Who doesn’t dream of being able to enjoy an excellent, strong espresso everywhere, even when camping or on the road, or simply at the office? Who-more-is a short coffee with crema on top, like at a barista with an excellent Italian machine? Poured from your favorite freshly ground coffee beans? While reducing your ecological footprint? This is the challenge taken up by several coffee machine manufacturers with portable espresso machines.
Increasingly popular, these machines are doubling in audacity and technique to become essential travel companions, so much so that some sometimes also make them their coffee makers for daily use, at home or at work! Suppose it is primarily the transportable side that mainly attracts vacationers, outdoor enthusiasts, hiking, kayaking, or camping who want to treat themselves to the luxury of a good espresso in the middle of nature. In that case, portable espresso coffee makers are taken for other reasons.
Of course, we can mention the taste and quality of freshly brewed coffee, much better than that of the industrial coffee machine or Tim Hortons. We think, for example, of workers who are often on the move, tired of mediocre coffee machines in hotels, or construction workers, tired of their thermos of slightly cold coffee, who will be delighted to pour their espresso thanks to their machine. That fits in the suitcase or the bag, using, in addition, a freshly ground coffee bean.
The ecological aspect is also an argument for these machines. At a time when reducing our waste and pollution is more and more urgent for the well-being of the planet, being able to drink coffee in reusable cups and without throwing away plastic cups or capsules is a most honorable argument.
And for those who use it frequently and daily, such as those who use it as their small personal coffee maker in the office or even at home, it is also a considerable saving in the long term, and an investment that quickly pays for itself. , rather than buying an espresso every day from the machine, or even for 5 USD and more at Starbucks…
Why trust us?
All the recommendations we make on Buylemeilleur.com are the result of several weeks or months of research, comparisons, consumer opinion analyses and, if necessary, interviews with experts and scientists. You will quickly realize that the products we recommend here are not the most expensive or the trendiest: they are the ones that will do their job best daily, passing with flying colors all safety, reliability, and efficiency tests and with an attractive quality/price ratio for you.
Finally, the products that we recommend to you are those that we would like to buy and those that we also choose for our friends and our family.
Things to Know Before Buying a Portable Espresso Maker
Why Buy a Portable Espresso Maker
Good coffee in the morning is essential for many of us to get the day off to a good start. And for many, it’s an espresso that is needed: a short, full-bodied and fragrant coffee. Some choose to take it to take away at the local café, at the office coffee machine, or even to equip themselves directly at home with a machine that sits proudly (or not) on the kitchen counter. And today, portable espresso makers are becoming increasingly popular. Why?
Traveling with good coffee : It is first of all the portable and transportable side that will be the number one argument. Whether you are someone who is often on the move for work, on vacation or otherwise, for example often in hotels or motels: rather than having to use the horrible coffee machine at the reception, you will be happy to take in your bring your own machine and your own ground coffee to serve you a good espresso directly in the room! We also cater to fans of the outdoors and camping: who doesn’t dream of being able to help themselves to a delicious, freshly pressed coffee in the middle of the woods rather than drinking half-cold sock juice in your thermos? Or even during a long car journey, take the time to stop at a picnic table and make yourself a good cup of espresso. Rather than being satisfied with a sad soluble coffee.
- At home: Some portable espresso machines will simply be used at home, especially to save space in a kitchen with limited space, or for example in a shared apartment to have your own small machine in the bedroom, or simply because some quality portable machines make much better coffee than Koenig machines! Some people who live alone or in pairs will not need more than a small portable espresso machine.
- At work: Depending on the premises where you work, the configuration of your offices, you will be happy to have your own little machine with you at work to pour you an espresso during the break, rather than having to go down to the ground floor use the big machine that is always broken or of poor quality. A portable coffee maker will also be very popular with all workers on construction sites, in construction for example, often on the move, and not necessarily in places with an accessible coffee.
More economical : Tim Hortons or Starbucks around the corner are handy, or even better, your local neighborhood coffee shop, or at worst, the coffee machine at work. But if we consider that a cup of good espresso coffee can cost an average of 4 dollars (and again, without tip and taxes, without donuts or anything else on the side…), and depending on your consumption, we can quickly end up at more than 20 USD per week, then around 100 USD per month, for a non-negligible annual coffee budget. A portable espresso machine can save you money on a regular basis by being equipped at all times, whether in the office or on the road, to provide you with quality coffee.
More ecological : At a critical time for our beautiful planet and the frightening quantity of plastic that we throw away, in particular disposable cups, pods and plastic cups or even Nespresso capsules, a “homemade” coffee or with its own machine is also an ecological act. And even more so when traveling or on the road, where it is easy to consume disposable in terms of coffee. A portable espresso maker can allow you to travel while reducing your ecological footprint, but without reducing your coffee consumption!
Coffee quality: An argument that is not the least: most of the current portable espresso machines are able to give you a good quality coffee, better than that of a Tim Hortons or an industrial coffee machine. Some portable coffee makers will even give you the little froth of the right espresso! Also, most of these machines today allow you to use ground coffee. It is therefore up to you to make your espresso with your favorite freshly ground beans, for appreciable aromas and flavors, and also a very strong coffee. Because we are talking here about espressos, short, full-bodied and tight coffees, and not simple filtered or infused coffees.
