Traveling is a liberating experience, whether the destination is across the world or the next town over. Going beyond our comfort zones and interacting with different cultures are powerful ways to grow.
Although I enjoy certain aspects of travel, there are many that I find unsettling. I don’t like waking up in a hotel room thousands of miles from home, in a bed that isn’t mine. I love trying new foods, but there are some things I’d really like to have my way.
If you have read my post about morning routines you will know just how important they are to me. Having a routine that I can take with me when I travel is a way for me to fight some of the discomforts that arise from being away from something I’m used to.
Enjoying the perfect cup of coffee is my way of staying grounded and present in the chaos. And it can be yours too.
And this, my dear friends of caffeine, is why I chose to write this post about the unrecognized and under appreciated art of travel coffee brewing.
I’ve decided to keep this post concise and actionable. You already know how to structure a morning routine so I won’t break that process down again.
A few portable tools are all you need to bring your morning peace and pick-me-up with you on your journeys. My personal coffee packing list is very simple:
- Fresh Coffee Beans
- A Manual Coffee Grinder
- A Simple Brewing Device
Scales, thermometers, and other brewing tools for the geeks among us are luxuries more than anything. I just leave these at home.
Your Favorite Coffee
Coffee beans travel much better than coffee grounds do. I usually bring enough to last me as long as I’m away and stash it all in a ziplock bag to prevent my clothes from smelling like Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (as pleasant as that sounds). If you’re traveling into a city or town, you can always pick up some fresh beans from local roasters or stores as well.
The easiest way to always have freshly roasted, high-quality coffee on hand is to sign up for a simple coffee subscription. Check out our own JavaPresse Coffee Subscription if the idea of fresh beans from the world's best coffee farms sounds good to you.
A Quality Burr Grinder
I used to lug around a huge electric grinder in it’s own bag. Terrible idea. This is actually one of the many reasons we even developed our own manual burr grinder in the first place.
Grinding my coffee by hand offers a therapeutic sense of fulfillment that makes my coffee that much more enjoyable. A quality manual burr grinder will provide the consistency you need without power or making any noise. Not to mention it fits in the smallest of backpacks!
It should have been a no-brainer, but our manual coffee grinder is a godsend for travelers. I just wish we could have developed it sooner!
A Minimal Brewer
The best coffee brewers for travel are ones that require the least space, extra materials, and won’t break. Luckily, we’ve already done the research for you!
The Aeropress is an obvious choice for travel. It’s durable, small, and brews a killer cup of coffee. If you decide to use one of these on the road, definitely take a fine metal filter instead of paper ones for greater portability (especially when camping). I moved over earlier this year and have never looked back.
My current recipe for the Aeropress while on the road uses 15 grams of coffee (roughly two Aeropress scoop with my current bag) ground at a medium-fine setting and placed into the brewing chamber. I take water just off the boil and fill the brewer halfway and wait. After thirty seconds, I fill the brewer up to the rim. Once another minute has passed, I attach the plunger and press down for about thirty seconds.
As you can tell, the recipe is not extremely strict, but I still end up with a fantastic and familiar mug of coffee. For a more in-depth breakdown of brewing with the AeroPress, check out our guide here.
This brewer limits you to brewing one mug at a time, and is dependent on how wide the cups provided by your hotel are. If you want to be safe, throw in a travel coffee mug that’s specifically suited to fit the AeroPress.
The Pour Over
The best pour over coffee maker for traveling is easily our own, which acts as its own filter. This brewer is also forgiving and makes brewing a great cup very easy, even for beginners.
The great thing about this brewer is the ease of use. It’s forgiving on your grind, doesn’t need paper filters, and makes a fantastic cup of coffee in 60 seconds which is perfect if I’m traveling for business. It’s built with a 4-inch base to handle any and all of the types of hotel cups available to you on-the-go.
I take 32 grams of coffee and grind it at a medium-coarse setting, then put the grounds into the filter. I take water just off the boil and pour enough to saturate all the coffee grounds, then wait.
When the grounds stop blooming and the coffee bed no longer swells from gas being released, I slowly and continuously pour water over the coffee grounds, trying to hit each region of the coffee bed evenly. I do this until my travel mug or whatever cups I have available at the hotel are filled.
For expert guides on how to brew pour over coffee, go here.
Chances are that your hotel has a hot water tower or a microwave, Grandma has a kettle, or your camping gear includes a portable stove or a way to start a fire. If you’re traveling to Europe, most hotels will actually have a water kettle instead of a coffee maker in their rooms.
As long as a source for clean water and method to heat it up are available, you are set on this front. It’s best to ask questions before you leave though, just in case.
If all else fails, a portable water kettle could save the day. I’ve personally never needed one though.
The Power of a Portable Routine
I know how stressful traveling can be. Starting the morning on the right foot is just as important on the road as when we’re at home, and creating a routine you can take with you anywhere empowers you to create yourself the best days you possibly can.
Go forth my friends, and build yourself a powerful, portable routine.
Chief Brewing Officer
JavaPresse Coffee Company