as well!

How to Use the Alessi 9090 Espresso Maker

Discover how to use the famous Alessi 9090 espresso maker.
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  • Fill the boiler with cold water, do not fill above the lower edge of the safety-valve
  • Place the filter funnel in the boiler
  • Fill the filter with ground espresso
  • If using a 6 cup maker and you want only three cups, use the reducer filter and fill water up to where the side ceases to slope
  • If using the 10 cup and you want to make 6 cups – use the reducer filter and fill water up to the first notch
  • If using the 3 cup and you want to make a single cup – use the reducer filter and fill water up to the first notch
  • Connect the bottom and top chambers using the hook so it fits snugly
  • Press down hard on the handle to make it latch. This takes a slightly hard push until it clicks in place
  • Place the 9090 on the stove top over low/med heat (low flame) with the lid in the up position
  • When coffee is done percolating through the center post, remove from heat and stir the coffee slowly
  • When done, wash the maker with normal detergent by hand.


Use the Alessi 9090 Manual

I reached out to Alessi for a copy of the official written instructions, and they were kind enough to send me the Alessi 9090 manual pdf which I am including for you to download and use.

The manual will explain all the various parts and provides a list of spare parts as well.

The manual explains how to use the Alessi 9090 according to the manufacturers recommendations.

How to Use the Alessi 9090 For Various Sizes

These espresso makers are offered in 4 different sizes (1,3, 6, and 10 cup) and are all available for purchase online. The one I have in my video is a 1 cup because it makes approximately 2.5 oz of espresso which is a single serving size.  

Regardless of which size you purchase the way the Alessi operates is the same.

The only exception would be if you use the included reducer filter which is used to reduce the amount of output.  This is useful for larger sizes.  

Parts of the Alessi 9090

There are four main separate parts of the Alessi 9090 that you use.

  1. Upper Chamber
  2. Lower Base/Boiler
  3. Filter
  4. Reducer Filter

Each part is dishwasher safe, and since it’s 100% stainless steel you don’t have to worry about pitting or erosion which is what happens with the cheap aluminum ones.  

They may be cheap, but they don’t last, they pit and you can’t put them in your dishwasher. Plus, they leak over time.  

Alessi 9090 Base

One quick note on the lower base.  As you’ll see in the video and the pictures, the base is super wide.

Know what this means?  No tipping and maximum heat.

This is really important when using gas or electric range stove tops.  I once had a cheaper espresso maker and the bottom sloped inward for a nice aesthetic design, but man did that thing have a tendency to tip.

Obviously, the Alessi 9090 does not have that problem as you can see.

How to Assemble the 9090

how to assemble the alessi 9090

When you first receive your 9090, you might be a little confused as to how it fits together.  

Rather than screwing the top and bottom together, they snap into place with a locking mechanism that is so tight you don’t have to worry about it ever leaking water when it is percolating.

This is a hermeneutic closure which is locked into place using the handle.  You’ll see me illustrate it in the video above.

It requires a little push to close and a tug to open, but once you aren’t afraid of breaking it, you’ll love the sound of the click which reminds you every time how tight it is.

how to use the alessi 9090 locking handle
how to use the alessi 9090 locking handle - locked position

Also, make sure you have the front of the top chamber facing the side of the steam valve as illustrated in the image. I almost returned mine thinking it wasn’t fitting until I figured out I was trying to fit it on backwards.

How to Use the Alessi 9090 Reducer Filter

Do you know what a reducer filter is?  I didn’t until more recently, and I’ve created a video tutorial below to show you not only what it is, but how to use it based on the size of Alessi 9090 espresso maker you have.

Originally when I first got my Alessi 9090 many years ago, I actually thought it was a “tamper” to make a stronger brew by packing the grounds. I was wrong.

You actually do not want to tamp down the grounds at all.

I’ve since learned that the “tamper” is actually a reducer filter and used to reduce the amount of output that the espresso maker produces.  

If you have a one cup size Alessi 9090 as I do you won’t ever use it, but it comes in handy for the 3, 6, and 10 cup sizes.  

The way you use the reducer filter for the 3 cup is different than what you would use for the 6 cup.  And the 6 cup is different than the 10 cup.  I explain below.

Here’s My Quick Video about How to Use the Reducer Filter

Here’s a chart showing the breakdown:

Reducer Filter for Alessi 9090 instructions

How to Clean the Alessi 9090

When you first receive your Alessi, make sure to clean it before you first use it. Use a normal detergent when cleaning for the first time.

It is not recommended to put the 9090 in the dishwasher. Use normal detergent or even plain water, per the manual for regular cleaning.

The rubber washer does not hold up under high temperatures, so play it safe and wash everything by hand.

It is also recommended to avoid using abrasive detergents to clean the outside of the espresso maker as it will damage the finish.

I wish I had known some of these recommendations from the start, so I hope you find these instructions very helpful.

Always Use Espresso Ground Coffee

Whatever you do, don’t deviate from using ground espresso beans with any stovetop espresso maker.  Period.  End of story.

Here’s the deal. If you try using coffee grinds it will be the worst watered down tasting coffee drink that will cause you to spit it out before you can even swallow.

