When I travel, which is a lot, I like to take certain creature comforts with me. My favorite pillow, a good book and my streaming TV player all top that list. And my sons will go nowhere without their rock climbing gear.
But I would have to say that the one thing I won’t travel without is my coffee kit. It’s not that I can’t find a good cup of java on the road. Coffee is just one of those pieces of home that I like to bring along. Nothing gets me going in the morning or relaxed in the evening like a cup of my own coffee.
I’m not alone here. Whenever someone sees my little travel coffee kit, they comment about what a good idea it is. Travelers often ask me which coffee makers are the best for traveling. Since I love traveling and coffee both so much, I’ve decided to write a guide for anyone who is looking for a good travel coffee kit. I’ll also review some good coffee makers that fit the bill.
Buying Guide: How To Find The Best Travel Coffee Maker For Your Next Adventure
You have to know what features to look for when shopping for a good travel coffee maker. Not everything that says “travel” on its box is going to work. Take a look at the following considerations and use them to narrow your choices down.
Let’s start with the obvious…
You need something that’s not necessarily tiny, but something that will fit well in your luggage along with your other gear.
Ask yourself how many cups of coffee you are likely to need to make at once. If you’ll usually be making a cup or two at a time (that’s most of us), a coffee maker with a brewing capacity of between 8 and 24 ounces will be perfect. Eight ounces is an ideal serving size for the traveller, because it contains between 95 and 165 milligrams of caffeine. (see Mayo Clinic)
Aeropresses make one to three cups at a time, and they’re great for the solo traveler. French presses make up to six servings at once, which may be great for you if you travel with a group and like to entertain your travel companions, but the trade off is size. They are always larger than Aeropresses.
Pour-over coffee makers come in different sizes. The smallest fit right on top of your favorite mug and brew one serving at a time. Larger ones brew several cups at a time, but require a separate carafe. Another drawback is time. It takes about three minutes for each serving.
Ease Of Use
I love travelling, so I don’t want to bring anything with me that can complicate my trip.
I recommend a simple and easy-to-use coffee maker for travelling. Take a few minutes and think about all of the steps you would need to take to brew a cup and how long it would take.
Ease Of Cleaning
You don’t want cleanup to take much time or cause unnecessary hassle. A good travel coffee maker will break down into two or three parts and rinse clean.
Glass, even tempered glass, breaks pretty easily. Imagine unpacking and finding a bunch of glass shards where your coffee maker should be. Opt for borosilicate glass, strong plastic and metal.
Our Top 5 Favorite Travel Coffee Makers
Here is our top picks. All of these go above and beyond our strict criteria that I outlined in the buyer’s guide above.
#1 Best Travel Coffee Maker – Aeropress
When fully assembled, the Aeropress is 9-1/2″ long, 4″ in diameter and weighs about 12 ounces. It will fit neatly in your luggage or backpack.
It’s made of tough BPA-free plastic. I know someone who has had the same Aeropress as part of his travel gear for about ten years.
This is a simple coffee maker to operate. You place the filter and put a scoop or two of grounds into the brewing chamber, add hot water, stir and plunge your coffee right into your mug. The whole thing takes about a minute to 90 seconds. Check out the video below for a demonstration.
Cleanup is a breeze. You just pull the plunger out of the brewing chamber, dump the used filter and spent grounds into the trash and rinse the unit’s two parts.
Aeropress coffee is fantastic. It has very low acidity and tastes clean with a smooth finish. This is due to the short brewing process and the fact that you don’t need to use near-boiling water. If you use the Aeropress micro-filters, there will be no grit in your cup. Metal mesh permanent filters are also available.
If you’re already familiar with using a french press, you’ll feel right at home with the aeropress, although there are a couple differences you should be aware of.
You can make espresso with the Aeropress as well as American brew. You just use fine grounds, very hot water and press the plunger fast for a high-pressure brew. Visit this page for detailed instructions and cool videos about the Aeropress.
- Excellent coffee
- Very easy to use
- Easy to clean
- Small and portable
- Very quick
- Aeropress coffee has low acidity – maybe too low for those who prefer a bright, acidic brew
Espro Travel Coffee Press
This is essentially a miniature french press with some nice improvements that make it a nice option for the traveller.
To use it, you begin by passing the plunger rod through the lid and screwing it into the filter. Then you add your grounds and 12 ounces of hot water to the brewing chamber. Secure the lid and wait for a few minutes, then press the plunger down. This presses the grounds to the bottom. That’s where the similarities to a traditional french press end.
