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Handpresso Wild Hybrid Review:
Impressive or Inconsequential?

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By Matt Woodburn-Simmonds

Long gone are the days when the only way to enjoy a nice espresso was in a fancy café or by spending a small fortune on a machine for your home. Now there are plenty of devices that claim to deliver café quality espresso wherever you are. So we had to test and put together a Handpresso Wild Hybrid Review to see if this one lives up to the marketing.

Of all the portable coffee makers, the Handpresso Wild Hybrid is one of the simplest in terms of design and usability. It works with pods or grounds and pulls a pretty decent espresso. The big caveat is that it’s almost impossible to get hold of outside of Europe.

Luckily, my sister lives across the pond and let us put her Wild Hybrid through its paces whilst we visited her. (Yes, our travel plans are really that exciting!) So let’s jump right in as we break down how good it actually is and whether it’s worthy of becoming your “must-pack” coffee maker:

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At a Glance: Handpresso Wild Hybrid Review

Handpresso Wild Hybrid: review product image

The Handpresso Wild Hybrid reliably makes good espresso with minimal fuss. It’s no harder to use than operating a bicycle pump.

If you’re looking for something that can use E.S.E. pods or grounds, is incredibly easy to use and clean, and you can chuck in your backpack or purse, then this is a great option.

In terms of pure coffee quality for the price, we prefer the Wacaco Nanopresso. But it’s slightly more complex to use and more difficult to clean, especially as it needs a 6 monthly deep clean.

So if ease of use and cleaning are your main priorities when looking for a good espresso on the go, then the Handpresso Wild Hybrid will serve you very well.


  • Portable & durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Relatively cheap
  • Simple to operate, low-tech and reliable
  • Can use E.S.E pods or ground coffee
  • Up to 16 bar of pressure


  • Need to boil water separately
  • Good (not great) tasting espresso
  • Can’t vary the espresso strength (it’s fairly weak)
  • Hard to get outside the EU
  • O-ring easily breaks

Average Rating

  • Espresso Quality: 6/10
  • Durability: 8/10
  • Portability: 10/10
  • Value for Money: 8/10
  • Overall Rating: 8.5/10
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Key Features Review

1. Maximum Pressure of 16 bar

What separates espresso from other styles of coffee is pressure. Specifically, 9 bars – the minimum amount of pressure needed to make espresso. And many home espresso machines only operate around this level.

So, seeing 16 bars on a budget-friendly countertop espresso machine would be good. Seeing it on a hand-pumped portable device is outstanding. Being able to create this amount of pressure means you can pull good quality espresso.

However, you need to generate this pressure yourself similar to a bicycle pump. As long as you have good hand mobility, it’s easy to do. It generally took me 15-20 seconds to get the pressure gauge into the green zone.

Close-up of the Handpresso Wild Hybrid's pressure gague, hand pumped to the 16 bar green zone
The 16 bar pressure gauge is in the Green Zone

2. Weighs 11oz

The Handpresso Wild Hybrid is small enough and light enough to be thrown in any backpack or purse. This makes it perfect for taking to work or using on vacation, hiking, or camping.

Fresh espresso halfway through a hike? Umm yes, please. That’s the kind of motivation I need!

3. Uses E.S.E Pods or Ground Coffee

Freshly ground coffee will always produce the best quality shots. But whilst you’re on the go this isn’t always feasible. So having the flexibility to use E.S.E. pods (Easy Serve Espresso) is a big plus and also cuts down on mess.

That said, what you gain in convenience you lose in flavor. The Handpresso Wild Hybrid pulls a weak espresso that will leave any die-hard espresso fan disappointed.

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Is the Handpresso Pump Easy to Use?

If you’re going to have a portable espresso maker it needs to be easy to use. Whilst you are out and about, you won’t always have the time or patience to deal with fiddly espresso making.

On this front the Handpresso Wild Hybrid does superbly well and is the main selling point.

It does need some elbow grease to build the pressure up. And you need good hand strength to hold it steady whilst the espresso is dispensing. I have relatively big hands and found it fine but my wife’s a lot smaller and she found it a little awkward.

