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Wacaco Nanopresso portable espresso machine review: the future of espresso is in your hands

You’ll be the envy of the campsite with this hand-operated portable espresso machine that delivers crema-topped espresso in just a few pumps

The Nanopresso
(Image: © Julia Clarke)

Our Verdict

Single-handedly enjoy good espresso at camp or at home with this game-changing, hand-pumped and ultra-portable espresso machine

For

  • Great espresso with consistent crema
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Light and easy to pack and transport
  • No need to wait for it to cool down for your next shot
  • No need to charge or use batteries
  • Robust, no-dent construction

Against

  • A little tricky to get the grounds out after use
  • Only delivers one shot at a time
  • Requires boiling water

Wacaco Nanopresso portable espresso machine: first impressions

The Wacaco Nanopresso does away with complexity in coffee-making and relies instead on the simple power of pressure to deliver great shots of espresso with every use. This compact, cylindrical espresso machine can be held in one hand and, by pumping it using your thumb, can reach up to 18 bars of pressure to pour you a delicious shot whether you’re camping, at home or even at the office.

Simply unscrew one end to add the coffee grounds to the basket (it comes with a scoop that you can use to tamp the coffee) then unscrew the other end to add boiling water. Screw everything back together and using your thumb, pump it over your camping mug eight times to build pressure, then a few more times for a shot of delicious, crema-topped espresso. As long as you have access to boiling water, you can use this anywhere and if you want a second shot straight away, there’s no need to wait for it to cool off. Though it’s priced at the higher end of the camping coffee makers we’ve tested, it’s by far the easiest to use and will totally transform your next camping breakfast.

Specifications

• List price: $69.90 (US) / £59.90 (UK)  
• Dimensions: 6.14” x 2.8” x 2.44”
• Weight: 0.74 lb / 336 g  
• Materials: Plastic
• Brew capacity: 2.5oz / 71ml
• Best use: Car camping, glamping, bikepacking, road trips, home use 

When you’re finished, you might need a spoon to help get the grounds out, but then everything packs away into a carrying bag and its sleek shape means it can easily slide into one of your backpack pockets. Though it’s made of plastic, it’s certainly robust and since the pump folds in, there’s nothing to catch on anything making this a sturdy little piece of gear, too.

Wacaco Nanopresso portable espresso machine: round the campfire

The Nanopresso at work making coffee

I’ve been testing out camping coffee makers for a while and the Nanopresso is an absolute game-changer (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

I’ve been testing out camping coffee makers for a while and the Nanopresso is an absolute game-changer. When I pulled it out of the box, I was a little perplexed as it basically just looks like a black, plastic cylinder and while sleek in shape, not exactly the shiny, high tech piece of equipment we’ve come to expect from espresso machines. But it didn’t take long for me to really appreciate its simplicity.

I got straight to work with the instruction manual which I have to say was a little hard to follow and made things seem much more complicated than they actually are. I recommend you throw it away and do what I did and watch Wacaco’s handy user video (opens in new tab) instead. It turns out that this espresso machine is as easy to use as advertised. Both ends unscrew and one end has the basket for the coffee grounds and the other end holds the boiled water. If you use the scoop provided, you can get the grounds in with virtually no mess and use the other side of the scoop to tamp the grounds down. Screw everything back in then release the pump by twisting it to the left.

Camping mug full of coffee

Look. At. That. Crema! (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

I can just about operate this machine single-handedly, although two hands is a bit more realistic. I just hold it over my cup and use my thumb to start pumping to build pressure. It always takes exactly eight pumps and then to my perpetual delight, each subsequent pump delivers coffee. This always takes another 8 - 10 pumps, though that will vary by how much water you use, and I’m amazed by the consistent crema. It took me a few goes to get the espresso tasting really good, but now it delivers every time.

The only catch is that I do find that I can’t just knock the grounds out by bashing the basket against the side of my trash can, but other than that it’s easy to clean and pack away. I've also overfilled the water chamber and burnt my hand screwing it back on, but that was user error, not an issue with the machine. This has come with me camping and I use it at home too. I would definitely bring it on a road trip if I had my camping stove or really any travel to cut down on those pricey coffee shop visits. 

Obviously you need access to boiling water to use this, but the upside of that is you don’t need to plug it in or charge batteries. It’s simply an ingenious design and if you like maintaining your access to good espresso, I can't think of a single reason not to own it.

Here’s how it performed:

Coffee 

Brews a really smooth and tasty single shot, no grounds and great crema.

Ease of use

Super simple, just add coffee and hot water and start pumping.

The Nanopresso next to a cup of coffee

Brews a really smooth and tasty single shot, no grounds and great crema (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

Durability 

Even though it’s made from plastic, it’s definitely robust and the sleek design means it’s not prone to being damaged in transit.

Portability

It’s light and smaller than your typical travel mug, so it slides easily into the pocket of a backpack or even your carry-on.

Capacity 

Only brews one shot at a time, but doesn’t need to cool off between brews.

Value 

On the pricier end of coffee makers we’ve tested, but you won’t blink at the price if you love convenience and great coffee.

Julia Clarke
Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.