I've been meaning to compile this guide to the best portable espresso makers for quite some time. As it happens, there are dozens of fantastic devices out there, many of which are able to produce spectacular results.
I’ve been meaning to compile this guide to the best portable espresso makers for quite some time. As it happens, there are dozens of fantastic devices out there, many of which are able to produce spectacular results.
Rest easy friends, you no longer have to go without your daily doppio ristretto when you’re hiking in the backcountry! In fact, you might find yourself using your new portable espresso maker at home as well.
Incidentally, I’ve decided not to include the AeroPress in this guide. While it is a wonderful and portable device, the coffee it produces can’t be classed as espresso. So, without further ado, let’s get the ball rolling!
Table of Contents
Best 7 Portable Espresso Makers at a Glance
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick look at the best portable espresso makers I’ll be reviewing today:
Why Buy a Portable Espresso Maker?
In case you haven’t been paying attention, there are some seriously great portable espresso makers out there. In fact, one or two models are capable of producing professional quality espresso that’ll rival anything you can make with a home espresso machine. So, why wouldn’t you buy a portable espresso maker?!
Jokes aside, a portable espresso maker can be the ideal way to make coffee when you’re out in the world. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been faced with the choice of either terrible hotel room coffee or espresso from Starbucks. And no coffee at all just isn’t an option! These days, I never set out on a trip without high-quality coffee beans, a hand grinder and a way to make coffee.
What’s more, the best portable espresso makers are perfect for multi-day hikes or family camping trips. Most of the options I’ve found are compact, lightweight and easy to clean. That’s pretty much everything you want when you’re away from your kitchen.
Ultimately, if you can’t imagine doing without a delicious shot, no matter where you are, a portable espresso maker is the way to go.
How to Choose a Portable Espresso Maker
If you’ve been searching online for the best portable espresso makers, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. I mean, there are so many options out there, and it can be difficult to identify which one is best for you. With that in mind, here are a few things to consider as you’re trying to narrow down your options:
Budget: The best portable espresso makers range in price from very affordable to rather expensive. Still, you aren’t going to have to spend as much as you would on a home espresso machine. I’d say it’s best to think about how much you’ll be using the thing. I mean, there’s no reason why you can’t use a portable espresso maker at home as well as when you’re traveling. If it’ll get a lot of regular use, you might feel OK about investing a little more.
Size and weight: None of the devices on my list are particularly heavy. Still, I know that when you’re backpacking every gram counts! In that case you’ll want something as lightweight and compact as possible. On the other hand, if you want a portable espresso maker for your camper van, size and weight might not be as big of a deal.
Versatility: If you’re a true espresso aficionado, it’s likely you’ll always travel with a good manual coffee grinder. However, some folks would rather use pre-ground coffee when they’re on the road. With that in mind, make sure your portable espresso maker has the kind of filter basket that’ll work for your needs – non-pressurized for freshly ground coffee and pressurized for pore-ground.
Durability: I’d always recommend looking for a portable espresso maker that’s rugged and durable. After all, you’re going to want to be able to throw it in your backpack without worrying about something breaking.
Heat Source: Of course, you’re going to want hot espresso, so figuring out how you’ll achieve that is important. Lots of the devices on my list just need hot water, whether it be from a stovetop kettle or a microwave. However, to use a moka pot maker you’ll need some kind of burner. There’s always the electric portable espresso maker option, but that’ll be useless if you don’t have access to an outlet.
The 7 Best Portable Espresso Makers
Now that you’ve got a clearer idea of what you’re looking for, let’s get down to business. Here are the 7 best portable espresso makers I could find.
- Lightweight and compact
- Makes superb espresso
- Stainless steel tamper
- No cup included”
If you’re serious about espresso and want a way to prepare pro-level shots wherever you are, the WACACO Picopresso is definitely worth checking out. Costing $129.90, the Picopresso isn’t exactly cheap. However, I believe it represents great value, especially considering how well-designed it is.
