Compact and durable for traveling
Portable cup attached to device
Small serving size
Water can get stuck inside main chamber
Inconsistent taste depending on grind size
We purchased the Wacaco Nanopresso so our reviewer could put it to the test in his kitchen and morning routine. Keep reading for our full product review.
The Wacaco Nanopresso draws upon the same spirit that popularized espresso did way back in the late 1800s and early 1900s: a desire for speed, convenience, and a drink that never slows you down. It joins the ranks of the many portable coffee makers designed today, from travel-friendly French presses to pocket-sized pour overs and more.
Like these other devices, the Nanopresso seeks to rescue us from the coffee-less abyss of certain work trips and camping weekends. I tested the item to understand better and assess its design, setup process, maintenance, and, most importantly, performance. I broke down each part one by one below to help you decide if the Nanopresso is worth buying in the many picks of espresso machines. Read on for the results.
Setup Process: Ready to go out of the box
Here's another fast-living concept ingrained in the production of this espresso maker that you'll enjoy: The Wacaco Nanopresso comes fully assembled, so no setup time is required—a major perk compared to the many coffee makers that take several minutes to put together.
All you have to do is remove the coffee scoop and cleaning brush from the water tank, and you’re good to go. The brand recommends pumping hot water through the device before every use to preheat the parts, which can be a pain, but I actually skipped this step on multiple occasions and still brewed a hot cup of coffee.
The Wacaco Nanopresso comes fully assembled, so no setup time is required—a major perk compared to the many coffee makers that take several minutes to put together.
Design: Sturdy, compact, and travel-friendly
My first impression upon unboxing the Wacaco Nanopresso was one of pleasant surprise. It is hefty and solid despite its tiny stature. The exterior is constructed from a strong plastic and has no fragile parts sticking out, giving the immediate impression it can withstand wear and tear when brought on the go. That is not to say the Nanopresso is heavy, however. At just 0.7 pounds—which, for context, is lighter than a can of soda—it is hardly noticeable in a bag or backpack. The Nanopresso is also wonderfully compact, measuring 6.14 x 2.8 x 2.44 inches, which, again, makes it easy to transport.
Looking at the device for the first time, it’s hard to imagine it can even produce espresso (Where are all the buttons and levers found on electric espresso makers?). Such deceiving simplicity is partially why I like the design so much. The sleek shell comprises six main parts (not including screws and O-rings), and Wacaco conveniently labels each piece with an easy-to-understand illustration in the instruction booklet. Your purchase also includes a coffee scoop and cleaning brush stored inside the water tank.
Another nice touch with this espresso machine is the espresso cup attached to the bottom, which I appreciate because it considers the travel situations when the Nanopresso is most likely to be used. You are sure to appreciate it, too, if you are constantly on the go and need the pick me up to join the ride.
Like many new coffee makers, it may take a couple of minutes to understand each part and brew your first cup, but overall, I found the Nanopresso quite intuitive.
Like many new coffee makers, it may take a couple of minutes to understand each part and brew your first cup, but overall, I found the Nanopresso quite intuitive. Its cleverness, economy of space, and apparent durability left me highly impressed.
Performance: Hit or miss, and gone in a couple of sips
I looked at two different factors when evaluating the Wacaco Nanopresso’s performance: the brewing process and drinking experience.
As far as making the espresso, the process is generally quick and easy. While waiting for the water to boil, I ground my coffee beans to a fine grind as the brand recommends. Some loose grounds did escape when scooping the coffee into the portafilter, but it wasn’t too messy. Plus, this won’t be an issue if you’re using the Nanopresso outside. Wacaco suggests 8 grams of coffee per brew—a figure I later found essential to the final taste—but this may be difficult to measure at times since you aren't likely to have a kitchen scale while on the go.
It then took about 30 pumps (roughly one minute) to extract an espresso shot. I was happy to find that the plunger worked smoothly and could be used without strain. As I tried more cups, however, the plunger didn’t always produce the same pressure. Sometimes it seemed hampered by the water that stayed inside the main chamber after cleaning, while at other times, it was likely the result of an improper grind size or too firm of tamping on my part. Either way, there was some inconsistency with the brewing process.
The good news is that it can brew a tasty cup of coffee; the bad news is that inconsistencies in the brewing process lead to inconsistent flavor.
Finally, the most important question: What is it like to drink the espresso? The good news is that the Nanopresso is capable of brewing a tasty cup of coffee; the bad news is that the inconsistencies in the brewing process also led to inconsistent flavor. There were times when the coffee was weak, which indicates that I used too coarse of a grind, whereas other times I couldn’t push enough water through the grounds because they were too fine.
However, once I had a routine down, I was typically able to make a satisfying cup of coffee. Unfortunately, the 2.7-ounce capacity meant I finished in a couple of sips. (But that is somewhat the essence of espresso, right?)
Cleaning: Easy rinse and dry
Since the Nanopresso is not dishwasher safe, I was initially worried its numerous small parts would make for a rigorous cleaning process. Luckily, I found that they all rinsed off easily under running water. So, if you’re camping and don’t have access to a sink, you can simply pour water from your kettle over the individual pieces. The lone frustration with the cleaning process is that some water stayed in the main chamber after rinsing and remained there even hours after drying.
Price: Affordable with the chance for add-ons
Retailing for around $65, the Wacaco Nanopresso is a more reasonably priced and significantly cheaper espresso maker than many others on the market. I wouldn’t call it a flat-out bargain because the serving size and amount of effort prevent it from being a primary brewing device for most people. But if you want a reliable espresso shot on the go (provided you have hot water), the price is more than fair.
You can also purchase add-ons, like a Nespresso capsule adapter or the Wacaco Barista Kit, to increase the Nanopresso’s serving size and versatility; just keep in mind that these additions would put the overall price closer to the $100 mark. The Nanopresso also comes with a one-year limited warranty.
Wacaco Nanopresso vs. AeroPress Coffee Maker
The AeroPress Coffee Maker is comparable to the Nanopresso in several ways. Some customers may even be deciding between the two. Both are affordable, non-electric, and well-suited for traveling.
Unless you strongly prefer espresso to drip-style coffee, however, the AeroPress is likely the better choice. It offers a larger serving size of 8 ounces and is generally cheaper than the Wacaco Nanopresso. There are some advantages to the Nanopresso, namely its more compact design and that it doesn’t require purchasing filters, but these reasons may not be enough to make up the difference for most people. We tested the AeroPress, too, and gave it a higher score than the Nanopresso.
A durable travel companion—if you desire the company.
This unique little device accomplishes its primary goal of making good coffee available wherever a person goes, but it is not a must-buy for everyone due to its small serving size and inconsistent performance. It is mainly a worthwhile purchase if one is a frequent camper or traveler, interested in coffee gadgets, or looking to save money on an espresso maker.
- Product Name Nanopresso
- Product Brand Wacaco
- Price $64.90
- Weight 0.74 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 2.8 x 2.44 x 6.14 in.
- Color Black, Lava Red, Moss Green, Arctic Blue, Chill White, Spring Run, Summer Session, Fall Break, Winter Ride
- Material Plastic, silicone, stainless steel
- Warranty 1-year limited
- What's Included Built-in espresso cup, scoop, brush, travel pouch, warranty card, stickers, instruction booklet