Best Portable Espresso Maker: Enjoy Quality Espresso Anywhere

Best Portable Espresso Maker: Enjoy Quality Espresso Anywhere

Are you looking for the best portable espresso maker for your next camping trip? Our expert team has tested and reviewed the top models on the market to help you find just the right one. Discover the ultimate way to enjoy a delicious espresso on the go!

And, most portable espresso makers aren’t just for camping. Many of these portable devices are also perfect for taking on road trips, whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure. They’re especially perfect for making a decent coffee in your hotel room.

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Let’s face it. Life’s far too short to drink bad coffee so why not indulge yourself and get yourself one of these portable espresso machines so that you can enjoy great coffee absolutely anywhere?

To be honest, I was quite excited when the team told me that they were going to test travel espresso makers because I’m a coffee connoisseur and just love a good cup any time of the day or night.

So, I looked forward to receiving their research notes that have allowed me to put together this comprehensive review for all of our coffee enthusiasts. 

Before we get to the best options that the team have decided on, let’s find out what the most important features were that helped them to make their decisions. These are also features that you should consider when making your own choice from our list.

Features To Look For When Choosing A Portable Espresso Maker

moka pot on a coffee table in front of the lounge

Now, I acknowledge that people’s coffee tastes will differ. Personally, I love a really strong espresso with a full-bodied flavor and I don’t mind a little bitterness. However, your tastes might be different, so the features that are important for you might differ from mine.

Nonetheless, here are the most important features that should help to determine your choice.

The Size Of The Espresso Maker

The compact design of your espresso maker will depend on how you’re going to use it. For example, if you often go hiking, you want to ensure that the machine fits easily into your backpack.

On the other hand, if you are in the habit of going camping and driving to your favorite spot, then you can easily accommodate an espresso maker that’s not quite as compact.

You might even consider taking your own espresso maker when you’re traveling to another city, town or even country. Whether traveling by car, train, bus or plane, you want to ensure that the machine you choose can easily fit into your luggage.

The Weight Of The Espresso Maker

Weight is just as important as size, especially if you plan to take your espresso maker hiking. In this case, you want one that is as lightweight as possible so it doesn’t add significant weight to your backpack.

Similarly, if you’re going to pop your espresso maker in your suitcase before heading off to the airport, weight is also important because you don’t want to have to pay for excess weight.

On the other hand, if you primarily intend to use your espresso maker while camping or on a road trip, weight isn’t quite as crucial.

using a portable espresso maker outdoors with a thermos of hot water

What Type Of Pump Does The Espresso Maker Have?

Essentially, most espresso makers have three different pump styles:

  • Electric pump
  • Hand pump
  • Lever action pump

What you choose will depend on what you’re comfortable with and whether you’ll have access to a power source when you want to use your machine.

Is The Espresso Maker Easy To Use?

If you’re an experienced barista, the ease of use will probably not be an issue. However, if it took you weeks to master your home espresso machine, you might want to check out how easy each espresso maker is to use.

After all, when you’re away from home and enjoying the great outdoors, you don’t want to spend precious time experimenting and working out how to get the best cup of espresso like coffee from your new espresso maker.

a person sitting down while making espresso on a fire using a moka pot

Durability Of The Espresso Maker

How durable each model is will depend on what it’s made from. Some espresso makers are made from stainless steel while others might just be made from heavy-duty plastic. 

If you intend to use your espresso maker often, you definitely want one that is made from high-quality materials so that you’ll get years of enjoyment out of it.

The Price Of The Coffee Maker

Of course, you also need to consider your budget and how much you can afford to spend on a portable espresso maker. There’s actually a wide range of models available to suit a similar range of budgets.

Essentially, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to over $200 for a good quality espresso maker. Obviously, the higher-end models will have additional features that you might or might not want.

