Lately, I don't seem to be able to look at my phone without an ad for a new portable coffee gadget showing up. That's why I've decided to bite the bullet and embark on a WACACO Nanopresso review.
Lately, I don’t seem to be able to look at my phone without an ad for a new portable coffee gadget showing up. That’s why I’ve decided to bite the bullet and embark on a WACACO Nanopresso review.
This intriguing portable espresso maker has a lot of people talking and I wanted to know whether it would live up to the hype. I ordered the WACACO Nanopresso to test out, and I’ll share my experiences using it a little later.
In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at what this compact device can do.
Table of Contents
WACACO Nanopresso Overview
Everyone has different needs when they’re out on the road. For some people, leaving home without a good book is unthinkable, while others can’t get a good night’s sleep without their favorite pillow.
In my case, the top items on my packing list include coffee beans, a manual grinder and a way to prepare good coffee. After all, I don’t always know what the coffee shop scene is going to be like where I’m going, and I’m just not prepared to roll the dice and hope for the best.
Until now, I’ve been happy to travel with my Hario V60 and an Aeropress. However, the WACACO Nanopresso claims to make authentic espresso, which could change my road coffee game entirely. I’m pretty excited about that prospect, because the last time I tried to fit an espresso machine in my backpack things didn’t turn out well at all.
Costing just $84.90 on Amazon, the Nanopresso is hardly going to break the bank. It won’t add much weight to your luggage, either – clocking in at just 0.74 pounds (336 grams), this nifty little coffee maker is about as lightweight as you could hope for.
However, what really gets me pumped (pun fully intended) is the fact that the Nanopresso is capable of reaching up to 18 bars of pressure without the need for batteries or electricity. That far exceeds the pressure requirements for “true” espresso, so I was really interested to taste the results. Okay, okay I was edge-of-my-seat excited to taste the results!
WACACO Nanopresso First Impressions
I have to hand it to the manufacturer: the Nanopresso is an awesome example of modern, minimalist design. I love the way this palm sized coffee maker looks – kind of like a cross between a mini thermos and a portable speaker – and the sturdy polypropylene plastic housing means it’ll take a few bumps and knocks without breaking. I’m talking to you, rock climbers and mountain bikers!
The beauty of the Nanopresso’s capsule-like design lies in the fact that all of the components for preparing espresso are contained neatly within. Open the thing up and you’ll find a water tank, espresso cup, portafilter and filter basket. There’s even a little brush and a coffee scoop that doubles as an espresso tamper.
It almost goes without saying that the WACACO Nanopresso comes with instructions. Still, you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out how to use the thing. I’ll go into more detail about how to make espresso with the Nanopresso later. Suffice to say, if you’ve ever used a moka pot or an Aeropress, it should be fairly self evident.
At this point, you’re probably wondering how the Nanopresso makes espresso. Actually, it’s really quite simple – hot water under pressure is forced through a compacted bed of ground coffee. Sound familiar? It’s how all espresso machines work!
The WACACO Nanopresso is available in a wide range of colors, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that’ll match your suitcase, backpack or tent. As far as I can tell, the basic Nanopresso comes in the following colors, all costing $84.90:
Things get a little more descriptive when you buy a Nanopresso bundled with a protective hard case. By spending an extra $15 or so, you’ll have the privilege of choosing from exotic colors like:
If you really want to take it to the limit there are Nanopresso special editions, designed by French artist SteF, with names like Winter Ride and Spring Run. I find them to be a bit too flashy and over the top, but then again, I like to keep things simple.
I wasn’t kidding earlier when I referred to the Nanopresso as “palm sized.” Measuring just over six inches (15 centimeters) in length, the Nanopresso isn’t going to take up much room in your backpack or camping box. Heck, you could even pop this thing in your pocket before setting out for a day hike.
The only thing that worries me slightly is the fact that there are quite a few small parts to keep track of once you’ve opened up the Nanopresso capsule. I could definitely see myself losing that tiny cleaning brush!
What’s so unique and innovative about the Nanopresso is how you create sufficient pressure for espresso by continuously pumping a pop-out piston. You’ll run into some resistance when you’re using the pump piston, but you’re not going to dislocate your shoulder, or anything.
Of course, pressure is just one of many parameters involved in espresso preparation. Grind size, water temperature and tamping are equally important. One thing to be aware of is that the Nanopresso features a pressurized portafilter, which means that you won’t have to worry as much about grind size.
You might find that it takes a little experimenting to really dial in the Nanopresso, but that’s half the fun!
The Nanopresso water reservoir has a 2.7 ounce (80 milliliter) capacity, which is more than enough for making espresso. I really like the fact that the included espresso cup seamlessly fits onto the water tank – it’s a great example of efficient, space saving design.
