Wacaco Minipresso NS2 review: great, but not the best and only solution for coffee on-the-go

The Wacaco Minipresso NS2 is great for making coffee on-the-go, but can it rival other portable options?

Wacaco Minipresso NS2
(Image: © Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

TechRadar Verdict

The Wacaco Minipresso NS2 is an innovative way to get your caffeine fix when you're on the go or when you're somewhere a coffee machine isn't readily available. And, it's a reliable solution as well, delivering smooth shots with nice crema on top. But, there are also easier, more sustainable alternatives, which makes this hard to recommend to everyone.


  • +

    Very portable and easy to use

  • +

    Your favorite coffee on-the-go

  • +

    Reasonably priced


  • -

    Could potentially generate a lot of plastic waste

  • -

    Nespresso Original and compatible capsules only

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Wacaco Minipresso NS2 one-minute review

The Wacaco Minipresso NS2, along with the rest of the Wacaco portable espresso machine range, sees to the needs of an underserved market. Every camper, wayfarer, nomadic remote worker, and business traveler will know the pain of not being able to enjoy their favorite home brew when they're out and about. They also know all too well that it can be a bit of a chore trying to find a remotely decent coffee shop that isn't Starbucks.

And for them, this portable espresso maker is a terrific solution. It's small enough to fit in a backpack pocket, is easy to operate, and doesn't require a power outlet or batteries to function – just your hand and a little upper body strength.

However, as well as being one of many such portable coffee makers available, the fact that it uses only Nespresso Original capsules and compatibles will certainly limit its appeal. And since it still requires that you boil water separately, plus it's hand-operated (you have to pump it several times to make your espresso with crema on top), it's can prove bothersome to use when you're out and just want to keep things as simple as possible.

On its side is the fact that it's an affordable option, so if you don't mind owning different makes and models of the best coffee makers for different situations, this could be your go-to when you're on holiday or on a business trip. That is, if you enjoy Nespresso's coffee blends. 

However, those who aren't a fan of capsule-drawn espresso or coffee drinks, might be better opting for an alternative portable solution.

Wacaco Minipresso NS2: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? $59 (£49, AU$89)
  • Where is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US and UK

At $59 (£49 / AU$89), the Wacaco Minipresso NS2 offers good value for a coffee maker that delivers an espresso topped with a decent frothy crema while you're on the go. Just bear in mind that it doesn't come with any water-heating capabilities, so you'll still need access to an electric kettle, a stove or a microwave oven to heat water to use it.

Neither does that price include a starter set of espresso capsules; you'll have to buy them separately. The cost of Nespresso capsules start at $0.75.

The NS2 is a little more expensive than its predecessor, the Wacaco Minipresso NS, which comes in at $54 (£46 / AU$79). However, that extra money buys you a coffee maker with a higher water capacity, higher pressure, and a lighter weight. 

It's available to be bought direct from Wacaco or from resellers such as Amazon US and Amazon UK. We expect the Wacaco Minipresso NS2 to be available to buy in Australia sometime soon since it's predecessor is, but we can't be to sure when this will be.

  • Value: 4 / 5

The specifications of our Wacaco Minipresso NS2 review unit

  • Capacity: 80ml / 2.7oz
  • Max pressure: 18 bar / 261psi
  • Compatibility: Nespresso Original capsules and most compatibles
  • Dimensions: 70 x 129 x 60mm / 2.75 x 5.07 x 2.36in (h x l x w)
  • Weight: 290g / 0.64lb

Wacaco Minipresso NS2

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Wacaco Minipresso NS2: Design

  • Portable, pocket-size design
  • Easy to use, easy to carry
  • Partially made of wheat-base polymers

Wacaco designed the Minipresso NS2 to be more compact than its predecessor, shaving 46mm off its height while impressively expanding its water tank for additional capacity. This model also includes a drip tray, which will be welcome if, like us, you despise coffee drips on the counter.

If you haven't used a Minipresso machine before, know that this isn't a complicated contraption. It's a container with a water tank, accessed from the top, into which you pour the hot water. Slot a coffee capsule into the chamber at the other end. You use the piston to pump the water from the tank through the coffee capsule; the resulting espresso will pour through the portafilter head.

Wacaco Minipresso NS2

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Similar to other Minipresso models, the Wacaco Minipresso NS2's parts all fit together. This includes the mini cup into which you'll pour and drink the espresso from, a drip tray and the cleaning brush – the last two are small enough to store in the water tank when it isn't in use.

Just be sure to remove the drip tray when you attempt to make coffee. We made the common mistake of keeping the tray in the tank whilst trying to pump out espresso; the pressure it creates prevents liquid from coming out. The lack of instructions with our pre-production unit and the fact that the NS model didn't have a drip tray meant that we weren't aware of its inclusion nor use and therefore assumed it should remain in the tank.

Wacaco Minipresso NS2

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

That issue aside, the Minipresso NS2 is wonderfully portable, with even the piston twisting back inside so that it's stowed away when not in use. Plus, the coffee maker comes with a carry pouch, which will be particularly handy for any backpackers out in the wilderness who don't have space inside their bag. Simply pop the NS2 in its pouch and secure the pouch to one of your backpack's straps.

Finally, for those who may have noticed that the Wacaco Minipresso NS2's body looks different from the previous gen model, this is because it's partially made of wheat-base polymers, making this model it a bit more eco-friendly than the Wacaco Minipresso NS.

  • Design: 5 / 5

Wacaco Minipresso NS2

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Wacaco Minipresso NS2: Performance

  • No water-heating capabilities
  • Only for Nespresso Original and compatible capsules
  • You might need to pump with two hands

The Wacaco Minipresso NS2 is 100% hand-operated, which means that in order to brew that espresso, you'll be putting your hands and arms to work. Not that it's difficult, mind you; but you might not relish the thought of waking in your tent the morning after a six-hour hike to be pumping a machine for your coffee.

