If you're a caffeine junkie and an avid outdoorsman like most people are nowadays, chances are you've heard about the hand pump espresso maker. It's light, compact, and quite reliable when you need an on-the-go caffeine fix. More importantly, this thingamajig steeps single serve espresso shots without the hassle of a countertop and an external power source.
Popularized by big brands like Handpresso and Aeropress back in late 2000's, the Wacaco Minipresso GR Portable Espresso Machine is part of the worldwide trend of small, single serve, pocket coffee makers.
These hand-powered portable espresso makers pack a lot of innovation too, making the need for electricity and cartridges a thing of the past. All you have to do is add hot water and fine grounds to steep a full-flavored espresso.
About the Product
At first glance, the GR espresso machine looks something out of the future. Wacaco did a good job on its smart design, and despite being marketed for home use, the GR could also be well utilized on the outdoors.
Moreover, standing at 2.8 x 2.4 x 6.9 inches it is by far one of the most compact hand-pump espresso machines that we've ever tested, not to mention that it also only weighs 10.4 oz on the scale. In comparison, the GR is smaller compared to popular brands like Handpresso, Aeropress and Staresso's own miniaturized coffeemaker.
Talking about its looks, the Minipresso GR looks exactly like a mini thermos accented by a subtle matte black finish. The whole device consists of 6 parts; the main body, water chamber, locking cover, coffee basket, lid/cup combo and the coffee scoop. Other peripherals include a 25 oz filter basket for the coffee grounds.
As a result of its small stature, the Minipresso GR can only serve single shots at a time. Its 70 ml water chamber can be filled up to the line with hot water. Wacaco, like most brands, recommend a preheat cycle before the actual operation, it produces an average of 116 PSI (8 bar) and unlike Handpresso devices, you are not allowed to pre-load the unit with pressure.
The coffee scoop also doubles as a tamper aside from allowing users to measure exact amounts of grounds. It has a snug fit that allows a perfect seal when you place it together with the coffee basket.
With regards to how it works, the GR operates by forcing the hot water through the grounds using its embedded pump. The pump piston lever conveniently locks in place when the mini-espresso machine is not in use, making it easier to stow compared to Handpresso's irregularly shaped devices.
Build wise, the GR feels like its entirely made of plastic, with the core section built to support its other peripherals. Overall, the design factor of Wacaco's mini espresso maker passes the mark, with its ergonomic shape making it easier to hold compared to competitor brands.
To be honest, it doesn't really feel like an espresso maker at all, but you'll be surprised how well it performs. The flavor is not that bad considering how compact the Minipresso GR is, it also produces a respectable amount of crema on top, even better than the ones you see on a Handpresso brew.
What We Like
There are a lot of reasons for us to like the Minipresso GR Espresso Maker. Undoubtedly it's one of the most compact handheld espresso makers to date, and it does have the best shape if you compare it to Handpresso, Aeropress and Staresso's line of handpump espresso machines.
The single shot serving of espresso is not bad too, and it has a decent amount of crema considering it's a portable espresso maker. Wacaco also offers an optional 120 ml tank in case you want to get more out of the Minipresso GR.
We also love its design, it's svelte frame allows easy storage. Being that, it's a perfect companion on hiking trips or long interstate drives. It is also fairly cheap, at the moment the Minipresso GR is retailed well below the $50 mark.
What Could Be Better
The only thing that's out of the ballpark for the Wacaco's handheld espresso maker is the number of parts that you have to track (six to be exact), aside from that, the Minipresso GR is a solid buy.
In a market that is saturated with different competing brands, choosing the right coffee maker can be a bit of a chore. If you prefer portable espresso makers, Wacaco's Minipresso GR, together with the Staresso Espresso Coffee Maker are not bad choices.
If you are still not sure, you can check out our extensive review of different coffee makers, including the Bialetti classic stovetop espresso maker and DeLonghi's industrial grade ESAM3300 Coffee Machine.
All in all the Minipresso GR could very well be a trailblazer in terms of its size and capabilities. To be honest, the only issue we have with the unit is the number of parts that come with it, other than that it's quite a performer.
As good as it gets, the GR sadly isn't built for sharing, if you want your pal to have his share, he'll have to own his own Minipresso or you can opt to buy the 120 ml water tank.
It is truly a bargain, an all in one portable coffee maker that promises to perform, despite its small size and affordable price. There is no doubt that the Wacaco Minipresso GR espresso maker is worth every penny.