This pressure brewer requires some elbow grease and patience, but it’s compact, high quality, and delivers a nice cup of coffee
All-in-one coffee maker and mug
No paper filter required
Makes cold brew and hot coffee
Complicated first-time instructions
Hard work to operate
Heavy for backpacking
Easy to burn yourself
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Wacaco Pipamoka coffee maker: first impressions
The Wacaco Pipamoka coffee maker is an all-in-one coffee maker and travel mug made for car camping. This hand-powered camping coffee maker uses pressure to extract your morning cup of coffee with no electricity or paper filters required – just fill the cup with boiling water, drop the filter with coffee grounds in, then start twisting the top on to create the pressure needed for a brew. When the top part of the chamber is fully on, just unscrew the lid and start sipping.
• List price: $49.90/ £41.90
• Weight: 15 oz / 425g
• Materials: Stainless steel, plastic
• Brew capacity: 8oz
• Dimensions: 2.85” x 7.16”
• Best use: Car camping
In our test, we found the twisting part to be quite hard work, so if you’re looking to build up your arm strength, give this one a go. We did, however, appreciate the high quality materials, the coffee scoop included and how everything packs away into itself for easy packability. It’s a little heavy for backpacking, but makes a decent cup of coffee for when you’re driving into camp. It also keeps your coffee hot for hours if you’re a slow sipper!
Wacaco Pipamoka coffee maker: in the field
I tested this camping coffee maker out on a recent morning next to Loch Lomond after camping there the night before. I’ve tried quite a few different types of camping coffee maker, and this is the first one that essentially uses a twisting action to create vacuum pressure. I love the idea, but in practice I found it really hard work, especially compared to the Wacaco Nanopresso.
Here’s how it performed:
Weight and packability
This is a solid piece of gear and not something I’d typically take backpacking, but since it was a short trip and I wanted to give it a good test, I carried it in. The weight is, of course, no problem for car camping, which is what I’d suggest using this for. Where it makes up for its weight is that it all packs inside itself, so it’s very sleek and compact, about the size of a travel coffee mug, and easily fits in the side pocket of my backpack.
Ease of use
I found this coffee maker difficult to use. First, there were two pages of instructions, which while clear enough to follow had me already feeling a bit skeptical. Once I laid everything out and boiled my water, they were actually simple to follow and I don’t think you’d need them more than once or twice. However, once it came time to twist the ring to extract the coffee, I had a really hard time. I’m no Hulk Hogan, but I don’t think I’m the weakest person out there either, and I really struggled with this.
The plastic ring hurt my right hand as I was twisting, while the steel cup part is totally smooth, which meant my left hand had nothing to grip onto. The result is it took several minutes, and so much effort that I would have quit if I hadn’t wanted to get the coffee out before having to hike out.
It’s also not totally clear when to stop twisting, at least the first time, so I had to keep testing the lid to see if it would come off yet. When it did, I splashed hot coffee all over my hand (though in fairness to them, the instructions do warn to be careful of burning yourself). I found it to be demanding enough that I wouldn’t want to use it again, though if you’re stronger or have rubber gloves, it may be pretty easy.
It is nice that the coffee maker is also a cup, so no pouring is required.
Compared to some of the flimsier plastic pour over contraptions I’ve tried, this is a solid, high quality piece of gear and I can’t imagine how you could easily break it.
Fortunately, I got a decent cup of coffee out of the deal or I would have been very sad. It wasn’t the world’s best, but it does make a tasty cup of coffee that’s a little better than what you might be used to at camp, plus it’s nice that you can make cold brew and espresso-style coffee with it. If you’re strong enough. All in all, I prefer the Wacaco Nanopresso.
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.