This article is a thorough review of the Alessi 9090 stovetop espresso maker. In this review you will learn about the unique features, functionality, and other helpful information specific to the Alessi 9090 model.
Italians and many other nationalities all over the globe have enjoyed countless cups of espresso brewed on their stovetops thanks to the 9090. Made in Italy and designed to stand the test of time, this famous stovetop espresso maker continues to be a kitchen necessity for numerous espresso enthusiasts.
An Alessi 9090 Review Written for the Espresso Enthusiast
This review is written with over 10 years of personal ownership and use, making this a trustworthy first-hand account of the pros and cons of the 9090. I paid for it with my own hard-earned money and am writing this review of my own accord.
You can tell by the images that mine is not new, but still 100% functional and intact.
Included in this review are additional resources to provide answers to questions you may have. Plus, I’ve created some videos that show some of my favorite features and a how-to video for using the 9090.
I’m sure it will be most helpful and I encourage you to watch them as they are not long. Links are throughout this post and at the end for reference.
What is the Alessi 9090?
The Alessi 9090 is convenient, sturdy, long-lasting, and ranks as one of the most beautiful and brilliantly designed Italian stove top espresso models with an authentic art deco look and feel.
Designed by Richard Sapper in 1978 for the Alessi company, this creative new design proved so popular that it is still sold by Alessi and online ecommerce stores like Amazon.
The 9090 has even earned its inclusion in the Permanent Design Collection display at the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York City, as well as winning the Compasso d’Oro Award in 1979.
Similar to a tea pot, they are meant to be attractive for serving as well as for decorative purposes.
The Alessi 9090 Pays for Itself
With the Alessi 9090 stovetop espresso maker you can save hundreds of dollars by making your own lattes, mochas, and more in the convenience of my kitchen.
It pains me each time I have to pay for a cup of Starbucks or other coffee because I hear this voice in the back of my head, “You could be making this at home and it would taste just as good if not better!“
According to thekrazycouponlady.com, the latest Starbucks Grande Café Mocha as of September 2022, was $4.95.
Think about it, at $4.95 for a mocha grande purchased two times a week is $514.80 per year.
- $4.95 x 2 days x 52 weeks = $514.80.
Okay, let be more realistic, $4.95 (for a mocha no thrills) four times a week on the way to work comes to $1029.60 per year.
- $4.95 x 4 days x 52 weeks = $1029.60.
That’s not counting weekends and evening cravings on the way home. Now imagine making your own lattes and mochas at home whenever you want – oh yes, the Alessi 9090 will most definitely pay for itself
Is the Alessi 9090 Made in Italy?
The Alessi 9090 espresso makers are made in Italy by an Italian company named Alessi located in Crusinallo. The company has been around since 1921. For those familiar with Italian designs – you probably have heard of them.
Their focus is to design high-quality products which can be used decoratively in the kitchen. The Alessi 9090 is a perfect example, having also been included in New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).
Alessi is considered one of the most important “Factories of Italian Design”. Their reputation goes beyond espresso makers and reaches into other products giving themselves a reputation for high quality and sophisticated kitchenware items.
Let’s move on with this review and discuss how the Alessi 9090 is constructed.
Is the Alessi 9090 Made of Stainless Steel?
The Alessi is made of 18/10 stainless steel, both inside and out. This means it durable and will last. I’ve had mine for over 10 years now and it is as sturdy as the first day I bought it.
The handle which is made of burnished stainless steel.
Many espresso makers that work on stovetops are made of aluminum which I recommend avoiding. I have a few reasons why this is important. The main reason is that the cheaper quality of aluminum will corrode and pit over time.
I think I replaced my former espresso makers 3 times before I realized there were stainless steel options available.
Let’s Review the Alessi 9090 Functionality
In this review of the Alessi 9090 it’s important to go over some of the unique features regarding this espresso maker. We’ll go through them below.
Wide Base Design Keeps the 9090 Sturdy
The bottom chamber has a very wide base which is heavy due to the material used. This makes the 9090 suitable for use on gas stoves without fear of it tipping through the grates.
The wide base also allows for maximum heating.
The Alessi 9090 is Induction-Ready
The magnetic base makes the 9090 compatible for induction stove tops and portable induction burners due to the magnetic base.
Make sure the one you purchase is induction-ready showing the Induction Hob symbol. If the product description states it has a magnetic base then it is referring to induction.
You do not need an induction stovetop to use this espresso maker. It simply means the Alessi 9090 can be used on an induction stovetop if you choose.
If you have a 9090 that isn’t induction-ready, then you can purchase a base.
Alessi does provide a warning to “verify that your induction hob is able to switch on when an item with a diameter of at least 90 mm is placed on it.”
No Drip Pour Spout
One of the interesting features of the Alessi 9090 which needs to be covered in this review is the anti-drip spout.
This stovetop espresso maker has a uniquely shaped spout that is designed to prevent accidental drips when pouring the espresso. This prevents accidental spills and makes sure you’re getting all the espresso right down to the last drop. 😀
Locking Handle Mechanism Creates Air-tight Seal
The 9090 uses a brilliant lever locking mechanism to attach and seal the top chamber to the bottom chamber. Typically, stovetop espresso makers are designed so that the top and bottom chambers screw together, which I’ve found leads to leaking over time.
