Minipresso GR and Minipresso Kit Review

 

The unit is really compact to travel with.

The unit is really compact to travel with.

Bottom Line:

A compact unit that makes excellent espresso on the go. Small enough to bring camping or even on hiking day trips. Pulls a shot of espresso that actually tastes like true espresso. The additional “Minipresso Kit” is a must if you plan to use this device for camping and hiking.

Using the piston to pump out the espresso coffee

Using the piston to pump out the espresso coffee

Observations:

I became aware of this unit a few months back when I saw a friend using his on an adventure. I’m always interested in how others make coffee in the mountains. The piston style bump was intriguing, I had to try it out for myself.

I got the Minipresso GR with the Minipresso Kit. The “GR” stands for “grounds” as in coffee grounds. There are two other versions though, one that is compatible with a bunch of different espresso capsules “CA” and another that works with Nescafe Nespresso capsules “NS”.

The boxes as they arrived. Love the simple cardboard.

The boxes as they arrived. Love the simple cardboard.

Fresh out of the box. Impressed with the compactness of the unit.

Fresh out of the box. Impressed with the compactness of the unit.

Manuals. You will need these for the first few shots!

Manuals. You will need these for the first few shots!

Once I got it out of the box the initial impression is that the unit is very solid. It feels dense and not flimsy. Weight wise it’s about 360g’s (0.8lbs), so it’s not ultralight but I’d have no issue carrying it in my backpack personally. What you gain in weight of the unit you save in not needing to carry as much water and coffee. It uses very little grounds and water to make an espresso shot that has the same kick, in my opinion, as a full cup of filter coffee.

The Minipresso Kit

The Minipresso Kit

The components of the Minipresso Kit.

The components of the Minipresso Kit.

Side by side of the Minipresso GR, Minipresso Kit, manuals and boxes.

Side by side of the Minipresso GR, Minipresso Kit, manuals and boxes.

I also got the “Minipresso Kit” with the GR. If you plan to use this unit for hiking and camping like I do I feel this is a necessary addition. The “Kit” comes with the “Minipresso Tank+” which basically holds enough water to create a double shot of espresso, but more importantly it comes with three extra filter baskets with lids and an extra espresso cup. This means that if I’m hiking with my partner, Spring, we can grind enough coffee for 4 shots of espresso and pre-fill the baskets at home to take with us. It makes for way less hassle when reloading fresh grinds into the Minipresso for subsequent shots. It also allows me to just pop a lid on the used grinds, store them in the basket and then not have to worry about disposing of them until I get back home after my hike. Awesome!

The grounds seated in the basket, with the scoop and screw on head for the Minipresso.

The grounds seated in the basket, with the scoop and screw on head for the Minipresso.

I’d recommend pulling a few shots of coffee at home first before bringing this out into the mountains with you. There is a process to it. Once you understand what all the pieces do and in what order you need to use them you will be pulling amazing shots of espresso with a delicious crema on them in no time.

One piece of advice I would give is to run boiling water through the unit first before you pull your shot of espresso. This warms the unit up and I’ve found doing this definitely adds a richness to the flavour of the coffee and produces a better crema from the pumping action. Don’t ask me why it works, it just does.

Turning off the boiling water.

Turning off the boiling water.

Pouring the freshly boiled water into the water reservoir.

Pouring the freshly boiled water into the water reservoir.

Screwing on the lid

Screwing on the lid

Overall I am really impressed with this unit. I feel it’s going to get used mainly on Day Hikes, Road Trips, the occasional overnight trip and at home (I’ve already used it twice today)

But I wouldn’t discount it either for long, multi-month trips either. The weight of the unit is heavier than most other camping or lightweight coffee makers on the market but remember it uses hardly any water, and hardly any grounds to produce a more concentrated shot of coffee which has a higher caffeine content than a similar volume of drip coffee.

Those weight savings might be marginal over a week long trip, but over a few months or more they could be substantial. You will also need less fuel for stoves as you will be boiling much lower volumes of water. If you’re content with sipping a strong espresso instead of gulping a mug of drip coffee then this could be a way to save weight on consumables on a long adventure or expedition.

Pumping out that delicious black stuff.

Pumping out that delicious black stuff.

Who needs instant when you can have fresh espresso!

Who needs instant when you can have fresh espresso!

Sipping on espresso in the mountains

Sipping on espresso in the mountains

Pros:

Compact: The unit is surprisingly small. It also has smooth, rounded edges so it will slide easily into any nook or cranny that you can find in your pack.

Taste: Ok, it’s not exactly the same as an espresso from a fancy city Barista, but it pulls a shot that has that distinctive richness and depth that you will know from an espresso shot. It also produces delicious crema! Hands down this device has made the best tasting coffee that I’ve ever had out in the mountains.

Price: For less than $100 you can have the Minipresso GR and Kit. Like I mentioned above, I use this device at home. Why? Big Espresso makers are expensive and buying espressos from Cafes adds up quickly. With this I can pull shots of espresso as I want, at home or on the road, anywhere I can boil water, which is literally everywhere with my camping stoves.

Detail shot of the piston in the it's travel position

Detail shot of the piston in the it’s travel position

Cons:

Weight: 360g’s (0.8lbs). It’s not the lightest, but the weight of the coffee and water that it uses is less than any other coffee maker I’ve used and the shots it produces give me the same “kick” to wake me up that a full cup of coffee does.

Serving Size: Some individuals just like a big ‘ol mug of coffee. If you like sipping a rich espresso with a velvety crema then this unit is for you. But if you like drinking coffee by volume then this might not be for you. But try it! You can always pull a double shot with the Tank+ that comes with the “Minipresso Kit” and add boiling water afterwards to make an Americano!

