5 Best Portable Espresso Maker of 2020 for Quality Espressos on the Go

Whether you’re going on a business trip or a weekend getaway, a great partner to have with you is a good cup of coffee or a shot of espresso. However, it can be challenging to find great brews when you’re always on the move. That’s why it’s best if you can make the espresso yourself while on the road. Fortunately, you don’t have to bring your bulky 10kg espresso machines on your next trip, as the best portable espresso maker can easily fit into your bag. These portable machines can provide you with fresh and high-quality espressos while on the go.

However, because of the numerous offerings on the market, it can be challenging to see which mini espresso machines fit your needs.

To help you make a better-informed decision, we’ve listed some of the top-tier espresso makers available, helping you find the perfect portable espresso maker for your specific coffee needs.

Best Portable Espresso Maker Products:

Between scalding hot water and high pressure, an espresso coffee maker requires precise tolerance and accurate engineering to produce the perfect, robust, vibrant, and creamy espresso shot. Portable espresso makers provide these with the added convenience of miniaturization.

These five best portable espresso makers allow you to make sure you start each morning while on the move with a freshly brewed espresso shot for a better, energized, and good day. Here are their unique features and offerings that travel-hungry coffee lovers would enjoy.

The Staresso portable espresso coffee maker takes its inspirations from the classic pump and manual espresso makers, like the Handpresso wild hybrid popularized in the late 2000s. However, instead of using a mechanized system to brew espressos, it uses a simple hand pump to extract coffee directly from the ground coffee and a compact design. The Staresso espresso maker is ideal for hikers, campers, travelers, and every coffee fanatic, allowing you to indulge in good coffee no matter where you are.

Easy to Use and Clean

Staresso’s straightforward and simple design provides users with smooth brewing experience, allowing anyone to make barista-quality brews on the go. The coffee maker is also painless to clean, as it only requires a few rinses.

Compact and Lightweight

The Starresso’s signature feature is its compact, portable, and lightweight design. It only weighs 0.97 pounds with a dimension of (8×2.7 inches). However, it can hold up to 80 ml of water and 0.53 ounces of coffee grounds despite its small size, making it the perfect companion for travel, hiking, or camping.

Authentic Espresso on the Go

The Staresso manual espresso maker provides you with a decadent espresso drink with a generous layer of crema, like how authentic espressos are supposed to be 

  • The brewer can whip out a vibrant shot or cup of espresso wherever you go with its compact design and 15-20 bar of pressure. 
  • Its manual pump system allows anyone to achieve the ‘Golden Extraction Rate Coffee’ consistently and efficiently. 
  • It works with both ground coffee and Nespresso capsules. 
  • The device can whip out six variations of coffee styles. 
  • Its versatile design allows the user to froth milk with it.

The CONQUECO espresso maker is a new take on ‘portable brewers.’ It features a full electric brewing system that allows users to produce fresh brews within seconds, providing delicious coffee anytime and anywhere. Its compact, lightweight, and portable design make it the perfect companion for people who are always on the move, from busy businessmen and women to avid campers.

Portable Electric Brewer

It’s one of the few portable brewers that are fully electric-powered, allowing users to create fresh espresso in just five seconds when using hot water, and 8 to 12 minutes when using cold water.

Ideal Traveling Companion

Its compact design makes it perfect for traveling, hiking, a camping trip, and any outdoor activity, giving you aromatic brews no matter where you are. Besides that, its self-heating and electric brewing system automatically pump espresso for you, giving you hassle-free coffee on the go.

15-Bar Pressure 

Its 15 bar-high pressure pump allows anyone to produce barista-quality brews, unlocking your favorite coffee grounds’ delicate flavor and premium aroma.

  • It’s easy to use and clean, giving users a hassle-free brewing experience. 
  • The device’s lightweight and portable design makes it the perfect companion for travels, hikes, camps, or any other adventure. 
  • Get your brew in 5 seconds with its electric brewing system. 
  • It’s compatible with coffee grounds, and Original Line Nespresso capsules or L’OR capsules.

Coming from the legacy of Wacaco’s most creative and innovative mini espresso makers, Nanopresso redefines the genre, setting higher standards. Its new design requires less than 15% force from the user than the previous Minipresso models, making it even easier to use. The brewer boasts elegance, portability, functionality, and creativity all in one, improving the way you make your favorite coffee. It’s the perfect companion for travel-hungry espresso lovers, providing the best brews everywhere you go, making it a truly unique addition to your coffee toolkit.

No Battery or Charging Needed

One of Nanopresso’s notable features is its patented pumping system that requires no battery or electricity, making it 100% manually operated for convenient brewing everywhere you go. It gives you better and more control over each brew, ensuring you only get the best drinks while on the road.

