In a Nutshell:

The Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker is a niche product but capable of producing a decent shot of espresso wherever you happen to be.
Recommended for: A niche product designed for travelers who always want to be able to have a decent espresso close at hand.

Brew Quality
Reservoir Size
Customization options
Ease of Use

Overall Rating



  • Portable and Travel-Friendly
  • Innovative Design


  • Niche Product
WACACO Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker

Recommended For: A niche product designed for travelers who always want to be able to have a decent espresso close at hand.

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Do you love espresso? Do you travel a lot? Do you worry that while on the road, you won’t have easy access to quality espresso? If you answered yes to those three questions, you’re probably going to love what you learn in this—our Nanopresso review.

The Nanopresso isn’t what we expected, and it will probably surprise you as well. It’s a tiny, handheld, manual device created with one purpose: to allow you to create a shot of espresso literally anywhere in the world you happen to be.

As such, this product won’t be for everyone. It was specifically designed with travelers in mind, and if that’s not you, then just about any countertop espresso machine will serve you better. If your interest is piqued and you’re curious to know more, read on, and we’ll tell you all about it!

An Overview of the Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker

Black Wacaco Nanopresso on the left side and its black case on the right side

We consider this to be a very strong component of our Nanopresso review.

To understand how the Nanopresso came to be in the first place, you’ve got to understand something about the company behind it. Founded in Hong Kong in 2013, the company actually began as a hobby—a personal project with the goal of creating a small, convenient, handheld espresso machine.

It probably won’t surprise many to learn that Hugo Cailleton—the founder of Wacaco—is a frequent traveler himself, and the idea behind this product was born of his frustration at the difficulty of finding good espresso while on trips. The Nanopresso was designed to remedy that by allowing him to bring a means of making espresso with him.

The road to the product that exists today was not an easy one. Nearly a dozen prototypes were built in all, with each being more refined than the last, inching slowly closer toward the vision Hugo had for the machine.

Black Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker on a lying position

The Nanopresso is the result of nearly a decade of trial and error. The current machine is a wonder of design that reflects the experimentation that led to its creation.

Crafted with a sturdy, reinforced frame that allows it to stand up to the rigors of travel, it measures just 6.14” x 2.8” x 2.44” and weighs just .74 lbs., meaning that it can easily find a home in your suitcase when you’re packing for a trip.

Even better, the Nanopresso espresso maker comes in a wide array of color options—such as arctic blue, black, chill white, lava red, or moss green—and limited edition illustrations, so you can color-coordinate as you see fit.

At first glance, this device doesn’t really look like an espresso machine. It’s a plastic cylinder shape, tapered at the ends, with a button in the center, so it’s not immediately obvious to a casual observer what it’s used for.

Not to worry.

Mysterious appearance aside, it’s a pretty simple device and fairly easy to use. Plus, it comes with a handy, well-written manual that outlines all of its features and details how everything works.

So How Does the Nanopresso Portable Espresso Machine Work, Anyway?

We consider this to be another quite strong component of our Nanopresso review, and the device has an interesting design.

In brief, the Wacaco Nanopresso screws together and can be broken into four segments. At the top, you’ll find the nozzle, which is where your espresso comes from when it’s ready. Just beneath that is the filter basket. This is where you’ll put your tamped grounds or pods—if you’ve purchased an adapter that allows you to use pods.

Black Wacaco Nanopresso with its accessories

Then comes the main body of the unit, which includes the piston, activated by the button we mentioned earlier. Beneath that is the water tank, and the bottom most section can be detached and used as an espresso cup if you don’t have a coffee cup handy.

Bear in mind that this is a purely manual machine. You’ll load your ground coffee into the filter basket and tamp it firmly. Add hot water into the water tank, then pump that water through the coffee and into your cup by pressing the button. 

The faster you depress the piston, the greater the pressureto a maximum of eighteen bars. Depress the piston repeatedly at one pump per second, and when it hits eighteen bars of pressure, the valve in the chamber will open automatically.

That’s all there is to it.

A hand holding the Nanopresso with detached bottom section that can be used as a cup

The water tank holds just 2.7 ounces of water, so if you decide you want one of these, you’ll have to add water each time you want a cup. Also, note that there’s no heating element here, so you’ll need to add hot water.

The good news is that even modestly appointed hotel rooms tend to have a coffee pot you can use to get your water to temp before pouring it into your Wacaco Nanopresso espresso machine.

