Handpresso review

We put this portable espresso maker to the test.

Pumped up about coffee

The Handpresso Wild Hybrid is a pump action manual espresso maker that uses either ground coffee or E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso) coffee pods; it's very portable and easy to use, but can it make a decent espresso?

The Handpresso looks rather like a small bike pump, but with a coffee filter and small water tank added. The operation is a little different depending on whether you're using an E.S.E. coffee pod or ground coffee, but the principle is the same in either case and the instructions are easy enough to follow. You pump the device up to 16 bars of pressure; the pressure gauge has a green zone to indicate the correct pressure. Then add 50mL of freshly boiled water to the tank, put in the pod or coffee using the appropriate adapter and screw the water tank in.

To dispense a cup of espresso, you simply turn the unit over, position it over a cup and press the infusion button. The pressurised air then forces the water through the coffee and into the cup.

Unfortunately, the actual coffee it makes is very weak, even when using top-quality freshly ground beans. What little crema it produces is bubbly and vanishes rapidly. The coffee tastes watery and has a pretty poor flavour and after-taste. You may be able to get some improvement with practice, but anyone used to good espresso coffee, whether home-made in your own espresso machine or from a favourite coffee shop, is likely to be disappointed in the Handpresso.

CHOICE verdict

The Handpresso Wild Hybrid is best suited to travellers, but you still need to be able to to boil water, whether you use a hotel room kettle, a camp stove or a billy over a campfire. Depending on your options for boiling water, you'll likely find better coffee from other types of coffee maker – such as a Bialetti-style stove-top espresso maker, a French press coffee plunger, or even a traditional briki for Greek or Turkish coffee – and at a much lower price than the Handpresso. However, these don't give you the option of using coffee pods. If using pods suits you best, then the Handpresso may be worth a look.

Handpresso Wild Hybrid – $153

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