Do I drink the broth that is served to me on the go or do I take my travel coffee maker with me? For us the answer is perfectly clear as soon as we travel. At least when it’s not going to the 4-star hotel – although you cannot even be sure there that the espresso comes from a high-quality coffee machine or that coffee culture is celebrated. We either like to go to local cafes on vacation or, as camping enthusiasts, prepare our coffee ourselves with a few simple tools: a hand coffee grinder and a small travel coffee maker. Real coffee lovers also take something like this with them on vacation, on a bike tour, when hiking in the mountains or on a short weekend trip.
Travel coffee maker: How to prepare good coffee on the go
- Fresh coffee: pack your favorite coffee beans!
- Instant coffee: flash frozen lumps
- Brew in the bag: does it really taste good?
- Fresh coffee beans: great even when traveling!
- Hand coffee grinder: It’s always worth it!
- Heating water on the go: kettle vs. camping stove
- Travel coffee maker without electricity: great hand maker
- Cafflano: The 3-in-1 travel coffee machine
- AeroPress: The practical coffee press for on the go
- Hand filter: coffee maker for on the go
- Cold Brew & Cold Drip Maker: The mini travel coffee maker
- French Press: When you need a lot of coffee on the go
- Travel espresso machine without electric: Ingenious coffee makers
- Hand coffee maker: Prepare espresso with muscle power
- Espresso maker: aromatic mocha when traveling
- Electric travel coffee maker: the mini filter machines
Anyone who is a coffee lover and who cares about coffee enjoyment prefers to take the preparation into their own hands, even when traveling. A travel coffee machine must definitely meet a number of points: It must be small and easy to stow away in order to take up little space in your luggage. It shouldn’t cost the world, and pretty design is a plus. Of course, it is optimal if it works completely without electricity, i.e. it is not actually a “real” machine! Since everyone has different requirements, we present you with various options in this post – with which everyone can find their own personal travel coffee machine. But it starts with the things that also have to be with you: coffee beans, a mini coffee grinder and something to boil water with.
Fresh coffee: pack your favorite coffee beans!
To drink coffee on the go, the first ingredient in your luggage is as clear as day: coffee! As a traveler, you now have various options here, from instant coffee to coffee bags to the coffee beans that you would also use at home. The latter is our pick, and for good reason. By the way, in the following picture we – Heidi and Christian from Happy Coffee – are out and about in the car with our favorite beans. He is currently working with the AeroPress, which is a great travel coffee maker!
Instant coffee: flash frozen lumps
Instant coffee, also known as “soluble coffee”, is freeze-dried coffee extract. According to the food regulations, it may only contain roasted coffee. The alternatives made from grain, malt and chicory have to be named differently and can be found on the supermarket shelf, for example as “country coffee” or “coffee substitute”. Such soluble coffees, which are available in glasses or as individual packs in sticks, are quite practical on the go: Put a spoon of the granules in a cup, heat water on the fire or with the kettle, pour over it, done.
However, this has little to do with real coffee: instant coffee has gone through so many processing stages that nothing is left of the actual coffee aroma. The typical fragrance is missing and the complex taste is lost. Instead, a trace remains stuck to the spoon, reminiscent of tar … The finished powdered drinks (e.g. “cappuccino-style” or other tens of thousands of colorful varieties) are unfortunately even worse. Because they hardly contain any real coffee, they do contain a lot of sugar, powdered milk and an unbelievable amount of calories. Pooh!
Brew in the bag: does it really taste good?
Coffee in a bag. Where do you get that ?! Well in the Far East! In many Asian countries, which are already very tea-loving, people also love the caffeine-rich coffee infusion. Such “coffee bags” are now even available in our latitudes: They are filled with roasted and ground coffee and do not do badly with some customers. The good thing is that they have fewer processing stages than instant coffee and they taste better. And when you’re out and about, you can prepare it yourself with a little hot water without a travel coffee machine: Put the coffee bag in the cup, let it steep, done. However, you also have to cut back on the bag of coffee, because it is not as freshly roasted (as is the case with our Happy Coffee, for example) and not freshly ground. This means that the aroma is forfeited. On top of that, the individual packs create useless garbage that you have to dispose of.
Fresh coffee beans: great even when traveling!
