The Perfect Espresso Maker

Courtesy Alessi

How do you improve upon design perfection? Alessi takes on the iconic 1930s Moka Express and continues a family tradition.

In this crazy world of $5 lattes and single-serve coffee pods, the honest stove-top espresso maker has stood the test of time. Designed in 1933 by futurist engineer Alfonso Bialetti, the Moka Express—its crisp Deco lines die-cast in aluminum—became the archetype of its category. Perhaps no one is as captivated by its charm as Alberto Alessi, president of the eponymous design firm and, as luck would have it, Bialetti’s grandson. To honor his family’s legacy, Alessi commissioned yet another Italian design impresario, Alessandro Mendini, a leader of the Radical Design movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s, to reinterpret his grandfather’s beloved creation. Mendini’s maker functions exactly the same as the earliest model, but the original’s straight lines have been softened into rounded, almost playful edges—just enough of a detour from tradition. From $50;