Like the manufacturer’s other portable coffee makers, the WACACO Picopresso works via a piston that you pump to create the pressure necessary for extraction. Seeing as it uses no electricity, all you need is a way to heat water. What sets the Picopresso apart from its siblings is its more professional components.
For starters, there’s a 52 millimeter stainless steel filter basket that’ll hold 18 grams of ground coffee. What’s more, the filter is non-pressurized, so you’re able to really dial in your shots. On the flip side, you won’t have much success using pre-ground coffee with the Picopresso.
While this portable espresso maker doesn’t come with a cup, I love its compact, lightweight design. Plus, I’m a huge fan of the included stainless steel espresso tamper. To top it all off, the WACACO Picopresso comes with a funnel and distribution tool for a really professional espresso experience.
Flair Classic Espresso Maker
- Stunning design
- Durable materials
- Makes pro-level espresso
- Easy to clean
- Rather expensive
- Quite bulky
Looking at the Flair Classic Espresso Maker might lead you to think I’m crazy to call this a portable device. However, this amazing manual espresso machine actually packs up into its own very compact travel case.
At $165.00, the Flair Espresso Maker represents a pretty serious investment. Still, I’m of the opinion that this stylish beauty will satisfy the most demanding of baristas both at home and on the road. Plus, thanks to its rugged construction, the Flair is going to last for a long time.
Like any manual espresso machine, the Flair Classic relies on your muscle power to create the necessary pressure for extraction. However, what sets it apart is its fully detachable brew group. That means you can completely disassemble the machine for easy cleaning.
As you’ve probably guessed, the Flair is capable of producing exceptional espresso shots. You can use up to 18 grams of coffee and the reservoir holds 2 ounces (60 milliliters) of water. Of course, you’ll need a way of grinding coffee – pre-ground is definitely not the way to go. The Flair comes with a plastic tamper, but you can upgrade to a stainless steel version.
See Also: Flair Espresso Maker Review 2023
Bellman CX25P Stovetop Espresso Maker
- Pressure gauge
- Large capacity
- Can steam milk
- Looks great
Looking kind of like a moka pot on steroids, the Bellman CX25P Stovetop Espresso Maker is a great option if you’re looking for a camping coffee maker. That said, the Bellman’s $309.99 price tag makes it one of the more expensive machines on this list.
The Bellman CX25P actually works in the same way as a moka pot, using steam pressure to force water up through a bed of ground coffee. However, unlike a traditional stovetop espresso maker, the Bellman includes a pressure gauge. So, you can keep an eye on the internal pressure and start your extraction when you’re ready.
Of course, you won’t be able to get up to the 9 bars of pressure required for “true” espresso. But you can get pretty close.
Thanks to its large capacity, you can make up to nine demitasse cups of espresso with the Bellman. Oh, and best of all? This awesome device has a steam wand, so you can use residual pressure to make milk foam. Campfire cappuccino anyone?
- Very customizable
- Compact and lightweight
- Easy to use
- Lots of small parts
The WACACO Nanopresso is the manufacturer’s most popular travel espresso maker and for good reason. Seriously, I had a great time testing this thing out during my hands-on review, and it’s become a trusted travel companion. Plus, for $84.90, the Nanopresso is hardly going to break the bank!
Thanks to its compact, lightweight and durable design, the WACACO Nanopresso can take a few knocks and bumps. Plus, everything you need is neatly contained inside the coffee maker. Well … there’s no kettle in there, but you get what I mean.
Like other WACACO devices, the Nanopresso has a pop-out piston that you pump to create pressure. It actually works incredibly well, and the pressurized filter basket means you can use pre-ground coffee. What’s more, there’s an included espresso cup that fits neatly on the water tank when not in use.
If you want to take things to the next level, you’ll be happy to hear that the manufacturer offers a Barista Kit for the Nanopresso. This optional extra includes a dedicated tamper, larger brew baskets and a much bigger water tank.
