“I just love hotel coffee,” said no one ever. If there’s any way to throw a wrench into an eager and exciting morning while you’re traveling, it’s lifeless, bitter coffee.
Taking your well-brewed and delicious coffee on your travels can be hard. But you shouldn't have to sacrifice the coffee you love just because you’re not at home.
You should be able to brew coffee you way - anywhere.
There are several coffee brewers that make this possible. They’re light, small, durable, don’t require electricity, and make a killer cup. While they’re not as convenient as throwing old dehydrated coffee into hot water, they’re far more rewarding and tasty in every way.
Here are my top picks for the best coffee brewers for travelers.
It’s American Press
A newer travel coffee brewer to the market, It’s American Press has earned a respectful amount of attention. Try to imagine the baby of a french press and the Aeropress and you’ll probably come close to envisioning It’s American Press.
The brewer works by forcing a chamber full of coffee grounds through hot water after a short period of immersion (usually 1-3 minutes). The chamber has fine mesh filters on its top and bottom. The filters and process result in a rapid extraction that brews a rich, full-bodied cup.
Like the french press, plunging the chamber is what separates the brewed coffee from the grounds. Like the Aeropress, pressure is generated to aid in extraction as you plunge.
This brewer is simply constructed, features a double wall, and can make up to 12 ounces of coffee. However, it’s a bit on the larger and heavy side for a travel brewer, but that’s what it takes to make 12oz in one go while on the road. If you can spare the space and weight, it’s a solid option.
Pros: 12oz batch size, durable, double walled
Cons: Slightly large device, on the heavy side
Filtering Pour Over Cones
The best way to make more than once cup of coffee while traveling is with a pour over cone. It allows you to brew as much coffee as you’d like in just 2-4 minutes. Since the coffee drains as you pour (thanks, gravity), your only limitation is the capacity of the carafe below.
While most cones require additional filters, the JavaPresse Manual Pour Over Brewer is designed with hundreds of small holes in the cone and acts as its own filter. This eliminates the need for paper weight and waste without sacrificing flavor quality.
Unfortunately, pour over cones aren’t ideally shaped for travel. Though they are typically quite light, they tend to take up an awkward amount of space because of the cone shape.
Pour over brewing also tends to be a little more difficult on the road than some other methods. I suggest using this method if you’ve had time to use it at home, but not if you’re a pour over beginner.
Pros: Large batch size, light, no paper weight or waste
Cons: Awkward shape, slightly more difficult
This all-in-one brewer is the first of its kind, including a drip kettle, manual grinder, tumbler, and pour over cone. It has all the elements you would need (other than hot water) to make great coffee anywhere.
It does have a few downsides, sadly. The streamlined cylinder it’s all contained within is a bit large and weighty. The drip kettle can also only hold 8 ounces of water, which means if you want to make more coffee than that, you have to refill mid-brew (awkward).
This brewer is very innovative and suitable for trips where space isn’t as much of an issue. However, like I said earlier, I only suggest pour over brewing while traveling if you’ve been able to practice some at home.
Pros: All-in-one (kettle, grinder, pour over cone, tumbler)
Cons: Large, weighty, 8oz kettle capacity
If espresso is your thing, the MiniPresso deserves a look. This hand powered brewer requires no electricity, CO2, or compressed air. It’s all in the piston, which can generate 9 bars of pressure, the necessary amount of pressure for espresso.
To make portable espresso, you add 7g of finely ground coffee and hot water to the device, turn it over, and begin pumping the piston. After 30 seconds or so, you’ll have a shot of espresso that’s rich and balanced.
The result is 30-40g of true espresso, but there’s not much caffeine. With only 7g of coffee going in, it has the caffeine of about 4-5oz of black coffee. This isn’t enough for many of us, but it’s a quick process, so another shot later in the day isn’t too inconvenient.
This innovative device is light, small, and makes decent espresso. It’s main downfall is the small batch size, though cleanup isn’t as easy as it could be either.
Pros: Good espresso, light, small, quick
Cons: Small batch size, slow cleanup
There are more guides on travel coffee that use the Aeropress than all the other brewers in this article combined. It’s the king of coffee brewers for travelers, and you’re about to see why.
The Aeropress is light, takes up very little space, is nearly indestructible, and makes some of the world’s best coffee. They don’t have the World Aeropress Championship for nothing.
The brewer works by combining coffee and hot water in the brewing cylinder. When the immersion time is up, you attach the filter, flip the device over onto a mug, and push down the plunger. If you use permanent stainless steel filters, you don’t have to worry about carrying extra filters or producing paper waste. Plus, cleanup is super easy.
It’s a very forgiving and adaptable brewer, but it maxes out at about 8 ounces of coffee. Despite this capacity, the Aeropress strikes a nice balance. It’s enough coffee for most of us at just the right brewer size.
Pros: Small, light, durable, stellar coffee, 8oz batch size, easy cleanup
Cons: 8oz batch size (it’s a pro and a con)
I know how hard it can be to pick one of these brewers. You’re probably worried that you’ll realize you don’t like it as much as you had hoped - and that it’ll be too late to do anything about it.
Don’t worry. I chose these five because they are considered the best coffee brewers for travelers around the world. They are tried and tested. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but there’s probably one or two that fits your travel style better than the rest.
I’ll go ahead and let you in on my personal favorite: the Aeropress. It’s everything I want in a travel brewer: durable, light, small, quick, delicious, and just the right amount of coffee for most days. I pair it with our own JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder and freshly roasted, small-batch coffee. It’s a simple, easy to carry, and reliable setup that keeps me caffeinated wherever I go.
Which travel coffee brewer fits your travel style the best?
Happy travel brewing!