Wacaco Nanopresso: Level Up Your Espresso On The Go
A love of adventure shouldn’t mean you have to sacrifice delicious espresso. If you’re on the hunt for a portable espresso maker, then Wacaco’s Nanopresso might be just the travel companion you want. This lightweight kit is tiny enough to fit in your pocket and contains everything you need to enjoy a delicious shot anywhere.
Keep reading for Home Grounds’ in-depth review of the Wacaco Nanopresso portable espresso maker.
Summary: The Wacaco Nanopresso
- Hand-powered portable espresso maker with 18 bars of pressure
- Durable polypropylene plastic withstands high temperatures and pressure
- All-in-one kit Includes a built-in espresso cup
It makes great espresso, with a soft mouthfeel, nice crema, and fruity flavours.– Nanopresso User
The Full Wacaco Nanopresso Review
The Wacaco Nanopresso is the perfect Wacaco espresso maker to pack for your next trip if you can’t bear the thought of going a day without drinking high-quality espresso. This portable espresso maker is great for business travel and road trips, and backcountry adventuring. And yes, it’s a good camping espresso maker, too.
This review will dig into all the details of this popular brewer so you can decide if it’s the right addition to your travel kit.
Ease of Use – 4.5/5
The Wacaco Nanopresso portable espresso machine is a versatile design that makes it easy for anyone to make high-quality espresso. Watch Steven from Home Grounds demonstrate the Nanopresso in this video:
The compact 15 x 6 cm kit has everything you need to get brewing, including the Wacaco Nanopresso brewer, coffee scoop, tamper, coffee brush, user manual, and espresso cup.
The whole shebang is neatly packed into a compact case with a soft fabric interior lining. Just add ground coffee and boiling water.
For best results, start the brewing process by pre-heating the Nanopresso by flushing 80 ml of boiling water through the unit. Then, measure, grind, and dose between seven to nine grams of finely ground coffee into the filter basket.
Thanks to the pressurized filter, you can also use pre-ground espresso – a great option when backpacking. The included measuring scoop holds the requisite seven to nine grams of coffee grounds, so you can forego the scale.
With the portafilter loaded, lock it in, and invert the Nanopresso over the included cup or your favourite mug.
To start brewing, pump the spring-loaded piston to build pressure — at about one press per second — until you’ve extracted roughly 30 ml.
The spring-loaded pump piston makes pumping easy. Don’t worry if you haven’t been hitting the gym and training your grip strength. The Nanopresso makes it easy to generate up to 18 bars of extraction pressure.
Brew Capacity – 3.5/5
The Wacaco Nanopresso is designed to brew single shots, and the water tank holds 80 ml of hot water. Some of this water is retained in the puck after brewing, so you’ll get approximately a 2.5 ratio of espresso to ground coffee — that’s about 18-20 grams of brewed espresso for every 8 grams of medium-fine ground coffee you use.
By starting your brew process with a few gentle pumps and dialling in your grind size, you can customize your espresso shots with low-pressure pre-infusion or a longer brew time (1). According to coffee researchers like Robert McKeon Aloe, pre-infusion is a key step in creating the most flavourful and balanced espresso (2).
Pre-infusion is a key parameter that allows one to grind finer for espresso because it helps reduce channelling
We like that the Nanopresso’s manual operation provides room to experiment with brew pressure and time. However, the fact that it can only hold enough coffee for a single shot is limiting. If you can’t start your day without a double espresso, you can purchase the Nanopresso Barista Kit add-on, which increases capacity.
The Nanopresso Barista Coffee Toolkit includes a larger 120-ml water tank, a larger espresso cup, two 16-gram filter baskets, an adaptor ring, another 8-gram filter basket, and an extra tamper (3). Just be prepared to up your budget accordingly.
A Hack For Serious Espresso Lovers
You can improve your espresso shots by removing the plastic valve at the bottom of the filter basket, which turns your previously pressurized Nanopresso filter into a non-pressurized filter. This step is worth considering for anyone in possession of a high-quality burr grinder because the resulting shots, once you’ve dialled in your grind size, will be sweeter and richer. But Home Grounds would never recommend something that would void your warranty (wink).
Wacaco Minipresso vs. Nanopresso
A common question is how the Nanopresso compares with Wacaco’s other popular espresso maker, the Minipresso.
The Minipresso is the older model of the two. While it looks similar, it is slightly smaller and can only generate up to 8 bars of pressure – barely enough to produce a true espresso. It is also a bit cheaper, as the Nanopresso is considered the upgraded version.
Another major difference between these two portable espresso machines is their versatility. While the Minipresso brews espresso from freshly ground coffee, the Nanopresso can prepare espresso from either coffee grounds or Nespresso-compatible espresso capsules.