Now, let’s take a look at the top choices that our team selected based on their research and extensive tests. 

an arm holding a cup of espresso with a few over a lake and mountains

Our Top 7 Best Portable Espresso Makers

Our top models come in a range of prices to suit different budgets. Plus, they vary in how they’re used and how easy it will be to get a great cup of coffee while you’re away from home. I’ve arranged these in order of price with the least expensive first.

#1 – Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Moka Pot

Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Moka Pot

Main Features:

  • Capacity – 3 espresso cups (50 ml each)
  • Material – Aluminum
  • Weight – 10.01 pounds
  • Dimension – 5” x 5” x 5”
  • Color – Silver and Black

This is the only stovetop espresso maker on our list but it’s the most traditional way to make a great cup of authentic espresso. This manual espresso machine is easy to use but you’ll need a butane or propane-powered stove to be able to use it. This makes it ideal for camping.

The Moka pot can also be used on an electric stove or even an induction cooktop if you get the Bialetti induction adapter plate. This means that you can use it at home as well and take advantage of the authentic brewing process to make espresso.

The Moka pot is made from aluminum and is highly durable so you can expect to get many years of use from it. In fact, it has a minimum life span of at least 10 years.

Here’s all you have to do to make delicious espresso with a Moka pot:

  • Fill the inner pot with water up to the safety valve mark and put it into the pot.
  • Fill the plunger loosely with good quality, medium to finely ground coffee beans. (Do not use a tamper)
  • Assemble the pot and close the lid. 
  • Put the Moka pot onto your stovetop on medium heat. Ensure the gas flame just sits under the pot and doesn’t envelop the bottom of the pot.
  • Your coffee will be perfectly brewed when the pot starts to gurgle.
  • Make sure you take it off the heat immediately and give the pot a little swirl in order the mix the brewed coffee for the maximum flavor.

It couldn’t get easier than that! Plus, the Moka pot is extremely easy to clean because all you have to do is rinse it with clean water after use. Avoid using any type of detergent and DON’T put your Moka pot in the dishwasher. 

Other espresso makers from Bialetti that you can use on the stove top include:

Here’s a video that shows you how easy to make coffee in the Moka pot:

ProsCons
Easy to useNeeds to be used on a stove top
Durable and long-lastingNot dishwasher safe
Small and compact
Easy to clean using only water

#2 – Aeropress Go Travel Coffee Press

Aeropress Go Travel Coffee Press

Main Features:

  • Capacity – 1 to 3 espresso shots (8 ounces)
  • Material – Polypropylene
  • Weight – 11.2 ounces
  • Dimension – 4.75” x 4.75” x 11.75”
  • Color – Gray and red

This is a small compact espresso maker that uses a hand pump to make coffee. It’s also one of the lightest portable espresso makers on our list.

It’s extremely easy to use and takes very little time to make a delicious cup of espresso. However, you do have to have a way to boil water.

But, if you like cold-press coffee, you can use this unit with cold water as well. It only takes two minutes to make a decent cold brew coffee anywhere you might be. 

This portable coffee maker includes a travel cup, a coffee scoop, a lid and a stirrer, all within one compact unit. 

Here’s how easy it is to make espresso in the Go Travel Coffee Press:

  • Place 1 scoop of your favorite ground coffee in the clear cylinder. Use espresso beans for the best full-bodied flavor.
  • Fill with hot water and stir.
  • Insert the plunger and press down gently.

The unit comes with a small amount of paper filters. You can easily more of these when you need them or get a stainless steel reusable filter instead.

Handy tip: If you want to make more than one cup at a time, just add another scoop of coffee (1 for each cup) and then share the brew between two cups and add hot water.

Here’s a quick video to show you how to use the AeroPress:

ProsCons
Easy and convenientNeed a way to boil water for hot espresso
Compact and durable
Can be used to make cold brew coffee

#3 – Simpresso Portable Espresso Maker

Simpresso Portable Espresso Maker

Main Features:

  • Capacity – 1 cup (120 ml)
  • Material – Aluminum
  • Weight – 0.78 pounds
  • Dimension – 8.4” x 3.1”
  • Color – Black

This handy espresso maker is quite versatile because it can not only use normal ground espresso beans but can also be used with Nespresso capsules, Peet’s Coffee pods, Starbucks pods, L’or pods, Williams Sonoma pods and many others.

