Korean coffee lover, Hangsan Yoon, was fed up with paying expensive coffee store prices. And he also didn’t want to splash out on an expensive espresso machine. So, he created this cheap, portable device instead, the Cafflano Kompresso. This is our complete Cafflano Kompresso Review – your guide to the lightest portable espresso maker in the world!
The Cafflano Kompresso is a great portable espresso machine for the espresso fanatic. It really needs fresh ground beans and careful use to get the best from it. But if you’re an espresso nerd looking for something to take camping, hiking, or just on business trips, we think it’s a great option.
As with all things there’s more to this pocket-rocket espresso maker than that. To do an in-depth Cafflano Kompresso review we spent a week playing with one and drinking maybe too much espresso, if such a thing is possible.
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At a Glance: Cafflano Kompresso Review
If you’re a coffee nerd who wants to play around with grounds, water temperature, and various coffee beans then this is a fantastic affordable espresso maker for you.
With the Cafflano Kompresso, you can tinker away to your heart’s content. Plus, you can pull really high-quality creamy espresso shots with a nice crema.
However, if you’re just looking for a quick espresso before work or a coffee maker to take camping, then it’s not ideal. It can take 8 minutes to brew your espresso and many many things can go wrong if you’re half asleep or distracted by the morning rush.
All in, it’s a great product for espresso fanatics.
- Weighs less than 0.5lbs
- Durable and difficult to break
- No filters to replace
- Can make hot or cold brew coffee
- Lightweight and easy to store or take with you
- Makes espresso comparable to much more expensive espresso makers
- Inexpensive when compared to the alternatives
- Can only use up to 2.7oz of water at a time
- Takes a bit of practice to get right
- Need to preheat the Kompresso for a perfect brew
- Takes up to 8 minutes for a single shot
- Doesn’t have the high-end feel you would get from other espresso makers
Weighing in at less than 0.5 lbs, the Cafflano Kompresso is the lightest espresso maker on the market. Being so light makes it super easy to pack up, and portable enough to be taken anywhere.
2. Scoop/ Tamper Tool
Included in the box when you buy the Cafflano Kompresso are the espresso maker, tamping scoop, and a cup. When not in use, these pack perfectly together. The scoop doubling up as a tamper is a nifty addition and so handy when you’re on the go. It’s also the perfect size for filling the basket with the right amount of freshly-ground coffee.
3. Sturdy Design
When traveling, glass espresso makers just aren’t going to cut it. So, Cafflano designed their espresso maker to be sturdy, able to stand up to whatever life may throw at it. And, it can certainly stand up to a large amount of pressure without breaking. In fact, the Kompresso is pretty indestructible – crucial for a travel-friendly espresso maker.
With the small design, you would be forgiven for wondering whether this portable espresso maker can make real espresso. However, the hydraulic compressor has been designed to maintain 9 bar of pressure. This is enough to pull true espresso shots.
There is a learning curve involved when you start using the Cafflano Kompresso. However, once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s very easy to use. Particularly when stacked against other manual espresso makers like the Flair. However, it is much more complex when compared to a single-serve or automatic espresso machine like the Jura range, which all work at the touch of a button.
Cafflano has this very helpful guide so you’ll be nailing your espresso shots in no time.
We used 15g of finely ground coffee aiming to get a yield of 30g of espresso. This is the 1:2 ratio that we prefer for our espresso shots. We actually used a coffee scale to make sure we got this exactly right but after 10-15 shots I could probably just eyeball it to be honest.
Using the Cafflano Kompresso feels like a lot of steps. Weigh and grind the coffee, pre-heat the Kompresso, tamp the grounds, assemble, pre-infuse, extract, enjoy.
It’s really pretty simple once you’ve got it down. It feels very natural and automatic. But you’ve got to enjoy the process. If I wasn’t someone who enjoyed adjusting grind size, pressure, temperature etc then I think I’d maybe find it pretty frustrating.
The Cafflano Kompresso requires fine espresso grounds. You may need to play around with your grinder until you find the ideal grind size. If you go too fine, then you won’t be able to push anything through. If you go the other way and end up too coarse, you will get a sour, watery espresso.
Whilst you can use the device at home, meaning your favorite coffee is always on hand, it is largely designed to be portable. This means you’ll either need to carry your coffee grounds with you or have a portable manual grinder in your bag too.
The grind basket takes around 15g or 3.5 teaspoons of coffee. So it should be easy enough to grind at home, then take it with you – even if you want to make multiple espressos! Depending how organised you are you can weigh and grind as many “doses” as you need for the day then store them in individual containers and you’re good to go.
To get the highest quality smooth, rich espresso, use freshly roasted coffee beans which are medium-dark roast. And always grind just before using.
The Cafflano Kompresso portable espresso maker is the brain child of Korean coffee lover, Hangsan Yoon. Hangsan decided that he didn’t want to pay for expensive coffee from coffee shops or splash out on a big complex machine. So, instead, he created this cheap, portable device.