Nothing beats freshly roasted coffee: After roasting, it releases aromas and should therefore not get too old. We therefore recommend that you use your freshly roasted coffee beans no later than three months after the stated roasting date. And you can always do that! If the coffee is then freshly ground, you can look forward to the best taste – since the aromas are volatile and are therefore not exposed to the air longer than necessary. When we travel, we always pack a 500g pack, which doesn’t take up much space, and grind it fresh with a small hand coffee grinder. Of course, there is also the option of packing a nice coffee can – it’s even available in a small, luggage-friendly format! If you don’t want to grind on the go, at least buy fresh ground coffee in the pack.
Hand coffee grinder: It’s always worth it!
We’ve already said it: freshly ground coffee always tastes best! And why should you forego the best coffee when traveling and not grind your coffee beans yourself in a jiffy? This step is worthwhile, no matter what type of coffee grinder you use and what type of travel coffee machine is used afterwards. At home we have a comfortable electric coffee grinder, but our little manual Coffee Grinder is used on the way. It doesn’t need electricity, is easy to stow away and with a little muscle we can grind enough coffee grounds for a normal-sized French press in a flash. A little ritual that is simply part of a vacation!
When buying, you should only make sure that your hand coffee grinder has a conical grinder made of ceramic, because it grinds the coffee beans particularly gently. It should be made of stainless steel or glass and, if possible, do without cheap plastic.
Heating water on the go: kettle vs. camping stove
If you want to drink a good coffee on the go, you need hot water for brewing in addition to freshly ground beans. The accessories required for boiling water should of course be space-saving. If you have electricity and some space to stow it – e.g. in holiday apartments or in a mobile home – a mini kettle like the Portable Travel Electric Mini Kettle is a good solution. It works like the large kettles, but simply has a little less capacity. The foldable kettle, which has space even in the smallest corner, is practical. Alternatively, you can of course just heat the water in the pot on the stove.
Boiling water without electricity becomes more adventurous when camping. Then either the good old gas camping stove is unpacked or a modern mini wood stove that works without gas cartridges – instead, you collect a few leaves and twigs to burn. A metal stainless steel saucepan is placed on top and the water is heated. Alternatively, a foldable kettle can be placed on the mobile stove with a very small flame (to protect the plastic material)!
Travel coffee maker without electricity: great hand maker
Thanks to the mini coffee grinder, fresh coffee is always provided and the water is warm. But what do you use to prepare your coffee on the go? There are an incredible number of variants of the travel coffee maker – we want to dedicate the models most comprehensively, which operate entirely without electricity. This makes you particularly independent, even if you go camping in the wilderness. Which variant you choose is entirely up to you and depends on your personal drinking and preparation habits.
Cafflano: The 3-in-1 travel coffee machine
I admit, a Cafflano travel coffeemaker is not cheap. But it is the machine for the frequent traveler. It is an all-in-one coffee machine or a 1-cup device, because it combines the coffee grinder with a filter coffee maker and a coffee mug. From the outside, the coffee maker just looks like a sturdy thermo mug, but under the high lid there is an attached hand coffee grinder with a crank and a permanent stainless steel coffee filter!
So you only need your roasted coffee beans to grind them in the Cafflano and some hot water. You use it to pour the freshly ground coffee and the finished coffee flows through the sieve directly into the to-go mug. A super easy travel coffee maker in the smallest format that works completely without electricity. This makes it a welcome companion on every trip – but also in every job that involves being outside a lot.
AeroPress: The practical coffee press for on the go
The Aeropress is not just a handy cult coffee press with a whole host of myths. It is also suitable as a travel coffee maker because it is inexpensive and contains everything in one set, from filter paper to the device to the measuring cup. Thanks to the robust plastic material, it can hardly break and is also light when it comes to weight. You can stow it away in the enclosed nylon bag to take with you! The AeroPress is actually nothing more than an inverted French press, in which coffee powder is mixed with water. After a few minutes of steeping and stirring, the coffee-water mixture is then pressed through the filter. You can even do that in the smallest tent or hotel room!
Hand filter: coffee maker for on the go
Do you prefer to make your coffee with a hand filter? Then follow this principle when you travel coffee maker! Either you pack your previous hand filter set – or you buy a slightly smaller and more robust version. Like the foldable Wolecok silicone filter made of food-safe silicone without BPA and plasticizers, with which nothing tastes like plastic.
If the filter paper is too cumbersome for you, you can get a dripper with a permanent filter like the Finum Coffee Sprinter. It has a coarse stainless steel sieve and is simply put together. However, due to the lack of paper bags, it filters more coarsely and fine particles of coffee grounds will remain in your coffee. Something like the French Press, which also works with these stainless steel sieves. Still very tasty for us! With the Finum Coffee Sprinter you also get one cup of coffee per preparation.
