Last Updated on May 26, 2022 by John Moretti
Backpacker-friendly coffee makers are rising in popularity, and not just with outdoor enthusiasts. These handy coffee makers are finding their way into dorm rooms, apartments, and even full-sized homes. The three constantly making headlines are the NanoPresso, AeroPress, and the AeroPress Go. So what’s the difference aside from price?
NanoPresso, AeroPress, and AeroPress Go all produce single-serving brews. The NanoPresso is the only real espresso maker of the bunch. However, it is less forgiving to produce a consistent drink. The AeroPress Go is essentially just a slightly smaller, easier to pack AeroPress.
The NanoPresso, AeroPress, and AeroPress Go are all great machines that have brought joy to many caffeine addicts. They are especially great if you love camping or can’t stand hotel coffee but want your first mug before venturing out of your room. But the three do have different pros and cons.
Wacaco NanoPresso: Pros & Cons
The Wacaco Nanopresso is a compact, travel-friendly, 18-bar pressurized, handheld coffee maker. Like AeroPress and the French press, it does not use any electricity or batteries. However, you will need to provide the hot water from somewhere.
Wacaco delivers its device fully assembled, saving its clients from headaches and hassles. It weighs less than a pound, around .7 lbs (336 g), and measures a mere 6.14 inches (15.6 cm) in length. Its water tank holds up to 2.7 oz (80 ml) and comes with its own handy cup.
NanoPresso is the only true espresso maker of the three. Authentic espresso is to be made pressurized, not infused. The ratio of coffee to water is also different, around 2:1 for espresso versus 15:1 for coffee. All of which the NanoPresso can do if you get the ground and water level exactly right and the pressure spot on.
However, the NanoPresso is not especially forgiving and will produce incredibly varied results, from weak coffee to wake-up espresso, with very little difference on your end. Thus, it will take some tinkering and practice until you’ve figured out the perfect knack to make your preferred brew.
Part of the inconsistency can also be due to the plunger, which isn’t easy to keep at a steady pressure. It requires repeated pumps over a span of about a minute to produce a full cup. While the plunger moves smoothly and doesn’t cause strain on the user (thankfully), the pressure can wobble. But again, the more you familiarize yourself with the device, the easier it will be to develop the knack.
NanoPresso is not dishwasher safe. This initially can cause some concern, but it is dead easy to clean. Take any leftover hot water and pour it over the bits needing a rinse, and you’re done. Just make sure the NanoPresso is fully dry before storing.
For those that enjoy variety in their brew, the NanoPresso does sell add-ons, such as a capsule adapter. Capsules are not necessarily great for backpackers, but if you are staying in hotels, these might make packing even easier.
Aeropress: Pros & Cons
The Aeropress makes up to three (small) cups of coffee in one go, which is the greatest quantity out of the three. However, the extra coffee does come with extra size, as it is 9.5 inches (24.2 cm) long, making it the biggest of the three.
The AeroPress can be used to make various coffee drinks, from an “espresso” that’s almost like the real deal to a number of different coffees of varying strength. As a result, it has spanned many a recipe blog and YouTube video.
But if you are not a terribly picky coffee drinker, the AeroPress is difficult to screw up. It is incredibly forgiving and makes a good drink. The more you get to know it, the better you can pinpoint your exact preference. But you will not end up with a radically different brew just because your grind was slightly finer than the time before.
However, if you are looking for authentic espresso, you’ll find their bold claim comes a bit short on the mark. Yes, if you are tossing it into a latte or cappuccino, it’s probably not noticeable. But if you are a die-hard espresso connoisseur, it isn’t going to meet your expectations that a proper, electric, pressurized machine can achieve.
That said, the AeroPress can make a pretty fine cup of cold brew in only two minutes. This is fantastic news for campers who lack the means to heat up water. You need a whole day to do that with a French press.
Lastly, the AeroPress is dishwasher safe (top shelf). Although it does not require a major cleaning after every use. Usually, a rinse will do the job fine, only needing a deep clean once in a while. However, many people find that when it is sticky, they get better results by handwashing it with vinegar rather than using the dishwasher.
AeroPress Go: Pros & Cons
The AeroPress Go is rapidly surpassing its bigger brother in popularity. It is the smallest of the three. It makes 8 oz (250 ml), is only 5.3 inches (13.46 cm) long, and weighs a fraction less than the NanoPoresso, at 323 grams. It is also equipped with a handy mug, so you don’t need to pack another.
The Go works precisely like the bigger model; it just needs less time to make a cold brew (a minute). It can make all the same drinks like the original, just in smaller quantities. Compared to the original, the biggest “downsides” to the Go is that it makes less brew, and its stirring paddle is not as effective. That’s it.
So if you want a smaller coffee maker, enjoy having a packable mug, and don’t mind brewing on a single cup at a time, then the Go is perfect.
When it comes to the NanoPresso Vs. AeroPress Vs. AeroPress Go, the genuine debate is between the first and the last. The only reason to buy an original AeroPress is to have a larger brewing capacity. The NanoPresso will make authentic espresso, but learning the knack will take time. On the other hand, Aeropress Go is more forgiving, producing a variety of drinks, making it the best all-around choice.