Perfect Brews Every Time

The Nanopresso features a maximum pressure of 18 bars (261 PSI), providing unparalleled coffee extractions qualities, and ensuring you only get the best quality brews. It works best with finely ground coffee, producing the perfect cup with a smooth and dense crema layer every time.

Straightforward Operations

The machine is easy to use with its simple pumping operations, giving you full control over each brew minus the hassle as it requires less than 15% force to pump than the previous models.

  • It’s one of the smallest brewers but has a large water tank that can hold up to 80ml of water. 
  • One of its most notable features is its full manual operations, allowing you to have more control over each brew, ensuring the best quality possible.
  • Its convenient ergonomic design and short length make it the perfect travel companion for every coffee lover. 
  • It’s easy to use, boasting full manual operations. 
  • The device features a powerful bar pressure, with a max of 18 bars, providing strong and consistent pressure to your favorite ground coffee.

If you often travel and love coffee, it can be challenging to get fresh brews. So, when searching for a coffee maker, portable brewers are the best companions you can have, and one of the best in the market is the classic Wacaco Minipresso GR. It’s lightweight, versatile, and convenient, allowing you to produce authentic espressos no matter where you are. The Minipresso is the best choice for the coffee enthusiast who’s always on the move, allowing you to enjoy up to 50 ml of authentic espresso shots at home, at the office, and on the road.

Innovative and Powerful Design

The Minipresso’s ease of use comes from its straightforward and innovative design, featuring a semi-automatic piston responsible for the whole brewing process. It pushes small quantities of water into the coffee adapter, providing the optimal extraction pressures, allowing you to extract rich and bold espresso every time.

Convenient Brewing

Unlike other portable brewers, the Wacaco Minipresso doesn’t require compressed air, N20 (Nitrous Oxide) cartridges, or electricity. It’s easy to use, enabling you to operate everything by hand and prepare your favorite coffee drinks anytime and everywhere.

Compact and Lightweight

Whether you’re going for a month or a few hours, the items’ space and weight are significant factors when choosing travel equipment. Minipresso boasts a design that allows it to be one of the smallest, lightest, and versatile handheld espresso makers.

  • The device doesn’t require any battery or electricity, as its pumping system operates 100% manually, giving you full control over each brew.
  • It’s easy to use, providing quality espressos with ground coffee, water, and slight pressure.
  • The product’s versatile and allow users to use various coffee beans, roast, or grounds. It’s also compatible with Nespresso capsules. 
  • Its reservoir can hold up to 50 ml of water, enabling you to make more of your favorite brew per session. 
  • Its small and compact design makes it the perfect companion for the travel-hungry coffee lover.

The Moocoo espresso maker is a versatile portable brewer that helps you make fantastic espressos minus the effort, allowing you to enjoy quality brews whenever and wherever. It also doubles as a milk frother, allowing you to froth your preferred milk with ease, making it the perfect all-in-one machine for your favorite espresso-based drinks, including cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos.

20-Bar Pressure for Ground Coffee and Capsules

Its innovative design features a unique pumping system that provides a maximum pressure of 20 bars for your favorite ground coffee or capsules, allowing you to discover unlimited flavors with a simple press. The result is a versatile brew that you can incorporate to your favorite caffeinated drinks, including Americano, lattes, cold brew, cappuccino, or ice cream coffee.

Easy to Use and Wash

This handheld brewer doesn’t require any special maintenance, batter, nor electricity, providing simple operations and convenience. Cleaning the device is also straightforward as it’s dishwasher friendly.

2-IN-1 Extraction Design

It features a unique 2-in-1 adaptability extraction configuration function that allows users to use ground coffee containers as their inclination, allowing them to explore boundless flavors in a single device. 

  • It features a unique anti-slip design that minimizes spillage. 
  • One unique feature that stands out for this brewer is its patented 2-in-1 extraction design, ensuring you only get the best-caffeinated drinks while on the road. 
  • It’s compatible with ground coffee and 5g Nespresso capsules. 
  • The device allows you to make your favorite coffee drinks in less than one minute. 
  • Its compact design makes it the perfect companion for the travel-hungry coffee lover. 
  • Its advanced pumping technology allows it to reach 20-bar stable pressure during extraction, providing quality crema for authentic espressos.

What to Look for in a Portable Espresso Machine

When shopping for portable espresso makers, don’t just purchase based on size or style. If you want to get the most out of the machine, get your money’s worth and delicious espressos, here are a few factors that you should consider:

  • Portability
    Although most mini brewers are portable, some are more compact, lightweight, and convenient than others. The significant variance in weight can make a lot of difference. That’s why portability is one essential factor that you should always consider when looking for compact brewers. The three main categories of ‘portability’ include ultralight, light, and portable.