That said, all portable espresso makers need some amount of hand/wrist/arm strength. So if that’s not you, you may be stuck (for now) with a countertop machine.

To get the most from the Wild Hybrid, just follow these easy steps. From start to finish, it usually took me around 5 minutes:

  1. Heat the Water: The one downside to the Wild Hybrid is that you need to do this separately or use a thermos flask to carry pre-heated water.
  2. Get Pumping: Push the hand pump (it works exactly like a bicycle pump) until the pressure gauge gets to the green zone. I found that 35 pumps usually did the trick and took me 15-20 seconds.
Using the Handpresso Pump
The pump is built into the body of the Handpresso Wild Hybrid
  1. Add the Water: The opening is nice and wide, making this simple and spillages minimal. But it’s still best to pour slowly and have the Wild Hybrid on a flat surface. It only takes 50ml so it’s easy to overfill if you’re not careful.
  2. Add Coffee: Next, add your coffee grounds (only 7g) to the filter basket and tamp. Or attach the pod adapter so you can use an E.S.E. pod.
  3. Double-check it’s Locked: Make sure to rotate and lock the portafilter in position – if you don’t, hot water could pour out and burn your hands.
  4. Infuse: Hold over your cup and push the “infusion” button to force the hot water through your coffee grounds at high pressure. And just like that, you have your espresso.
Pressing the "Infuse" button on the Handpresso Pump espresso maker
The infusion button is on the same side as the pressure gauge (under my thumb)

Whilst it’s not a required step, I do recommend pre-heating by putting some hot water in the water chamber, filter basket, and cup before you start. Going in cold typically means sour, watery coffee. And given that the coffee-to-water ratio is already pretty weak, there’s no need to add insult to injury.

For a single shot of espresso, it’ll take about 5 minutes. So it’s not ideal if you’re making espressos for a group of people – although it would be a great workout for you!

You also have to be happy to manually build pressure like a bike pump. It’s probably less of an issue when camping but in the office, it may look a touch odd.

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Grounds, Beans, or Pods?

The Handpresso Wild Hybrid offers the best of both worlds as it can take either ground coffee or E.S.E. pods.

For the best results, I’d recommend getting some top-quality espresso beans and grinding them fresh. But that’s an extra step and an extra purchase (though if you are going down that road, check out our top manual grinders, here.) So I appreciate that it’s not for everyone.

Ultimately, the Wild Hybrid isn’t fussy as to what coffee you use – only the drinker. So if it’s easier to use pre-ground when traveling, go right ahead.

Being able to use E.S.E. pods is another great option, particularly if you’re hiking or camping. The coffee quality will take a hit but it might be a worthwhile compromise to be able to chuck in your pod and off you go.

Using pods also reduces mess on the go as they’re easier to dispose of than coffee ground pucks. However, coffee grounds make great compost, so it won’t cause any harm to chuck them into the fields if you’re camping (less advisable on the office floor though…)

When using ground coffee, you need to use the filter basket. But for pods, there’s an adapter that simply clicks into place.

Split image of the Handpresso Wild Hybrid using ground coffee on the left, and an ESE pod on the right
Left: Using ground coffee. Right: Using an ESE coffee pod
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Design and Build Quality Review

The Handpresso Pump is 8.7 inches by 3.9 inches by 2.8 inches and looks like a bike pump with a small hockey puck attached. Mainly because that’s basically what it is.

It’s a very simple design that’s reliable and sturdy. Plus, it’s available in a range of colors which is a nice touch.

Sturdy enough to survive a few accidents – great if you plan on taking it in and out of your backpack. I wouldn’t recommend throwing it around, but if you drop it occasionally (guilty!) it should be fine.

Whilst it isn’t going to blow anyone away with its looks, it isn’t unwieldy or bizarre-looking either. Though it definitely looks different from all the other great portable espresso makers out there. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing all comes down to your personal taste.

Almost every part of the Handpresso is well-built. And, with very few moving parts, there isn’t really anything to go wrong. So it stands up to long-term use very well.