It uses a lever action pump to make the espresso. This means you can quickly make a delicious coffee as soon as you’ve boiled the water. Plus, the espresso has a lovely, thick crema on top just like you would get from your favorite coffee shop.

Here’s how to make espresso using ground coffee:

  • Fill the included pod with ground coffee and gently press down.
  • Put the pod into the black base of the unit and screw this onto the water tank.
  • Fill the water tank with hot water (up to 120ml).
  • Screw the pump mechanism onto the top.
  • Use the lever to pump while holding the unit over your cup.

If using a pod, just place the pod into the Nespresso pods adapter kit which consists of a capsule filter and basket. Position it upside down with the base of the pod facing upwards. Follow the remaining steps above.

The Simpresso portable espresso maker comes with the espresso maker, a detachable transparent cup, a 4 piece set of smart capsules for ground coffee, a Nespresso pods adapter kit, a scoop and a waterproof travel bag.

This clever unit can generate up to 19 bars of pressure and the water tanks is heat insulated and made from BPA-free material. Plus, the smart pods all come with lids so that you can prefill them before you leave home if you wish.

As a bonus, you can also use this unit to make cold-press coffee. That makes it so much easier to enjoy a delicious iced coffee whenever you feel like it.

Here’s a short video that shows you how to use this espresso maker:

ProsCons
Very easy to useYou need access to hot water
Supports ground coffee & podsIf all the pieces are not screwed together correctly, it may leak
Lightweight and compact size
Can also make cold-press coffee
Easy to clean

#4 – Staresso Portable Espresso Machine

Staresso Portable Espresso Maker

Main Features:

  • Capacity – ⅓ cup (80 ml)
  • Material – Stainless steel
  • Weight – 0.88 pounds
  • Dimension – 2.36” x 2.75” x 7.87”
  • Color – Black

The Staresso portable espresso machine is a durable unit for coffee lovers. It’s made with high quality 304 stainless steel throughout the entire core of the unit. It can produce up to 20 bars of pressure using the manual pump in just a few minutes.

You can use both your favorite coffee grounds or a variety of different capsules including Nespresso capsules, L’or, Peets, Lavazza and Kimbo in this manual espresso maker.

It’s also compact enough to easily fit into an overnight bag when you’re traveling.

Here’s all you need to do to make a great espresso:

  • Unscrew the black base and fill it with ground coffee. Press down.
  • Screw the base back onto the unit securely.
  • Fill the water tank with hot water.
  • Place the pump on top and place the unit into the cradle with the beaker underneath.
  • Pump up and down manually.
  • Stop pumping once you feel the pressure and let the coffee steep for around 10 seconds. This should take around 10 pumps.
  • Continue pumping to extract your espresso. 

With this unit, there’s no need to hold it steady over a cup because there’s a serving beaker that sits neatly under the unit while you’re pumping. Alternatively, you can place a capsule in the base (upside down) and then screw this back onto the unit.

Plus, the entire unit comes apart for easy cleaning. If you want your espresso really hot, fill the water tank with hot water first to heat it up before making your espresso.

Here’s a video that shows you exactly how to use the Staresso Travel Espresso maker:

ProsCons
Compact and easy to useNeed a way to boil water
You can use either ground coffee or coffee capsulesTake care when removing the pump because there still may be a little pressure in it
The used coffee grounds come out easily as a solid puck
Easy to clean

#5 – Wacaco Nanopresso Coffee Maker

nanopresso portable espresso maker

Main Features:

  • Capacity – ⅓ cup
  • Material – Plastic
  • Weight – 0.75 pounds
  • Dimension – 2.8” x 2.44” x 6.14”
  • Color – Black

This small and compact portable travel espresso maker from Wacaco uses a manual function to make a great cup of espresso. With the manual pump, you can achieve up to 18 bars of pressure.

