The centerpiece of any reputable coffee shop is the espresso machine. This impressive machine is big, shiny, and intimidating, which is why many coffee drinkers stick to the basics: drip coffee.
But what if you want to make espresso at home or on the go without a huge machine? That’s where portable espresso makers come in! These tiny devices are designed to brew rich and flavorful espresso, even when you’re on the go.
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll recommend some of the best portable espresso makers on the market. We’ll also provide a brief overview of how these devices work, so you can decide if a portable espresso maker is right for you.
What Is a Portable Espresso Maker?
A portable espresso maker is exactly what it sounds like: a small, handheld device that brews espresso. These devices require you to manually pump hot water through the finely ground coffee beans, which creates a rich and flavorful espresso.
Travel espresso makers are often compared to French presses, but there are some key differences. For one, portable coffee makers usually have a much smaller chamber for fresh coffee beans. This allows for a more concentrated espresso shot.
Another difference is that portable espresso makers typically use metal filters with tiny holes to create pressure. This pressure is what forces the hot water through the coffee grounds and produces a rich espresso quality shot.
What is the best portable espresso maker?
The best travel espresso maker for you will depend on your needs and preferences. Consider the factors listed above before making a purchase.
Here are the best portable espresso makers available on the market:
1. Wacaco Minipresso Portable Espresso Maker
- Compact design fits into the small carry-on
- Compatible with coffee grounds and Nespresso Original capsules
- Mess-free and easy to clean
- Still powerful enough to create rich, crema-topped espresso
For espresso lovers on the go, having a manual espresso maker is a must. And the Wacaco Minipresso Portable Espresso Maker is a great option. This little machine is compatible with Nespresso Original capsules or fresh coffee grounds. It’s also lightweight, simple to use, and easy to clean after. It’s a fantastic travel companion.
Easy to use, the Minipresso only requires you to add any compatible capsules into the outlet head and hot water into the water tank. Unlock the piston from its travel position and pump a few times to pressurize and extract delicious espresso with generous crema. This brewing method means no electricity is required, making it a great choice for outdoor activities.
And if you want to enjoy longer espresso, up to 100ml, you can purchase the Minipresso Tank+ or Minipresso Case accessories separately (to make a double espresso or more). You can have an excellent cup of espresso no matter where you are.
2. Flair Signature Espresso Maker
- Produces professional-quality shots of espresso
- No plugs or electronics, meaning it will look beautiful in any coffee station or kitchen
- Completely detachable brewing head for easy cleaning
- Durable materials like cast aluminum and stainless steel
- Precision cut and padded carrying case for portability
The Flair Signature Espresso Maker is a top pick because it’s 100% human-powered and completely manual, meaning no plugs or electronics are needed. This machine is also easy to clean with a detachable brewing head.
Built to last with an improved, stronger base, post, and lever made from durable materials like cast aluminum and stainless steel, the Flair Espresso Maker also came with a precision cut and padded carrying case for easy portability.
For espresso lovers on the go, the Flair Signature Espresso Maker is a perfect pick because it’s lightweight and portable yet still produces professional-quality shots of espresso. The easy-to-clean design and durability make this machine a must-have for anyone who loves their coffee.
3. STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine
- Portable design makes it easy to carry
- Simple mechanical structure is easy to use and clean
- Delivers rich, authentic espresso with crema
- Compatible with coffee capsules from many brands
If you’re an espresso lover who’s always on the go, you’ll love Staresso’s portable espresso maker! This little machine is small enough to fit in your pocket, and it’s easy to use – just add coffee grounds, press down on the lever, and enjoy a hot cup of espresso in no time!
The Staresso also has a built-in pressure valve that ensures a rich, authentic flavor with every cup. Able to make up to 100 mL of espresso at a time.
Plus, the Staresso portable espresso maker is made of durable stainless steel and features anti-skid pads for stability, making it great for coffee lovers who want a reliable, portable espresso maker.
4. WACACO Picopresso Portable Espresso Maker
- Rich, creamy shots with dense flavors and stunning aromas
- Ultra-compact and pro-oriented portable espresso machine
- Able to produce an extraction akin to a lever espresso machine
The WACACO Picopresso Portable Espresso Maker is the ideal option for espresso fans on the go. Thanks to its ability to use an ultra-fine coffee grind, the Picopresso produces creamy shots with dense flavors and stunning aromas.
