Someone asked me recently what my morning fuel of choice is. The answer is coffee, but in many different forms depending on the day. We’ve got a Keurig machine at work, which does an able job of making coffee. It may not be the best quality, it may not have any cool factor whatsoever, but I can’t argue with the cost.
That said, sometimes I want an espresso, especially when I travel and the only other option is hotel coffee. I recently saw the Wacaco Minipresso GR became available again (this time on Amazon), and bought one.
The premise is pretty straightforward: a very portable espresso machine. Of course, there’s absolutely no way a little handheld device is going to make the same quality of espresso as a countertop machine or the local coffee shop’s commercial machine. However, the question is, will it come close?
The Minipresso does its job. It makes a solid single shot of espresso. The device is simple. Add coffee grounds in one end, boiling water in the other end, seal, push the piston, and it makes a single shot of espresso. Want a doppio? Just repeat the process.
A few points about the device worth noting.
- Start with boiling water. Not hot water, actual full rolling boil water. I’ll draw hot water from the tap and stick it in the microwave to finish the job and get it to temperature. When I’m traveling and my room has no microwave, I’ll put a carafe of hot tap water through the in-room coffee maker a couple of times to reach temperature. If you’re okay with a little extra baggage, pack an immersion coil with you and you’ll have boiling water wherever you go.
- Warm the device before use. I recommend, if using the carafe method above, to use the first run’s hot water in the device to warm the internals. The goal is to have as little heat loss as possible when we draw the actual shot.
- Use a medium fine grind. A powdery-fine espresso grind clogs the filter, and a coarse grind makes coffee-colored water. Chances are whatever’s in the little pods/packets in the hotel room is just right. For home and office use, a medium grind is great. If you’ve got an office Keurig, pulling apart a K-cup and using the coffee inside is also just the right size.
- Pack and tamp. Like any espresso machine, tamped grounds are a must. The way to do this with the Minipresso is to fill the coffee basket, screw on the top, then open up and add more to the basket; assembling the device is essentially tamping the grounds.
If you want to add a little espresso to your day without a massive machine, give it some consideration. If you love espresso and travel a lot, this may be exactly what you need on the road. At $40 on Amazon (as of this update), if it saves you from $5 espressos at the local coffee shop, it’ll only take a couple of weeks to pay for itself. Grab the Wacaco Minipresso GR on Amazon today.
Disclosure: this is an entirely unsolicited review. I purchased this product out of pocket and the company has not reached out to me in any way in the almost three years since this review originally appeared. The link is, however, an Amazon affiliate link.
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Also published on Medium.