Wacaco Minipresso NS2

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Personally, since you're already having to heat up water separately, we'd rather just use a mini percolator or a moka pot (which will see you carry just a small Ziplock bag of ground beans instead of individual capsules that take up space), concentrated coffee, or coffee tea bags instead. Those alternatives require less effort generate less waste. 

Wacaco Minipresso NS2

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Bear in mind that the Wacaco Minipresso NS2 only accepts Nespresso Original capsules and compatibles. It's very likely that any third-party reusable pods won't fit in the NS2's compartment.

However, while a percolator or a Moka pot is designed to make espresso, the other two alternatives aren't. Percolators also don't typically produce the right pressure – although a few do come with a cremator to make crema, which a lot of people like in their espresso.

In its favour, the Wacaco Minipresso NS2 boasts 18-bar pressure and can deliver espresso with a nice crema on top. And for those concerned about the environmental impact, note that brands such as Nespresso and Dualit do offer their own recycling pod scheme.

Wacaco Minipresso NS2

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

It takes about three to five pumps before the espresso starts to squirt out and a few more to fill that mini cup. Those with bigger hands will be able to get away with using the Minipresso NS2 one-handed; those with regular-sized or mini mitts will want to use it two-handed, or else risk missing the cup and making a mess – as we did. Operating it with two hands just gives you a bit more control.

If you do love the taste of Nespresso capsule coffee, you'll love the end result. The espresso that comes out is perfectly "brewed," and while the crema on top isn't the thickest, it's nice and creamy. You also have the added benefit of enjoying the different flavors that Nespresso has to offer, including cocoa truffle, vanilla eclair, and caramel crème brûlée.

  • Performance: 3.5 / 5

Should I buy the Wacaco Minipresso NS2?

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Wacaco Minipresso NS2
ValueThe Wacaco Minipresso NS2 is an affordable solution to making espresso on-the-go.4 / 5
DesignIt has a brilliantly executed design that's simple, portable, and even more compact than the previous generation.5 / 5
PerformanceIt doesn't have water-heating capabilities, and you have to do some pumping action to get your espresso.3.5 / 5

Buy it if...

You want a convenient way of making espresso
The Wacaco Minipresso NS2 is one of the very few convenient and portable ways to make espresso on-the-go.

You love Nespresso
Getting your Nespresso fix while traveling isn't easy, but this certainly makes things easier. You can make espresso, lattes and other espresso-based coffee drinks while on holiday or a business trip.

You're trying to save money
Shun cafe coffee – this is certainly one of the most affordable ways to get coffee when you don't have access to your French press, espresso machine or coffee maker.

Don't buy it if...

You're not a fan of Nespresso coffee
Nespresso capsule coffee tends to have a slightly bitter taste. If you're a more discerning coffee drinker, you should skip this one since it only works with these capsules.

You want an easier way to get a shot of espresso
You'll have to do some pumping work to get an espresso with the perfect crema. If you're not up for that, then look at alternatives.

You don't think coffee capsules are the most sustainable
Although Nespresso does have its own recycling pod scheme, there are definitely more environmentally friendly ways to make coffee – grinding your own beans, for example.

Also consider

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Wacaco NanopressoWacaco CuppamokaWacaco Pipamoka
Price:£59.90 / $69.90$34.90 / £31.90£41.90
Capacity:80ml300ml / 10fl oz240ml / 8fl oz
Max pressure:18 barN/A1 bar
Compatibility:Ground coffeeGround coffeeGround coffee
Dimensions:6.14 x 2.8 x 2.44in / 156 x 71 x 62mm03.52 x 6.65in / 89.5 x 169mm02.85 x 7.16in / 73 x 182mm
Weight:11.9oz / 336g0.7lb / 316g15oz / 425g

If you would prefer a larger pod coffee machine that'll sit on your kitchen counter-top, here are a couple of options to consider.


Nespresso Vertuo Next

The Nespresso Vertuo Next creates consistently smooth espressos and americanos from coffee capsules, and it genuinely couldn’t be easier to use.

Read our full Nespresso Vertuo Next coffee maker review


Grind One

This pod coffee machine is a stylish and simple-to-use, single-serve coffee maker. It produces smooth, rich espresso with a thick crema quickly, and lets you customise the volume of coffee dispensed. 

Read our full Grind One pod machine review

How I tested the Wacaco Minipresso NS2

  • Tested it for a couple of weeks
  • Tested it at home, on the road, and in the outdoors
  • Used Nespresso Original capsules for testing

The Wacaco Minipresso NS2 isn't the kind of coffee "machine" you'd have to test for a long time, being a straightforward pumping device that don't really need (and have) a lot of features. However, it is a kind of unique one that might take some getting used to in order for users to appreciate. So, I spent a couple of weeks testing it, which I spent experimenting with different pumping techniques and just making it a part of my daily routine in general.

Since it is focused on portability, I not only used it at home but while going on quick weekend road trips, hikes, and a camping trip as well. I wanted to know, since it's not exactly one- or two-step process making coffee with it, if it's actually as convenient as it claims when you don't have access to such things as an electric kettle and a faucet.

I've been a product tester and reviewer for years, and have tested the original version of the Wacao portable coffee machine when it came out. I also travel, hike, and go on camping trips a lot, which makes me the perfect market for it.

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed October 2022
Michelle Rae Uy

Michelle Rae Uy is the former Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor at TechRadar. She's a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She's an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives.