Coffee was a popular drink long before it made its way to Europe in the 17th century. Espresso has only recently become a popular form of coffee in America, although the first espresso machine was developed in 1901 in Milan by Luigi Bezzera. Espresso, a strong coffee brewed by forcing pressurized steam through finely ground coffee beans, is not necessarily best from an expensive machine. You can prepare quality espresso on the stove top with a stove-top espresso maker.
Choose a stove-top espresso maker that will sit safely on your stove without wobbling. Also, select one that will accommodate the number of servings that you will typically be preparing. As of December 2010, stove-top espresso makers can be found online for as little as $11 for a 6-cup capacity. They are also available through popular local retailers.
Prepare your espresso maker by cleaning the pot and its components thoroughly with warm water and dish soap.
Fill the espresso maker with fresh water to just below the safety valve inside the pot.
Add finely ground coffee of your choice to the brew basket. Do not pack the grounds into the basket. Level off the grounds on top of the brew basket with your finger or a knife. Do not over pack or under pack the brew basket. Stove-top espresso makers are designed to make a specific amount of coffee per brew and under or over packing will change the quality of the brew.
Place the brew basket onto the lower half of the espresso maker. Ensure that the rubber seal and filter fit properly, then screw the top half of the pot onto the lower half and tighten it until it is secure.
Place your stove-top espresso maker on the burner at medium-high heat for three to five minutes. There may be a faint whistle to indicate when the brewing process has been completed. Carefully lift the lid of the coffee pot to check the level of the liquid if you are in doubt.
Pour freshly brewed espresso into warm cups.