Nanopresso- A Comprehensive Review

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If you are an espresso lover you will know that it is difficult to survive a day without it. The short sharp shot of golden nectar to get you through the day. So what do you do when you are camping or travelling and espresso isn’t readily available? Enter the Wacaco Nanopresso. 

This hand-powered espresso machine claims it can brew the perfect shot of espresso while you are on-the-go. So how does it live up to claims?

Nanopresso Overview

Designed for the espresso lover who wants the freedom to brew espresso anywhere, this portable espresso maker can produce a reliable shot of espresso with good crema.



Nanopresso Review

What is the Nanopresso?

The Nanopresso is designed to cater to the espresso lover that is looking for a portable coffee maker. It is a hand powered machine that is capable of producing up to 18 bars of pressure (although espresso only requires 9 bars). The Nanopresso is in the shape of a capsule and consists of three main parts: the portafilter, the main body and the water tank. Brewing is as simple as filling the portafilter with ground coffee and adding hot water. You then build pressure by pumping the piston and a single shot of espresso is slowly released.

The Nanopresso has several add ons you can get:

  • For the Pod lover, you can get the NS adaptor from Wacaco that allows you to use single use pods such as nespresso instead. This is a handy addition especially if you are travelling and want a more convenient option.
  • For the double shot lover you can get the Barista Kit which has a larger water tank and grounds basket that attach to the Nanopresso allowing you to brew a larger shot.

Quality of the Nanopresso

The Nanopresso has been thoughtfully designed. It is compact (although somewhat heavy) and packs conveniently into a travel case. It is made of plastic and is very robust, standing up to the knocks and bumps of everyday use. It has an ergonomic shape making it easy to hold when pumping. Wacaco have included several nice touches such as a built in cup, a lightweight travel case and a coffee scoop that doubles as a tamper. The Nanopresso is also available in a number of sleek  colors.


Ease of Use

At first glance, the Nanopresso can seem very complicated to use, but after a few runs through you will find the process is fairly straightforward. One of the good things about it is that there is very little technical skill required to brew a good shot of coffee. On the negative side it is a rather fiddly process to go through to produce a shot of espresso and rather time consuming. As such we would only recommend this espresso maker for single use. 

The Nanopresso is also a bit of a hassle to clean, with so many parts to take apart to clean and then dry, it may not be the best option if you are looking for a coffee maker for the great outdoors. 

How to use the Nanopresso

  • Heat up water in a pot or kettle
  • Preheat the Nanopresso by pumping hot water through the machine (this will result in a hotter final shot)
  • Add 8g of finely ground coffee into the portafilter and tamp it down (it is recommended to use a coarser grind than traditional espresso- with a similar consistency to salt)
  • Put the portafilter into the main body and screw the top on.
  • Add boiling water to the water tank
  • Screw the main body on tightly to the water tank
  • Unlock the piston from its travel position
  • Hold the Nanopresso above your cup and start pumping the piston
  • After about 8 pumps the espresso should start coming out, continue until all the coffee is out
  • Enjoy!
  • Clean by rinsing thoroughly and then drying (you may need to scrape the grounds out of the portafilter)

Tips for Using

  • Preheat the machine by pumping hot water through it before using. This helps produce a hotter espresso shot.
  • Don’t grind your coffee too fine (think table salt) or it will clog the machine
  • After brewing, wait a few minutes to clean your machine. This helps the puck to dry a bit making it easier to clean up.


Quality of Espresso

So now the all important question- how does the espresso actually taste? The Nanopresso has received mixed reviews. On the positive, it is one of the few portable espresso makers that produces a reliable shot of espresso with a decent layer of crema. However the espresso itself lacks the thicky, syrupy body of an espresso you would get in a shop. 

While the Nanopresso can reach the 9 bars of pressure required for espresso, it struggles with finely ground coffee as is needed for espresso. It really is designed to be used with pre-ground coffee (which is often ground slightly coarser). Because of this it is very finicky to dial in if you are wanting to use freshly ground coffee, as your typical espresso grind will clog the unit while a coarser grind will be under extracted and sour.

Because of this you may find you get better tasting results if you use the NS adaptor and a pod. This is also more convenient if you are travelling.


So if the Nanopresso has been designed to be taken on that adventure, how portable is it? While the Nanopresso has lots of small parts that could easily be lost, the handy storage bag makes up for it, making it easy to store and transport the coffee maker. It does weigh a decent amount (12.35 oz) and the need for hot water means you are going to have to take along a flask or heating device. However if you are an espresso lover these will not be insurmountable.


Who is the Nanopresso for?

So this all begs the question, who is the Nanopresso for? It is clearly not designed for home use. With the effort required to boil water, load the espresso maker, pump out a shot and then clean up after, many will find it is simply not worth it for the small shot you get out. However if you are a devoted espresso lover this may all be inconsequential. Alternatively if you love brewing with pods and want the ability to take this with you on the road, the Nanopresso may be just for you.


  • Produces a reliable shot with good crema
  • Thoughtfully designed
  • Handy travel case and accessories


  • Time consuming to produce more than one shot
  • Lots of parts to keep track of
  • Requires boiling water
  • Difficult to clean

Alternative to the Nanopresso

If you are looking for a coffee maker for travel, we would highly recommend the Aeropress. While it doesn’t make espresso, it is a superb single-serve coffee maker ideal for the coffee lover. It is easy and fun to use, portable and best of all can make some superb tasting coffee! See our full review here.

Nanopresso – The Final Verdict

The Nanopresso fills a niche for those looking for a portable espresso maker. It is able to produce a reliable shot of espresso with good crema. While it can be fiddly to use, if you love espresso and don’t mind using pre ground coffee or pods this could be a great option to take with you on your travels.



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