Getting a good shot of espresso often requires large machines with perfectly ground coffee. So how does the Amazon bestseller for manual espresso machine perform? The $65 Wacaco Nanopresso aims to be an excellent on-the-go solution for espresso when larger machines aren’t an option. Check out the video below.
A little while ago we took a look at how to make a good cup of coffee on the road with touring band The Bergamot. But what if you want a decent cup of espresso? In a similar fashion to the Cafflano Klassic Nathaniel uses that breaks down to make a cup of coffee, the Wacaco Nanopresso contains almost everything needed for a shot of espresso – even a cup.
The only additional things you would need are a hot water source and ground coffee. You could pack along pre-ground coffee, but freshly ground coffee always gives a better tasting shot. For hot water, a camping stove is probably your best option when off the grid, but if you’re in an office or close to a power outlet, an electric kettle would be much more comfortable.
Making an espresso
Since the parts all pack down into each other, you need to check the instructions during the first couple of shots. But after a few, it is easy to remember the steps, and there isn’t much too it. Cleaning up afterward is simple, as well.
Wacaco Nanopresso: Video
First, remove the water tank, which contains the brush and scoop. Then, unscrew and remove the portafilter and filter basket from the other end. Fill the filter basket with ground coffee; I try to mound as much as I can and then tamp it down with the coffee scoop. Wacaco recommends measuring 8g of coffee for the correct dose, but if you don’t have a portable scale, mounding the coffee and tamping it down works as well. There should be 2-4 millimeters of space between the tamped grounds and the top of the filter basket.
Bet sure to wipe off any excess grounds from the top of the filter basket and insert it back into the Nanopresso. Screw on the portafilter.
Next up, add water to the water tank. The hotter, the better – in the manual, it states a rolling boil is best or at least 190 degrees.
Once the portafilter and water tank are screwed on tight, flip the Nanopresso and unlock the pump. Then, using two hands, start pressing the pump with slow, controlled motions. They suggest one pump every second. After 20-30 pumps, the extraction should be done, and the pump will move very quickly without pressure.
Making a better espresso
From my experience so far, getting the grind right is pretty important to get a good pull. I’m using a manual burr grinder, similar to this Amazon bestseller, and have the grind set to pretty fine.
The other thing that I think makes a difference is filling up the filter basket. It seemed like the more I had in there, the higher the pressure that built up and better the crema.
Another nice feature is the ability to use Nespresso pods with a separate NS adapter. These give you a pre-dosed amount of coffee, so you don’t need to worry about getting the grind right. In my experience, it works well. I got a beautiful crema on top and a full-body throughout. It was also considerably harder to press the plunger, which made me think that building up more pressure with ground coffee would help with the extraction.
In addition to the Nespresso attachment, there are a few other accessories for the Nanopresso. One case fits the bare Nanopresso, while a few others fit the addition of accessories like the Nespresso ring adapter or barista kit.
To get more out of your Nanopresso, the Barista kit adds a more extensive water reservoir and two larger filter baskets that can hold 15g of ground coffee and has a lid, along with one standard 8g filter basket with a cap. It also comes with a tamper for compressing the coffee grounds.
Espresso to go
Overall, the Wacaco Nanopresso is a pretty neat way to get an espresso on the go. Is it the best espresso I’ve tasted? I’ll still be using the Barista Pro at home. But for a manual espresso maker, it’s not bad. I think I still need to do some more dialing in to get the best out of it with ground coffee, but the pod adapter and a Nespresso pod gives a nice cup of espresso when a larger machine isn’t an option.
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