When you’re camping, hiking or traveling, keeping your gear lean is key. But sometimes you just need the comforts of home. One of mine is a hot, fresh espresso. When I heard about the Wacaco Nanopresso I knew I had to check it out, particularly since I’m often on the road.
What is Wacaco Nanopresso?
Wacaco Nanopresso is a small hand-held espresso press. It uses boiling water, and hand-pumped pressure to squeeze out a shot of espresso from its compact body (it weighs less than a pound and is about 6” long).
How does Nanopresso work?
The Nanopresso consists of several parts, which you’ll see the first time you unpack it. Some of them may be a bit mystifying:
- press body
- water cup, which has a removable drinking cup
- filter head/portafilter
- filter basket
- measuring cup for the ground coffee
- cleaning brush
How to use Nanopresso
To use Nanopresso, you’ll take everything apart and fill the filter basket with appropriately ground espresso beans. You’ll need boiling water, so whether you start some in the microwave, get it from your water cooler-hot water tap, or put a kettle on, you’ll want to get that going.
You’ll place the filter basket into the filter head, then screw that into the body. At this point, twist the pump dial so that it pops up from the body; this pump will be how you create the pressure inside the device.
Once your water is ready, fill up the water cup, then carefully attach it to the body by pushing it into place. Turn the Nanopresso upside down so the small opening is over your cup, then begin to pump the espresso into your cup. Keep pumping until no more liquid comes out.
The Nanopresso has been redesigned and improved from previous versions. I’m told it now requires less force to pump. Since I think the current pressure was very easy to operate, I can only say this must be a big improvement. The water tank also holds up to 10ml more liquid.
What’s the pressure like on Nanopresso? Crema quality?
I was suitably impressed with the crema quality on the Nanopresso. It seems like the machine puts out enough pressure to make a good shot and a decent crema (the coffee foam formed during extraction). Nanopresso says, “the patented pumping system makes it capable of reaching 18 bars of stable pressure during extraction, comparable to what you might expect from the commercial espresso machine at your local cafe.” I found that the crema quality definitely depended on the type of coffee beans I was using, and the grind.
Nanopresso coffee quality?
Overall I found I got a pretty good shot using the Nanopresso. While getting that ultimate thick and creamy espresso that comes from professional machines is hard, Nanopresso does a good job at giving you a nice, very drinkable espresso. It might be a touch on the watery side for you coffee snobs, but in my experience, it’s no more so than you’d get from machines like a Jura Impressa, a Handpresso or a mocha pot.
How to clean Nanopresso
The Nanopresso is pretty easy to clean. Take it apart when it’s done and use the brush to remove any stray grounds from in and around the portafilter. Depending on how your feel about soap and coffee oil build up, either rinse it out and let it dry or use a bit of soap to scrub it clean.
Adaptations and modifications
The Nanopresso can easily create a wide range of espresso styles from ristretto to single shot. You can add the Barista Kit ($29), which lets you make a double shot (16 grams of ground coffee). For espresso pod users, there’s an Adapter ($19) so you can draw mess free espresso on the go. Also new; limited edition Nanopress Patrol presses which come in yellow, orange and red.
Nanopresso vs Handpresso
I previously owned a Handpresso device and used that for several years. While it’s been fine, I do find the Handpresso hard to pump, particularly as the pressure builds. While there’s initial crema in Handpresso’s shots, the bubbles burst pretty quickly, leaving me with a somewhat watery espresso.
While Handpresso does have a pressure gauge and Nanopresso does not, I don’t know if that matters; the Nanopresso spits out the espresso when it’s ready, while with the Handpresso you need to pump to a point and hit a release button. Handpresso has very limited accessories, while Nanopresso has many options. Nanopresso is also significantly less expensive than Handpresso too.
So when it comes to coffee quality, ease of use, and price, the clear winner is Nanopresso.
Overall review of Wacaco Nanopresso
Overall I like the small size and portability of Nanopresso. I like the fun new colours available. Despite its multiple parts and accessories, it fits together easily and compactly and it makes a good shot of espresso. If you’re looking for your morning Joe on the go for camping, RV or hiking use, the Nanopresso is a good bet.
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