Made from non-BPA plastic, with some parts made of stainless steel, it doesn’t feel like it’s heavy-duty. But it can withstand a lot of pressure. This includes putting almost all of my 200lb bodyweight on it when I have messed up and ground my coffee too finely.
The rubber rings designed to prevent leakages are the only part that looks like they might fail over time. But they are easily and cheaply replaced if this does happen. It should be mentioned that complaints of issues with the Kompresso are very rare. We didn’t encounter any problems but were only using it for a week.
To look at, the Cafflano Kompresso is a bit odd-looking. With the big plunger and the coffee basket, it won’t be winning any awards for being beautiful. But, it works and ultimately that’s all that really matters.
Yes, you will look a bit strange pulling out this red contraption and making your coffee on the go. Although nowadays with the AeroPress being so common, and so many other in-office coffee or tea making gadgets, you won’t be a total outsider. Dare to be different, you’re the only one getting great coffee at the office after all.
It really does take some time to dial in. You can get a nice crema from the Cafflano Kompresso. Although you will need to use freshly ground coffee beans at the right grind size. But it’s very possible to get cafe quality shots if you get everything right.
All of this will take practice to perfect. So, it’s likely you will make some rather unpleasant shots while you’re working on your technique. But, once you do, you will have great portable espresso neatly packed into your bag.
The ability to control everything from water temperature, to beans, grind size, and pressure means you can get espresso exactly how you like it. You’ve just got to want to spend the time working it all out. Getting a higher quality espresso than at most coffee shops is very achievable though.
A big thing to note about this portable espresso maker is that it can take 8 minutes to pull your espresso. This is especially true if you’re grinding by hand. So, it’s not a quick process by any stretch, and you need an extra hot water source.
You can also make cold brew with the Kompresso. To do so, you tamp down extra hard then use a 1 minute pre-infusion before pressing your espresso. This technique works really well and the ability to make both hot and cold brew is a big plus – it’s something that most machines in the budget price bracket can’t do. Check out this video from Cafflano to learn how:
There’s not much to see here. As a travel-friendly, affordable espresso maker, the Cafflano Kompresso does exactly what it says on the tin: it makes great espresso.
In the box, you will get the espresso maker, tamping scoop, and a cup. Which all nest in together, making transportation easy. So, it would be harsh to criticize the Kompresso for its lack of bells and whistles. It is your one-stop-shop for espresso on the go.
That said, the tamping tool isn’t the best. Being made of plastic and having the logo emblazoned across the middle makes it a little awkward to use. I find the logo being embossed into my puck annoying for no particular reason. Just feels unnecessary.
You do need to take the Cafflano Kompresso apart after each espresso shot. If you don’t, you are signing yourself up for stale coffee and demotion from Head Home Barista. However, this is a simple process.
You just need to dismantle the device and then wash and rinse the parts. It should take less than 5 minutes, and you’re done. Which, as manual espresso makers go, is pretty impressive.
If you are finding it difficult to get the coffee puck out in one go, lift and depress the piston again before you dismantle it. After pulling your shot, doing this will push the last of the water out of your coffee. This will allow the puck to tap out with ease.
Again, this is more labor-intensive than a decent mid-range home espresso machine like a single-serve. But the trade-off is that you get so much more control, portability, and value. So it really comes down to what is important to you.
There’s not a lot to dislike about this handheld espresso maker. It is perfect whilst on the go or to make espresso at home. However, at home, you may be looking for something a little bigger that can handle more than one cup at a time. In this case, manual or semi-automatic coffee makers may be more up your street.
Sticking to a similar brewing method, but at countertop size, the Signature Flair Espresso Maker provides a good balance. Whilst designed for the countertop (and looking great whilst sitting there), it can also be moved around with ease. It comes with a carry-case if you want to pack it up when you’re on the move. Although, at 5 lbs it’s nowhere near as lightweight or portable as the Kompresso.
For life on the road, two of the best portable coffee makers are the Wacaco Nanopresso and AeroPress, offering great alternatives.
The Wacaco Nanopresso offers a budget-friendly option for a portable espresso maker. It exerts a higher pressure (18 bars) and can take a little more water than the Kompresso (2.7 oz).
Stacked up against the competition, the Cafflano Kompresso stands its own. If you are after the smallest, lightweight portable espresso maker in the world, then the Kompresso is you for.
Need more information before you make up your mind? We have put together full reviews on each of the Kompresso’s competition. Just click through to the one that suits you best.
Getting the best-tasting espresso shots from this coffee maker will take patience and a bit of dedication. And not everyone is going to want to do that which is totally fine.
But if you are willing to put in the work, you will not be left disappointed.
Also, if you want to make espressos on the go – whilst out camping or just traveling in general – the Cafflano Kompresso is a great option. Especially with the ability to make high-quality cold espresso too. No batteries or electricity are required, so you really can have espresso anywhere. All you need are water and ground coffee, and your caffeine fix will soon be met.
So, for our final thoughts on the Cafflano Kompresso review: it really is hard to argue with at this price point. Any espresso lover would be chuffed with this device.
Don’t forget to Buy Your Cafflano Kompresso Today
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