Cold Brew & Cold Drip Maker: The mini travel coffee maker
When traveling, especially when on summer vacation or in places with hot temperatures, you long for a refreshing cold brew or cold drip coffee. In home use, the necessary accessories are a bit more bulky and it takes a while until the cool coffee delicacy is ready. With jugs like the Coffee Gator Cold Brew Maker, you can also get a few cups of delicious cold brew coffee on a family vacation. You just have to let it steep overnight and handle the glass jug with care.
With the portable POOKIN Iced Coffee Maker there is now also a mini dripper for the smallest kitchen! It consists of a container for the ice cubes, a compartment for the ground coffee with a sieve and a tumbler that can be used as a to-go cup. Everything is put together and results in a delicious cold drip coffee in 1.5 to 2.5 hours – that is how long it takes for the ice water to flow through the coffee grounds.
French Press: When you need a lot of coffee on the go
We prepare our coffee on the go just like at home: with the French press! The plunger jug consists of a glass body and a sieve – freshly ground coffee is poured in, water is poured in and after a short brewing time, the floating coffee grounds are pressed down with the plunger. So easy and good! For us the perfect travel coffee machine and a classic for every household.
What makes the French Press the perfect travel coffee maker is its ease of use and the fact that it comes in a variety of sizes. At home we have a Bodum Chambord, which is available in different capacities. What I don’t like about the Bodum French Press coffee maker is the somewhat sensitive glass jug. If you want it a little more robust for camping, for example, you should take a look at the Secura French Press Coffee Maker.
Travel espresso machine without electric: Ingenious coffee makers
Do you prefer to drink espresso than coffee and want to keep this preference when you travel? Then you need a travel espresso machine! Of course, when it comes to the high pressure of around 8 to 10 bar required to produce a perfect espresso, they cannot come close to a portafilter or a good fully automatic coffee machine. Nevertheless, the following devices deliver quite convincing results in terms of taste – and all without electricity.
Hand coffee maker: Prepare espresso with muscle power
A lot of pressure is required to prepare a perfect espresso. Of course, this can best be set up by an espresso machine. Even connoisseurs swear by hand lever machines where the pressure is generated solely by the barista – or by his muscles, who are in demand when levering. A travel espresso machine is basically the same in pocket size: Here you press the coffee grounds through a sieve by hand to get the little black dress.
A well-known model of these espresso hand presses is the STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine, which we presented in this article. With this espresso machine everything is done by hand: Pour freshly ground espresso into the sieve, pour in hot water, squeeze by hand, done. The highlight: With the Staresso you can not only make espresso, but also milk foam for cappuccino & Co. at the same time! A special insert is included for this purpose. It should be mentioned that the Staresso also works with coffee capsules. Do the environment a favor and do without the aluminum sleeves, which only produce unnecessary waste.
Espresso maker: aromatic mocha when traveling
We know that the espresso maker doesn’t actually make espresso at all because it works with too little pressure. You get more of a mocha, but it also tastes very good and strong. That much is clear! On the other hand, many are unsure about the question of whether they can use their Bialetti jug when traveling when there is no electricity. In other words: Can you put the espresso maker directly on the gas stove when camping, or should you leave it alone?
All clear: it works! However, you should make sure that the Bialetti jug is stable on the camping stove. And that’s not that easy at all, because the narrow bottom of the espresso pot becomes a shaky affair on a blue gas cartridge. Some campers therefore buy a stand that goes between the Bialetti jug and the gas cooker (see photo below). So nothing can wobble and fall over. Then you can operate the espresso maker as usual; As this is explained here. Just be careful not to touch it with your bare hands after cooking – it is very hot! Especially if you are working with a direct flame.
Electric travel coffee maker: the mini filter machines
If you are spending your vacation in a hotel, holiday home or mobile home, do you surely have a suitable power connection for an electric coffee maker? For you, nothing beats the good old filter coffee machine like the one your mother used? Don’t worry, you’re not alone with this! The filter coffee machine is still the lonely leader in American households and much better than its reputation! On the go, such devices may not be quite as romantic as the powerless options presented above. But at least you save yourself the need to boil water, because the filter coffee machine takes care of that at the same time.
Read more: 12 Reasons for a coffee maker in the office