The Picopresso is also the most compact and pro-oriented compact espresso machine on our list. This small form factor makes it a great choice for those who want cafe-quality espresso without having to worry about taking up carry-on space.
What really sets the Picopresso apart from other portable espresso makers is its naked portafilter. This allows users to see delicious creamy espresso flowing directly from a standard 52mm 18 grams stainless steel filter basket during the brewing process.
Plus, the Picopresso is designed for reliability and made from metals and robust materials, so you can be sure it will withstand even the most rugged adventures. It’s perfect for a camping trip or traveling!
5. CONQUECO Electric Portable Espresso Maker
- Water heating option to make espresso anywhere
- High-performance 15 BAR PUMP system
- Rechargeable BATTERY
- Internal SELF-CLEANING function
This handy little gadget is perfect for travel, camping, hiking, or just about any other outdoor activity. It features a rechargeable battery, so you can make your espresso without needing to plug it into a power source.
Because it’s battery-powered, you can heat up water and make espresso anywhere you go.
With just a press of a button, you can have your very own authentic barista-quality espresso. The precise temperature system ensures that your espresso is always at the perfect temperature.
The internal self-cleaning function means you just add water and press a button to self-clean. The easy to clean design means that all you need to do is wash the coffee cup and capsule cap. There’s no need to worry about limescale build-up in the water tank, either.
So go ahead and take your coffee obsession on the road with the CONQUECO Electric Portable Espresso Maker!
6. AeroPress Go Portable
- Quickly makes smooth, delicious coffee
- Simple to use and clean up takes seconds
- Can make cold brew coffee in just two minutes
- Everything fits inside the mug for easy packing
- Durable and portable for taking on any adventure
The AeroPress Go is one of the most popular portable espresso makers on the market. This little machine is simple to use and easy to clean up, and it brews a delicious cup of espresso in just minutes.
The mug and lid also double as a travel case, making it easy to take your AeroPress with you wherever you go. Add fine ground coffee beans and use the supplied microfilters for a grit-free cup of coffee.
For those who like their coffee cold, the AeroPress Go can brew a delicious cold brew in just two minutes. Simply add your favorite coffee grounds and water, stir for one minute, and enjoy.
So whether you’re at home or on the go, the AeroPress Go is the perfect espresso maker for any coffee lover.
7. Bialetti Moka Express
- Durable design made from high-quality metal
- Original 1933 design
- Makes a great-tasting cup of coffee
- Available in multiple sizes to suit your needs
Each Bialetti Moka Espresso is made in Italy and is of the highest quality. Since 1933, the company has been providing stovetop espresso makers that create elegant coffee.
The pots are easy to clean and have an ergonomic handle. They are also available in many sizes and are suitable for gas, electric, and induction cooktops.
With its unique shape and inimitable gentleman with mustache design, the stovetop espresso maker is a stylish addition to any kitchen. Plus, its compact size means it won’t take up too much space in your bag or suitcase. So what are you waiting for
They’re also easy to use – just fill the boiler up with water and ground coffee, and place it on the stovetop. The coffee will be ready in no time.
The Moka pot comes in a variety of sizes so that you can find the perfect one for your needs. And don’t worry about cleaning – rinse with clean water and scrub with a brush after use, and you’re good to go.
8. Simpresso Portable Espresso Maker
- Rich and thick crema espresso anytime and anywhere
- Compact, lightweight, and portable design with all accessories included
- Compatible with Nespresso pods
- Easy to operate and clean
This little machine is lightweight and compact, making it easy to take with you wherever you go. It’s also compatible with Nespresso capsules so that you can use one of your favorite coffee pods anywhere.
The newly patented lever action pumping system makes it easy to produce true espresso without electricity, and the Simpresso can easily be fully disassembled for thorough and painless cleaning.
This kit comes with everything you need to make espresso on the go, including a Simpresso unit, detachable transparent cup, smart capsules (reusable four-piece set), Nespresso pod adapter kit, waterproof travel bag, scoop, and instruction book.