Thanks to the patented brew-stop feature, extraction stops when the plunger is fully pressed. You don’t have to pour your coffee right away. In fact, you can just drink right out of the lid with the plunger still in place. To enjoy your coffee later, screw the spill-proof lid on. The double-walled construction of the combination brewing chamber/travel mug keeps coffee hot for about five hours. What’s more, the ultra-fine double mesh filter prevents any grit from getting into your coffee.
It’s made of stainless steel and plastic and measures 8-1/2″ by about 3″. At only 10 ounces, it won’t add much weight to your hiking gear.
Cleanup is a bit more involved than with the Aeropress. You have to disassemble the plunger rod from the filter before you rinse everything. It takes some agitation to get all of the grounds out of the plastic mesh filter.
- Easy to use
- Brewing chamber doubles as travel mug
- Takes a bit of time and effort to clean
- Vinyl-like mesh filter needs occasional replacement
Traveler’s Coffee Kit
This neat little pour-over coffee travel kit fits into a 4″x5″x8-1/2″ travel bag and weighs only 3/4 of a pound. It includes two steel cups, a plastic dripper and a dripper stand.
You use the larger cup to pour your hot water from, and the smaller one to brew your coffee into. The plastic dripper fits into the stand and holds a standard small cone filter. You add your grounds and slowly pour the hot water over the grounds. It takes about two to four minutes to brew a cup.
Pour-over coffee is bright and clear with a kick of acidity. The secret is to wet the grounds with hot water, then wait about 30 seconds for the flavor to develop. Then pour the rest of the water over the grounds slowly.
Cleanup takes a minute or so. After you dump the filter and grounds, you just rinse the dripper, let it dry and repack it all.
Check out our review for some more information and a video that shows this kit in action.
- Makes genuine pour-over coffee
- Fun and interesting to use
- You can use from coarse up to medium-fine grounds
- Takes longer to make a cup than the other coffee makers on this list
- Kit takes up more room than other coffee makers reviewed here
KOHIPRESS Portable French Press
I love french press coffee! I like the silt and the thickness of it. I’ve even come to enjoy the grit that the coarser steel mesh filters let through.
I’m not alone on this either. Ask any french press connoisseur!
My first travel coffee maker was a french press because it was hard to find this type of brew on the road back then. It actually still is in some locales.
This travel coffee maker is a lot like the Espro, but it doesn’t have the ultra-fine double filter. This is great of you love true french press coffee like I do. You’ll get that lovely, rich sediment. Don’t expect any grit, though. The steel mesh filter is too fine to let any through unless you use fine grounds.
This 10-1/2″x3″ unit breaks down into three parts and rinses clean easily. The leak-proof lid prevents spills, even if you set it down on its top. I like that the brewing chamber, which doubles as a travel mug, is made of double-walled steel. It will keep your 12 ounces of coffee hot for hours.
- Makes genuine french press – sediment and all!
- Brewing chamber doubles as travel mug
- Very well made
- Can also be used for loose-leaf tea
- Some don’t like the sediment
- Takes some time to rinse well
EZE Homegoods Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Cold-brew coffee is smooth, mild and has a natural refreshing sweetness. The nutty flavors of the coffee really come out with this method. You can add milk and ice for an awesome iced coffee drink or just drink it straight. Make strong iced coffee as a concentrate to dilute and reheat later, if you wish.
This 9-1/2″x3″ plastic coffee maker is easy to carry and a breeze to use. You add coarse grinds to the filter, pop the filter into the unit, then add up to 28 ounces of cool water and gently shake. Let it sit for 8 to 24 hours, depending on the strength you want, and that’s all.
You can remove the filter and replace the lid for easy carrying. Everything rinses clean in a matter of seconds. In fact, this is probably the easiest to clean travel coffee maker that we’ve reviewed here.
A lot of people use french presses to make cold brew. That’s ok, but it’s not ideal. A french press lets too much sediment through. If you want the best, smoothest and mellowest cold brew, forget about the french press and get a good cold-brew coffee maker like this one.
- Heavy plastic construction
- Tight-fitting lid
- Perfect filter for cold brew
- On the bigger side for travel coffee makers
There you have it! Hopefully this has helped you figure out what the best travel coffee maker is for you. If you have any specific questions or would like to share your own experience, leave us a comment below!
Check this out to learn more about the basic travel gear.