The only part we had an issue with was the O-ring – the little rubber seal that keeps it watertight. This can easily get damaged when taking the portafilter cover on and off, and can result in burnt fingers. It’s easy to replace but annoying that you have to.

I’ve also seen complaints about the pressure button failing though this isn’t something I’ve experienced. But, when that goes, there’s no way to release the pressure and extract your espresso shot. So, it’s time for the bin. Realistically, you should expect to get 3-6 years out of the Handpresso Pump.

Handpresso Wild Hybrid on table next to the 4 included glasses and thermos flask
The Handpresso Wild Hybrid has a simple design that stands out from the crowd
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Does the Handpresso Wild Hybrid Make Good Coffee?

The ultimate test in our Handpresso Wild Hybrid review: how good is the espresso?

The 16 bar pressure produces a good quality espresso with that full-bodied flavor that espresso lovers are after.

When using freshly ground coffee, we were able to taste some basic characteristics of our beans. Though obviously not comparable to a more advanced countertop machine or the portable Wacaco Picopresso. I found the E.S.E pods to be a little more flat even compared to other entry-level machines using pressurized filter baskets.

Where the Handpresso Pump really suffers is that it works on a ratio of 7g of coffee to 50ml of water. So it’s well below the more traditional espresso ratio of 1:2 or 1:3 meaning everything just tastes dull and flat.

To get a little more ‘oomph’ from your coffee, you can buy an optional Intense Filter.

After a bit of playing, we got better results from grinding a little finer than normal and pre-heating the Handpresso before using it.

Water temperature is a key component of making great espresso, so if you’re transporting pre-heated water you need to really trust your thermos. (There are only a few battery powered coffee makers that are portable and will heat the water too.) Brewing at cooler temperatures means thin, watery, and under-extracted coffee.

It might take a few tries to get your workflow nailed down. But it’s not impossible to get decent espresso shots.

Making an espresso shot with the Handpresso Wild Hybrid pump espresso maker
The espresso quality is good, but not great, from the Wild Hybrid
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Added Extras

Being so compact and portable means there are no bells and whistles with the Wild Hybrid: what you see is what you get.

You can, however, buy the espresso maker as part of an “outdoor set”. This set includes a nice travel case, thermos flask, and indestructible cups (trust me, I’ve dropped them many times). So, if you’re looking for something to take hiking or camping this could be a good option for you.

It also makes a great gift for the coffee lovers in your life.

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How to Clean your Handpresso Wild Hybrid

If you’re out and about with your espresso maker, it’s likely that you won’t have the time or tools to deal with a lengthy cleaning process. Handpresso understands this. So, the Wild Hybrid is as easy as possible to clean.

You simply have to dispose of your grounds or E.S.E. pod – trash for the pod or just the wilderness for your grounds. Give the brew head a quick rinse. And that’s it. You’re done.

It really couldn’t be easier.

Plus, there’s no need to do a lengthy deep clean every so often either which is a nice bonus.

If you’re camping or hiking in the wilds, you might want a ziplock bag for your spent E.S.E. pods until you can next get to a trash can. But it’s not exactly a big inconvenience.

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Final Thoughts on our Handpresso Wild Hybrid Review

So, what’s the verdict on our Handpresso Wild Hybrid review?

This little device is a very impressive portable espresso maker: it’s cheap, it’s durable and it makes a good espresso.

Personally, we feel the Wacaco Nanopresso is a better espresso machine and it is slightly cheaper and is capable of pulling far superior espresso shots. Although it is also a little bit harder to use and clean so it all comes down to what’s important to you.

But, bottom line  – if you want easy espresso on the go, you will not be disappointed with this hand-pump portable espresso machine.

Don’t forget to Buy Your Handpresso Wild Hybrid Today


Matt Woodburn-Simmonds

Matt's coffee obsession started in 2006 when working as a Barista. A tendency to turn up to work hungover kickstarted his coffee journey which quickly turned into a love affair. As he moved on to work as a Restaurant Manager and Sommelier, the obsession continued to grow. Now, his passion is helping others to enjoy better coffee at home.

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