So whether you’re camping, hiking, or just traveling, you can enjoy a rich and thick crema espresso anytime, anywhere with this Portable Espresso Maker.
9. Moocoo Portable Espresso Machine
- Advanced pumping technology for 20 Bar stable pressure
- 2-in-1 extraction design for use with ground coffee or espresso capsules
- Ergonomic design for easy portability and cleaning
This top pump machine is compact and ready for travel. Just add your favorite ground coffee or espresso capsules, and get rich-tasting shots with a perfect crema every time.
Thanks to its advanced pumping technology, this machine can reach 20 bar pressure during extraction, resulting in a perfect crema every time. The anti-slip design means you can use it anywhere, and the built-in cup and scoop make it easy to enjoy your espresso on the go.
The Moocoo is easy to disassemble and dishwasher safe, making it a breeze to clean.
Finally, the dual-wall coffee mug is made from PCTG plastic (outer wall) and BPA-free high-boron silicon glass (inner wall). This design keeps your coffee hot while you sip.
So if you’re looking for a top-quality, compact espresso maker that’s easy to use and clean, the Moocoo is an excellent choice.
10. JUSTUZE Portable Coffee Maker
- Make a cup of coffee in a few minutes with just one button.
- Can automatically clean itself at the press of a button
- With its small size, the coffee maker is easy to take with you
- Battery-powered and can boil water, making it ideal for travel or camping
This little machine is easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to carry. Making it the perfect option for coffee lovers who want to enjoy a cup of espresso wherever they go.
The built-in heating element means the JUSTUZE Portable Coffee Maker can be used with cold or hot water. It also features a water pump that makes it easy to create a cup of espresso in just a few minutes.
You can charge the battery using either a car charger or a home charger, making it easy to keep the coffee maker powered up and ready to go. A fully charged battery can make up to 4 cups of espresso with cold water or 200 cups with hot water.
The JUSTUZE Portable Coffee Maker is also compatible with both Nespresso and L’OR capsules, making it a versatile option for coffee lovers.
It’s so easy to clean that you can simply press a button, and the machine will do all the work for you. And its small size means it’s easy to pack into a backpack or in the trunk of your car.
11. Cafflano Kompresso
- Compact and lightweight authentic espresso maker
- Uses a hydraulic system to boost the extraction force
- No filter needed
This unique portable espresso maker uses a hydraulic system to create high pressure and deliver a rich, delicious cup of espresso. It’s also incredibly compact and lightweight, making it easy to take with you on vacation.
Plus, the Kompresso (compress + espresso) is durable. Designed for both pressing and pulling handles, this espresso maker can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Using Pascal’s principle to maximize the weight forced, it delivers a consistent and robust cup of espresso every time.
What’s more, it’s easy to clean, and there are no filters to replace, making it even more affordable.
The simple design means that even the most novice coffee drinker can easily make a delicious espresso cup. So if you’re looking for an authentic, great-tasting espresso while on the go, check out the Cafflano Kompresso.
How Does a Portable Espresso Maker Work?
Most portable espresso makers use a manual pump or lever to pressurize the hot water. This pump is usually located on the side of the device while a lever is on top.
Portable espresso machines lack any sort of heating element. You’ll need an electric gooseneck kettle or another way to heat water to at least 197 degrees Fahrenheit.
To use a portable espresso maker, start by filling the chamber with hot water. Then, add your coffee grounds to the filter basket and screw on the chamber’s top. Be sure not to overfill the basket, as this can make it challenging to pressurize the water.
Once the chamber is full of hot water and coffee grounds, it’s time to pump or lever the handle. This will pressurize the water and force it through the coffee grounds. The result should be a rich and flavorful espresso shot.
It’s important to note that portable espresso makers usually require a bit of practice to get the perfect shot. It might take a few tries to get the pressure right. Some devices like the Flair have pressure gauges to assist you.
What Are the Benefits of a Portable Espresso Maker?
Portable espresso makers offer several benefits, especially if you’re a coffee lover who is always on the go.
One of the biggest advantages of these devices is their portability. You can easily take a travel espresso maker with you when you travel, so you’ll never have to go without your favorite coffee drink.
Another benefit is that most portable espresso makers are very easy to use. There’s no need for messy grinders or complex machines. All you need is hot water and coffee grounds.