See Also: WACACO Nanopresso Hands-On Review 2023
Staresso Portable Espresso Machine
- Includes glass cup
- Rugged construction
- Easy to clean
- Can be hard to use
Regular Coffeeness readers will know I’m far from the biggest fan of coffee capsules. However, I get that lots of people find them super convenient, especially when traveling. With that in mind, the Staresso Portable Espresso Machine offers a level of versatility you won’t find with some other devices on my list.
This lightweight portable espresso maker allows you to use either coffee pods or ground coffee, which is pretty cool. While you’ll only get a pressurized filter basket with the Staresso, I’ve heard that you can still achieve quite impressive extractions.
The Staresso works kind of like an AeroPress in that you have to pump vertically. While it might be a little more difficult to use, it’s still super easy to take apart and clean. My favorite thing about this portable espresso maker is the cute glass that comes with it. I consider it a win when I don’t have to drink coffee out of a plastic cup!
The Staresso is compact, lightweight and features an impressive amount of stainless steel in its construction. Plus, at just $69.90, it’s definitely an affordable option.
HIBREW 3-in1 Portable Espresso Maker
- No external heat source needed
- Extremely versatile
- Cold extraction option
- Could be hotter
Clocking in at 1.3 pounds (590 grams), the HIBREW 3-in1 Portable Espresso Maker is heavier and bulkier than some of the options on this list. Still, this fantastic machine is still extremely portable.
What’s really great about the HIBREW 3-in-1 Espresso Maker is the fact that it’s powered via a 12-volt adaptor. So, you can plug this thing into your car’s cigarette adaptor or use an AC adaptor. Heck, you can even use a USB cable with this machine, but you’ll need to use boiling water in that case.
Another versatile portable espresso maker, the HIBREW 3-in-1 lets you choose from a couple of different capsule types or ground coffee. There’s a 15 bar pump on board, which means this thing will produce fantastic espresso. Incidentally, you can even make a cold extraction by holding down the button to bypass the heater.
The main downside to this machine is that it takes around 10 minutes to heat up. Plus, it only gets up to around 175 degrees Fahrenheit (79 degrees Celsius). Still, I doubt you’ll be complaining when there’s no other espresso option nearby! The HIBREW 3-in1 costs $119.99, making it a relatively affordable option.
Bialetti Moka Express
- Very affordable
- Basically indestructible
- Iconic design
- Requires sustained heat source
- Not true espresso
I just had to include the Bialetti Moka Express on my list of the best portable espresso makers. Still, I can already hear you saying that this thing doesn’t make “true” espresso. You’re right, but I think of moka pot coffee as a type of espresso all the same. Anyway, it’s what Italians use to make coffee at home and they invented espresso!
Costing just $39.99, the Bialetti Moka Express is super-affordable. Plus, this iconic coffee maker is about as indestructible as it gets. Seriously, I can’t think of a more durable travel coffee maker than this.
Of course, in order to use a moka pot you’ll need a sustained heat source – you can’t just add hot water. With that in mind, this is most likely the best portable espresso maker for camping or van life.
The Bialetti Moka Express is really easy to use, and produces very concentrated coffee that’s hard to stop drinking. Personally, I like to make an americano by adding a little hot water. Trust me, the caffeine buzz you’ll get from straight moka pot espresso is very powerful!
See Also: Moka Pot Review 2023
As we’ve seen, the best portable espresso makers vary in size and price. Choosing the best device for your needs really comes down to how compact you need it to be and how you’ll be using it. With that said, all the portable espresso makers on my list are great for travel and can make fantastic coffee.
Oh, and don’t forget that there’s nothing wrong with owning multiple portable espresso makers. Heck, why not buy one for camping and one for other kinds of travel? No one’s going to judge you!
How do you make espresso when you’re out in the world? Have you tried any of the portable espresso makers on my list? Tell me about your experiences in the comments section!
Best Portable Espresso Makers FAQ
The WACACO Picopresso might be better for espresso aficionados, seeing as it has a non-pressurized filter basket.
While both devices share similarities, the Nanopresso is an upgraded version with more sophisticated capabilities.
The WACACO Nanopresso can only use ground coffee.