10 Best Portable Espresso Makers 2020

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Best Portable Espresso Makers

Overview

“The smell of fresh-made coffee is one of the world’s greatest inventions.” Hugh Jackman. Ain’t that the truth. Indeed, coffee is the most drink in the world, with in excess of 400 billion servings consumed each year and to quote the infamous Jackie Chan, “Coffee is a language in itself.”

But which type of coffee tops the table? We’ve decided to research for and review the best portable espresso maker. Why? Because espresso is the truest form of coffee. It brings out the best of the coffee bean. It’s the closest drinking form of the bean. Back to that word science…Espresso making really is a form of science. It needs the temperature and pressure to be perfect to really brew that tiny cup of coffee perfection.

And it’s not just about the temperature and pressure. The emulsification of the oils make it a thicker liquid with that delightful foam or “crema” on the top. The density and appearance of the cream is a good indicator of the quality.

Before we review the cream (or “crema” – see what we did there?!) of the espresso crop, let’s look at the name. ‘Espresso’ means “pressed-out” coffee in Italian. The process of pushing nearly boiling water through finely ground coffee beans, making it different to other forms of coffee production. But the word also has connotations of special delivery, express speed, fast letter and so on.

So instead of any old espresso maker, we decided to see which of these wonderful machines we could take with us to enjoy the most perfect form of coffee any place, any time.

Without further ado here we go. We’ve scoured the internet, researched travelling coffee lovers and considered all the practicalities that any discerning espresso drinker would be taking into consideration.

We’ve created our own pillars of excellence in relation to this genius invention to bring perfect espresso coffee to us at each and every whim.

Our measurables are:

  • Weight
  • Ease of use
  • Heat source
  • Price

Let’s look at those in more detail.

Weight 

Not many of us take a wheelbarrow to work… In fact, in this day and age fewer and fewer of us even need a briefcase. So, the perfect portable espresso maker needs to be light and small.

Ease of use

Portable espresso makers with flow charts and 5 components need not apply. No sir, we want a portable machine that delivers a perfect espresso easily and quickly which is why we will be placing importance on how easy to use each espresso maker is.

Heat source

Each to their own on this one. Some may be ok with a machine which needs an external heat source. Personally, we like our portable espresso machine to be a one-stop shop. But we’ll cover all the options for you here.

Price

Yes – we get it. Coffee is a priority. Especially in the morning or after lunch or during that mid-afternoon slump… Ok, so all the time. That said, we don’t want to have to re-mortgage the house to enjoy that little cup of nectar. Price does matter so we’ll be looking from the more affordable options right up to the crème de la crème.

We had considered including capacity as a measurable but with the average espresso being 2-3oz, we think that smaller rather than larger is ok, so to make your life easier, we’ve kept our measurables to just 4.

So here goes.

Espresso coffee

Top 10 Best Portable Espresso Makers

ModelRating
Wacaco Minipresso NS, Portable Espresso Machine4.5
STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker4.8
Bialetti Moka Express StoveTop Coffee maker4.8
Bialetti Express Set Mini Express, Orange4.7
CONQUECO Portable Espresso Maker Travel Coffee Maker Portable Espresso Machine4.4
Handpresso Hybrid For ESE Pods And Ground Coffee4.8
Nowpresso Gold Portable Espresso Maker4.6
Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker4.8
Flair Signature Espresso Maker4.9
MicroSpresso Portable Coffee Maker Capsule4.4

1. Wacaco Minipresso NS, Portable Espresso Machine

This machine is excellent. You add ground coffee, add hot water and in a matter or minutes you can enjoy a high quality shot of espresso with a delightful layer of espresso.

Weight – super light, it’s possibly the smallest and lightest on the market

Ease of use – no need for batteries or power, this gets a big thumbs up from us re convenience

Heat source – Just add boiling water to the tank

Price – mid-range and we think the good points more than justify the price

Pros

  • Light and little
  • Speedy
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Small tank

2. STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker

This award winning beauty works with both pods and ground coffee and doesn’t require batteries or power – could it be more flexible?! Plus it delivers a perfect shot of espresso in minutes.

Weight – light and most definitely portable

Ease of use – we love the handy carry bag,

Heat source – another which works from adding boiling water to the tank

Price – another mid- range and very reasonably priced – bonus points for the carry bag!

Pros

  • Does not need power
  • Includes it’s own glass

Cons

  • Hard to master

3. Bialetti Moka Express StoveTop Coffee maker

An evolved version of its Bialetti ancestor from 1933 this stove top beauty is at the higher capacity end of the scale and one for the coffee purist!

Weight – lighter than we expected but not as light as some of the new makers on the block

Ease of use – much trickier to use, needs some experimentation – that said, once you figure it out, it delivers a stunning espresso.

Heat source – needs a stove top – NB induction hob does not work – you need to place it in or on an induction hob compatible item

Price – almost identical in price to the Staresso – again, it’s mid-range

Pros

  • Quality of coffee
  • Quality brand
  • Price

Cons

  • Brewing speed

4. Bialetti Express Set Mini Express, Orange

We think this little beauty screams Italian coffee!!! It looks delightful and we like that it brews 2 espressos at the same time.

Weight – marginally heavier of the 4 reviewed so far, but we’re letting it away with it because we love the colour, the design and the 2 cups.

