Wacaco Minipresso GR
A compact, portable espresso maker that brings a touch of luxury to the backcountry. Best for outdoor recreation enthusiasts who like real espresso in the backcountry.
- Easy to operate
- Produces surprisingly good espresso
- Compact and well-organized.
- Intuitive operation
- Minor cleaning challenges
The Minipresso is a squat, black cylinder, approximately 7 inches long and about 8 inches in diameter. It weighs about 12.6 ounces and has a comforting heft in the hand—like weapon or some sort? In fact, it is an extremely effective weapon against fatigue and against the bitter experience of sub-par coffee.
The Minipresso produces an above-average serving of espresso in the backcountry, fueled with only hot water and a few hand-pumps. Its weight might put it out of range for the ultra-light crowd, but for those that can tolerate a few extra ounces and love good coffee, this is a highly recommend accessory!
About the Reviewer
I'm an equal-opportunity caffeine enthusiast with an above-average knowledge of the physical and chemical processes of coffee brewing and enjoyment. I like good coffee, but I am by no means a coffee snob. I'll drink drip coffee, “cowboy coffee,” or dump a few packets of instant coffee into a mug of cocoa to get my day started. I was very excited by the prospect of real espresso in the backcountry.
Operation is fairly simple and very intuitive. I figured it out the first time, without the aid of the helpful, illustrated directions.
First, I'll boil about a half cup of water. Practically speaking, the few ounces of hot water left in my kettle after making oatmeal are enough. Then, I'll add the water to the screw-in reservoir, making sure not to fill it to the top. I'll add finely ground coffee to the brewing basket.
I've tried different grinds, from slightly coarse drip-style grinds, to powdery Turkish-style grinds. The brew basket has a relatively tight filter pattern that deals well with fine grinds and allows sufficient contact time for coarser grinds to produce a decent shot with a wide variety of different grinds. My ideal grind for this machine is slightly coarser than a traditional espresso grind, mostly for speed!
After packing the brew-basket and screwing it on to the main pump body, I'll pump the hand-pump a 5-10 times. Around the 10th pump, a critical pressure threshold is reached, and the next several pumps expel delicious espresso into the integrated cup. Though it's theoretically possible to dispense directly into your mouth, the coffee is quite hot, and I don't recommend it!
I used the Minipresso with a variety of coffees including de Café Bustelo, pre-ground espresso, Lavazza pre-ground espresso, and 4 or 5 varieties of whole-bean coffee I ground myself with a both a burr and a blade grinder. I used both darker roasts as well as lighter roasts that aren't traditionally used for espresso.
Taking into account variations produced by bean variety and grind, the Minpresso produces a consistently above-average shot of espresso. That's applying the standard set by the high-quality espresso I'm served by a trained barista. Applying the standard set by the mere ability to enjoy an espresso in the backcountry, this machine produces an amazing beverage. It's a real espresso, with an even distribution of oils, almost no sediment, and a pillow of crema thick enough to float a quarter on!
Shorter contact time and lower pressure produce an espresso with slightly less body than produced by a commercial machine, but with an admirable lack of bitterness that's totally unique.
Sure, there are other ways to drink coffee outside, but I can't think of another way to enjoy a real, true shot of espresso in the backcountry. Other devices, like a Moka pot or the AeroPress, produce good “espresso-style” coffee, but lack the crema and mouth-feel produced by the Minipresso. It's real espresso!
The Minipresso is slightly weighty, so it's probably not a good choice for the gram-weenies among us. It's compact though, and I've always found a place for it backpacking, day-hiking, or bike touring.
Cleaning the machine is a slightly involved process. Once I've tamped the grounds enough and poured a shot, it's a challenge to remove them. I'll often run a shot of water through the machine once I'm done. Despite this, there is often enough dribbles of dilute espresso to stain my backpack.
I used the Minipresso on several overnight hikes, bike rides, and day hikes over the spring, summer, and fall of 2015. I used the Minipresso in a variety of weather conditions, mostly under 4,000 feet and never in weather below freezing.
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps
(Sample provided by Minipresso for testing and review)
- Great espresso
- Warm, not hot final product
It really produces a nice espresso. It's remarkable from this little "presso". Cleaning-wise it's a little hassle, but again the richness of flavor still outweighs this.
Besides being a little weighty, my primary issue is the temperature of the final product. You have to be careful to pre-heat your coffee cup, and perform a pre-brewing warming run with your heated water prior to actually making your expresso.
Even pre-heating if your are after a really hot cup, you may need to do some post "brewing" warming.
Source: bought it new
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Current Retail: $49.90
Historic Range: $49.90-$64.95
360 g / 0.8 lbs
175 x 70 x 60 mm / 6.89 x 2.75 x 2.36 in
70 ml / 2.35 oz
8 g / 0.28 oz
8 bar / 116 psi
Built-in espresso cup and scoop