There are basically two ways to make espresso: with a stovetop espresso maker or with an electric machine. The stovetop espresso maker operates by heating water in the bottom chamber until it is forced up through the filter, which contains grounds of espresso roast coffee. Once the espresso reaches the top chamber, it can easily be poured out through the spout.
A good steel stovetop espresso maker will make a quality demitasse of espresso in just a few minutes. Some stovetop espresso makers also include a valve that can be used for steaming milk for cappuccinos. If you don’t have one of these models, you can use an electric device that steams milk by heating water in a chamber and forcing it through a valve by steam pressure. (There is also a special stovetop device that you can use just for steaming milk.) There are a few electric espresso machines available today, and most of the less expensive ones are comparable in terms of quality. The advantage here is that electric espresso machines also include a valve for steaming milk.
Cappuccino purists, however, may not be satisfied with the steaming capability of these less expensive machines, and may wish to purchase a more powerful espresso machine that approaches the commercial machines in terms of quality but is still affordable for the home user.
Special Thanks to Mathew Tekulsky