The Round Up

What’s do we mean by “not quite espresso makers?” As we know, a true espresso shot brews consistently at nine bars of pressure. There are a handful of coffee makers that brew at one to two bars of pressure creating a cup that’s rich, dark and full-bodied like espresso. For coffee lovers craving a stout cup, we rounded up the AeroPress Coffee Maker, Ilsa Express Espresso Stove Top and Wacaco Minipresso GR Portable Espresso Machine to get the job done!

AeroPress Coffee Maker

First on our list is the beloved AeroPress. Simple, compact and affordable, the AeroPress easily finds its way into homes. It works similar to a French press by immersing grounds in water and then plunge, but the AeroPress brews directing into the bottom of a fresh cup. Not to mention, the pressure buildup is completely different. The AeroPress rubber plunger seals against the chamber and builds up one to two bars of pressure by hand. We’ve heard of some coffee lovers out there getting up to nine bars of pressure with the assistance of a lever device—still not quite espresso.

Ilsa Express Espresso Stove Top

The Ilsa Express brews by steam power, it doesn’t extract at nine bars of pressure. So not quite espresso. That said, stovetop makes one mean cup of coffee! And by mean, we’re talking about a seriously stout and strong cup. If you enjoy sipping the rich flavors of espresso, the Ilsa Express can make that happen for you at a fraction of the cost of an espresso machine. The Ilsa Express has a 3, 6 and 10-cup option available and, better yet, the 6-cup has a divider that can cut your portion to 3 cups.

Wacaco Minipresso GR Portable Espresso Machine

The Wacaco Minipresso Espresso Maker is the closest thing to espresso. It boasts eight bars of pressure and makes a single shot! Similar to a pressurized portafilter, it won’t release the coffee unless it reaches that eight bars of pressure. It’s designed like a mini espresso machine equipped with a brew basket, water reservoir and hand-driven pump system. At the end of the day, if you’re on the road the Minipresso is the perfect companion for a quick pick-me-up.


The true espresso coffee lovers crave brews with nine bars of pressure. Our makers don’t quite reach that mark, but they certainly make a strong cup of java! What did you think of our Top 3 “Not Quite” espresso makers? Share what you would have chosen in the comments below!