Do you dread traveling and not being able to find a good morning coffee? Or is it just too hard to leave home without knowing you can start your day with a robust shot of espresso? Well, if either of these questions makes you think, “Hey! That’s me!”, then you are in dire need of a portable espresso maker.
Portable espresso makers are one of the greatest inventions since sliced bread, especially if you are a coffee lover. These compact and usually easy-to-use tools allow you to enjoy a delicious cup of espresso when you are traveling. They are also great if you just want to enjoy an espresso at the office or if you have a tiny kitchen with minimal counter space.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the features that make a portable espresso maker amazing. When you know what you’re looking for, we then offer our five picks for the best portable espresso maker.
There is something here for everyone. If you are in the market for a portable espresso maker, keep reading, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.
How to Choose the Best Portable Espresso Maker
Before we jump into our five favorite portable espresso makers, we want to talk about what makes a good espresso maker. In the buying guide below, we’ve compiled a list of product features that really matter in a good-quality portable espresso maker.
Depending on your needs, not all of these features may matter in your decision. But, if you need help picking between products that all seem the same, this buying guide can be a helpful resource.
The weight of your portable espresso maker is an important factor if you are backpacking, camping, or traveling by air. When you are carrying your gear on your back or filling storage containers with gear, you don’t want to add more weight than you want to carry. And, if you are flying, that espresso maker shouldn’t push your suitcase over the weight limit for checked bags.
The weight of your portable espresso maker may not be a consideration if you are storing it in your RV or camper. It may not be an issue if you are traveling by car and staying in hotels. Or if you want to use your portable espresso maker when tailgating or picnicking.
None of these products are going to be excessively heavy. However, depending on where you are using your espresso maker and how you’re getting there, the weight will be an important factor.
Size and weight kind of go hand in hand. If you are looking for a portable espresso maker to toss in your backpack, the more compact the better. However, if you just want something a little smaller to fit in your RV kitchen, you may be fine picking a portable espresso maker that is a bit larger.
No matter how you are carrying your portable espresso maker, make sure that you measure your pack or cabinet so you don’t purchase an option that won’t fit, even if it is portable.
Ease of Use
Most portable espresso makers are going to be fairly easy to use, so this may not be a huge consideration for most people. However, many of these portable options do require you to exert a bit of force to brew your espresso.
The key to a good cup of espresso is to use pressure to extract strong flavors from the grounds. For many portable coffee maker options, the only way you get this pressure is to create the pressure with the muscles in your arms.
Aside from this requirement for some physical effort, look for portable espresso makers that are easy to assemble, and don’t require a ton of time to set up or put away.
Most portable espresso makers are going to be fairly reasonably priced. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an option that runs much more than a couple of hundred dollars. With that said, price is a pretty good indicator of the product quality with portable espresso makers.
The least expensive option may seem like a great idea for your wallet. However, when it breaks after just a few uses, that slightly higher-priced option will be looking pretty good.
Ease of Cleaning
Ease of cleaning really depends on two things when it comes to portable espresso makers. The first is how easy it is to disassemble the maker. Many of the best portable options break down into a few pieces that give you access to every nook and cranny of the coffee maker.
These are easy to clean. The second factor that makes a portable espresso maker easy to clean is the material. Look for portable espresso makers that are made from BPA-free, dishwasher-safe materials. That way, when you’re home from your camping trip, you can toss your espresso maker into the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning.
Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for Best Portable Espresso Maker
|Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine - Manual Espresso||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|CONQUECO Portable Coffee Maker||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|Aeropress Go Portable Travel Coffee Press Kit||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|Cafflano Kompresso Hand Carry Coffee Maker||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
Our Top 5 Best Portable Espresso Makers
Now that you know what to look for in a good portable espresso maker, it is time for us to share our selections. Below, we offer you our five best portable espresso makers.
There are a variety of options on our list. Some are great for camping while others are perfect for small kitchens or RVs.
1. WACACO Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker
The Nanopresso from WACACO is by far one of the best portable espresso makers on the market. We’ve picked it as our top choice because it is really the closest you’ll come to an actual espresso maker in a portable size.
The Nanopresso uses push button operation to create 18 bars of pressure in this tiny espresso maker. This higher pressure rating allows you to brew a nearly perfect espresso, complete with a lovely layer of crema.
The Nanopresso is exceptionally compact. It weighs in at less than one pound and is just over six inches long. This portable espresso maker is ideal for backpacking or air travel thanks to its compact size and weight.
To operate the Nanopresso you simply add coffee grounds and tamp them hard. Then add hot water. Using the plunger, to create pressure, the hot water is forced through the grounds creating a perfect cup of espresso.
The Nanopresso comes with a soft carrying case that protects it from bumps and scratches. WACACO sells a complete accessory set to go with the Nanopresso. Though it is a bit of an added cost, we would recommend the accessory set. All of the tools fit nicely in the carrying bag for your Nanopresso.
- Operates without any need for electricity or batteries
- Very lightweight and compact
- Completely disassembles for easy cleaning
- Included carrying bag protects the Nanopresso
- Comes in four color options.
- Do need a way to make hot water
- Grounds really have to be tamped for the best results
- Accessories are sold separately
2. STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine
For us, it was a difficult decision between the Nanopresso and the Staresso portable espresso maker. When it comes to versatility the Staresso really stands above the Nanopresso, and if you want to make more than espresso with your portable espresso maker, this is the one for you.