By using the lever lock mechanism, the Alessi 9090 creates an air-tight seal which is a more sturdy and reliable design. I illustrate what I mean in one of my videos shown in my post “How to Use the Alessi 9090“.
One note: Although this is an excellent feature, it does take a good tug to pull the handle out of the locking position. Make sure to hold the top part of the espresso maker with one hand while you pull the handle, otherwise, it can go sliding on you – especially on a wet surface. Also, make sure to let the maker cool before attempting to unlock.
Once you understand how to grasp it to easily unlock the handle, it is very simple. You’ll see why this never leaks – it is very solid!
Protects Your Hand from Steam
In the photo above, you will see that you can lift back the lid with the latch at the top of the handle.
This allows you to open the lid and peer in without having to grab a knob which in other models generally placed in the center portion of the lid.
This is important because that top compartment holds very hot steam which shoots straight up when you open the lid. Yes, I’m speaking from painful experience from other models that are not designed like this.
Technically, the lid should be left open while the espresso is brewing to prevent the steam from dripping back down while the lid is closed and diluting the espresso.
Which Alessi 9090 Sizes are Available?
Fortunately, the Alessi 9090 is available in multiple sizes, so whatever your situation there is a size perfect for you.
To determine the right size, keep in mind the following serving sizes according to Alessi’s website:
- 1 cup = 2.4 fl. oz (a single shot)
- 3 cup = 5.1 fl. oz (150 milliliters)
- 6 cup = 10.1 fl. oz (300 milliliters)
- 10 cup (also called M) = 16.9 fl. oz
All of these sizes at the time of this writing were offered online at Amazon. a 1 Cup, 3 Cup, 6 Cup and even 10 Cups size. Use the reducer filter per the instructions (or my other post which explains how reducers works) to accommodate lesser quantities.
Alessi 9090 Espresso Maker Size is Great for Traveling
As with any stovetop espresso maker, the Alessi 9090 is perfect for traveling. It’s small and compact and doesn’t have a lot of moving parts that could get lost.
Simply place the fully dry espresso maker in a plastic bag, wrap securely with a soft towel, and pack it in the suitcase.
Quick tip – make sure to bring (or purchase at a grocery store) enough espresso for everyone because trust me, you won’t be making it just for yourself. Everyone will want to use it to make homemade lattes, shots of espresso and mochas.
While this stovetop espresso maker isn’t the cheapest on the market, it will last a very long time due to the quality of materials such as the stainless steel construction.
Where to Order Alessi 9090 Replacement Parts
In this review of the Alessi 9090, it is important that you know where to find replacement parts for your espresso maker, as I get asked this quite often. At the time of this writing, the Alessi website features these replacement parts mentioned below.
Keep in mind, if you see /M it is referring to the 10 cup. I don’t know why this is so, but this is what I’ve discovered in my research.
- 29705 – Rubber washer for 9090/6 (5 pcs)
- 29704 – Rubber washer for 9090/3 (5 pcs)
- 9090MGUARN – Rubber washer for 9090/M (10 cup)
- 17605/R – Reduce filter for 9090/3
- 17602/R – Reduce filter for 9090/6
- 17603 – Microfilter for 9090/6
- 17602/F – Filter funnel for 9090/6
- Rubber washer for 9090/1 = 29703 (5 pcs)
Does the Alessi 9090 have a 1 or 2 Cup Size?
I see this question frequently, so it deserves a specific answer in this review. A single cup in “espresso speak” is 2.5 ounces which is the 1 cup size as mentioned above.
So with the Alessi, to have two cups would be 4 ounces. However, there is no 2 cup size.
I would recommend purchasing a 3 cup which is 5 oz and that way you get the multiple shots without having to prepare two separate batches. I can’t speak for every other brand out there, but this is what I typically see.
Is the Alessi 9090 Dishwasher Safe?
Yes and no. Alessi does not recommend washing these through the dishwasher, however I have at various times.
I recommend handwashing simply to avoid harsh dishwashing liquid or crystals from remaining in the chambers – just in case.
How Much Does an Alessi 9090 Cost?
It depends on the size of the 9090, and the seller. Ironically the 1 cup size is sometimes almost as much, sometimes more, than the 3 cup.
I have found the best prices online at Amazon. Alessi is higher in retail price, which is typical when ordering direct. But in all fairness, at the time of this writing, does offer free shipping for items over $99. They also offer free returns. This can obviously change.
Still, Amazon seems to have the best prices and discounts ranging starting around $150. Again – prices change so you’ll need to check it out.
You can head over to Amazon who has a good selection and pricing.
The Alessi is not the cheapest, but it lasts for many years without compromise.
Use the Alessi 9090 for More than Shots of Espresso
The two most common drinks I make with my Alessi 9090 are latte mocha, plain lattes, and Americanas. I’m fairly traditional in my uses, but the possibilities go much further.
For example, the espresso can be used to flavor homemade ice cream or gelato, desserts like tiramisu, or even fancy alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) drinks.
Additional Informative Posts about the Alessi 9090
- My 4 Favorite Features of the Alessi 9090
- How to use reducer filters for various Alessi 9090 sizes
- 3 Fun Facts about the Alessi 9090 Stovetop Espresso Maker
This post was originally written in February 2016 and updated December 5th, 2022.