Are you one of those people that need coffee on any day ending with a Y? Do people avoid you while camping until you’ve had your morning coffee? Are you a coffee snob who avoids camping for fear of not having access to a decent drop?
If you answered yes to any of these questions (or even if you didn’t), read on. This device might just change your life… Well, maybe not your life but at least your mornings.
Functionality & Ease of Use (Rating: 95%)
The device tested was the Minipresso NS model, meaning it uses the Nespresso Pods to deliver a shot of the good stuff. The other two models in the range can accommodate Caffitaly Pods (CA model) and ground coffee beans (GR model). This allows you to select your favourite pod or bean and get a shot of coffee made to your liking wherever, whenever.
The two pod models work the same way in that you insert a pod one end, fill up the water tank the other end and pump the hand pump in the middle to deliver the coffee shot. The GR model uses ground coffee instead of beans but operates the same once the coffee is in place.
Obviously, the GR model requires you to carry pre-ground coffee which is something to consider if buying that model. I haven’t used it but would imagine from using a ‘proper’ grinder and coffee machine set up at home, this would be the messier option of the three to use. Not something I wanted to muck around with when out bush. The other clear advantage of the Pod models is the ease of use and consistency of coffee it delivers, unlike coffee that you pre-grind yourself, which can dramatically affect the shot of coffee if it’s not quite right.
This device is seriously easy to use. In fact, when I received it I didn’t even read the instructions. I had already watched a YouTube clip of it working several weeks earlier and that was enough. I mean who reads instructions anyway?
Within minutes of snatching the box from the delivery guy I had the device in my hand, it was unwrapped, pod inserted, kettle boiled and I was pumping a shot of hot coffee with great crema at around 8 bar (which is pretty close to an actual coffee machine). The only thing left to decide once you have the coffee shot poured is if you want to add sugar and milk.
After years of hiking and camping trips drinking coffee bags and instant (*cough dirt cough*) I can honestly say this device is a godsend. The last trip I used it on was a bushwalk so I just poured a shot, topped it up with hot water, and added sugar. That was still significantly better than any other type of camping coffee I’ve had before.
If I’m in the caravan or 4wd I will be looking to combine it with something like the Bellpresso milk steamer for home quality coffee off the grid. I can see this coming in my suitcase for overseas trips as well where good coffee might be hard to get.
Design & Durability (Rating: 95%)
The Minipresso feels solid in hand and definitely feels like it is well built and a good quality piece of gear. It packs down to a reasonable size of 175 x 70 x 60 mm and the ends are both capped which keeps any dribbles of leftover water out of your gear. When not in use the hand pump can be pushed in and twisted which locks it in place keeping it out of harm’s way. If you’re worried about it being damaged in storage or transit you can also buy a padded carry case to store it in.
The only issue I could see with this device is rubber seals inside the unit wearing out over time, just like my home coffee machine. I have no reason to believe that will happen in a hurry and have not yet confirmed but would not be surprised if these units can be repaired if that became an issue. Also, my coffee machine at home poured thousands of shots before the seal became an issue.
The Minipresso weighs in at about 350 grams which if car camping or base camping is not too bad at all. Some would say it’s too heavy for bushwalking or hiking but I’ve considered carrying a generator and pod machine on walks before so I’m happy to carry the 350-gram weight penalty.
What I Like
- Small packed size and relatively lightweight.
- Ability to pour a quality coffee shot anywhere, as long as you can boil water.
- Relatively cheap purchase price (less than $80).
- Pretty much idiot proof – I’ve confirmed that.
What I Don’t Like
- I’d love is if it was lighter for bushwalking. That would no doubt come with reduced build quality and durability so it’s not really a big issue.
- The fact that I will now need to buy a milk steamer to complete my off-grid coffee set up (Bellpresso if you read this I’m happy to try one of your steamers out).
All three models of the Wacaco Minipresso are available from Wacaco’s online shop for US$59, with free worldwide shipping.
Have you tried the Wacaco Minipresso? Got any questions or comments? Let us know by commenting below.