Summer’s siren song is courting us, so it’s time to start thinking about how to take our coffee on the road. There are several excellent brewing options available that are both easy to use and to transport. Here are some recommendations for your coffee travel kit.
Hario Mini Slim Hand Grinder
First up, let’s talk about grinding. You may have thought that you’d take pre-ground coffee with you, but we all know it’s not as tasty to brew with when you get right down to it. Adding the Hario Mini Slim grinder to your collection means that you’ll have a cost effective and easy way to freshly grind your beans to any coarseness level — from espresso to French press. Its durable plastic body is lightweight and compact.
Hario V60 Pour Over
You can go super lo-fi on your preparation by carrying one of these plastic pour overs with you; add paper filters, freshly ground coffee and some hot water from a kettle and you’re in business. There are ceramic and glass versions, too, but the plastic is going to be lighter and more durable in your travel gear. If you’re not going to be carrying said gear on your back, however, then the ceramic and glass models are a good choice as they’ll retain the temperature better than their plastic counterparts.
The Aeropress is one of the darlings of the specialty coffee world, but just because fancy pants coffee connoisseurs dig it doesn’t mean it’s off limits as your travel caffeine source. It’s as lo-fi as the Hario pour overs, but will create a richer brew that is kind of a hybrid between espresso and French press. All you’ll need is your Aeropress, paper filters, freshly ground coffee and hot water to make a tasty cup. It is also made of durable, lightweight plastic so it’s easy to take with you on the road.
Hailed by campers everywhere, the French press is an awesome solution for your outdoor java needs. Combine this with freshly ground coffee from your Hario Mini Slim, hot water and let it chill out for a few minutes. Then serve up a delicious cup to those near and dear. If you’re a car camper, pick one up made of highly dense borosilicate glass; for hiking or air travel, you may prefer the single-serve plastic version instead.
We’re huge fans of stovetop espresso because it’s a nice balance between strength and flavor. More akin to a really strong cup of coffee, we’ve successfully used our stovetop on gas camping stoves and wood campfires alike. Probably not the best choice for hotel travel, but an awesome solution for outdoors. The stainless steel versions can get a little hefty, so you might not want to carry them on a 10 mile hike-in to that super secret camping spot only you know about. The aluminum version may serve you (and your back!) better in that regard.
Grab and go! The Handpresso lets you pump up the pressure and then pull a shot. It comes in both the ESE pod version (Wild) or with the pre-ground version (Domepod) for a single shot extraction. Not as rich as some of the other methods, but definitely espresso. It’s awesome because you can easily take this on flights, boats, camping, roadtrips — anywhere. Its shots won’t blow you away, but it is nice that you don’t have to have anything other than your brute strength to create the required extraction pressure.
This little lady is taking the world by storm these days, and with good cause! If you put the effort into pre-heating all the metal components, this nitrous oxide-induced extraction will come close to that achieved on the Rancilio Silvia. You do have to have the nitrous oxide cartridges to achieve an extraction, however, and you can’t easily fly with them. You can try sourcing the cartridges at your destination — and if you’re driving there, even better. This is an awesome solution for roadtripping and hotel travel.
Do you have a favorite coffee travel item not referenced here? Leave it in the comments and we’ll add it to the list!
Two great options for taking your joe on the road, the Handpresso and the MyPressi TWIST, have a few different options and variations. We recently did a crew review of both the MyPressi TWIST and the Handpresso with the Domepod (the original Handpresso Wild that is pod-friendly was originally reviewed a little over a year ago) and we got a couple of suggestions from both viewers and the manufacturers on ways to get a better shot.
For the Handpresso, the manufacturer sent us the Intense filter lid, which is designed to make a shorter, more intense shot. To see how well it works, check out this video:
The MyPressi TWIST has a ton of devoted fans, and both they and the manufacturer let us know that you can get better results by going naked. No, keep your pants on, but take the bottom off the TWIST so that you’re brewing directly from the basket into your pre-warmed cups, without those pesky spouts getting in the way. Check out our experience here:
We have dug the Handpresso for awhile now, because it’s a simple and lo-fi way to pull a single shot on the road — all you need is coffee, hot water and your own powerful strength! One thing that folks didn’t dig about it, however, was that it was ESE pod-only, which had the pro of being very mess-free (great for travel) but a con of not being as good as freshly ground coffee.
The machine was recently upgraded, however, with a new contraption called a Domepod, which will allow you to use your favorite fresh ground coffee. It’s the same price and makes an excellent single shot of espresso on the go. It is a bit messier, however, so we suppose that — like most things in life — you gotta give a little to get a little.