    Ultralight brewers weigh less than 340g that fits in any overnight bag, ideal for one-day trips, such as hiking or trekking. Light variations usually weigh between 340-500g that fits in most pieces of checked luggage or weekend bags, suitable for overnight stays or trips lasting for several days. Portable espresso machines weigh over 500g and are the biggest option, but you can still easily carry them around, though packing them can be challenging.

  • Durability
    If you want to have a portable coffee maker that would last, make sure the product is made from durable materials, such as stainless steel, providing you delicious brews long-term. Coffee makers made from stainless steel have higher chances of lasting longer since the material is highly durable, allowing the product to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use, which can damage your brewer.

  • Compatibility
    This factor differentiates most travel espresso makers as some are only compatible with ground coffee or coffee pods, and a few cater to both methods. The choice depends on your preference, priorities, and which one is more convenient for you.

  • Water Source
    Most travel-friendly brewers require you to heat liquid separately while others feature a built-in heat source but usually require an electric socket. That’s why it’s essential to consider where and when you’re going to use the product. For instance, if you plan to use it on a week-long camping trip, it’s best to go for the one that doesn’t require an electric socket.

  • Ease of Use
    Not all travel brewers are easy to use, but some models do make it easier than others. For example, some espresso makers only feature a simple pump piston that you’ll need to apply steady pressure for your favorite drinks. In contrast, others have added functions that can be confusing.

  • Capacity
    An essential factor that you should consider is the machine’s water tank capacity, especially if you plan on making espresso for other people. Although most can hold around 50ml to 70ml, some models can contain over 80 ml.

  • Espresso Quality
    Finally, the quality of the products the brewers produce is essential, especially if you want to make great espresso on the go. If you’re looking for a product that creates the richest crema and provides the highest pressure, machines that use ground coffee are a perfect choice.

Can You Make Espresso Without an Espresso Maker?

Although espressos are usually made with a machine because it requires high pressure, you can make the intricate drink without an espresso maker. Alternative brewing methods include using an AeroPress, French press, or Moka pot.

Here’s a brief overview of how you can make espressos without an espresso maker using AeroPress, French press, and Moka pot.

  • AeroPress
    Using an AeroPress is a fantastic alternative for making espressos as you don’t need to use a stove with it. All you need are the grinds, the AeroPress, and hot water. Start by placing a filter in the drain cap, put it on the AeroPress, and place it on top of your favorite cup. Fill the AeroPress with two tablespoons of espresso grounds, pour half a cup of hot water into it, and slowly press down the plunger until you’ve pushed out all the espresso.

  • Moka pot
    Moka pots are classic stovetop pots that let you make delicious brews in minutes. Start by filling the Moka pot with water, and the pot’s tube and basket with espresso grounds. Put these items inside the pot’s bottom chamber, cover the top, then place the Moka pot on top of a stove under medium to high heat. Wait for the bubbling sounds and serve.

  • French press
    Although using the French press is less than ideal as it’s designed for coarse coffee grounds, it still can help you make espressos. You can do this by putting at least two tablespoons of your favorite coffee grounds into the French press, pour nearly boiling water into the device, stir, and let it sit for four minutes. After four minutes, press down the plunger slowly.

Travel Espresso Maker: Brewing Anywhere

If you often go on trips and are looking for an espresso maker, portable travel brewers are the best choice. These handy brewers allow you to take your favorite decadent, rich, and balanced espressos anywhere you go, minus the hassle of using bulky machines. Although each model varies, here are some of the benefits that the best portable espresso makers provide:

  • These machines feature small and compact designs, allowing anyone to carry or place them in their bags, luggage, or purses. 
  • Most models are easy to use, allowing anyone to make their favorite drinks hassle-free. 
  • Some travel brewers don’t require electricity or batteries to work, just your favorite ground coffee, hot water, and patience. 
  • Most of these handheld brewers are very affordable compared to full-sized coffee makers. 
  • Travel brewers are incredibly versatile, enabling users to make straight espressos, Americanos, cappuccinos, lattes, and other specialty coffees.

What is the Smallest Espresso Machine?

The smallest espresso machines are the devices classified as ‘portable.’ The average length or height of ‘portable brewers’ ranges between 7cm to 8cm, making them fit inside your overnight bag, luggage, or purses with ease. However, some brewers can go well-below the average 7-8 cm length. For instance, the Handpresso wild hybrid only stands at 4 centimeters, providing ultimate convenience for every user.

Besides having a relatively short length, these tiny brewers are also incredibly lightweight. The main weight categories include ultralight, light, and portable. Ultralight mini brewers typically weigh around 340g or less, allowing it to fit in any purse or overnight bag. The light versions weigh between 340g to 500g, which fits in most luggage or duffel bags. Portable brewers are devices weighing over 500g and are the heaviest, but you can still carry them around, fitting in most large suitcases.

