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The prettiest thing that's ever graced your stovetop

Stovetop coffee maker by OTTO hits Australia in January of 2009.

OTTO espresso
Several years ago, I decided to buy an espresso machine. Thus began a long series of trips to various discount stores, kitchen-specialty shops, and department stores, searching for the right coffee maker to fit my tastes and my budget.

It wasn't long before I found out that shopping for an espresso machine is about as overwhelming as looking for an apartment in New York City. I gave up when I couldn't push through the intimidatingly long list of potential candidates and the series of troubling reviews. As a result, I've continued to fork out the cash for store-made espresso when I'm tired of my french press.

I did try buying an inexpensive stovetop percolator for making espresso, but its construction was so shoddy that it started to come apart at the seams before I had used it through one cold-weather season. And I won't mention how gross the coffee tasted.

But, when I saw a picture of the OTTO espresso machine, I fell in love with it. It's beautifully designed, and it's a far cry from the stovetop percolator you've probably used before. Built entirely out of equally durable and elegant stainless steel, the OTTO won the Australian Design Mark at the 2008 Australian International Design Awards.

The boiler pot has a locking lid that can be unlocked with the top handle, so you can unscrew it even if there is boiling water inside it. After you fill it with water, you place it on the stove and wait for the water to boil through the top espresso cup. While you're waiting, you can steam milk with the attached steaming handle.

It's too bad that the OTTO is only set to be available in Australia starting in January, 2009. For now, I'm going to have to be satisfied watching the video.