In this article, I will detail the operation of a small manual espresso maker that, with its included accessories, fits perfectly in your pocket. After having used it for over two months, I can say that it produces barista-level espresso, just like in a specialty coffee shop.
Wacaco makes this coffee maker called Picopresso. I also wrote a complete article about its little sister, the Nanopresso, so here we will also see their differences.
Components of the Picopresso coffee maker
Once you unpack the coffee maker, the first impression you will have is very good, as this coffee maker comes very well presented with its accessories.
We have everything we need inside a very good quality case, suitable for carrying the Picopresso protected wherever we want.
From top to bottom on the machine, we have the silicone seal lid for the water tank. Inside we have the other accessories stored; a metal tamper, a funnel for dosing, a cleaning brush, and a simple tool that helps distribute the dose. In the following image, you can see its components up close:
Note: The water tank has a capacity of approximately 90 grams.
On the outside, we have the piston that pumps the water down. At the bottom, we first have a lid; then, we see a silicone spout for the espresso outlet that can be removed to see the basket, so we can see how the espresso is extracted.
Unscrewing, we have the metal filter holder and the shower that distributes the water over the coffee. Also, it comes with a folded spoon inside the steel basket of 52 millimeters, with a capacity for 18 grams of ground coffee.
Main features of the Picopresso coffee maker
The Picopresso you see in the photos I have been using for several months, and although I have dropped it on several occasions, it has not had a single scratch.
The quality of the materials looks very good, especially the bottom of the basket and the filter holder, which are made of metal. Then, the rest of the body and piston are plastic, which we’ll have to see over time how they hold up, but overall it is very well built and doesn’t feel fragile at all.
Needless to say, it has a very small size, measuring about 10 centimeters high and weighing 350 grams, ideal for carrying around as it does not take up any space.
Operation of the Picopresso espresso machine
As with all manual espresso machines, we have to heat all the parts to have a good extraction. So, initially, we must place boiling water in the water tank, then pump a little so that it passes inside and leave it for a few minutes while we prepare the coffee.
With its 18-gram basket, we have enough flexibility, but the amount of coffee will depend on the coffee you use.
The grind has to be a standard espresso size, and since it does not have a pressurized filter, it is very important to have a good grinder that produces a uniform grind. Otherwise, we will not obtain a good result.
Step by step to prepare coffee with the Picopresso coffee maker
1. Place boiling water in the tank and pump it a little so it passes through. After this, leave it for a few minutes while you prepare the coffee.
2. To prepare this coffee, we will use 17 grams that we place inside the basket with the funnel. We will even out the coffee and break the lumps with the tool included in the machine.
3. Once the coffee is uniform, we tap on it, remove the funnel, and with the tamper, we compact it until we feel that the coffee does not go down anymore. We place the shower head on top and have the coffee part ready.
4. Now, we will throw the water that we had inside the tank and pump a couple of times to remove the water that has remained inside.
5. We fit the body with the filter holder, put boiling water up to the top, cover, and are ready to start pressing.
6. With a cup on a scale, we start (if you have a mirror to watch the extraction from below, it will be very useful). We will press about 10 to 12 times until we see a few drops peeking out of the basket; then, we will wait 10 seconds to make the pre-infusion and get a better extraction.
7. After this time, we continue pressing at a rate of one pumping per second until we reach the desired espresso weight, in my case, 40 grams.
8. Remove the machine, mix the espresso and enjoy.
Cleaning the Picopresso espresso machine
The truth is that, for a manual machine, from the first day, I was very surprised at how easy it is to reset everything to have another espresso.
The coffee puck comes out super easy and completely dry by simply unscrewing the filter holder, taking out the basket, and tapping it a little. And just by wiping it with a cloth to clean the residue, we are ready to make another coffee.
But if you are not going to use it again, wash everything with hot water and dry it well before reassembling it.
Where to buy a Picopresso coffee maker
The Picopresso can be found on the Wacaco website for $130 (plus shipping and handling), where there are also options of accessories to add. On Amazon, you can find it for $130, but with free delivery.
Although with this model, we don’t need much more than what is included, assuming that you have a good grinder and a scale. Otherwise, they have their models, although I haven’t tried them.
How does the coffee brewing in a Picopresso work?
If you’re wondering, how is or what does the espresso, you get from a Picopresso taste like, is it the same or not as in a coffee shop? The truth is that, in my opinion, using a good coffee will be delicious, and balanced, with brightness, acidity, sweetness, and not bitter at all. A very good profile can be developed.
But is it the same as a professional commercial machine? No, of course, it is not. However, for $125, I think it looks spectacular, especially for not having a pressurized filter and a fairly large 52-millimeter basket.
Note: As with any other espresso machine, change the basket for a precision one where we will get a better result.
Now, something important to note is that with this machine, it is necessary to use a medium roast coffee. I could not get the profile I wanted with light roast coffees, which are, personally, the ones I enjoy most in espresso. They lacked a bit of extraction, the water temperature dropped quite a bit, and the basket it comes with does not grind fine enough for that type of coffee.
On the other hand, I had no problems extracting medium roast coffee. The truth is that the results were very good. I checked with the refractometer the results obtained with each coffee roasting level.
Disadvantages of the Picopresso coffee maker
There are many things in favor of this coffee maker, but there are two things I can say that I don’t like about the Picopresso:
- First, I feel that the plastic body should have a little thicker silicone or some kind of insulation. When I’m making coffee, after preheating the coffee maker well, it burns my hand a little bit, and I have to keep repositioning myself to get a more comfortable grip and not burn myself.
- On the other hand, due to the design of the piston, it is necessary to press sideways, making the machine move a lot to the sides. If we do not have a very wide cup, part of the coffee falls out of the cup. This, for example, does not happen with Nanopresso because it is much thinner.
Advantages of the Picopresso coffee maker
It is perfect for traveling, as it offers freedom and portability. But I think it should come with a tripod or stand to support the coffee maker while pressing.
I think this would take it to another level, especially since it is a very good manual espresso machine. Then, many people could buy it, not only to take it on a trip but also to use it at home, as it would be very practical and economical.
Do I recommend the Picopresso manual espresso machine?
Yes, I think it is a very good option for anyone who loves espresso and does not want to miss the opportunity to have one at any time, whether traveling, taking to work, or wherever.
It is also a very good option for those who want to start in the world of espresso. As for the price, it seems to me that for what it offers, it is excellent. The only thing I would recommend for this coffee maker is to use a medium roast coffee to optimize the results of the preparations.
Comparison of the Picopresso with other manual espresso machines
Comparing the Picopresso with other manual espresso machines such as the Flair, in terms of price, it is on the same level as the Flair Neo. But the Flair Neo has a pressurized filter, so the Picopresso would have an advantage.
Comparing it with the Flair Pro-2, the truth is that I get much better results with the Flair, especially because I can use coffees with light roasts without any problem. With the Flair Pro-2, the temperature is maintained very well, and the pressure gauge allows us to design the profile we want. But the price is double that of the Picopresso.
Wacaco is now launching a pressure gauge for this coffee maker, which would be interesting to see if this is the case.
Other articles of interest: Frequently asked questions and answers about coffee.