These devices are small, and many of them come with a carrying case or pouch. This makes it easy to store your portable espresso maker in a purse, backpack, or suitcase.
Finally, portable espresso makers are relatively affordable. You can find some high-quality models for less than $100. This makes them a great option for budget-conscious coffee lovers.
What Are the Disadvantages of a Portable Espresso Maker?
Of course, there are also some disadvantages to using a portable espresso maker.
The biggest downside is that these devices can be difficult to use. It might take some practice to get the perfect shot of espresso. You might also have to experiment with different coffee grounds and brewing times to find the perfect combination for your taste.
Another disadvantage is that portable espresso makers usually don’t make large quantities of coffee. Most of them only brew one or two shots at a time. This can be problematic if you need to make coffee for a group of people.
Finally, portable espresso makers can be expensive. Some of the higher-end models can cost more than $200. However, there are also some less expensive options available for budget-conscious buyers.
What to look for in a portable espresso maker?
When shopping for a portable espresso maker, there are several things you should keep in mind.
First, consider the size of the device. Some portable espresso makers are very small and compact, while others are larger and bulkier. Choose a size that will be easy for you to transport.
Ease of use
Next, think about how easy the device is to use. Some portable espresso makers are very simple and straightforward, while others require a little more experience to get the perfect shot. Consider your own skill level before making a purchase.
The most popular pump types are electric, hand-pump, and lever action. Electric pumps are the easiest to use, but they require either an outlet or charged battery outlet. Hand-pumps are the most portable style because they are the smallest and can be placed over a cup, but they require the most effort. Lever action pumps are somewhere in the middle, as they’re easy to use but still require a little bit of manual effort.
Another critical factor to consider is the weight of the device. Some portable espresso makers are very light and easy to carry, while others are heavier and bulkier. Choose a size and weight that will be comfortable for you to transport. The lightest portable espresso makers might be easy to carry but may not produce the most powerful shots.
Whether you intend to throw your portable espresso device into the bottom of your camping bag or whether you want to keep it pristine and only use it on special occasions, the build quality of your device is essential. Some portable espresso makers are made with cheaper materials that are more likely to break, while others are made with higher-quality materials that can withstand more wear and tear. Consider how you will be using your device before making a purchase.
Finally, think about your budget. Portable espresso makers can range in price from around $30 to more than $200. Choose a model that fits your budget and needs.
Some portable espresso makers come with additional features like pressure gauges or collapsible cups. These features can be helpful, but they are not always essential.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How small is a portable espresso maker?
The smallest portable espresso makers are about the size of a small water bottle and can easily fit into a pocket or purse. Larger models are about the size of a large travel mug.
What is the best pump style for a portable espresso maker?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as different people have different preferences. Some people prefer an electric pump, while others prefer the hand-pump or lever action styles. Consider your own needs and preferences when choosing a pump style.
How should I clean my portable espresso maker?
Most portable espresso makers can be washed by hand with warm water and soap. Be sure to dry it thoroughly after washing to prevent rusting or other damage. If your device has any removable parts, you may also want to disassemble them and clean them individually. It’s also recommended that you use filtered or bottled water with your portable espresso maker, as hard water build-up can cause clogs or other damage.
What is espresso-like coffee?
Espresso is a type of coffee that is made by forcing a small amount of hot water through finely-ground coffee beans. Espresso has a thicker consistency and richer flavor than brewing coffee regularly and higher caffeine content. As such, it’s often used for special occasions or to get an extra boost of energy throughout the day. This makes portable espresso makers perfect for people who are always on the go.
Do you have to use espresso beans to make espresso?
No, you do not have to use espresso beans to make espresso. Many people choose to grind their own coffee beans for the freshest and best-tasting results, but pre-ground espresso is also readily available at most grocery stores or online retailers. Whether you prefer a light roast or a dark roast will be entirely up to your personal preference.
How much caffeine is in espresso?
The amount of caffeine in espresso can vary depending on the beans used, the grind, and the brewing method. However, on average, there is about 60-80mg of caffeine per 2-ounce shot of espresso. This is more than double the amount of caffeine in a regular cup of coffee, so keep this in mind if you are sensitive to caffeine or if you plan on drinking multiple shots throughout the day.