When I'm out camping, there are few things that soothe my soul quicker than a good espresso. There's just something about resting in the pristine wilderness experience while savoring a choice luxury such as espresso. It's worth mentioning that making coffee while camping is MUCH easier than making espresso since the latter requires being able to produce high water pressure. So what are the best and most convenient ways to enjoy an espresso while camping? Enter the world of portable espresso makers.
As any camper knows, there are a number of things to consider when packing your equipment. Size and weight are the two biggest considerations and the slightest increase in either can have huge effects in the long run. Although, if you're RV camping or “glamping”, then these factors carry much less weight (forgive the pun). For this article, I'm going to go over some highly effective options for making espresso while camping or on the go.
Portable espresso makers are hugely popular nowadays and their arrival has proven to be a game changer for on-the-go espresso lovers and back country baristas. Unlike giant unwieldy espresso machines, these small compact devices allow you to carry them virtually anywhere making them ideal for camping situations. Sure you don't have all the super-automatic or even semi-automatic features, but it's a small price to pay for being able to enjoy an deep espresso while in the middle of nowhere.
Portable espresso makers or mini espresso makers take on many different forms. Some look like small space pods from a sci-fi show while others look like a small stainless steel faucet. Most will be manually-operated since it tends to keep the product weight and size to a minimum. Additionally, being able to make an espresso without electricity is a must for the camper looking to ‘rough it out'.
One of my favorite portable espresso makers is a relatively new product called the Simpresso. With their recent launch in August, it's clear they've studied and improved upon the available products in this niche. The Simpresso has many similar features as the highly-regarded Wacaco Minipresso but what stands out the most for me is it's larger 120ml transparent water tank (for bigger shots) and the minimal effort required to operate the pump lever. This device is also capable of producing 19 BARS of pressure which is more than similar products. Ultimately, this lightweight and compact device can produce an authentic espresso with plenty of crema to boot. All of its pieces fit conveniently into the pod for easy storage and transfer which are especially important when we're camping. I won't go into too much detail here but we've field tested this product and been very pleased with it. As is required for any quality portable espresso maker, this device is BPA free. Check out our full Simpresso review for more details.
Campers know that every camping situation can be different. In some cases you'll have a camping stove while in others you'll be relying on just a campfire. This mini espresso maker packs is perfect for campers who will be using a camping stove. Just place this device over your camping stove and you'll have real deal espresso in 90 seconds flat. This device is as durable as it is portable. It's made of stainless steel and weighs a just 8.2 ounces making it an easy addition to your pack. The GSI Outdoors Mini Espresso Maker brews one double shot (2.5 ounces) and does it very well. The espresso maker measures 4 by 3 by 4.5 inches and packs an amazing punch for its size and price of just under $35. This device is not to be used with a campfire.
Buy GSI Outdoors Mini Espresso Maker
Many coffee and espresso lovers have asked “Can an Aeropress make a true espresso”. Technically, the answer is no. This device is capable of making an espresso-like drink but according to the accepted definition of espresso, a minimum amount of pressure needs to be produced in order to consider your brew an espresso. At least 9 BARS of pressure is used to make an espresso from a standard espresso machine. Although the Aeropress is an engineering marvel of epic proportions, it can only produce .35 – .75 BARS of pressure. That being said, I've included this product on this list since there are some espresso lovers out there who aren't as particular as others. For this group of people, the Aeropress may be the perfect option for them. Making an espresso-like brew with an Aeropress is not hard. Simply use very fine coffee grinds, a small amount of water, and finish it off with a rapid lunge.
If you're looking to go the traditional route and have extra room in your pack, you may want to consider an actual Moka Pot. It may seem a little cumbersome but again, every camper has different parameters in which to work. For the camper who can afford a little extra space, the Bialetti Moka Pot Express will produce a delicious cup of espresso. Unlike the GSI, the Moka Pot works on a camping stove or a camp fire making it particularly versatile. As we mentioned above, a true espresso by definition involves pressure. A Moka pot doesn't make the true authentic espresso because it doesn't produce the necessary pressure. It does however make an extremely full-bodied espresso-like cup of coffee that's arguably just as good. Weighing just 1.6 lbs, bringing this Moka Pot on a camping adventure may be more convenient than you think.
Buy Bilaetti Moka Pot Express
We'll be keeping this article updated as new products are released in the portable and camping espresso maker market. Stay tuned!