If you love your espresso as much as I do, not having espresso or needing to rely on finding a coffee shop daily is a big issue, especially for boondocking trips with nary a local coffee shop in sight. But espresso machines are typically heavy and large, such as the Breville machine I use at home. So I wanted an espresso option that didn’t require something bulky to try and find storage space for while still using it daily.
I also liked to support local businesses, and that would typically mean visiting a coffee shop for my espresso when passing through small towns on the road, but with COVID, for safety reasons it will probably be a while before I start doing that again.
A few years ago, there weren’t any decent portable machines that produced anything remotely resembling espresso. But in the past couple of years, there are a few different models that produce decent espresso. However, there are some features that some have that others are lacking, which is why I eventually chose the one below.
This is my favorite one, and has the best reviews. It weighs under a pound and can do a single shot of espresso at once. It works with a hand pump mechanism to create the pressure to make espresso when you add boiling water.
You need to either bring ground espresso with you, purchase ground espresso, or bring a separate coffee grinder in order to grind your beans. It is also compatible with nespresso pods, if you want to keep things a bit less messy, however, because of the environmental impact, I prefer to not use pods.
The manual pump for this espresso maker is located on the top, which I find much easier for pumping the pressure to make the espresso than another company’s model which puts the pump on the side instead.
- Manual Operation- No need for batteries or electricity, manual...
This machine requires electricity, and the amount of power required depends on whether you add boiling water or room temperature water. You charge it via a wall charger and can produce espresso from room temperature water 3 times before the charge is depleted. With hot water, you can use it ~100 times.
The major deciding factor against this one was that you are required to use Nespresso or L’or pods, there is no option to use your own ground espresso with this machine. But if you are not adverse to pods, this does have the convenience that it will also heat the water for espresso, but it does take 12 minutes to do so, which feels like a long time to wait for espresso in the mornings!
This is another manual espresso machine and it requires boiling water as well. And this one does not require pods to use, but if you want to use Nespresso pods, you are required to purchase an adapter to use them. For that reason, I prefer the flexibility of the Staresso machine instead.
This is a manual pump as well, but the pump is located on the side, instead of the top, which might make pumping to create the pressure for the espresso shot difficult for some people.
- No battery/electricity need/Manual operation only! Nanopresso is one...
Think about what features are important to you… are manual pumps fine? Do you want to use ground espresso or pods? Do you want it to heat the water as well as make the espresso or is using boiling water fine? Ultimately, it was being able to use ground espresso and being able to use hot water that were the deciding factors for me to purchase the Staresso one.