Durability: So, I did notice the exterior of the unit got scuffed up from being pushed in and out of my pack repeatedly. Consider getting the “Minipresso Case”, which I don’t have, to keep the exterior of the Minipresso looking all shiny and new.

Buy It If:

You always order espresso based coffees at Cafes, like Americanos, Lattes, Espressos, and want to have that same taste of coffee while out hiking, camping or simply at home.

Price:

Minipresso GR: $59 USD

Minipresso Kit: $29 USD

Links:

Minipresso Website: Wacaco

More Pictures:

The Minipresso Kit fully disassembled

The Minipresso Kit fully disassembled

Detail shot of one of the filter baskets with cap,

Detail shot of one of the filter baskets with cap,

The three filter baskets stacked with the Minipresso Tank+, lid and extra cup.

The three filter baskets stacked with the Minipresso Tank+, lid and extra cup.

The baskets seated inside the Tank+ reservoir

The baskets seated inside the Tank+ reservoir

Lid attached to the larger reservoir. Extra cup beside it.

Lid attached to the larger reservoir. Extra cup beside it.

The Minipresso Kit fully assembled

The Minipresso Kit fully assembled

All these parts fit together effortlessly into one unit for storage and travel.

All these parts fit together effortlessly into one unit for storage and travel.

Side by side of the Minipresso GR and Minipresso Kit

Side by side of the Minipresso GR and Minipresso Kit

Author: Leigh McClurg

I grew up in County Dublin, Ireland and moved to British Columbia, Canada with my wife in 2010. I fell in love with being in the Backcountry and Mountains that are all around me here and try to spend all of my free time exploring those wild places. My main goals are to chase happiness, see as much of this planet and its cultures as possible and grow every day through knowledge and experiences.

Share This Post On

7 Comments

  1. This unit sounds great, and I have purchased the “CA” model, which uses Caffitaly pods – just waiting for delivery now! Sounds like your unit gets a lot of use (daily?), and I have a couple of questions; 1). How often is it used, and how many shots do you estimate you’ve put through it so far? 2). How’s the mechanism, seals, etc holding up? Any leaks, or is it still going strong?

    Post a Reply
    • It gets a fair amount of use and is holding up really well. Hard to say how many shots, too many to count. Still going strong for myself.

      Post a Reply
  2. Thank you for the review. I’m actually considering on buying one to use at my office (I would prefer buying a real machine but it would be too bulky). Is it difficult to clean?

    Regarding running boiling water through the unit first, before pulling your shot of espresso, I have to say that (as a chemist) it makes sense! You pre-heat
    the unit so that when passing hot water through the ground coffee the whole unit is already hot and you get the most out of the water-coffee extraction. The opposite would be passing cold water through it.. you’d probably get a nasty coffee..

    Post a Reply
  3. Hi All, well I’m back after about a month with the Minipresso CA unit, and I couldn’t be happier with it! It’s been working flawlessly, and making great coffees daily, no issues. Some tips from me to new users:

    1. It’s worth pre-heating, but I do it the easy way – I just fill both of the “capsule” ends (the head and the bottom part of the main body, both upturned), as well as the water tank with boiling water, and let them sit while I heat my milk. I empty the water, I add the pod, assemble, refill the water tank with fresh boiling water, and make the coffee. Still results in a toasty warm Minipresso unit when it’s time to make the coffee, without having to “run boiling water through it”.

    2. Don’t pump too fast – I have noticed if you do this, the pressure can build quite a bit, making it hard to press the plunger, and a lack of flow. If you force it at that point, I reckon you’ll blow out the seals. If when you’re pumping, it gets too hard… slow it down to 1 pump per second, and you’ll notice the extraction start working again, less resistance on the plunger, and more flow. Do this, and you won’t run the risk of blowing the seals in the unit, and will prolong the life of the unit.

    3. If you want a longer shot than the standard water tank provides, no problems – just turn the unit over with the tank on the downside, take it off, refill, and get back to expressing.. only takes a second, and will save you the extra $25 for the bigger tank!

    4. It’s easy to clean – just rinse the capsule end of the components with hot water from the tap, shake/flick the head end to remove most of the water, and pad it all dry with a paper towel. Loosely reassemble, or leave unassembled to dry if you wish. I use it daily, and I leave it assembled in my laptop bag, and haven’t noticed anything getting gross at all.

    5. It seems that the GR version, the one that takes coffee grounds you add yourself, is the model folk seem to sometimes have issues with. Getting the grind right, and tamping/not tamping, etc can cause extraction issues, and blown seals when the pressure gets too high. I’d recommend the capsule version (I have the CA unit for Caffitaly pods) for ease of use, and consistency of espresso. Plenty of pod options out there too.

    6. Don’t make your coffee at work in a busy lunch room – you’ll have to answer a bunch of questions from the crowd gathering around, gaping in awe at the espresso this thing creates, crema and all. 😉

    Anyways, I can thoroughly recommend this unit, and I look forward to using when we next go away on holidays as well!

    Enjoy all!

    Post a Reply
  4. Thanks for the nice review and all detailed info provided to this post.

    I have been looking to purchase the minipresso quite some time now, but I was always concerned about the extra weight I would have to carry. I mostly enjoy winter mountaineering activities in which one has to carry much more gear (such as crampons, 2 ice axes, climbing and safety gear, rope etc.) and therefore any additional gram might be a problem.

    Having said that, after reading this nice review, I will purchse the minipresso, for my LDH and/or simple overnight hikes.

    Again, thanks for the nice and detailed review. Well done!

    Post a Reply

Leave a Reply

Do you know someone who would be interested in this?

%d bloggers like this:

Send this to a friend