Coffee grinds are larger than espresso grinds.

This means that the water will not have the ability to filter through the grinds and soak up all the awesome flavor during the percolating process. With espresso they do.

Also, don’t try using Turkish ground coffee either. Turkish grinds are too small and you’ll end up with a shot of espresso loaded with tiny little coffee grinds.

Trust me on all the above, these are tried and true experiences.

Looking to Purchase Your Own Stove Top Espresso Maker?

If you decide you want to purchase one I doubt you’ll be disappointed. You can purchase them at Amazon here.

Having a good quality stainless steel espresso maker like this one is so handy to have in the kitchen.  

I recommend the Alessi 9090 with confidence because not only do I own and use my own, but I love it!  It lasts forever, and frankly, you end up saving a bundle rather than getting your shots or lattes at a coffee shop. I know I have.

As you see in the video, I love my Alessi 9090 and gladly write and share all the benefits.  I hope you find this information useful.

More Useful Links about the Alessi 9090

Do you have an Alessi 9090?  What do you like most about it? I hope you enjoyed the post and it helps you get the most out of your Alessi, or other stovetop espresso maker!



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Originally posted in February 2017, updated December 8th, 2022.

Welcome! This post may contain affiliate links which means I may earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. You can read my disclosure for more details.

How to Use the Alessi 9090


  1. Hello. I have the 10 cup. Its amazing. However, mine has turned a little bit yellowish like yours on the botton. Instructions say not use hard chemicals. Any suggestions on how to clean this part? Thanks

  2. Hi Jose, I don’t know because according to alessi it gets like that from having the temp too high on the stove which I did not know at the time. But how to remove it, not sure but I would ask them. I agree do not use harsh chemicals. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help but I am glad you like the 10 cup! Let us know if you find anything out!

  3. Hello. I have a Baratza Forte AP grinder, Lavazza whole beans, and am considering to purchase an Alessi 90018. Here is the catch. I am blind and have been from birth. How does that one differ from your 9090 model? Are you able to provide an in-depth review and tutorial for how to use that particular model? Is there a manual available for the 90018? If you are familiar with the Baratza Forte AP, what is the approximate macro and micro setting to use with Lavazza whole beans with the Alessi mocha pots, specifically the 90018. Feel free to e-mail me as I will likely not remember to visit this page.

  4. Hello, I just bought a 3 cup Alessi from your recommendation! Thank you! I have a question though. I’ve used it for the first time and it have some water remaining in the base. Is that normal or should I leave it on stove for longer?

  5. Hi! I guess it depends on how much. If it is just a little i am sure it is fine. Otherwise just let it go for a little longer. However just check if it is creating anymore espresso on top and if not you are good. That is how I check when I am unsure.

    Let me know if that helps and I hope you enjoy your alessi as much as I do!!

  6. So I bought mine from the official Alessi store in Rome back in 2015. I will cherish mine forever, and I hope to pass it on one day. That’s how much I love mine. At the time they were not available on Amazon from what I could tell, and it was way more money then today. Idk if this is depreciation of the euro or what. On the subject of cleaning the bottom base. I happened to spill some cesear salad dressing on the base last night. I didn’t notice it untill this morning. When I wiped it off there was a freshly cleaned and polished spot from where the dressing had been. Like brand new!! Very bizarre, so today I coated the whole thing in cesear dressing. I’m going to give it 24 hours and see what happens. My guess is the mild acidity of the lemon and garlic removed the patina.

  7. Hi, I am having some trouble with my new Alessi coffee maker.. I have some coffee grinds in my finished coffee. I assume my coffee is ground too fine? Would that be the problem? I have tried 2 different grinds, but still have grinds in my finished coffee. Help!

  8. Hi, I have a 9090/6 (6 cup size) that is 6 years old. The base has recently started leaking water onto the stove just as it gets hot enough to boil the water and force it up through the espresso grinds. I have studied the bottom of the base and it looks like it is a 2 piece construction where the sides are folded over the flat bottom. How do I get service on this defect or purchase just a new bottom section?
    Please also send the reply to my email in case I miss it here on your web site.
    Thank you!

  9. great videos! i’m starting to get a burnt taste from mine, i believe its coming from not being able to clean the center spout. is it ok to run vinegar through it?

  10. Bill, I have run a vinegar /water mix through my pot occasionally to clean and then a second water only run to rinse. seems to work fine.

  11. If the parts are stainless steel it should be safe for the dishwasher. I put mine in without issue and the rubber ring but I do not do any dry cycle. It is recommended not to put the rubber gasket in the dishwasher.

  12. I inherited a 9090 but i don’t know what size it is. Does it matter in terms of replacing the rubber gasket? The height of mine doesn’t match any that i read in the Alessi materials. But it is Alessi.

  13. 5 stars
    I bought my 10 cup Alessi in a Japanese department store in Hong Kong 60 years ago & it looks like new. Changed the silicon gasket once (bit pricey) but what a coffee maker. Damn thing is going to my grandchildren & if they look after it to their grandchildren. Stephen Wong

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