The Ritual of Brewing with Hand Espresso Maker

Generally, espressos undergo an intricate ‘brewing ritual’ that includes the process of applying specific variables to the drink, including the grinds, tamp pressure, temperature, brew pressure, and coffee roast. These can be difficult to achieve with a hand espresso maker as it requires a certain level of focus, precision, and accuracy, but the results can be extremely gratifying.

To help you make the best espressos with your hand or manual brewers, here’s what you need to consider to perfect the ‘brewing ritual.’

  • The Golden Rule
    Whether you’re using manual or automatic brewers, the ‘golden rule’ should never be neglected. The rule is that you should get 2 to 2.5 ounces in 20 to 25 seconds every double shot you extract.

  • Brewing Temperature
    Although in automatic brewers, this aspect gets controlled by the machine’s built-in thermostat, when using hand or manual coffee machines, you can use a kitchen thermometer. It’s best to keep the temperature between 90.5°C to 96°C (195°F to 205°F).

  • Brew Pressure
    The brewing pressure is the amount of force produced when extracting the coffee, and the optimal range should be between 8 to 9 bars. Don’t get confused with the bar measurements that most brewers advertise, as those indicate the maximum pressure they’re capable of doing. These usually range between 15 to 20-bar pressure.

  • Tamp Pressure
    The tamping pressure is the amount of force you apply to compact the grounds you’ve placed inside the brewer. The general rule for espresso brewing is that you should use at least 30 pounds of uniform pressure while slowly pressing down the plunger. If you’re having a hard time estimating the level, you can use a bathroom scale to get a good understanding of what 30 pounds of force should feel like.

  • Grinder
    Although this uses a piece of separate coffee equipment, it’s an essential aspect in every ‘brewing ritual’ as nothing beats indulging in a fresh cup of joe. When making espressos, it’s best to use burr grinders instead of traditional blade grinders as it can produce excessive dust, heat, and inconsistency.

  • Espresso and Coffee Beans
    The beans are the key ingredient of any coffee drink and brewing ritual out there. There are many varieties available, with the main ones, including light, medium, and dark roasts. Regarding espressos, the light roast isn’t ideal as it usually produces ‘tangy’ brews. That’s why it’s best to use a medium roast or dark roast. When preparing these roasts for your hand brewer, it’s best to keep dark roast blends to a coarser grind with medium roasts slightly finer. 

How Do You Use a Portable Espresso Maker?

Although each portable espresso maker is unique, they generally follow the same brewing procedures and provide the same fantastic brews. These are the steps that you need to follow when brewing with electric or manual espresso makers.

Electric Portable Espresso Makers

  1. Remove the device’s cover or cap and turn it over.
  2. Open the extracting chamber lid and place your preferred coffee pod or ground coffee inside the chamber. 
  3. Place the extraction chamber’s lid back to its initial position firmly and put the machine’s cover back tightly to avoid spillage.
  4. Open the tank’s cap and pour clean or filtered water right below the maximum level,
  5. Place the tank’s cover back and press the brewer’s button. 
  6. Wait for the brew to finish, pour in a cup, and enjoy.

Manual Portable Espresso Makers

  1. Open the brewer’s coffee filter basket and add your preferred ground coffee. Apply slight pressure to the back of it, leveling the grounds, then place the cover back firmly.
  2. If the machine requires pods, put the capsule of your choice, then seal tightly. 
  3. Open the brewer’s tank and pour nearly boiling water into it, right below its maximum level. 
  4. Unlock the piston or plunger from its transport position and start pumping several times to apply pressure and extract the coffee. 
  5. Once you’ve reached the desired consistency, pour the brew into a cup if the machine doesn’t have a glass on the bottom.

Portable Espresso Maker – how cool is that? Brew your espresso everywhere – fresh and tasty without heavy weight espresso machine.

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Conclusion: What is the Best Portable Espresso Maker?

Finding the right portable espresso machine can be the difference between starting your day on the trail or much-awaited vacation with a perfect cup of bliss or starting it off with a less than ideal brew. Any of the best portable espresso makers we’ve featured will serve you well, providing consistent quality brews anytime and anywhere.

But if you’re looking for the best portable espresso maker that perfectly combines quality, portability, functionality, and style, our pick is the STARESSO portable espresso machine. This innovative brewer is one of the best espresso makers in the market, providing you a hassle-free espresso experience on the go. Its manual pump system allows you to perfect the ‘Golden Extraction Rate Coffee’ every time, ensuring you only get the best brews no matter where you go.

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