9 Best Portable Espresso Maker Systems

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    Our Top Choice...

    Top Reasons to Buy

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      Weighs just .97 pounds
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      Measures 8 x 2.7 inches
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      Holds 80 mL water
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      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

    coffee

    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!

    For the complete product list, please continue reading...


      Top 9 Best Portable Espresso Makers

    Specifications

    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.

    Pros

    • Exceptionally small and portable
    • High pressure produces excellent espresso
    • Innovative pump system requires very little effort
    • Designed for easy cleanup
    • Compatible with ground coffee or pods

    Cons

    • Some reviewers cite that it’s not durable enough for everyday use

    Specifications

    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.

    Pros

    • The smallest, most lightweight espresso maker on our list
    • Impressive pressure makes excellent espresso
    • Easier to pump than any previous model
    • Adapters available to use coffee pods

    Cons

    • More difficult to clean up than we’d like
    • Small size makes it heat up much quicker; can be uncomfortable to hold

    3. Best Value - Wacaco Minipresso GR

    Specifications

    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.

    Pros

    • Very small! Perfect for hiking, camping, and backpacking
    • Easy use pumping system
    • Good quality espresso
    • Great price

    Cons

    • Higher pressure would make for better crema
    • Not as easy to clean as other products in our review

    Specifications

    Measures 7 x 2.5 x 3.5 inches 
    Weighs 1.03 pounds 
    Produces up to 15 bars of pressure 
    1-year warranty 
    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.

    Pros

    • Excellent combination of portability, power, and easy cleanup
    • Produces an excellent head of crema with its 15 bars of pressure
    • 1-year warranty on all parts

    Cons

    • Not compatible with coffee pods
    • Reviewers cite pump failure as a common problem

    Specifications

    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 
    Uses microfilters 

    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.

    Pros

    • Lightest weight brewing system on our list
    • Exceptionally easy cleanup
    • Makes low-acid, low-bitterness coffee
    • Perfect for camping
    • Very affordable

    Cons

    • Does not produce rich crema
    • Easy to use filters are also only single use

    Specifications

    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.

    Pros

    • Extremely durable construction unlikely to ever break
    • 5-year warranty means it’s made for the long haul
    • Best espresso of any machine we reviewed

    Cons

    • Larger and heavier than any other machine we reviewed
    • Small final shot volume
    • Takes a lot of effort to pull a shot

    Specifications

    Heats water to 93 degrees celsius 
    Produces 15 bars of pressure 
    One-button operation 
    Self-cleaning mechanism 
    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.

    Pros

    • Only portable espresso maker that heats its own water
    • Totally respectable 15 bars of pressure
    • Self-cleaning mechanism is a very cool feature

    Cons

    • Inconsistent heating and espresso quality
    • Produces a very small amount of coffee
    • Battery doesn’t last long on each charge

    8. Best Minimalist Design - Simpresso Portable Espresso Maker

    Specifications

    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 
    1-year warranty

    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.

    Pros

    • Simple, sophisticated design is very easy to use
    • Minimal moving parts makes it exceptionally easy to clean
    • Small and lightweight, it’s a great option for camping
    • 1-year warranty covers any mechanical problems

    Cons

    • Expensive for being mostly made of plastic
    • Requires a little bit more work to pump than our top 3 picks

    Specifications

    1-cup water capacity 
    Makes 2-ounce cups of Moka coffee 
    Less than 5 minutes to brew 
    Aluminum construction 
    2-year warranty 

    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.

    Pros

    • Very, very affordable
    • Makes a strong, rich, velvety cup of coffee
    • Excellent compromise between espresso and brewed coffee
    • Durable design and 2-year warranty mean its here to stay

    Cons

    • Doesn’t make “real” espresso (no pressurization)
    • Needs a stovetop to brew

    Final Verdict

    STARESSO

    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.

    Weight

    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.

    Pressure

    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.

    Cleanup

    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.