Did you know you can now get a portable espresso maker? The future is here! These cool little gadgets make it possible for you to make a great espresso anywhere in the world.
Some of these machines require power and some do not. Obviously with the ones that don’t require power you need to add hot water to the machine but with the powered ones they heat the water as well. Perhaps needing power takes away the portability a little bit but what doesn’t use a rechargeable battery these days?
Anyway let’s get right into it and look at some of the best ones currently available.
1. Electric Portable Espresso Machine by Aicok
First up we have this ultra modern looking machine from Aicok. This espresso maker has a battery which will obviously need to be charged before you take it anywhere. It takes around 4 hours to charge the battery fully. Aicok have handily included both a wall charger and a car charging cable so that you can charge this on the go. On a full charge you can make around 10 cups of coffee which is pretty decent. It will make more if you put hot water in so that the machine doesn’t have to heat it up.
If using hot water you can expect your espresso to be ready in around 2 minutes but with cold water, it’s going to take at least 10 minutes.
It is compatible with Nespresso cartridges and it does state it is only compatible with genuine Nespresso cartridges. We didn’t try it with third-party cartridges but can’t see how they wouldn’t work as they are all designed to do the exact same thing.
The device itself is quite heavy but it is compact. It will fit in a car cup holder nicely.
Some portable machines require manual pumping but this one has a motor which does that for you. The machine itself requires no cleaning as it has a self cleaning mode. You just need to wash the cap.
Overall we found this to be a great little device that we would recommend to anyone.
2. Wacaco Minipresso GR, Portable Espresso Machine
As far as portability goes this option from Wacaco is pretty amazing. It’s about half the size of the Aicok and weighs less than a pound.
The reason it is so small is that there is no battery. This is a fully manual machine which means it takes a bit more work than the electric options. Firstly it requires boiling water so we need to have that on hand, if you are traveling you might need to bring a separate flask with some hot water. We also need to manually pump this device to build the pressure up. It’s not exactly hard work but there is more steps involved than the electric Aicok.
This machine takes ground coffee as opposed to pods which opens it up to far more choice when it comes to what kind of coffee you can make. The downside to this is that it requires a fiddly cleaning afterward.
It can only make around 1-2 shots of espresso at a time as well so you might want to look elsewhere if you want to use it for a few people at a time.
Overall this is a low cost and super portable option that we fully enjoyed using.
3. Moocoo Manual Portable Espresso Maker
Much like the Wacaco this is a manually operated machine that requires pumping. The good thing about this one is that it is very easy to pump. Some manual machines can be fairly tough to pump them to the correct pressure. There is no such issue here.
Another great thing about this option is that it lets you use capsules or ground coffee letting you get the best of both worlds. This makes it one of the most versatile coffee makers in this range.
This isn’t as compact as the Wacaco but it is still pretty small and lightweight. This one weighs just over 1lb.
This machine is also super speedy and your coffee can be ready in less than a minute, but remember you need to add boiling water!
Overall we really liked this machine because of how easy it was to use and because it gives you the option to use either capsules or ground coffee.
4. STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker Plus, 3rd Gen
The first thing you notice about this one is that it has legs. Well, a stand to be more accurate. This simple bit of design makes it so much easier to use plus it stops it rolling around when not in use. Of course, this makes it less compact and harder to store when on the go but we think it is worth the sacrifice. Plus the legs do fold right in tight to the body so it really doesn’t make it much bigger at all. It’s pretty compact when folded up and it only weighs 1lb.
The best thing about this one though is that it can do so much more than espresso. Cappuccino, Americano and Lattes are no problem for this little gem.
This one is also fitted with a pressure regulator which is something that is missing from most manually operated espresso machines. This means you get superb consistency with your coffee. It makes a great cup every single time. It even comes with a dual nozzle allowing you to make 2 cups at once!
It’s not the easiest to clean but aside from that, we can’t really fault this product. We really enjoyed this one, it’s actually something you can use at home and not just for travel.
5. CISNO NCC-N01 Automated Portable Espresso Machine
Another powered option now from Cisno. Similar to the Aicok in size and stature this one. It’s nowhere near as portable as the manual options but it’s not so big that you couldn’t take it with you if you really wanted. Again like the Aicok it will fit in a car cup holder so that gives you an idea of the size. The fact is all the powered options are going to be bigger. They have a motor so you don’t have to do the pumping and they have a big battery in them to power that motor and heat the water. It’s a compromise. It’s definitely easier than the manual versions.
This takes Nespresso capsules and again it states you should only use original Nespresso capsules and others may damage the device. So no ground coffee option here which is a shame.
The battery takes around 2.5 hours to charge which is quicker than the Aicok. It will make a staggering 80 cups or more on one charge if you use boiling water but only 3 cups if the device has to heat the water for you. Pretty amazing results with boiling water but quite frankly it’s pretty poor if you are relying on this to heat water, 3 cups isn’t a lot for 2.5 hours charging time. However, Cisno have taken steps to counter this by offering the option of another battery (sold separately) so you can potentially get more use out of this by carrying an extra battery.
Overall the build quality of this device is excellent. It’s durable and you can tell it has been built to travel. It’s fast as well making a cup in less than a minute which is the fastest of any we tested.
This really boils down to whether you want the powered option or the manual option. Both have merits, so depending on where you plan on taking your portable espresso maker will probably sway you one way or the other. Let’s look at the factors you may consider when making your choice.
Price: They are all pretty cheap but the powered versions are about twice the cost. Neither are going to break the bank though so this might not be something you will worry about too much. If you are conscious of your budget here then you will want to go for a manual. We would recommend the MooCoo.
Size: If you are planning on going really off the grid with your espresso maker then we would probably go manual again. You will need a means of boiling water but the espresso maker will barely make an impact on your backpack. The Wacaco at number 2 on the list is easily the most portable and is a great choice. If you are going somewhere less remote then a powered option will probably suit you and the Cisno at number 5 on this list would make a fine choice here.
Variety: Most of these devices either take ground coffee or Nespresso capsules but only one on the list takes both. The MooCoo at number 3 gives you the most options when it comes to making coffee.
Quality of coffee: They all make a pretty good cup of coffee but we must admit we found the Staresso machine was the best here. The fact that it excels at more than espresso was also a bonus. We’d happily make coffee at home in the Staresso.
Ease of use: There is no doubt that the powered options are easier to use. Mainly because there is no manual pumping required, the machine does it all for you. They can also boil the water for you which is one less thing for you to do. They are also much easier to clean and all you really need to clean is the cup. So the Aicok or the Cisno are the easiest to use.
We’d love to recommend one overall but it’s a really tough choice and the best one will depend on your circumstances. Our favorite was the Staresso, we loved the coffee it produced and found it a joy to use.
Let us know in the comments below which one you went for and why.