Travel Coffee Maker
What are your options when you have no access to electricity?
When you are traveling, it is often difficult to get a decent cup of coffee - so carrying your own coffee maker may be a necessity. The main issue when selecting the best travel coffee maker for you is whether you will have access to electrical outlet while you travel or not. On this page I will talk about coffee makers that do not require any electricity. If you are after a coffee maker to use in your hotel room or similar places you may want to check my page about personal coffee maker.
If you want to make coffee while you are on a camping trip, you have a few options. Obviously, you can make "cowboy coffee" - meaning that you just chuck the grinds into a pot of water and boil it over the fire. Well, that will make pretty awful cup of joe. So, let's have look at some better options.
Moka pot is a great coffee maker for traveling. It can make excellent cup of coffee especially if you combine it with a manual coffee grinder. The traditional Moka pots are made from aluminum so they are light to carry. The advantage is that you do not need a separate pot to boil the water in. Just make sure you do not burn the handle - it is easily done.
Then there is French press. A lot of people do carry their French press around and would not even consider leaving without it. A typical glass French press is rather fragile so it may be a good idea to get a travel coffee press made from plastic or from stainless steel or from titanium. A good thing about the plastic is that it is light. The metallic press has an advantage that you can actually boil the water in it so you don't need a separate pot for that. If you love milk based drinks then you may want to have a look at the titanium latte set made by Snow Peak.
Another option for a travel coffee maker is a manual drip cone - those things that you put over your cup, put in a paper filter with ground coffee coffee and then just pour in hot water and let the coffee drip through. They in general make better coffee than standard electric drip coffee makers. Melitta is probably the one that is most commonly used. Some people actually pack in their Chemex, but it is quite expensive and the risk of breaking it is high. If you want something really cheap then a Vietnamese coffee maker is well worth your consideration.
Then there is an ibrik. This little pot for making traditional Turkish coffee has many different names: cezve, briki, dezva, turka, raqwa, dalla or finjan to name just a few. They are usually made from copper and are easy to carry around. To make good Turkish coffee it is esential to have very finely ground coffee. Fortunately, a Turkish coffee grinder is probably the most portable grinder around.
Now, this is something for coffee connoisseurs. AeroPress is a neat little gadget that makes excellent coffee. The flavor is characterized as sweet, flavorful, and without any bitterness and acidity. AeroPress brews coffee in a very special way - by immersing the coffee grounds in warm (not hot) water for about 20s and then using air pressure to squeeze out most of the flavor from the grounds.
With this travel coffee maker you make coffee by forcing air through the grounds using a syringe-type plunger. After putting in a filter and adding grounds and water at the correct temperature, you put the Aeropress on top of a cup and press the plunger. It requires a considerable amount of force to push the plunger down and you have to be quite careful not to spill the coffee in the process.
A drawback of this method is that you need to use considerably more ground coffee per cup than you would with other brewing methods. However, according to user reviews, the taste of the coffee cannot be beaten.
Coffee sock is a little cloth coffee filter usually made from cotton. You put the coffee grounds into the sock, put the sock into your mug and then pour hot water over it. Leave it for 3 to 4 minutes and take the sock out. It makes pretty good coffee. One drawback is that you need to rinse the filter well after each use - that takes quite a bit of water which may not be easily available when you are somewhere hiking. You also need to leave it to dry - that may also be a bit of a problem sometimes.
Handpresso is a very handy gadget for those who can't stay without espresso. It looks a little bit like a bike pump, but it can produce seriously good espresso with good crema. It is really simple to use, but you will need a bit of arm strength (especially if you want to make several shots in a row) - because with this device you are the pump. All you need for a shot of espresso is an ESE pod and hot water. Make sure that the water is really hot (not boiling, but I would say at least 190F). To make a nice shot with Handpresso, it is important to rinse the water tank with hot water to warm it up beforehand. This little gadget is very well built, so it should last a long time. Hanpresso is quite expensive for a travel coffee maker, but if you enjoy good espresso it may be an excellent choice.
Cold Brewed Coffee
Finally, if you are traveling somewhere where you do not have access to any heat source, then there is always cold brewed coffee - just put some grounds into a pot of water and leave it sitting at room temperature overnight. That way you can get your dose of caffeine in the morning.
If you use some different type of travel coffee maker then please let me know in the comments below.
Further ReadingMoka Pots
Stainless Steel French Press
28 May 2011
I want to find a coffee maker that I can plug into my cigarette lighter in my car. Admin
29 May 2011
There is a number of 12 volt coffee makers around. You may want to have a look at some of these:
Roadpro 12-Volt Coffee Maker
Rally 7271 Portable 12V Coffee Maker
Koolatron Ten Cup Auto Coffee Maker
Power Hunt 12 Volt Coffee Maker
Just bear in mind that most 12 volt coffee makers do take quite a long time to brew coffee and some of them have rather poor reviews.