Say you don't have a couple thousand dollars to drop on a souped-up home espresso machine. Heck, maybe you don't have the couple hundred dollars a year it'd take to keep you in cups at your local coffee shop even once a day. What's an espresso lover on a strict budget to do?
Enter the moka pot: A simple, inexpensive little brewer that'll feed your addiction to tiny and delicious cups of potent potion every morning.
Often called the "stovetop espresso machine," these inexpensive little brewers actually make something that looks and tastes closer to a very concentrated cup of percolated coffee, rather than (strictly speaking) espresso. There won't be much crema to speak of, and even though the pots brew under some pressure, they don't have anywhere near the oomph of the big honking commercial machine your neighborhood barista uses to fuel your daily latte habit.
Life, however, is a series of compromises: If you do it right, the end result should still be something beautifully bittersweet and strong enough to get you through your morning , whether or not purists will balk at the "espresso" label.
Click through the slideshow for step-by-step instructions on how to use these reasonably priced little life savers.
About the author: Erin Meister trains baristas and inspires coffee-driven people for Counter Culture Coffee. She's a confident barista and an audacious eater, but she remains a Nervous Cook. She also whips up fresh content—of the inquisitive variety—at the blog Inquiry Diary.