Have Coffee, Will Travel – Great Drip Coffee On the Go
Going on a trip? Don't forget the coffee!
You like your morning coffee. No, scratch that – you LOVE your morning coffee. It’s a ritual, a sacred way to start your day, and you couldn’t imagine your day starting any other way. But what happens when you go out of town for a business trip, or on vacation?
Are you stuck with playing Coffee Roulette, completely at the mercy of your hotel or host? Or will you have to venture out every day in search of a COFFEE CHAIN or take your chances at a local shop?
Coffee Adventures when you’re traveling can be fun, don’t get me wrong! In fact, I’ve gone on “Coffee Tours” where I would search out shops wherever I went so I could try new things every day. But you know what? I would do that in the afternoons. Because in the morning, I want my coffee, my way, the way I like it, no surprises. I am not a morning person, ya dig? What if the place I picked out that morning happened to be terrible? My whole day would be ruined by Bad Morning Coffee. Life is too short for that!
So when you travel, what do you do? Are you sure you want to take your chances and possibly end up with Bad Morning Coffee?
The answer here is NO! All you have to do is put together a handy little drip coffee travel kit. It’s easier than you think.
The one item that’s non-negotiable: a good grinder
In order for your coffee to be as fresh and tasty as possible, you will want to grind your beans right before you use them. Which means you’ll want to find a sturdy, light-weight grinder to bring with you.
Hario is a prominent name in coffee, and they make a few great portable ceramic burr hand grinders. Using a grinder with ceramic burrs will give you results that most closely mirror what you’ll make at home with your countertop ceramic burr grinder – an even grind that’s crucial to making a great cup of coffee.
If you’re going on an extended trip or are making coffee for a few people you might want to take the larger Hario hand grinder, which can store / hold up to 100 grams of coffee and comes with a screw-on lid that you can use with the glass jar.
There’s also a smaller version, which is great for coffee one or two people. Also, this model is slimmer. I wish I would have bought this one instead of the larger one for my travel kit, since my hands are smaller and this would have been easier for me to grip. Oh well. Live and learn…
It does take a little muscle to get your coffee made, when you use a hand grinder. So be prepared for a workout. It’s a great way to earn your coffee every morning!
Three methods for great travel coffee
There are several types of travel kits you can put together – and the best one for you might depend on the circumstances of your trip. All three methods require a source of hot water, however, so that’s something you’ll want to keep in mind as you prepare for your journey. (And even then you can prepare: bring a small stainless steel kettle if you’re camping, or a compact cordless electric one if you’re in a hotel… there are many possibilities!)
Method one: The basic pour over
The most basic, and maybe the easiest method, is preparing a simple pour over. You can find plastic Hario V60 drippers (maybe a little less fragile than ceramic, and definitely lighter), or there are even companies that make collapsible drippers that save even more space. Just make sure you bring the right kind of filters for whatever dripper you’re taking – you wouldn’t want to forget that part!
Preparing a pour over coffee on the go is fairly simple to do, and the result can be very satisfying. Imagine looking out your hotel room onto the beach, sipping your own hand-made coffee, just like at home – only way better!
This method can require lots of equipment though, so that might not be the most practical approach for your journey. Fortunately, there are other options.
Method two: the Aeropress
The Aerorpress can be a super convenient way to make coffee on the go – the Aeoropress itself is quite simple, and very lightweight. All that’s needed is the Aeropress itself and a small filter (these come with your Aeorpress when you purchase it, and are also easy to order on their own).
Personally, I have not yet mastered making coffee in an Aeropress. It requires grinding your beans at a different consistency than you would for a pour over, and then you’ll need to decide which “recipe” to use – do you want to make a very strong cup of coffee, or do you want to dilute the result a little? The Aeropress doesn’t make very much coffee at one time, so your main variable is how much coffee grounds you put in it.
Method three: the Moka Pot
The most famous brand of Moka Pot is Bialetti, made in Italy. Bialetti Moka Pots come in many different sizes, which can be great for when you’re traveling. Most models are made out of aluminum – I prefer to use stainless steel. It may cost a little more, but many people believe that stainless steel is a safer alternative to consuming something made in an aluminum container. Your choice, of course.
Bialetti’s look pretty darn cool, too – which never hurts! The result is somewhere between a strong cup of coffee and an espresso. All you need is a stovetop, your beans and some water – just be sure you keep an eye on it while it’s brewing. Once you get the hang of it, it’s very simple and probably the easiest method of the three mentioned here.
Go forth and drink great coffee!
Whichever of these methods you choose, just know that there ARE alternatives. I’m all for coffee adventures while traveling, but there’s also something to be said for consistency – especially in the mornings. So bring your delicious cup of morning brew with you wherever you go!