The unit is easy to operate and will produce an espresso with a dense crema layer on top. It’s designed for use with finely ground coffee but you can purchase an adapter if you would like to use capsules instead.

Additionally, if you want to make double espresso shots, there’s also an accessory for that called the Barista kit

Here’s how to use the Nanopresso to make your morning shot:

  • Unscrew the base and remove the brush and scoop from the water tank.
  • Unscrew the top of the unit and remove the coffee filter basket.
  • Using the included scoop, fill the filter basket with finely ground coffee.
  • Use the base of the scoop to tamper the coffee inside the basket. Be sure to leave around 4 mm of space around the top of the basket.
  • Place the coffee filter basket back into the unit and screw the top back on tightly.
  • Fill the water tank with hot water.
  • Screw the unit back together and unlock the pump piston on the front of the unit by turning it counterclockwise.
  • Turn the unit upside down and start to pump the piston with slow but consistent pumps. Make sure that you’re holding the unit over your cup when you do this. It will require around 6 to 8 pumps to reach the right pressure.
  • When you don’t feel any more resistance in the pump, you’ll know that you’ve extracted all the espresso.

Here’s a quick video that shows you exactly what to do:

ProsCons
Compact and easy to useYou need access to hot water
Create a maximum of 18 bars of pressureYou have to make sure everything is screwed on correctly so that the hot water doesn’t leak when you turn the unit over
The water tank holds up to 80ml of water
A detachable cup is fitted to the base

#6 – Conqueco Portable Espresso Maker

Conqueco Portable Espresso Maker

Main Features:

  • Capacity – ¼ cup
  • Material – ABS and food grade plastic
  • Weight – 2.2 pounds
  • Dimension – 3.22” x 3.0” x 9.9”
  • Color – Black and red

For those who don’t like the idea of a manual pump espresso maker, the Conqueco is battery-operated using a lithium battery and also comes with a 12-volt car charger. This also means that you don’t have to have access to hot water because the unit will heat the water for you.

This makes this unit the perfect espresso maker for taking on hikes and to remote places.

Plus, the espresso maker is self-cleaning saving you time. All you have to do is run the unit for 5 seconds with clean water.

The downside of this clever unit is that it only brews espresso using capsules or pods. Plus, the fully-charged battery will only make around 3 shots of espresso. This is fine if you’re camping and have your car nearby but can be limiting if you want more than three coffees while you’re on a long hike.

Here’s how to use this electric espresso maker:

  • Remove the cup from the bottom of the unit.
  • Turn the unit over and remove the extraction chamber cap.
  • Place the capsule in the chamber and screw the cap back on tightly until you hear a click.
  • Screw the unit back onto the cup.
  • Open the top of the water tank and fill it with clean water at room temperature up to the mark. If you do have access to hot water, you can use this instead and it will prolong the battery life.
  • Place the lid back onto the water tank.
  • Push the button for around 2 seconds until you hear a beep.
  • It takes around 12 minutes for the unit to heat the water and then, the extraction process will start.
  • Once the unit has finished pumping the heated water through the capsule, it will beep four times and the indicator light will turn green.
  • Your espresso is now ready to enjoy!

Tip: If you’re using hot water to make your espresso, press the button for 5 seconds instead of 2 and it will skip the heating of the water and go straight to extraction.

It’s important to note that the wall charger that comes with the unit is only for charging the battery and this will take around 2.5 hours. You should not operate the espresso maker while the battery is charging. However, you can use the 12-volt car charger to operate the unit if the battery is low.

Another important thing to note is that you shouldn’t immerse the unit in water. Only the cup and capsule cap are washable. 

Here’s a useful video that shows you exactly how to use this unit:

Note: There’s an updated model of the Conqueco Portable espresso maker that has a more powerful battery and will make an espresso in around 3 to 5 minutes including heating the water.

Plus, this one is made from stainless steel so is also a little lighter.

