Wacaco Nanopresso Review
Cons: Spendy, lots of little parts, somewhat difficult to clean, time-consuming to produce more than one shot of espresso
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Our Analysis and Test Results
For diehard espresso fans, the backcountry has been synonymous with mediocre shots, until now. The Nanopresso stands out for having consistently produced some of the best-tasting espressos of any product in our review. Despite coming with a bevy of small parts that could easily be lost, the Nanopresso proves straightforward to use and requires minimal effort to pump fantastic shots with impressive crema. We were definitely impressed. While this gem of a coffee-maker doesn't walk away with any awards, the Nanopresso creates the possibility for gourmet flavor and top-notch crema while car-camping, living on the road, or traveling for work.
The Nanopresso features a patented pumping system that produces more power than most home espresso machines. This provides consistent pressure during the extraction process, resulting in a uniform espresso shot with a perfect layer of crema every time. The ergonomic design of the Nanopresso makes it fit easily in the palm of your hand, and the pump is fairly easy to engage with one hand, though Wacaco does suggest using two hands. After adding coffee to the portafilter, you tamp it down with the provided scoop, then add hot water and pump. All told, it is fairly simple and fast to produce a single shot of espresso.
The Nanopresso consistently produced some of the best tasting cups of coffee of any brewing device in our test suite. In blind taste-tests, it frequently beat the most sophisticated brewers in our review, delivering rich, nuanced espresso with a balanced flavor and full-mouthfeel. It is also the only brewer we reviewed that can produce espresso with a dreamy layer of caramel crema. If you have been searching for a rad backcountry-friendly device to make expert-level espresso, you've found it.
Ease of Use
At first glance, the Nanopresso appears to be rather complicated to use, but looks can be deceiving. After our initial intimidation dwindled and we learned how each element worked, the Nano proved fairly straightforward to use. While this brewer does not earn top marks here, this is mostly due to there being multiple tiny parts to keep an eye on and clean.
To make espresso, heat up some water in a pot or kettle, add finely ground coffee to the portafilter and tamp it down, add water to the chamber, rotate the pump knob, and pump your espresso into the provided cup. One thing to note is that you need something to scrape coffee grounds out of the portafilter, as it doesn't easily release the spent grounds. On the fly, you can wash your press with a dry rag, but Wacaco recommends thoroughly rinsing and drying your device on a regular basis.
While the Nanopresso makes a fantastic shot of espresso, it does take some time to recharge and reload the press for additional cups of coffee. For this reason, this model is not recommended for large groups.
The Nanopresso is a self-contained unit that comes with its own storage bag. Barring weight, this feature alone makes it a highly portable option. That being said, given all the small parts that come with it, the Nano is not an ideal backpacking coffee-maker for most people. For hardcore espresso lovers, however, the weight and size will prove inconsequential for the luxury of truly brilliant espresso in the backcountry.
The Nanopresso has a minimum weight of 11.02 ounces for just the press, but with the addition of the press, cup, brush, scoop, and bag it weighs 12.35 ounces. For most mortals, this will prove too heavy for the long-haul, but for a true lover of espresso, the weight may be worth it to enjoy a rich shot of espresso in the backcountry.
Sadly the folks at Wacaco are not just giving away the Nanopresso. As such, it is one of the more expensive brewers in our review. However, if what you crave is an espresso maker that can make unbeatable espresso in the backcountry or while traveling, then this little dude is worth every penny.
Our reviewers loved this espresso maker so much they nearly gave it an award. It is decently straightforward, a reasonable weight, fairly compact, and produces show-stopping espresso. What's not to love? If you don't mind sacrificing a small chunk of change, nor minding several small parts, the Wacaco Nanopresso is an unbeatable espresso-maker. Perfect for glamping, car camping, van-life, and travel for work. We won't even judge you for bringing it along on a backpacking trip; in fact, we might just do the same.
— Mary Witlacil