One of the best ways to get good quality espresso at home without spending a lot is to use a basic hob espresso maker or machinetta. You can purchase this low tech solution to trendy coffee for less than £13.00 --- it produces a lovely cup of espresso with a nice crema. Nothing additional is required and you can take your hob espresso machine along when travelling. You can add heated milk or use a milk frother to make cappuccinos and lattes at home.
Thoroughly clean your hob espresso maker before the first time you use it. Use warm soapy water and be sure to dismantle the hob coffee pot thoroughly. Unscrew the top from the reservoir and then remove the filter cup.
Fill the base section of your espresso maker with hot water. Be sure to allow space for the filter basket when you fill the water reservoir on your hob espresso machine.
Spoon finely ground espresso into the filter basket. While pump driven and other electric espresso machines require that you tamp or press the espresso into the filter cup, when you're using a hob maker, simply spoon the espresso into the filter.
Place your machinetta on a burner on low heat. A gas stove is ideal, but electric will work as well. Watch and listen for the sound of coffee coming up the metal pipe at the centre of your hob espresso maker and then remove the coffee pot from the heat after the espresso has been brewed.
Pour espresso into small espresso cups or mix with steamed, warmed or frothed milk for the coffee drink of your choice.
Choose a hob espresso maker the right size for your needs. If you want to make two double lattes, you need at least a 4 cup machinetta.
Avoid overheating your hob espresso machine, both to prevent damage and keep your coffee smooth and rich.