What is the principle of a portable espresso maker?
An espresso, or espresso, or even short coffee, is a coffee which is obtained by percolation, that is to say by passing water at high pressure through finely ground coffee, to extract a strong, full-bodied and aromatic coffee. The authentic and ultimate espresso is topped with a crema, this golden or hazelnut foam that covers the black coffee when it is fresh out of the machine. To make this divine nectar invented in Turin, Italy around 1884, you need an espresso, steam or piston coffee maker. Portable machines today try to recreate this principle, but to take away, which is not always easy, especially for the famous crema, which will not be possible on all portable coffee makers depending on their pressure power (it also depends coffee you use).
There are different types of espresso coffee makers, the principles of which are taken up and adapted in a compact format for portable machines:
- the steam type: In this principle, the coffee container is above the water that will be boiled . When boiling, the pressurized water will pass through the ground coffee to be extracted through a narrow and tight distributor. This is particularly the operation of Bialetti machines or metal moka pot style coffee makers.
- the piston or pump type: In this type of machine, the pressure is given manually using a small pump or a piston, to push the water through the grind. Several different techniques are found in portable espresso makers. Either with a pump that must be actuated repeatedly to create pressure like the Wakao Nanopress, or with a single piston that must be slowly pressed to extract the coffee like the Aeropress, in a method similar to French press type machines or bodom.
- The electronic type: Technology works wonders, and even when serving espresso. Some types of modern portable machines like the Conquest Espresso are designed with an automated system, where all you have to do is press a button once the coffee maker is filled with water and coffee, and the electronics will take care of the rest, that’s i.e. the extraction under pressure of the coffee to give the espresso.
Of course, these different types of machines and technologies will give different results in terms of coffee and its taste, and this will also depend on the type of coffee used. Some machines will be more efficient with a certain type of grain, and a more or less fine grind size for example. Appreciation and taste become very personal here, it’s up to you to experiment according to your preferences to choose the type of machine that will give you the coffee you want.
Our selection criteria for buying a portable espresso coffee maker
As we have seen previously, several assessment criteria come into play, and not everyone is looking for the same thing in a portable coffee maker, tastes are different. For example, some connoisseurs and gourmets insist on their crema, which is more difficult to obtain with portable machines, while some place more importance on the strength of the coffee and the infusion, or are very happy with the short coffee from the pod machines like the Nexpresso. In addition to these questions of taste, several criteria can play in the balance for the choice of the machine.
Assembly time and use
As we have seen, there are several different types of coffee makers, a variety of models and modes of operation. It is therefore necessary to think about assembly / disassembly, as well as the simplicity of use. Because depending on the machine, the process can be more or less complicated with more parts to assemble, more steps to perform for the preparation of coffee, more accessories necessary to carry such as a kettle, filters, ground coffee Or a gas stove. Each machine will be more or less simple or quick to use, also according to your preferences and habits, as if you already have an Aeropress or a Bialetti at home. It’s up to you to judge how long you’re ready to give to your coffee!
It’s fine to bring your little espresso machine on the road, but once the coffee(s) have been drunk and served, you have to clean up. And some machines will require more cleaning, or involve the risk of getting dirty after use, with the evacuation of the residue of infused and wet coffee beans. So depending on the time you want to devote to cleaning, and depending on your level of patience, you will have to consider this aspect. Knowing that some machines also require you to bring a thermos of hot water or an extra kettle, or even a stove.
By definition, a portable coffee maker is an object that you carry and the frequency must be considered, for example if you take it more or less often with you on the road, unless you only use it at home or in the office. So you have to take into account the conditions and the frequency of travel: traveling with a backpack for a few weeks, or traveling by train with suitcases, the wear and tear will be different. So some will prefer to invest in solid, certain types of plastic or steel. If the coffee maker is intended to stay on a small kitchen counter or in a cupboard in the office, sturdiness may be less of an important criterion.
Weight and size
Here again, depending on your style of use, your means and frequency of transport, you will have different needs at this level. If all the coffee makers presented in this guide have a reduced and compact format optimized for transport, some are heavier or than others, to put in a small backpack for example, and some are more cumbersome than others, and will be transported better in a suitcase for example. Some coffee makers have an ultra-compact format that will be practical for daily outdoor trips, while other less compact ones will be preferable for indoor use in a vacation home, chalet or office, for example. It’s up to you to decide if you need the smallest and lightest or not.
We try to select products with the best value for money, but it comes down to your judgment and your coffee and espresso requirements. For example, suppose you want an elaborate machine with high pressure that will be able to give you a cup with the famous crema. In that case, you may have to invest more than if you are simply looking for convenience, a strong espresso but not necessarily barista quality with a bit of foam on it. We have selected some very interesting products with a budget starting around 50 USD and others with more durable materials or more elaborate operations, in particular, more efficient pressure systems, fetching above 100 USD.