While you’ve heard of many portable filter coffee makers, you might be wondering if the price of enjoying a strong shot of espresso in the middle of a hike must mean sacrificing quality for portability. If that’s the case, you’ll be happy to know that the answer is NO, not necessarily. Keep reading our Minipresso review to find out more about this practical espresso maker.
Summary: Wacaco Minipresso
- Incredibly light and portable, with a handy espresso cup
- It gives you a Nespresso-quality shot
- Very good value for money
Minipresso’s ease of use is derived from its innovative design. With the help of the semi-automatic piston, small quantities of water are injected into the coffee adapter.
Ease of Use – 4.5/5
Like the name suggests, the Minipresso doesn’t rely on coffee capsules nor drip elements, but it’s built around the very concept that makes espresso different from other types of coffee: pressure.
Inspired by traditional piston-driven espresso machines, it relies on manual piston action to extract the coffee grounds.
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You must simply fill the filter basket with up to 8 grams of ground coffee, add hot water to the small tank without going above the fill line (2.35 ounces), screw it into place and flip it upside down. Then you can start pressing the piston at the recommended speed of 1 pump per second: after the first few pushes that preinfuse the coffee grounds and increase pressure within the small chamber, you’ll reach the required bars and start extracting a rich shot into the handy espresso cup.
The concept is simple and it doesn’t require too much elbow grease but, since there are quite a few removable parts, it might take a few shots to get used to it and do it quickly.
You don’t need any batteries nor electric power: as long as you have access to boiling water (which you can easily carry with you in a thermal mug during a hike), you can brew a shot of espresso wherever you are.
Brew Capacity – 3.5/5
The Minipresso GR is not a customizable coffee maker.
It’s literally built to do one thing (which it does very well): give you a nice and quick shot of espresso wherever you are.
This means that it’s less versatile than other portable espresso makers or than its brother, the Wacaco Nanopresso, which lets you choose between grounds and capsules. However, we prefer the Minipresso GR since coffee grounds are a fresher and greener option than coffee capsules (1).
The Minipresso is very reliable and consistent: it gives you a 50 ml shot of espresso whose extraction you can influence by tweaking the coffee-to-water ratio, grind size or hot water temperature. (2)
Make sure that you do things exactly the same way every single time – unless you’re experimenting with variables, of course. And in this case, make sure to change just one thing at a time.
To get the very best espresso, we also recommend that you pump some boiling water through it to preheat it before adding the grounds. Also, refrain from tamping too hard with the scoop, as the pressure is not high enough to let the water flow easily through them.
If you want some more customizability, we recommend purchasing the separate Wacaco Minipresso Kit: it includes water tanks of different sizes that allow you to enjoy other types of espresso, from smaller ristrettos to larger lungos.
Either way, the Minipresso GR will give you a rich shot of espresso with a thin layer of crema on top. Even though it usually reaches 8 bars of pressure rather than the 9 required to brew a ‘proper’ espresso (3), it’s the closest you can get to it when it comes to unconventional espresso makers: while it can’t beat the quality of traditional espresso machines, we think it’s on par with Nespresso models.
Build Quality – 4/5
The design of the Minipresso reflects its commitment to practicality and portability, from its compact cylindrical design to the materials used. While some might be put off by the fact that it’s mainly made of plastic, this makes it incredibly light (only 13 ounces, just like the Aeropress), surprisingly sturdy and harder to break than coffee makers that rely on glass elements.
All the plastic is BPA free and this espresso maker features some stainless steel components too. Designed to be the smallest and lightest handheld espresso machine, its size and construction don’t take anything away from the quality: after all, Hugo Gailleton, the founder of Wacaco, has been involved for years in the manufacturing of traditional espresso machines before founding this company in Hong Kong in 2013. (4)
Cleaning & Maintenance – 4/5
Don’t be intimidated by the fact that it’s not dishwasher safe: the Minipresso is very easy to clean. You just need to tap out the grounds from the filter basket and rinse its components after each use (perfect for camping!). The only annoying thing is that it has quite a few small components, but it’s nothing that you won’t get used to.
Value For Money – 5/5
In our list of the best portable espresso makers, but the Minipresso is our very top pick when it comes to value for money. It’s affordable and made to last, and, since it doesn’t require any disposable filters nor coffee capsules, it won’t cost you anything to maintain it (except for buying ground coffee… duh!).
If you like the look of the Minipresso but are tempted by the idea of being able to choose between ground coffee and capsules, we think you’re gonna love the Nanopresso. Made by the same company and with a very similar design, it requires even less pressure than its brother.
If you’re happy to sacrifice a certain degree of portability in favor of more customizability and precision, then you can’t go wrong with the Flair. While it’s not something that you can chuck in the backpack to enjoy during a hike, it’s much more portable than traditional manual espresso machines and it will give you a top class shot. Find out more about it in our review.
All the models that we mentioned require access to boiling water in order to complete the extraction process. If you’d rather have an espresso maker that is quite portable but comes with a self-heating element, then check out our Handpresso Auto review. We recommend the Handpresso Auto to anyone who is planning on enjoying their espresso during long car trips or on a camper van holiday.
The Verdict On The Wacaco Minipresso: 4.2/5
Practical, portable and affordable, the Minipresso GR is the perfect travel espresso maker for those who wouldn’t let anything get in the way of a tasty shot of coffee, no matter where they are. While it might take a few tries to get used to assembling it and disassembling it, the fact that it relies on manual pump pressure makes it very easy to operate and achieve a delicious, rich-tasting shot.
What grind size should I use for my Wacaco Minipresso?
For your Wacaco Minipresso, you should use a fine grind, just like you would with traditional espresso machines.
Where is the Wacaco Minipresso manufactured?
The Wacaco Minipresso is manufactured in China by a Hong Kong-based company.
Does the Wacaco Minipresso come with warranty?
Yes, the Wacaco Minipresso comes with a one-year warranty.
- (n.d.). K-Cups: How environmentally unfriendly are they?. Retrieved from https://www.cartacoffee.com/blogs/island-blog/K-Cups-how-environmentally-unfriendly-are-they
- Petrich, I. (2017, June 8). Weighing, Grinding, Tamping: How to Pull a Great Espresso Shot. Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2017/12/weighing-grinding-tamping-pull-great-espresso-shot/
- Kilbride, D. (2017, June 8). How Does Pressure Affect Espresso Quality? Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2017/06/pressure-espresso-quality/
- (n.d.). About us. Retrieved from https://www.wacaco.com/pages/about-us