How to Use the WACACO Nanopresso
As I mentioned earlier, using the Nanopresso isn’t exactly rocket science. Before using it, I imagined it would take quite a while to dial in my espresso. However, during my WACACO Nanopresso review, I found the device to be extremely forgiving. I guess that’s the pressurized portafilter at work!
Preheating the Wacaco Nanopresso
I’ll give you one piece of valuable advice right off the bat: you’re going to want to preheat the Nanopresso before using it to make espresso. Maintaining a high enough temperature is essential for an even espresso extraction, and the Nanopresso’s plastic body won’t retain enough heat unless you pump hot water through it first.
Making Coffee in the Wacaco Nanopresso
Once you’ve preheated the device, dry all the parts and you’re ready to go. Here’s how to make espresso in the WACACO Nanopresso:
- Remove the filter basket and add around 8 grams of freshly ground coffee, before shaking gently to create a level bed. It’s unlikely you’ll be bringing a coffee scale on your camping trip, so you’ll just have to eyeball it!
- Using the bottom of the scoop, tamp down the grounds, making sure there’s a small gap between the bed of ground coffee and the rim of the filter basket. This way, there’ll be enough room for the portafilter’s shower screen.
- Place the filter basket back into the Nanopresso then screw on the portafilter. Keyword: tight!
- Add boiling water to the water tank – you’ll see handy level markers inside – then screw it onto the Nanopresso.
- Unlock the piston by turning it counterclockwise, flip the Nanopresso upside down then start pumping slowly and steadily. At this point I should gently remind you that if there isn’t a cup underneath, all you’ll be doing is making a big mess.
- The first few pumps will build up pressure inside the Nanopresso, but you’ll soon see coffee starting to make its way into your cup. After around 20 to 30 pumps, you should have a perfectly extracted espresso.
My Experience Using the WACACO Nanopresso
As I already mentioned, I was prepared to struggle with the Nanopresso at first. However, I got great results on the first try! I decided to use a medium roast espresso blend from one of my favorite independent roasters. I’m really familiar with this coffee and how it tastes from an espresso machine.
I started out by grinding my coffee beans fairly fine, but not too fine – similar to what I’d use in an AeroPress. As per the manufacturer’s recommendations, I obediently measured out 8 grams of ground coffee and added it to the filter basket. Incidentally, this was the hardest part of the whole process – it was pretty impossible not to spill a little.
To be honest, everything else went like clockwork. I used the maximum 2.7 ounces (80 milliliters) of water for my first espresso attempt, and started pumping. Once I’d created sufficient pressure, coffee quickly started showing up. After 20 pumps or so, I had a lovely, hot espresso. I should also mention the fact that this espresso even displayed a little crema on top!
Of course, coffee from the Nanopresso is far from the rich, viscous liquid gold you’ll get from a real espresso machine. It was more like what I’d expect to brew up in a moka pot. Still, the Nanopresso did a great job with my coffee beans. The espresso was sweet, complex and aromatic, and I quickly made it disappear.
All in all, I was really impressed during my hands on WACACO Nanopresso review. So much so that this little coffee maker will now be accompanying me whenever I’m on the road.
WACACO Nanopresso Cleaning
Cleaning the WACACO Nanopresso is a very straightforward affair, especially if you take care of it after every use. All the parts can be rinsed off, so you can just use the leftover water in your camping kettle if there’s no running water at hand.
I do wonder how easy it would be to dry all the Nanopresso’s parts, especially on a rainy backpacking trip. I took the Nanopresso on a quick camping jaunt this summer, and had no problem sun drying everything. Still, I feel like things could get pretty nasty in the main chamber after a few days if it didn’t fully dry out.
Nanopresso Barista Kit
If you feel like the basic Nanopresso is a little too limiting and wish you could prepare a double shot, the Barista Kit will be right up your alley.
This awesome kit costs $32.90 on Amazon and includes a pair of larger 16 gram brew baskets, a larger cup and an additional 4.7 ounce (140 milliliter) water tank. The Nanopresso Barista Kit also comes with a dedicated tamper, meaning you’ll have more even control over your espresso extraction.
WACACO Nanopresso Espresso Maker Specifications
|Type||Portable espresso maker|
|Water tank capacity||2.7 oz / 80 ml|
|Ground coffee capacity||0.3 oz / 8 g|
|Maximum pressure||18 bar / 261 psi|
|Weight||0.74 lbs / 336 g|
|Dimensions (L x W x D)||6.14 x 2.8 x 2.44 in / 15.6 x 7.1 x 6.2 cm|
|Miscellaneous||Espresso cup, scoop, brush, pouch, stickers, instruction manual|
|Current price on Amazon||$69.90|
WACACO Nanopresso vs Other Portable Espresso Makers
As much as I already love the WACACO Nanopresso, it’d probably be a good idea to see how it fares in comparison to some other portable espresso makers.