Normally, at this point in our Nanopresso review, we’d be talking about the boiler and control system, but this device doesn’t have either of those. So instead, we’ll talk about the fact that Wacaco makes a number of variants of the Nanopresso. We’ll look at them in brief just below:

Black Variants of Wacaco Nanopresso
Black Wacaco Nanopresso with case on the left and Minipresso with coffee pod on the right

Nanopresso vs. Minipresso: The Minipresso has an even smaller form factor than its larger cousin, measuring just 5.07” x 2.75” x 2.36” and weighing 0.64 lbs. The water capacity is essentially unchanged at 2.73 ounces, and the piston provides the same 18 bars of pressure as it does on the larger Nanopresso.

The key difference is that this one is specifically built for Nespresso coffee pods, and the company notes that a number of third-party pods of the same design also seem to work, though naturally, they can’t guarantee that.

Black Variants of Wacaco Nanopresso
 Black Wacaco Nanopresso with case on the left and Pipamoka on the right

Nanopresso vs. Pipamoka: This is an interesting variation on the basic theme that will give you a cup of steaming coffee in about two minutes.

Simply load and tamp your grounds into the filter basket, insert it at the bottom of your cup, pour hot water atop, and then unscrew the top mechanism, which creates vacuum pressure that draws the water through the grounds, giving you a delicious cup of coffee for minimal effort.

Where the Nanopress is ideal for hotel stays where the quality of the coffee you can expect is minimal, the Pipamoka is great for outdoorsmen who want a quick fix and a taste of home while in the great outdoors.

Extras and Accessories For Your Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker

There are three noteworthy things to talk about here. If you’re interested, you can buy a handy travel case for your portable espresso maker.

Five Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Makers with various accessories

It’s a little more expensive than we’d like, but it is admittedly rugged and makes traveling with the device much more convenient.

Then there’s the Nanopresso NS adapter, which is a must if you want to use coffee pods with this machine.

Finally, there’s the Nanopresso barista kit, which adds a double-sized filter basket and larger water tank, allowing you to brew a double shot of espresso, so twice the capacity using the same basic design.

All of these are high-value additions, but in our view, the adapter probably adds more value than the others, followed by the barista kit. If you drink a lot of coffee, you’ll definitely want the capability to pull a double shot, and the pod kit just makes the whole thing more convenient.

We like this modular approach as it makes it easy to get a portable espresso maker with exactly the capabilities you want, and that’s pretty cool.

Pros & Cons of Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker

The Nanopresso is almost an entirely self-selecting machine. You either travel a lot and love great coffee—in which case you’ll probably jump at the chance to get your hands on something like this—or you don’t, in which case, this will be seen as a curiosity at best.

Design-wise, the Nanopresso and the family of similar products that have grown up around it are fantastic. Wacaco is a good company with a fun story about a guy who solved a problem that mattered to him. We like that.

Nanopresso Review Conclusion

As much as we admire the company, we readily admit that the products they’ve designed are niche. If you happen to fall into the niche Wacaco is marketing to, you’re probably going to want one of these. If not, you’re not even going to give them a second glance. On that basis, we provisionally recommend the Nanopresso.

Other Options to Consider

If you’ve reached the end of our Nanopresso review and you want to consider exploring your options, here are a couple of similar products to consider:

Nanopresso vs Staresso

Staresso Portable Espresso Machine

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The Staresso is built around the same basic idea that the Nanopresso is, but it comes with a more stylish aesthetic and offers a stronger pump (20 bars vs the Nanopresso’s 18), and features a cool glass front that allows you to watch your creation slowly empty into the serving chamber.

Nanopresso vs Aeropress

AeroPress Espresso Maker

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This is a great budget option, but don’t let its bare-bones design fool you. It may not look as fancy or refined as the other products we’ve talked about so far, but it can brew up to 8 ounces of coffee or a triple shot of espresso in one go, making it incredibly handy and travel-friendly.

Simpresso vs Nanopresso

Simpresso Portable Espresso Maker

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Featuring a lever action pump rather than a push button piston, this one operates on the same basic principle as the Nanopresso, and it has a water tank capacity of 4.06 oz. It also takes a shape that’s more akin to a thermos, which makes its function more easily recognizable. It’s a handy little device and well-priced to boot!

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