The extent to which people have become obsessed with good coffee is rather remarkable. People will head to John Lewis and spend hundreds, even thousands of pounds on a space-age coffee machine that burps, farts, and whirrs away each morning to create a nifty mug of turmeric soy latte. It acts as a reminder and a symbol that we have reached the middle-class utopia after years of slaving away and drinking regular coffee like a sucker.
Naturally, we want to transport this champion of middle-class life beyond the kitchen and into the car, because obviously, a Greggs isn’t good enough anymore. You’re in luck because the barista-spec coffee machine is now portable.
They make surprisingly good coffee
It’s true, the portable coffee makers below do produce a surprisingly tasty brew, provided the initial expense and process doesn’t bother you. You'll discover that there are those that require power and can heat water themselves and those that don’t and can’t.
Before we jump and recommend great products, don't make a coffee while you're driving! There, we said it.
The general pros and cons of non-powered machines are as follows: they are cheaper than the powered machines and smaller. However, you'll obviously need to carry a flask of hot water with you, and you will need to exert a little energy by pumping or pressing the coffee. All the coffee makers below are from established brands.
Top hand-powered espresso machines
1. Wacaco Nanopresso
The non-powered list is dominated by Wacaco, and this is its best unit. It weighs a mere 336g and is just 15.6cm long. It's ideal for espresso lovers, hence the name, and works by very simple means. You add 10g of finely ground coffee to the filter basket and add hot water into the tank. You then start pumping with the piston. After several pumps, the pressure will be high enough (18 bars) and fresh coffee will begin to dribble out. The coffee should be fully extracted after 20 to 30 pumps. Makes one 80ml cup.
2. Staresso Coffee Maker
In a similarly simple way, the Staresso coffee maker works by adding coffee to the basket and hot water into the top chamber and pumping by hand to build the pressure. One of the big advantages the Staresso has over the Wacaco is that it can use either ground coffee or Nespresso pods. Pros Price Takes ground coffee or pods Cons Makes one 80ml cup at a time
3. Wacaco Pipmoka
We like Wacaco's Pipamoka design, even if it possesses a bizarre name. While it only takes ground coffee, it makes a much larger volume of coffee - up to 236ml. It works in a slightly different way to the Nanopresso. You add ground coffee to the basket like normal, but you add it to the chamber full of hot water. The basket of coffee sinks to the bottom of the chamber, and you pop the lid back on. You then twist the orange grip clockwise, which draws the water through the ground coffee. The coffee that is brewed is then sitting in a stainless vacuum insulated mug which will stay hot for three to four hours. Pros Makes larger volume Brilliant brewing process Stays hot for hours Cons Does not use pods
4. Wacaco Minipresso
This is effectively the predecessor to the Nanopresso but is still very good for those who want an espresso. It works in exactly the same way, too, albeit with a smaller 50ml volume. You buy a version for ground coffee, shown here, or a version compatible with pods. Pros Versions for ground coffee or pods Simple process Cons Produces small coffee volume
The powered ones are a bit bigger and more expensive but they do all the work for you.
Handpresso Handcoffee Auto
Handpresso is a French company and the Handcoffee Auto is its functional portable coffee maker for the car. It plugs into a 12V cigarette lighter and will produce a short 80ml or long 110ml coffee within a few minutes. Simply add cold water and a Senseo coffee pod.
Does all the work
Uses Senseo pods only
Conqueco Portable Coffee Maker
Conqueco is a company that specialises in heated jackets. Its coffee maker is quite nifty, too. It works in effectively the same way as the Handpresso unit but uses Nespresso or Lu2019Or coffee pods.
Uses popular Nespresso pods
Comes with cigarette lighter plug and home plug
Only makes 50ml of coffee at a time