Small Form Factor Espresso Machine

Wanting to find a compact coffee machine for use in a caravan on power but with very limited space. Will only be used for a 3-6 days per month for couple of lattes each day so milk frothing is required. No need for a grinder, I’ll just pre-grind and freeze on arrival 🥺.

Currently use a breville dual boiler at home. Considering the breville bambino plus but would love something cheeper if it will do an alright job.


  • +4

    Considered a small Nespresso machine? Convenient, small factor and pods will last you on travels.

    • +1

      Not to be rude, but I really think nespresso is rubbish. I’ve never had a cup I thought was good. Full disclosure though, I haven’t had too many, mostly when staying in apartment motels. Are they really ever comparable to a fresh grind.

      • Oh absolutely not, it doesn't compare to fresh at all but for a quick convenient option on the go, it's fine.

        Also significantly cheaper than that Breville for essentially couple days a month use.

        • Valid point! Right now I just go without entirely, so it’s an option

  • +6

    Moka Pot is a simple cost effective solution (works well on and off grid), but not quite up to espresso standards.
    Aeropress in my opinion is too messy for a caravan.
    Premake cold brew and store it in the fridge is another option.
    But what it seems like you are asking for is the nanopresso or picopresso from wacaco.

    • Looks pretty interesting, have you used one of these or just heard good things?

  • +1

    I've been procrastinating over getting a Breville Bambino Plus Espresso to replace my nespresso machine.

    From what I can see, the reviews are mostly positive.

    The only thing holding me back is that I'm holding off for a compact unit with inbuilt grinder.

    • That’s my dream

  • +1

    Bambino sounds like a plan. What about a small hand grinder rather than freezing pre-ground beans?

    • I’m going to look into that. I have a spare breville grinder but it’s the space that’s at a premium. Hand held might be perfect

  • We've tried aeropress.. wasn't a fan.
    In our van, stove top espresso wins (for us) hands down! I have bought smaller vacuum sealed packs of coffee from Lavazza which I leave stored in the van during the year.

    Contemplating the move to a Breville for at home, as the Jura has finally died :/

    • Breville machines makes decent coffee, just don't expect it to last beyond 5 years. I've moved on to prosumer machine as (a) Breville pricing has gone ridiculous and (b) they just don't last.

      • Any recommendations?

  • +1

    I use a Delonghi Dedica. It's compact and does the job well. Undoubtedly not as good as your breville but can be had regularly for <$200

    • +1

      Another vote for this, I keep thinking about upgrading it but with a non-pressurised basket and the minimal amount of space it takes up on the bench, I've stuck with it. Punches well above it's price range.

  • +2

    I have a Bambino Plus at home but we use a Hario v60 for the caravan.
    Unless you are also taking a grinder I would suggest not to get an espresso machine like the Bambino, purely for the fact that bean freshness plays such a huge role in extraction on these machines. I find I am adjusting my grind size from start to end of a 1kg bag of beans just because they start to lose their freshness.

    A potential issue you may find with pre-grinding is you get to your destination, find you ground too fine and the machine chokes up (which seems to happen a bit), or you grind too course and you get watery coffee, or, you grind just right get a couple of nice brews but then the grinds become stale and begin to give you watery cups again.

    A pour over, or an aeropress are much more forgiving and I find them much more consistent over a long period. The other extra benefit is if you run out, just go to a local coffee shop, buy some beans and ask them to grind for a pourover. I guarantee you would not be able to do that for an espresso machine.

  • Breville creatista pro. Perfect for your needs and compact. Best pod machine out. No need to worry about freezing your grind

  • Definitely aeropress if you’re moving around a lot.

    Don’t deal with a pod machine, the waste created is insane but may not be easy for you to deal with. Just coffee grounds are natural and can be scattered around outside, but when you add the pod it’s a hassle.

  • Delonghi dedica - very narrow and takes up very little space on bench tops

  • Given you like espresso-based milk drinks, I will NOT suggest an Aeropress.

    How about a secondhand Gaggia Classic?

    • "espresso-based milk drinks", ouch!
      Is that looking down on us coffee lovers?

      • What on earth are you talking about?!

        OP has stated he/she:

        • is after an espresso machine (per post title)
        • drinks lattĂ©s

        He/she seems to be after an espresso solution and not a pour-over, French press, moka pot or otherwise.

        I make and drink all sorts of coffee (including Aeropress, Delta Press, V60, siphon etc) and there is nothing snobbish about having a preferred flavour profile or beverage.

  • If you can find a MyPressi Twist V2 on Gumtree, eBay etc, those things are damn near indestructible and produce bloody amazing espresso. But you'd still need a solution for milk texturing (eg the Subliminal NanoFoamer or the Bialetti Tuttocrema 00AGR394 if you want a solution to heat the milk as well.)

    • Wow. I thought those milk fritters were more of a gimock, didn’t realize they were a real option. I wish I had seen the jug idea when we used to be unpowered! Will do some more research on these

      • Steam is king, but yeah, can use a 'whisk' type solution. Heat your milk first and do it like this guy:

        I still kinda like the Bambino…cool to have an espresso machine in a van! I guess the Gaggia isn't much bigger than the Bambino mind you…or you can just get some sort of lever arrangement per that video above…fairly hands on process, but sometimes that's enjoyable too.

      • If you can get the milk temperate to the magical 60-65oC then a good frother can do an amazing job.

        There's nothing particularly magical about milk texturing. It's just about getting air bubbles into the milk for the proteins to cling to and then breaking them into smaller and smaller ones until it's microfoam.

        The Subliminal NanoFoamer is a very good option as it has a couple of super-fine mesh filters to break up the air bubbles. I tried one at MICE a couple of years ago with a very skeptical mindset. But the result - with zero practice - was amazing. Not quite "from the pitcher of a pro barista with a $25K machine" results, but not like the frothy crap from a full-auto machine. :-)

  • Aldi has a De’Longhi Distinta this Wednesday for $149.

    • Great find, but is it any good? I haven’t used a delionghi

      • I have no experience with that Aldi machine, all I have is a little DeLonghi Nespresso machine.

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