When shopping for one of the best portable espresso makers, you have know where you're planning to go. Some portable espresso machines are super efficient and pull shots just as well as your favorite barista, but they're a bit fragile and have tons of moving parts. While that may work for you if you're hanging out in a hotel, if you're taking your maker out in the woods for an extended camping trip, it may be best to search for something that's a bit more compact and durable.
Since most mini espresso makers only pull one or two shots at a time before they need to be refilled, if you know you're going to need more caffeine or you're traveling with a group, you may want to consider a maker with a larger base or an included thermos. Keep in mind, as well, that some models are manual and whip up that shot of espresso with just your brute strength. Others are electric and need to be recharged for regular use, either via a wall charger, USB, or a car cigarette lighter.
Lastly, consider how you prefer your espresso made. Portable espresso makers are either designed to be compatible with pre-measured espresso pods or require you to bring along and measure the espresso grounds yourself. But, if you want the most versatile espresso maker, there are a few compatible with both pods and grounds.
I've done the legwork and gathered up the best portable espresso makers, below.
1. The Best Portable Espresso Maker: STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine
Not only is this manual espresso maker super easy to use, but it pulls rich, complex shots on par with your favorite coffee shop. It's completely manual, so you can take it with you anywhere without needing access to electricity or a battery. It's also compatible with espresso pods or grounds. This maker comes with a small espresso glass that's the perfect size for layering espresso, water, and a thick crema topping that feels like an indulgence, even if you're drinking it in the middle of nowhere. Best yet, it has the backing of hundreds of Amazon fans.
According to one reviewer: "This thing was simple, the pumping was effortless. The espresso was rich and I made two drinks to test, hot and cold. One was a shot poured over ice with some whole milk, it tasted like it came from a legit cafe. Second was hot, and I poured in some foamed milk, again it was exceptional."
2. The Most Compact: Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker
For a slightly lighter-weight model, this compact espresso maker weighs just 11 ounces and is only 6 inches long, so you can easily stuff it in a camping backpack or a carry-on bag without sacrificing space. It's also super durable and contains everything you need within the capsule. This espresso maker isn't quite as versatile as the option above (it is not compatible with espresso pods, just grounds), but if you're looking for the smallest espresso maker, this is the way to go. It operates manually, so you won't need any power source to use this espresso maker. Just pack it with your favorite ground beans. When you're ready, untwist the attached cup, press the button, and pour for an instant pick-me-up.
According to one reviewer: "The idea of hiking out into the wilderness, and then, in the middle of absolutely nowhere, having a fresh espresso sounds pretty great. Making your own fresh, perfect espresso while staying in some lousy hotel where the only coffee on offer is revolting also sounds pretty nice. And this little gadget delivers the goods. It even has a little cup for you to drink the espresso from built right into it. The whole thing is quite ingenious and everything is nicely made."
3. The Best With A Thermos: Trimm Portable Handheld Espresso Machine
This portable espresso machine comes with a thermos, so you can make more espresso in batches or drink it on the go, as opposed to others which only allow you to sip from a cup. Here's how it works: Just put your ground beans and water into the reservoir, and pump your espresso. You can either drink up from the attached cup, or pour the espresso from the spout into the included separate double-walled, vacuum-sealed thermos.
According to one reviewer: "[Y]ou don't know how good espresso can be until it's extracted with this. First of all I'm a coffee aficionado and I have a Gaggia Classic to make espresso, but man let me tell you that the espresso from this machine is night and day difference from the espresso made by the Gaggia. Espresso from this machine is spectacular; best espresso I've had in my life and I'm not exaggerating."
4. The Best Electric Espresso Maker: AICOK Travel Coffee Maker And Espresso Machine
You'll never be without your caffeine fix again with this electric espresso maker. You can charge it with the included wall charger, or use the 12-volt car charger if you're on the move (or during your morning commute). This option uses pressure to pull the perfect shot just like manual makers, but is a bit easier to operate, as you can simply push a button to get the espresso maker to pump. One note? This one only works with espresso pods.
According to one reviewer: "This little portable coffee maker was super easy to pack, assemble, empty and clean. It does a great job brewing up espresso on the go - for those moments when in a car or in a hotel, despairing at their idea of what good coffee is, or even on a hike. Highly recommend for your favorite coffee loving travelers. Very nicely built product. The espresso is truly an espresso. Very foamy."
5. The Most Affordable: Moocoo Portable Espresso Machine
This portable espresso maker is a budget-friendly option that has a slightly heavier and shatterproof frame (it weighs 1.4 pounds). It works manually with both capsules and ground coffee, so you don't need to connect to a power source to use this one. Even better, it uses a high pressure system to create a rich, complex espresso shot with foamy crema. It also comes with a convenient travel pouch and, like other models on this list, has a built-in glass in the bottom of the maker that detaches so you can sip espresso.
According to one reviewer: "This was a present for my husband. He said it was one of the best gifts he’s ever been given! It works great and makes a quality espresso. It also comes with a convenient travel pouch and weighs nothing. Bottom line, you will not regret this purchase."
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