Coffee lovers know sometimes you just need your fix. And when you’re really jonesing on the road, crappy gas station coffee will just not cut it. That’s why Handpresso created this device. The Handpresso Auto Capsule. It’s a mobile espresso machine that makes a hot fresh shot using Nespresso coffee capsules to keep your car tidy. I had a chance to get hands on with one for a few weeks.
Its worth pointing out, this is not a gadget you should use while driving, obviously. You can use it while parked and waiting for an appointment, or your passenger could operate it, but I don’t think there’s any expectation you should be using it behind the wheel.
How to use Handpresso Auto Capsule
The machine fits into the cup holder quite well, and it plugs into the DC power adapter, aka the cigarette lighter.
You fill it with about an ounce of water (50ml) and the little light here will turn green when the level is right – of just use the marked shot glass. Then drop in the Nespresso capsule of your choice, turn it on and allow it to heat it up. It takes about 2-3 minutes and the small display screen shows the progress. You’ll hear the motor running, and it will stop before the full heat cycle is finished, so watch the screen and listen for 3 beeps.
Once the light says it’s hot, you flip it over, and press the brew button and the motor of your machine will come on again to provide the needed pressure. Instantly, a shot of hot fresh espresso ends up in the cup, which is conveniently included in the package.
Handpresso Auto Capsule not working? Water level never optimal?
I ran into a problem where I couldn’t get the water light to turn green; it just constantly flashed white, indicating there’s a problem with the level. I added some, and poured some out, but couldn’t get it to optimize.
Solution? Your water may be too pure
Frustrated, I reached out to Handpresso to ask what was up. It turns out the water is to blame. The sensors inside the machine can’t detect water with low minerality.
Though I live in Calgary, a city with some of the most mineral-rich water on the planet, I was using purified water from my Kinetico water purification system. Turns out that water has so little mineral content, it’s undetectable in the Handpresso Auto capsule. (By the way, bottled water is also too pure to use in the Handpresso Auto Capsule) The solution? I switched to regular tap water, and it worked perfectly and instantly. This apparently is such an issue with the device, there’s a small section in the manual devoted to it. (Handpresso says : “Do not use demineralized water. We advise you to use water with a dry residue higher than 50mg /L”.)
But here’s the problem; coffee manufacturers recommend that for the best cup of coffee, you must use the best quality, purest water. To use the machine, I need to use inferior water. I guess this is a trade off; either use water that’s less than ideal, or forgo espresso on the go. That choice is up to you.
Temperature of espresso from Handpresso Auto Capsule?
The temperature of the espresso is good and hot. I measured it at about 165 degrees Fahrenheit. It produces a much hotter shot than the Nanopresso device I tried where you need to add boiling water from another source. Here, it heats the water for you, which is very convenient.
How much pressure does Handpresso Auto Capsule produce?
The Handpresso seems to produce a good amount of pressure… it gets a decent crema on top. The company says you can expect 19 bars of pressure with this device.
Who is Handpresso Auto Capsule for?
This device is ideal for commuters or people who work out of their cars, but it would also be great in an RV or camper van, which is where mine is going to live very shortly.
Overall review of Handpresso Auto Capsule
Overall this device is super handy. The digital screen and lights helps you operate it easily, and the nozzle, what Handpresso calls a no-spray nozzle, definitely keeps things neat and splatter free.
I love the fact it heats the water, and spits it out a good temperature. The espresso quality is good and not too watery. While you’re really dependent on the Nespresso capsules’ quality for a good shot, I found this is a great option for a good caffeine jolt on the road.
The water thing is frustrating; it forces me to choose between convenience and quality. Right now, I’d rather have the espresso— even made with less than ideal water.
You can get the Handpresso Auto Capsule from the company’s website, and similar from Amazon. It sells for about 160 Euros or about $240CAD, so it’s not an inexpensive machine, but fortunately it does a great job.
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