Last Updated on
Our Top Choice...
Top Reasons to Buy
Espresso has long been associated with the large, complex, beautifully designed machines that you’ll find at classy cafes — But does it need to be?
With the rise of portable espresso makers, surprisingly good espresso can be available to you wherever you go. Are you hiking, camping, day tripping, traveling for business? With one of these ingenious machines, you can enjoy premium quality espresso wherever you go… And for a lot cheaper than you’ll pay at a coffeehouse.
Of course, finding the best portable espresso maker is no easy task. In fact, it can be downright confusing to differentiate between the genuine, real-deal thing, and a cheap imitator that might make weak coffee or be a mess to clean up.
That’s why we decided to do the work for you, and put together this review of 9 portable espresso makers that deserve a place in your home, suitcase, or backpack. Follow along as we teach you how to choose the best machine for your needs, and then thoroughly review each of 9 models that we can recommend for different purposes.
Let’s get started!
Here are the best portable espresso maker you can buy:
- Best Overall - STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine
- Runner Up - Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker
- Best Value - Wacaco Minipresso GR
- Best Upgrade - Abode Source Portable Single Shot Mini Espresso Maker
- Best for Camping - AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
- Most Durable - Flair Espresso Maker Classic Manual Press
- Best Electric - AICOK Portable Espresso Machine
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
Top 9 Best Portable Espresso Makers
1. Best Overall - STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine
Weighs just .97 pounds
Measures 8 x 2.7 inches
Holds 80 mL water
Max coffee weight per espresso of .53 ounces
15-20 bars of pressure
Compatible with ground coffee or nespresso pods
BPA-free plastic, and stainless steel interior
It should go without saying that any winner of the RedDot design award is likely to be a great product — and the Staresso portable espresso machine is no exception. Every feature of this incredibly convenient espresso maker is thoughtfully designed, from the miniscule total weight to ergonomic pressing mechanism and more.
We were particularly impressed with how much crema the Staresso produced for such a small product. Measuring in at just 8 inches long by 2.7 inches wide, it’s still able to produce a powerful 15-20 bars of pressure… making for an exceptionally dense and rich head of crema.
Using either ground coffee or nespresso pods, the Staresso is also especially streamlined for cleanup. From the first pumps of its innovative pressure mechanism to the last rinse before putting it away, we loved the experience provided by this portable espresso maker.
2. Runner Up - Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker
18 bars of pressure
15% less force to pump than previous models
Only 6.14 inches long
Weighs just .74 pounds
80 mL water capacity
28 ounce ground coffee capacity
The upgraded version of our “best value” pick from Wacaco just barely missed the #1 spot in this review. It’s a significant improvement in espresso quality over the Minipresso, though, and definitely deserves to be considered.
By changing the design of their pumping system, Wacaco increased the total available pressure to an impressive 18 bars, a full 10 bars higher than their previous model. Combine this with somewhat more robust water and coffee grounds capacities, and it would already get our vote…
But make it even lighter and smaller? We’re definitely in. As the smallest portable espresso maker on our list, it’s impressive how delicious the coffee from this machine is — but cleanup can be messier than we’d really like. So while it’s essential for anyone looking to save on pack weight during hikes, we prefer the easy cleanup of the Staresso for general purpose use.
3. Best Value - Wacaco Minipresso GR
6.89 inches long by 2.75 inches wide
Weighs .8 pounds
70 mL water capacity
28 ounce coffee ground capacity
8 bars average pressure
Compatible with ground coffee only
Even smaller and more compact than our #1 pick, the Wacaco Minipresso lives up to its name! Of all the portable espresso makers we’ve reviewed, it’s the smallest in two regards: Weight, and price!
While it doesn’t boast the same level of power as many others on our list, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the Wacaco Minipresso’s 8 bars of pressure didn’t hamper its ability to make a great espresso. The crema could be a little thicker and richer, though.
Weighing in at just .8 pounds, and measuring under 7 inches long, it’s a fantastic option for anyone looking to cut down on pack weight while out hiking or camping. If you’re a dedicated pod coffee user, though, look elsewhere; the Wacaco only takes ground coffee.
4. Best Upgrade - Abode Source Portable Single Shot Mini Espresso Maker
Measures 7 x 2.5 x 3.5 inches
Weighs 1.03 pounds
Produces up to 15 bars of pressure
30-day money back guarantee
Combining some of our favorite features from each of the previous three espresso makers, the Abode Source is a fantastic upgrade in a sleek and attractive housing.
Nearly as small as the Micropresso, Abode Source’s espresso maker measures up at just 7 inches long by 3.5 inches wide and weighs just over a pound. Capable of producing 15 bars of pressure, it’s a fantastic compromise between size and power.
What really impressed us about the Abode Source — besides its amazing espresso, of course — was how easy it was to clean up. While the Minipresso and Micropresso are excellent options for camping, their cleanup process left us wanting for a different design… And the Abode Source delivers.
In short, if you’re willing to shell out a little more cash to make your post-espresso life that much more enjoyable, get yourself an Abode Source.
5. Best for Camping - AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
Measures 4.8 x 4.5 x 11.8 inches
Weighs just 6.4 ounces (less than half a pound)
Makes 1 to 3 cups of coffee per pressing
AeroPress is definitely the longest-running, most well reviewed name on our entire list. Since 1984, they’ve been revolutionizing the way people make coffee — from cafes to home kitchens to backcountry camping. In fact, their designs have led the way for many of the other companies found on this list.
Here’s the really big question, though: What counts as espresso? Because Aeropress definitely uses pressurized hot water and coffee grounds to produce a memorably rich and densely flavored cup of coffee… But honestly, it just doesn’t have enough pressure to produce an impressive head of crema.