The Staresso portable espresso machine works a lot like a French press. However, it is designed to create between 15 and 18 bars of pressure when you are depressing the plunger. There’s no guesswork about how much pressure you create either. The Staresso allows you to dial in the ideal pressure setting for espresso or just a great cup of coffee.
The versatility of this portable espresso maker lies in the way it adds grounds to the machine. This is one of the few portable espresso makers that allows you to use both loose grounds OR coffee pods (k-cups). This really allows you to make a wide range of coffee types. It’s a great option if you like espresso but your travel companion really likes a mild cup of hazelnut coffee in the morning.
The Staresso is not as compact as some other options. However, it is a great portable espresso maker for camping or on a road trip. You will need to have a way to make hot water, but otherwise, the Staresso portable espresso machine is a great travel espresso maker.
- It is about the size of a standard water bottle
- Weighs just over 1-pound
- Pressure setting can be adjusted
- Can use coffee pods in this espresso maker
- Isn’t as easy to clean as other portable espresso makers
- Materials and construction are not as durable
- Need a source of hot water to brew with this espresso maker
3. CONQUECO Portable Coffee Maker
The Conqueco portable coffee maker is the pick for you if you need a portable espresso maker that will heat water and brew your espresso. The Conqueco does require a power source but if you are staying in hotels, or using this coffee maker in your camper or RV, this isn’t a problem.
The Conqueco uses battery power to heat and brew your espresso. It is able to run for a few days without being charged, but ideally, you want to be near a power supply. The Conqueco uses coffee pods only. The option to use coffee pods can really cut down on the number of tools you need to bring to make a cup of coffee.
Making espresso with the Conqueco can be done using hot or cold water. If you are concerned about prolonging the battery charge, we recommend that you use hot water, and save the battery for extracting your espresso. However cold water works fine if you are attached to power.
This is one of the more expensive portable espresso makers on the market. However it makes a decent shot of espresso, and it does come with its own cup that attaches to the body. Using coffee pods makes this espresso maker exceptionally easy to clean and maintain.
- Runs on a rechargeable lithium battery
- Heats your water
- Weighs less than 2 pounds and is less than 10 inches long
- Easy to use, doesn’t require any muscle power.
- For really hot coffee you need to start with hot water
- Only compatible with Nespresso brand coffee pods
- More expensive than other options
4. Aeropress Go Portable Travel Coffee Press Kit
The AeroPress Go is the more portable version of the classic AeroPress espresso maker. You may be wondering how the AeroPress, the original portable espresso maker can be more portable. Well, the AeroPress Go comes with its own coffee mug so you don’t have to worry about bringing a cup with you when you are camping or flying.
The AeroPress is a bit of a cult favorite with coffee lovers. The simplicity of operation and the compact design make it ideal for camping, backpacking, air travel, or small kitchens. The AeroPress Go takes this portability to the next level with accessories that store inside the coffee maker, and a small filter holder so you can keep paper filters dry and clean.
Making espresso in the AeroPress Go is quite simple. Once the filter is installed, you add coffee grounds and then hot water. You stir the grounds and let them steep for just a few minutes. To extract your espresso, you depress the plunger, and a perfect cup of espresso is delivered into your cup.
The AeroPress Go is made from BPA-free plastic so it is durable and lightweight, making it perfect for travel.
- Makes coffee or espresso
- Comes in at less than 6 inches long and weighs less than 1 pound
- Does not require batteries or electricity to operate
- Durable materials
- Easy to assemble, disassemble, and clean
- There’s nothing fancy about this espresso maker
- Only uses ground coffee
- You do need a source of hot water
5. Cafflano Kompresso (Hand Carry Coffee Maker)
Our last portable espresso maker is the Cafflano Kompresso. This is one of the most compact portable espresso makers you can buy, and it is designed specifically for making espresso. The Kompresso uses a different technology to extract a shot or two of espresso.
While most plunger-style espresso makers use pneumatic air compression the Kompresso uses hydraulic water compression. This mode of operation allows you to make a high-quality espresso with only 9 bars of pressure. The hydraulic water compression also allows you to brew espresso using cold water. Of course, you can use hot water as well, but this is an added benefit with the Kompresso.
Espresso from the Kompresso can be delivered into a regular cup or use the attached BPA-free tumbler. Many people that are looking for an extra compact espresso maker prefer the Kompresso to the AeroPress. It is even more compact and lighter weight than the AeroPress.
Our only complaint about this portable espresso maker is that you do need to exert quite a bit of force to make an espresso.
- Makes espresso from hot or cold water
- Hydraulic compression creates 9 bars of pressure
- Super compact and lightweight
- Does not require electricity or batteries
- You have to be strong to make espresso with the Kompresso
- Needs very fine grounds to work properly
- More expensive than similar products
The Best Portable Espresso Maker – Final Thoughts
When you are shopping for a portable espresso maker, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice quality coffee for a compact size.
The Nanopresso, is a great portable espresso maker that makes a nearly perfect cup of espresso despite the compact size and manual operation. It is our favorite portable espresso maker.
Whether you’re wanting to enjoy an espresso while camping or backpacking, or if you just want a great coffee maker for a tiny kitchen, a portable espresso maker is a good investment. These handy tools are generally affordable, and easy to use.
Best of all, many of today’s best portable espresso makers give you a shot of espresso that is just as good as your countertop espresso machine.