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A good portable espresso maker will help you create a flavour-packed brew in no time thanks to its pump-action mechanism. Read our review of the Wacaco Minipresso GR portable espresso machine.
The Wacaco Minipresso GR is the Russian doll of coffee makers. Everything slots and screws together into one compact, hand-sized package.
At under £40 RRP, it’s one of the cheapest we’ve tested, making it a great gift for coffee lovers looking to make espresso on the go. Thanks to a manual pump mechanism which deliveries eight bars of pressure (116 PSI), this gadget needs to be neither charged nor plugged into the mains.
The machine sits inside a protective drawstring bag within the box, which would offer some scratch protection if you’re taking it around with you. At 360g, it’s heavier than expected, but this feels justified by the quality of the component parts.
Taken apart, you’re left with five key bits; the main body, a built-in espresso cup and an outlet head into which fits the espresso filter basket for holding the coffee grinds. At the opposite end is the water tank which holds an 8g coffee scoop (which doubles-up as a tamper) and a small brush for cleaning up the edges. The espresso cup has a silicone runner around its outer edging for grip which is a nice touch.
Thanks to its easy-to-follow instructions, the build is relatively intuitive. But you are dealing with coffee grounds so there’s always scope to make a mess. Luckily, the pieces are designed to ease you away from the possibility of things going wrong. For example, the scoop fits snugly into the filter basket which you position over it, to then flip in the coffee grinds.
Once everything is screwed together, you unlock the pump (which has a soft-touch silicone thumb grip making it easy to hold) and make your single-shot espresso. The result is smooth with full-bodied flavour and an impressively thick crema.
The process does steal heat from the water. Even if you fill the tank with freshly boiled water from the kettle, the resulting espresso won't be piping hot.
For cleaning, it’s easiest to just reverse the screw-on process, removing the now empty water tank first, flipping the main body and then unscrewing the main outlet head which holds the coffee filter basket. All the hot water gets drawn through during pumping so safety-wise, the hottest thing to be wary of are the used grounds.
The little brush comes in useful when rinsing around the filters. There are orange silicone guides on the larger components to show you where not to get water while rinsing.
For those wanting a quick and convenient espresso to grab at home, this espresso maker is not for you. It requires concentration to assemble and effort on the user’s part to pump the water through the tampered grounds. We found that two hands are required and you only get one shot for your efforts.
However, it’s fun to use. It’s portable. It’s robust, built to cope with the inevitable knocks and bangs of being taken on adventures. And most importantly, it makes good espresso. Larger water tanks are also available.
Wacaco Minipresso GR specifications
Ground capacity: 8g
Average pressure: 8 bar
70ml water tank
Dimensions: 175 x 70 x 60mm
Product weight: 360g
This review was last updated in January 2021. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.