Wacaco’s third generation of portable espresso machines, the Picopresso, is raising the standard for espresso shots everywhere.
In less than a decade, the concept of portable espresso machines has completely changed. When Hugo Cailleton, Co-founder of transportable espresso machine manufacturer Wacaco, founded the brand in 2013, he says there were almost no options on the market.
“I was working for a factory producing capsule espresso machines in China and because I was drinking a lot of capsule coffees at the time, I realised there weren’t many options for portable capsule espresso machines,” says Hugo.
After several prototypes, Hugo hit the jackpot: a device with a hand-pumping function that could force water from a water chamber through the coffee grinds, thereby creating the perfect espresso.
It was here the first Wacaco machine was created with the brand bringing the Minipresso to market in 2014. This was followed by the Nanopresso in 2017 and its latest model, the Picopresso, in 2021.
While the Minipresso and Nanopresso are both compatible with ground coffee, Nespresso-compatible and Caffitaly pods, the Picopresso is designed specifically for ground coffee, making what Hugo describes as the most compact, “true barista-style”, portable espresso machine.
Curtis Arnold, Founder of Coffee Tools Supply and exclusive Australian distributor of Wacaco says this latest model is also the smallest size yet – fitting in the palm of the barista’s hand – and comes at an affordable price point while delivering high-quality double espresso shots.
“Like the previous models, the Picopresso is mostly made of plastic, except for a 52-millimetre steel filter basket which can fit 18 grams of ground coffee,” says Curtis. “This makes it light and durable, and with this basket width, the coffee bed is similar in proportion to a regular espresso machine.”
Hugo explains that this change in basket dimensions means a better brewing extraction, with water flowing more evenly over the puck, producing more depth of flavour. This allows the Picopresso to produce a double shot of espresso that tastes as if it has been produced on a traditional, full-sized espresso machine.
Weighing just 350 grams, the Picopresso comes with a steel portafilter and tamper, dosing ring, distribution tool, cleaning brush, and foldable dosing cup. Two additional rubber discs are included, which can be placed over the naked portafilter to funnel the espresso into a stream or used to catch drips post-espresso making.
“It also has an improved pumping function, so it requires less force, and gives the option for a naked portafilter which allows users to see the golden crema being pushed into the glass,” says Curtis. “This all comes packaged in a sturdy Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) hard case.”
To make an espresso, the ground coffee is placed in the filter basket with a dosing ring. Users then swirl the provided distribution tool through the grinds to break up any clumps, before tamping and placing the shower screen on top. This is then screwed to the body of the Picopresso. The water chamber holds up to 90 millilitres of water. Once filled, the hand pump is used to push the water through the coffee grinds.
While Hugo says the idea of a portable coffee machine may be associated with quick and lower quality espresso shots, the Picopresso is changing this perception.
“It is a barista-style portable espresso machine, which requires each barista to manually grind the coffee at a precise particle size, which in some cases, will require a good grinder,” says Hugo.
“There are no shortcuts, and users will need to learn the precise tamping and pulling technique. It’s targeted at true coffee lovers who love the process of making coffee, and now, can do so on the go.”
In 2022, Wacaco is set to release a matching grinder and scale to accompany the Picopresso.
Other new inventions include the Cuppamoka, which is a portable pour-over, and a range of travel mugs.
“Being there since day one as a distributor partner], it’s been amazing to see Wacaco expand and come into its own,” says Curtis. “I’m looking forward to seeing what else the team will create, and to see the Picopresso take off as people get back into their busy lives.”
For more information, visit www.coffeetools.supply
This article appears in the December 2021 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.