Ease of use – quick and simple to use

Heat source – stove top – and the cups DON’T get hot!

Price – the lower end of the scale so far

Pros

  • Dual brewing
  • Ease of use
  • Easy to carry

Cons

  • Quality of the machine and parts

5. CONQUECO Portable Espresso Maker Travel Coffee Maker Portable Espresso Machine

The shape and size of this espresso maker make it really portable – it fits into all any any coffe / cup holder making it hugely versatile. It also self-cleans, so get another massive tick from us.

Weight – at 1kg this is the heaviest reviewed so far

Ease of use – using capsules, it’s completely automatic

Heat source – uses cold water without any wires – ingenious!

Price – steeper in price and whilst the technology goes some way to justifying the price, the added expense of the pods makes this a great option for those with a bigger budget to spend

Pros

  • Light and neat
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Battery operated

Cons

  • 12 minutes to make

6. Handpresso Hybrid For ESE Pods And Ground Coffee

Another portable machine which works with ground coffee or pods. It’s super light and again, hand operated meaning you don’t need to worry about battiers or locating a power source.

Weight – amount the lightest at just 499g

Ease of use – another pod option, so easy to use

Heat source – This pod option requires boiling water making it slightly more hassle than the Conqueco portable espresso maker

Price – mid / high end and if you have an appreciation for design then it more than justifies the price tag

Pros

  • Pressure is good
  • Uses ground coffee and pods
  • Choice of colour

Cons

  • Pods hard to find

7. Nowpresso Gold Portable Espresso Maker

The patented design almost makes the price tag worthwhile in itself and then the added benefit of getting 200 cups from one single charge! No wonder this portable espresso maker is award-winning.

Weight compact and lightweight, it gets the thumbs up from us

Ease of use -one button operation – super easy to use

Heat source – needs boiling water but does the rest thereafter

Price – this is the 2nd priciest model

Pros

  • Ease of use
  • Works from mains, car, battery pack
  • Choice of colour

Cons

  • Slow to boil

8. Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker

This machine creates a gorgeous layer of cream BUT does work best with very finely ground coffee. Hand operated, you do need to exert a decent amount of force to get the right quality of espresso. It comes with a protective case to keep it looking sharp!

Weight – super light

Ease of use – quick easy cleaning

Heat source – Manual only

Price – mid / high

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Carry bag included
  • Larger tank than the Minispresso

Cons

  • Short shelf life
  • Coffee not piping hot

9. Flair Signature Espresso Maker

The only machine on the list which you can deconstruct to make it even smaller for additional ease of carrying. Choose from 2 finishes, the beautiful design means you’ll be happy to have this on display in your kitchen as well as being able to take it on your travels.

Weight – super light, you won’t even know you’re carrying a coffee machine!

Ease of use – market leader with a detachable brewing head and filter, it breaks down into handbag size!

Heat source – needs boiling water

Price – this takes the most expensive slot

Pros

  • Your can remove the head
  • Carry bag included
  • Made from aluminium / stainless steel

Cons

  • Tricky to get the hang of

10. MicroSpresso Portable Coffee Maker Capsule

Using pods, this espresso maker means quick and easy brewing of the perfect espresso. You just need boiling water and then the machine is hand operated to deliver a fresh steaming cup of espresso in minutes.

Weight – light and most definitely portable

Ease of use – needs hot water, a pod and hand pumping, not as easy as the others

Heat source – hot water

Price – the best priced model but required pods

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Quality finish

Cons

  • Short shelf life
  • Slow

Best Portable Espresso Makers

FAQ’s

What’s better – a machine which uses ground coffee or pods?

This really is down to personal preference. We prefer ground coffee. Capsules or pods can be restrictive. That said, pods can offer increased convenience for may coffee lovers.

What’s the average brew time for 1 espresso?

This varies dramatically. Within our review of the top 10 portable espresso machines, it varied from a matter of seconds to 12 minutes. Clearly the faster you can get your espresso from machine to cup, the better!

What’s the average warranty?

Most of the portable espresso machines we reviewed came with a 12month warranty.

What’s the average capacity of a portable espresso machine?

The average capacity of the machines we reviewed was 3oz.

How are most of the espresso machines powered?

There is a real mix in this review – an even spread of mains, battery, stove top and hand operated.

Conclusion

There you have it. Our honest opinions of the top ten portable espresso makers on the market right now. You’re welcome…

There are some really great options out there and likely to improve en-masse this year.

The purpose of a portable espresso machine is to enable discerning coffee lovers to enjoy the perfect up of coffee anytime anywhere. That said, everyone’s coffee needs are different and therefore the best option for you may not be the best coffee maker for me. Whether it’s for the daily commute, camping, cycling, sports spectating or a combination of the above, the 10 machines in our review tick most or all of those boxes.

We’re big fans of writing our list of requirements out then seeing which portable espresso maker from our review ticks the most boxes.

Our recommendation therefore is to decide on an affordable option which suits your daily routine and makes for the easiest and happy coffee making so that if an even more revolutionary model is released, you can upgrade guilt free.

We pride ourselves on our dignity and integrity. We won’t mention other reviewers. EVER. Our thoughts and opinions will be ours and ours alone and our community can rest assured that we are all about our experience of the product and in no way swayed by other reviews – positive or negative.

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