Instead, what you really get with an AeroPress is something between french press coffee and an espresso. Delicious? Absolutely. The same as you’d get if you ordered an espresso at a cafe? No, sadly not.
That’s why we love using the aeropress where it really excels: Packing it for camping trips, where you’ll want a medium sized, strong cup of coffee first thing in the morning. For this, no other device on our list can top it.
6. Most Durable - Flair Espresso Maker Classic Manual Press
Weighs 5 pounds
Measures 12 x 6 x 10 inches
60 mL water capacity
18 gram ground coffee capacity
Produces between 6 and 15 bars of pressure
It doesn’t get much more old-school than the Flair classic manual press. Based on designs from before the era of steam-powered espresso machines, it’s both the most durably constructed item on our list… And requires the most muscle to use well.
You’ll notice immediately that this is not an espresso maker meant to be stowed in a backpack. Its special carrying case makes it “portable”, yes, but more for social functions and business trips than for a hike into the backcountry.
Of all the espresso makers we’ve reviewed, the Flair consistently produces the most true-to-cafe-style shots of espresso. Its incredibly durable base and lever mechanism are designed to last, making it far and away more resilient than the smaller espresso makers we tried. Plus, it’s backed up by a 5-year warranty.
The only downside? It takes some pretty serious pressure to produce the best shots. If you’re not looking to work hard for your shot of espresso, choose another machine.
7. Best Electric - AICOK Portable Espresso Machine
Heats water to 93 degrees celsius
Produces 15 bars of pressure
2-year quality guarantee
12V wall charger for rechargeable battery
So far, every espresso maker on our list has required you to add hot water to it. We wondered: Is there an option that heats water on its own?
In fact there is! AICOK has made a competitor to our top 3 picks that includes a rechargeable battery capable of heating water to an ideal 93 degrees celsius. Combine that with 15 bars of pressure, and it makes a darn fine espresso, indeed.
It even has a nifty self-cleaning function that sets it apart from other products on our list. As much as we’d like to love this machine, though, it’s better in concept than it is in execution; we weren’t the only ones to find its heating function fickle and unreliable. Maybe once they come out with a new and improved model, we’ll be more likely to give it our #1 spot.
8. Best Minimalist Design - Simpresso Portable Espresso Maker
Weighs .78 pounds
Measures 8.4 x 3.1 inches
Holds up to 120 mL of water
19 bars max pressure
Compatible with Nespresso pods
Looking through all of the sleek, highly-engineered portable espresso makers available today, we found ourselves longing for a simpler option, too. Then, bingo: The Simpresso Portable Espresso Maker found its way into our lives.
One look at the design will cue you in to what the Simpresso is best at: Easy use, and easy cleanup. With a minimum of moving parts and an impressive 19 bars of max pressure, it consistently produces excellent quality espresso with no muss or fuss. The only downside? It’s quite pricey for a mostly plastic design.
9. Best Espresso Hack - Bialetti Moka Express Stove Top Coffee maker
1-cup water capacity
Makes 2-ounce cups of Moka coffee
Less than 5 minutes to brew
While our last item definitely doesn’t qualify as what many would think of as a portable espresso maker, we’ve included it here for one very important reason: It’s the precursor to almost all small coffee makers today.
What’s more, it still brews a fine cup of strong coffee, too — with more head than you might expect. With their smallest model holding just 1 cup of water, you can make intensely flavorful coffee on any stovetop… At a fraction of the price of any other option on our list.
Consider the Bialetti if you’re just looking for a good, strong cup of coffee at home.
In our opinion, the Staresso portable espresso maker is the best option for a majority of people. Its ample power, easy cleanup, and consistently rich shots of espresso endeared it to us right away. We strongly recommend buying one for your next camping getaway or business trip!
Thanks for reading today! We hope these reviews have helped you narrow down the perfect way to make coffee on the go for your life. Good luck with all of your espresso brewing to come!
How to Choose the Best Portable Espresso Maker
Our favorite portable espresso makers all share one thing in common: They pull an excellent shot of espresso, with rich flavor and a luscious head of crema. However, each of them has a unique combination of four attributes — take a look over them, and decide which are most important to you before getting into the reviews.
How much traveling will you be doing with your portable espresso maker? If it’s only for the occasional trip, you can get away with a slightly bulkier and heavier model. But if you’re planning on taking it camping with you, any weight saved in your backpack will make the journey that much more enjoyable.
Pods or Grounds?
While the pod coffee craze popularized by Keurig is certainly a convenient way to brew a cup of coffee… It’s also true that you’ll often be sacrificing flavor for that convenience.
We appreciate the utility of devices that can accommodate both ground coffee and pods/cups, but are decidedly in favor of using freshly ground coffee for every cup we brew and shot of espresso we pull. In addition to making better tasting coffee, it’s an easy way to reduce plastic waste — a win-win, in our opinion.
Those big, glitzy espresso machines that you’ll see tattooed baristas manipulating at fancy cafes pull espresso at about 9 bars, a measure of pressure that’s useful in determining how to get your absolute best espresso.
Because the machines in our list work a bit differently than the steam pressure used in countertop machines, we’ve favored those with between 15 and 20 bars of pressure. Any less will give thin espresso, but any more is likely to be bitter overkill.
We’re firm believers that the entire experience of making espresso should be just as enjoyable as drinking it. Because of this, we suggest only choosing portable espresso makers that are designed for a fairly easy, hassle-free cleanup. That way, you’ll be more inclined to use it more often and really get your money’s worth out of it.