Looking for a portable espresso maker for a cup of espresso on the go? Today, we're here to check out the latest handheld, portable espresso maker from Wacaco, the Picopresso. Now straight up I want to say how genuinely impressed I am with the caliber of the espresso that the Picopresso can produce. And in every way, Wacaco has really honed in on what constitutes specialty coffee.
Take a look at our video demo of how to brew espresso with the Wacaco Picopresso:
Wacaco Picopresso Portable Espresso Maker: Features
The Picopresso provides an enjoyable quality focus process using current tools of the trade to brew a standard Double Espresso. Its clever pump design makes it both super compact and lightweight for an espresso brewer as well as durable enough that it's ready for just about any adventure. Now, you can shop the full range of Wacaco products, including the Wacaco Picopresso. But now let's jump straight in and explore the full potential of this promising brewer.
So, straight out of the box, the Picopresso comes in an EVA hard carry case. And I love that. This is an entire espresso coffee maker plus accessories right here in the palm of your hand. And this case feels like it could pretty well fall out of your backpack and down a mountain, and end up with just a few scratches to the case itself. I really can't see the Picopresso coming to any harm at all.
Now, when you unzip the case and remove the brewer, the Picopresso weighs 350g and is only 10.5cm tall, but has a good 7.5cm in diameter, and in true Wacaco fashion, all the additional accessories fit inside the Picopresso quite neatly. Under the water chamber lid sits your steel tamper and the dosing ring, and sitting inside the water chamber is a distribution tool and that cleaning brush. The water chamber itself will hold a maximum of 90ml of water.
The only thing I don't really use is the brush, but otherwise, everything else on the Picopresso has been really carefully thought out with a gratifying attention to detail. Like this steel portafilter that has that knurling grip around the outside, making it easier to hold it on to the screw. And then when you do, you'll find the foldable dosing cup sitting underneath the water dispersion screen and inside the 52mm stainless steel filter basket.
Now this is a big change up from Wacaco's previous espresso brewers and makes a significant difference to the depth of flavor you can brew with the Picopresso. The filter basket is tapered so there will be a minimum dose that you can use, but it's really that maximum amount of coffee that you can dose to it being 20g that satisfies the double espresso brew ratio. You have that opportunity to benchmark the extraction of any coffee that you use on the Picopresso against that of an actual espresso machine. And that metal portafilter has two rubber disks as part of it.
The first you can pump here and it will funnel the espresso you brew into a single stream into your cup, but you can also easily remove this to then expose the bottom of that filter basket for a naked view of the espresso as it extracts out. Now, you could be watching for areas of improvements here or you could just be watching because it looks so damn tasty. And that second cap is used to place the Picopresso on after brewing so it catches all the drips.
How To Brew Espresso With The Wacaco Picopresso
- Now, to begin brewing on the Picopresso, a quick preheat of this water chamber is going to help maintain a steady temperature of the brew water throughout the brewing process. I suggest using water straight off the boil for your preheating process and your brewing water for the best results.
- Leaving that water chamber to heat up, next, we're going to weigh out 20g of coffee and grind it to an espresso grind. And from my experience, it's bang on the same grind as I would use for the Flair espresso maker, the Bellman espresso maker, or even the Rancilio Silvia Pro and none of those use pressurized filter baskets. What is critical to the Picopresso? That you get that grind size just right. Too fine and the espresso will never brew them out and it'll be very hard to pump or too coarse a grind and it will flow out far too quickly and the espresso won't end up very strong at all. And there is a good way to get that perfect measurement. I'll mention it in just a bit on how you can gauge whether you have that grind size just right.
- But first with your filter basket, I'm going to place that into our portafilter, dosing ring on top, and then add our coffee.
- So next, grab that WDT tool and swirl it inside the grounds. WDT is short for Weiss distribution technique, and this works to create an even density of grounds in the portafilter and also breaks up any clumps before you tamp. This as well as other styles of distribution promote the even flow of water through the bed of coffee for a balanced extraction of the grounds.
- Next, we're going to leave the dosing ring on the porter filter while we apply the tamp. And in this way you'll discover it guarantees a flat and even tamp every time. A clever design on Wacaco's part and great for the user as it eliminates any issues with an inconsistent tamp.
- From here, add the shower screen on top of the filter basket, and then screw the portafilter assembly to the body of the Picopresso, nice and tight.
- Then go ahead and fill the water chamber with boiling water, and by leaving a small gap at the top, it's about 70ml of water, and this will get us pretty close to our target espresso yield of 40g out.
- With the water chamber lid on, twist the pump to release it and then with that brewer over the top of your cup, begin pumping.
- Now it's at around eight to twelve pumps that I've consistently seen espresso appear on the bottom edges of the filter basket. And if it were way more than this, it would suggest that my grind was too fine. If it brewed sooner than those eight to 12 pumps, then I would consider my grind to be too coarse.
- But after 12 pumps, or when I see that coffee just coming out, I wait for 10 seconds and that allows the coffee to pre-infusion the basket.
- When I begin pumping again, the espresso begins flowing naturally from the middle of the basket and a good steady pump every second or so will continue to keep a steady stream of espresso flowing out. Now you could pump faster but it will get harder as the pressure rises in the Picopresso and then there's really no way of knowing what pressure you're brewing at. My guess is that if you do pump too fast, you're kind of getting a pressure profile that's climbing and falling. As long as you keep a steady stream of espresso going out along with the consistent pumping, then you're probably somewhere better in the ballpark of a consistent reasonable pressure.
Espresso Coffee From The Wacaco Picopresso
Now, I'm looking at the coffee that I brewed with the Picopresso. It has all the hallmarks of a good-looking espresso: great crema, a good viscosity in the shot, has a rich dark color and a strong aroma. The flavor. Cheers. That's good, that's really good. Like espresso good. It's not like a five-thousand-dollar home espresso machine espresso, but it's pretty close.
And for what the Picopresso is, that's what impresses me so much. For such a compact and affordable brewer, I can see this becoming second nature to just pack away into your bag for traveling. Now, you could absolutely add some hot water to this for an Americano or a long black. And this espresso is more than enough to add milk to.
Grab yourself a portable milk frother or the Bellman 50SS stovetop steamer and you'll be effortlessly making lattes that will turn heads in any campgrounds. And to discuss cleaning and turnaround time, this has to be the easiest and the cleanest filter basket I've ever had the pleasure of knocking a puck out of. It's always come out with no fuss and then you can go ahead and wipe it dry. You can rinse all the parts off if you're done for the day or go ahead and add some more coffee into the basket for another great espresso.
Compact, Reliable and Durable
That's the Wacaco Picopresso for you. It's compact, reliable, and durable and I say all these things, they're pretty relatable to some other brewers. But the espresso this brews, with the package that it comes in, shows that Wacaco have really jumped the gap in their current lineup of brewers to not only create something that broadens Wacaco's appeal to make legitimate portable espresso brewers. But they've done it in a way that will see the Picopresso, I believe, remain current for some time. And also, knowing Wacaco's love of attachments, I doubt we've seen the last of the Picopresso's potential.