There are faster ways to make a perfect cup of espresso at home, but I love the noise of steam under pressure and the rich coffee smell that fills my whole apartment when I use this stovetop espresso maker. The five minutes it takes for the velvety brew to gurgle into the top compartment of the pot is just enough time to heat and whip milk for a latte, and ponder the morning light. Made by Bialetti, the Italian company responsible for pioneering and mainstreaming steam-based stovetop espresso makers since 1933, my stainless steel model comes without the risk of a metallic taste, and unlike aluminum models, is soap and dishwasher safe. The fully stainless steel construction also means it's more durable, and my elegant little pot just continues to get better with age. I have the 4-cup size, which is perfect for making lattes for two, but it also comes in a larer 6-cup version.
Bialetti Musa 4-Cup Stovetop Espresso Maker, $44.99 at__Amazon.com