I'm using my 3 year old 1 cup stove top "mokka" or espresso maker. The principles are the same for any size/brand of mokka.
Fill the water resivoir with water BELOW the safety valve. I find it makes no difference, other than decreasing he overall brew time
Use the best coffee you can afford. This is a Colombian single origin roasted down the road from me in South Melbourne.
I use a kitchen tablespoon to measure out roughly 8-10 grams of beans.
Grind your beans at the very last minute. I use a Hario Slim conical burr hand mill, 2-3 clicks from the finest setting. If you have pre ground go for the espresso grind.
Dump the ground coffee into the filter basket.
Tap the funnel on the bench to evenly distribute. Then level off the coffee with the back of a knife or something flat so it looks like the picture.
Now. Here's my secret to a consistent brew. I GENTLY tamp the coffee to a perfectly level surface using a bottle cap. The purpose of this is to GENTLY compact the coffee so it will extract evenly.
Here's what it should look like. BEWARE. If you tamp to firmly you will blow the pressure valve or lose a body part...
Preheat your duralex.
Screw on the top firmly. Place the mokka on the heat source. Be careful to place the plastic handle away from the heat. NEVER leave the stove, you will have coffee in less than 1 minute!
As soon as you see coffee, take the mokka off the heat. You can place it back on briefly to get a bit more pressure if you need it.
Serve immediately into your pre-warmed cup
Enjoy! Here I have 17mL of extracted coffee- more like a "ristretto". This is how I prefer to drink my coffee, but you can leave the mokka on the heat for longer to extract a longer shot.