Though the capsule adaptor is sold separately, it expands your coffee drink options quite a bit, as you can find espresso capsules in a variety of different flavours and roast profiles. So, you can enjoy a Vanilla Eclair or Cocoa Truffle espresso even if you’re miles away from the nearest coffee shop.
Build Quality – 3.5/5
The 15.6-cm tall Nanopresso is made from polypropylene plastic that feels sturdy and well-built in the hand, though we’d prefer more metal in the build. Made to withstand high pressures and temperatures, this innovative portable espresso machine, when fully assembled, weighs only 336 grams.
The spring-loaded manual piston also feels solid, despite the audible squeaking that happens as you build pressure. Each component screws nicely onto the main brewing chamber.
The neutral, black colouring gives the Nanopresso a great overall fit and finish. But if you feel like jazzing things up a little, it’s available in a huge variety of colours and patterns, including fun options like bright red, yellow tattoo, and the outdoors-appropriate moss green or Arctic blue.
If you pack like me — read, the morning of my departure — you won’t need to worry about damaging this portable espresso machine by shoving this into a corner of your suitcase or backpack.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 5/5
After you’ve pulled your delicious espresso shots, cleaning the Wacaco Nanopresso is as easy as emptying the water reservoir, unscrewing the portafilter, and discarding the spent coffee puck. The included brush is useful for removing any stray coffee grounds.
If you’re in a hurry or far from home, you can simply give all the components of the Nanopresso a quick rinse under warm water, and it’ll be ready for your next perfect espresso shot. However, because the plastic body can retain some coffee oils, it will eventually impart your coffee with some off flavours. So it’s best to do a deep cleaning of your Nanopresso with mild dish detergent and hot water at least once a week.
Value for Money – 4/5
The Wacaco Nanopresso is one of few portable espresso makers to achieve the pressure needed for true espresso, which immediately makes it a great buy. Value is added by the number of included accessories, like the protective case, demitasse cup, scoop, tamper, and brush. You would be hard-pressed to find a better way to make backcountry espresso for less money.
It’s not all sunshine and roses, though. The plastic build of the Nanopresso is a little disappointing at this price point. And lovers of double shots will be disappointed by the low capacity. Adding the Barista Kit increases the overall cost by a not-insignificant 50%. At this point, the cost is very similar to the Wacaco Picopresso, which has a bottomless portafilter, double shot capacity, and metal build.
Wacaco offers a 12-month limited warranty on all their products, and this can be extended an extra 6 months if you register your Nanopresso. A nice bonus is that they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can give it a test run risk-free.
What We Liked:
- Durably, lightweight, and portable design
- Plenty of pressure to produce true espresso
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Pressurized portafilter is suitable for beginners
What We Didn’t Like:
- Produces less than 30 ml of espresso
- Noisy, squeaky pressurizing mechanism
- Difficult to dial in with fresh-ground coffee beans
Do not Buy the Wacaco Nanopresso If…
You value espresso quality more than portability: If you’re a home barista who is obsessive about monitoring and optimizing every aspect of the brewing process, the Flair Signature is the manual espresso maker for you. Though larger and more expensive than the Nanopresso, it includes a built-in pressure gauge to monitor extraction pressure, has a larger capacity, and features an all-metal build. Plus, it comes with a custom carrying case for taking on the go.
You prefer coffee to espresso: If you’re a pour-over coffee lover looking for the same convenient all-in-one design as the Nanopresso, the Wacaco Cuppamoka portable coffee maker has your name on it. It includes a clever twist-away pour over dripper, and its 300-ml, stainless steel thermos acts as both a brew vessel and on-the-go coffee thermos.
You prefer an electronic portable espresso machine: The challenge with most portable espresso makers, like the Wacaco and Flair products, is that you still need a separate way to boil water. An alternative is to use a battery-powered portable coffee maker like the Conqueco portable espresso maker. It’s not quite as durable as the Wacaco products, but it’s a great choice for enjoying hot espresso in the car, RV, or hotel room.
The Wacaco Nanopresso is a travel-friendly espresso maker that makes it easy to brew perfect shots of espresso anywhere. Its newly patented pumping system yields plenty of pressure to brew real-deal espresso with robust flavour and a dense crema layer. This all-in-one design includes everything you need to be your own barista – in a compact package that fits in your pocket.
- Batory, Craig. (2020, February 6). Changing Espresso Extraction with Scott Rao. Retrieved from https://www.baristamagazine.com/changing-espresso-extraction-with-scott-rao/
- Aloe, R.M. (2021, September 14). Pre-Infusion for Espresso. Retrieved from https://towardsdatascience.com/pre-infusion-for-espresso-dab5185b8094
- Wacaco. (2017). Portable Espresso Machines | Travel Coffee Makers. Retrieved from https://www.wacaco.com/products/nanopresso-barista-kit