ProsCons
Very easy to use and is self-cleaningOnly supports coffee capsules but you can get reusable pods that you fill yourself with your favorite blend of ground coffee.
No need for manual pumping as it uses a lithium batteryA fully charged battery will only make three shots before it needs recharging if using room-temperature water.
Can heat the water so is perfect when you don’t have access to hot water.

#7 – Flair Signature Espresso Maker

 Flair Signature Espresso Maker

Main Features:

  • Capacity – 1 shot of espresso (45 ml)
  • Material – Stainless steel
  • Weight – 6 pounds
  • Dimension – 11.81” x 5.91” x 9.84”
  • Color – Black and red

This is the premium espresso maker on our list and the priciest. This compact espresso machine is operated manually using a lever and creates a true espresso with a beautiful crema just like those from your favorite coffee shop.

This espresso maker is also well made from durable materials such as stainless steel and cast aluminum. The design of this premium espresso maker is also quite different from all the others on our list.

Another outstanding feature of this espresso maker is that it has a custom pressure gauge that allows you to see instantly how much bar pressure you’re using. A bonus is the handy travel case which allows you to easily take this unit anywhere you want.

Here’s how to make the perfect espresso with the Flair Signature espresso maker:

  • Preheat your brewing cylinder if you want your coffee hot
  • Use a grinder to finely grind your fresh coffee beans
  • Place freshly ground coffee in the receptacle and tamp down
  • Reassemble the pressure head
  • Fill the water tank with hot water
  • Pull down the handle at a steady pace to express your coffee into the cup below

Clean-up is a breeze too because the detachable brewing head comes apart and all you have to do is rinse it under clean water. This makes it a great option for coffee enthusiasts who are constantly on the go.

Here’s a very comprehensive video that shows you exactly how to use this machine. Take note of how the pressure is applied in order to get the best cafe quality espresso.

ProsCons
Very easy to useYou will need access to hot water
Comes with its own travel caseIt might take some experimenting to get just the right espresso
Makes great espresso Espresso shots are quite small

Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by “bars” when making espresso?

The “bars” referred to in espresso making relate to the number of bars of pressure that are needed to make a good espresso. 

What is the perfect bar pressure to make a great espresso?

Expert baristas advise that to make the perfect espresso, you need 9 bars of pressure.

What are the variables that you can experiment with to improve the quality of your espresso?

The main variables to experiment with are the amount of ground coffee you use, the size of grind, the water temperature, the bars of pressure and the time it takes to express the coffee beverage.

Now that you’ve selected the best portable espresso maker, here are some articles that you might like that explain how to get the best from your new espresso maker:

Aeropress vs Aeropress Go

Best Aeropress Filters

Best Coffee Grind For Aeropress

Best Temperature for Aeropress

11 Best Aeropress Accessories

The Best Aeropress Recipe

Using Evaporated Milk In Coffee

In Summary

If you travel a lot and still want to enjoy great coffee when you’re away from home and don’t like the idea of drip coffee, a portable espresso machine is your best choice. The range of portable espresso machines available is quite extensive and we’ve included seven of them in our review.

The one you choose will depend on your budget and whether you want a manual machine or an electric one. It will also depend on whether you like to use ground coffee or whether you’re perfectly happy with capsules or pods.

You also want to consider whether you’re going to have access to a way to boil water for your espresso as the smallest portable espresso makers can’t heat water. If you won’t have this capability, then the best travel espresso maker for you is the Conqueco Portable Espresso Maker because it will heat the water as well as make espresso.

At the top end of the portable coffee makers, the Flair Signature Espresso Maker will give you the best quality espresso from all the units on our list but it’s a little bulkier and heavier than the other portable espresso makers and may take some experimenting to get just the right espresso for your taste.

However, if you’re going camping and have a good camping stove, you might just want to consider the Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Moka Pot for the most authentic brewing method for espresso with very little effort.

Now, that you have your coffee fix sorted, why not check out our review article on the best portable blenders so that you can also make refreshing, healthy drinks while you’re away from home.