WACACO Nanopresso vs Minipresso
The WACACO Minipresso was the manufacturer’s first portable espresso maker, supposedly invented after the company founder suffered through one disappointing espresso too many while traveling.
The Minipresso is similar in design to the Nanopresso, but it’s a little smaller and only averages around 8 bars of pressure. The Minipresso costs $54.90 on Amazon, which is only $15 less than the Nanopresso. Personally, I’d spend a little more and get the upgraded version.
WACACO Nanopresso vs Picopresso
Okay, now we’re talking. With the WACACO Picopresso the manufacturer has seriously raised its game by producing a device that’ll appeal to coffee professionals. I should know – I really want one of these.
The Picopresso has a 52 millimeter stainless steel brewing basket with a capacity of 18 grams. Not only that, there’s a naked portafilter. Made from premium materials, the Picopresso can handle a much finer grind than most portable coffee makers, meaning you’ll get exceptional espresso from this thing. You’ll have to pay for it, though; the Picopresso costs $129.90 on Amazon, which isn’t exactly small potatoes.
WACACO Nanopresso vs Staresso
The Staresso Portable Espresso Machine is a little heavier and bulkier than the Nanopresso, but it’s still very portable and easy to use. Plus, the Staresso comes with a pretty little espresso glass which is always going to win points from me.
The Staresso pumps vertically – rather like an Aeropress – and, from everything I’ve heard, you’ll get pretty impressive crema from this device. The Staresso costs $64.99, making it even more affordable than the Nanopresso.
WACACO Nanopresso vs Others Comparison Chart
|Wacaco Nanopresso||Wacaco Minipresso GR||Wacaco Picopresso||Staresso Portable Espresso Machine|
|Type||Portable espresso maker||Portable espresso maker||Portable espresso maker||Portable espresso maker|
|Housing material||Plastic||Plastic||Stainless steel, plastic||Stainless steel, plastic|
|Water tank capacity||2.7 oz / 80 ml||2.35 oz / 70 ml||2.7 oz / 80 ml||3.72 oz / 110 ml|
|Ground coffee capacity||0.3 oz / 8 g||0.3 oz / 8 g||0.63 oz / 18 g||0.4 oz / 11 g|
|Maximum pressure||18 bar / 261 psi||8 bar / 116 psi||18 bar / 261 psi||20 bar / 290 psi|
|Filter||Pressurized portafilter||Pressurized portafilter||Aluminum portafilter||Metal portafilter|
|Weight||0.74 lbs / 336 g||0.8 lbs / 360 g||0.77 lbs / 350 g||0.88 lbs / 399 g|
|Dimensions (L x W x D)||6.14 x 2.8 x 2.44 in / 15.6 x 7.1 x 6.2 cm||6.89 x 2.75 x 2.36 in / 17.5 x 7 x 6 cm||4.17 × 3.07 x 2.8 in / 10.6 x 7.8 x 7.1 cm||9.64 x 2.75 x 2.75 in / 24.4 x 7 x 7 cm|
|Miscellaneous||Espresso cup, scoop, brush, pouch, stickers, instruction manual||Espresso cup, scoop||Tamper, scoop, brush, distribution tool, protective case, instruction manual, sticker||Glass, scoop, brush|
|Current price on Amazon||$69.90||$54.90||$129.90||$64.99|
Verdict: WACACO Nanopresso
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of toys, gadgets and gizmos, especially if they’re coffee-related. However, every once in a while something comes along that really gets me weak in the knees.
The WACACO Nanopresso isn’t just a superb example of flawless design and innovation; it’s also something I’ll now be using on a regular basis. The Nanopresso certainly makes espresso that’s good enough for when I’m venturing into the unknown.
For those of you who can’t imagine a camping, climbing or backpacking trip without good coffee, the WACACO Nanopresso will rock your world!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my hands-on WACACO Nanopresso review. Have you used this portable espresso machine? Do you love it as much as I do? Tell me all about it!
WACACO Nanopresso FAQ
Using the WACACO Nanopresso is easy. Simply add finely ground coffee to the brewing basket, tamp it down, then place the basket in the Nanopresso. After screwing on the portafilter, add boiling water to the water tank, screw it to the main body and turn the Nanopresso upside down over the built-in espresso cup. Unlock the piston and start pumping until espresso extraction begins. Keep pumping until you feel no more resistance from the piston.
To clean the WACACO Nanopresso coffee maker, remove all parts and dump used coffee grounds from the brewing basket. Rinse everything under warm water, then allow all parts to dry.
The WACACO Nanopresso doesn’t grind coffee, so you’ll need to use a grinder. Thanks to its pressurized portafilter, you should be able to produce espresso by using pre ground coffee, too.