Espresso is coffee made by forcing steam or boiled water through coffee grounds. A special pot is used. An espresso maker, espresso machine or stovetop espresso pot is used to brew espresso coffee. The boiled water or steam is forced through finely ground coffee. The water and coffee grinds only make brief contact with each other and the resulting brew will have strong flavor and if done properly it will lack bitterness. Espresso makers are available in two main types. A stovetop espresso maker is placed on your stove for heat and boiling of water. An electrical espresso pot or espresso maker makes use of steam pressure or pump pressure to push both steam and boiled water thru coffee grounds.
Many of the espresso makers will have frothers that allow you froth milk for cappuccinos and lattes. Espresso machines and espresso makers will vary in price depending on the options and are available in many finishes including stainless steel, copper, white and black. With a wide variation in feature and price choose the pot that meets your needs. For the occasional espresso drinker a simple stove top espresso pot or simple electrical espresso maker will be fine. If you enjoy cappuccino choose a pot that has a frother. For frequent or commercial use select a higher end espresso machine. For commercial use be sure you select a commercial grade espresso machine.
Espresso should be made using a fine grind of espresso coffee beans. For optimal flavor purchase Espresso coffee beans and grind it fresh just before use. Either select espresso grind or fine grind on automatic grinders or grind to fine. See Coffee Grinders for more on grinding coffee and How to Brew Coffee for more tips on maximizing flavor. Use about 2 tablespoons of espresso grind per 3 ounces of water.
The classic stovetop espresso maker is still used by many. It requires very little maintenance. It might take a little practice to yield consistent results.