It’s been a while, and I have been busy with work and life and study. The latest review is the Alfawise Mini Espresso Maker. This is similar to the Wacaco or Handpresso except this runs on a small motor with internal rechargeable battery.
This can be picked up on Amazon.ca or Aliexpress for around $60. My Amazon order came in 2 days.
The package came in very minimal, or there lack of. The contents were loose in the box and there weren’t any padding inside. The construction of the device is rough, I think it could be better polished in the finishing of the plastic. I think even made with plastic, it could be better built quality. The Alfawise comes with 2 small cups, water tank, filter plates, water outlet, a filling spoon and the main body. The Alfawise is a little bigger and heavier than the Aeropress, it came with adapters to use with coffee grounds or Nespresso capsules. This review will cover coffee grounds only because I don’t use Nespresso.
The Alfawise has adequate waterproofing, from the water tank, brewing chamber and the portafilter; there are rubber gaskets around those area including the charging port. Charging of the device is done through a USB Barrel type cable with the included USB charging plug. It took about an hour to charge to full and the progress could be observed with the 5 LEDs on the button.
The Alfawise is easy to use, fill the water to the max line in the water tank, fill the filter plates with coffee, reassemble, and press the button the brew.
In my tests, the motor sounded weak. I put my finger down at the motor outlet and felt a slight pressure. I noticed the use of 2 metal brewing plates, this device is using a pressurized system due to the weak motor. It is a cheap way to get the job done. The included spoon can also be used as a tamper for the espresso grounds, but I find that by tamping the grounds, it affected extraction due to the weak motor. There were also other issue where the hot water would leak from the tank when I turned the device upside down. This could be a safety issue.
Overall, the Alfawise can produce acceptable espresso with some crema. It is no where comparable to a proper espresso machine. I ground my coffee to espresso grind and tamping the coffee with the spoon caused the espresso to drip very slowly thus over-extracted (1+ minute). When I changed to regular coffee grind, it resulted in sweet tasting coffee. I also found that if I keep refilling the tank, and brewing it until the water is light brown, the “Americano” is actually quite delicious.
Cleaning up is slightly messy, the “puck” ground was semi-dry and would not come out without using a tool. The brewing plate or outlet needed to be flushed as it couldn’t be taken apart; pretty much everything located on the bottom side of the device will have to be flushed and cleaned.
Consider the cost, quality and performance, I believe the Alfawise Mini Espresso Maker could be built better. I noticed some shiny metal peeled off in the portafilter. Also, I am skeptical about the sound of the motor and the plastic pieces and the overall useful life of this device. If it is for travel use, this would be heavy and need charging. If it is for outdoor use, this would be too clumsy and messy (leak and clean up). Although it produces acceptable espresso, I cannot recommend this as a replacement of a proper espresso machine. I think I will stick with the aeropress for versatile use.