What To Look For In A Travel Coffee Grinder
Written by: Garrett Oden
Have any travel plans on the horizon? Whether you’re going across your state or across the globe, getting out and traveling is eye opening and rewarding in many ways. But there are also inconveniences. My least favorite? Not being able to make the coffee I want.
But I found a way to bring my regular and delicious coffee with me when I travel, and I’d like to show you how. For most people, the inability to brew great coffee on the road comes from not having a reliable travel coffee grinder.
With a coffee grinder that’s suitable for travel, you don’t have to leave the coffee you love back home. You can take it, and the familiarity of its flavor, with you wherever you go. It’s a source of comfort and empowerment for me, especially when I’m exploring new places.
Finding the grinder for journeying is the struggle, so let me make it easier for you. Here are the things you need to look for in a travel coffee grinder.
Size, Weight, and Shape
When you’re living out of a suitcase or duffel, the size of everything matters - especially if you’re traveling by plane and don’t have much flexibility. It makes no sense to carry a chunky electric grinder that’s heavy and large. You want to find a coffee grinder that’s light, small, and isn’t inconveniently shaped.
Think about a water bottle. It’s easy to hold, doesn’t weigh much, and can easily fit into any bag. You should be able to describe your coffee grinder the same way.
There are travel coffee grinders that are designed with an hourglass shape. These may be small and light, but they take up an unfortunate amount of space by poking out more than is necessary. It’s not necessarily a deal breaker, but it’s something to consider.
Some travel grinders are quite heavy, despite their small size. Anything that’s more than a foot long and weighs more than 10-12 ounces is wasting space and weight.
Remember: the smaller, lighter, and better shaped, the less of a burden it will be.
Coffee grinders come built with a variety of materials, but only a few of them are ideal for traveling. Stainless steel is nearly unbreakable. As long as it doesn’t make the grinder too heavy, it’s a fantastic material for travel grinders.
BPA-Free plastics can also be very strong. Unfortunately, they are often paired with glass pieces in coffee grinders for visual appeal. This combo is often seen when plastic hoppers and burr casings are paired with a glass ground catcher on the bottom. It looks pretty and works, but the glass makes it not ideal for travel.
Just ask the french press I tried to fly to Chicago.
When looking for a travel coffee grinder, double check to make sure there aren’t any parts that are likely to break during turbulence or if your luggage gets tossed around a bit. Personally, I suggest opting for a grinder that’s 100% stainless steel or BPA-Free Plastic (with the exception of ceramic burrs, of course).
Manual Burr Grinders Only
If you really want your grinder to be travel-ready, skip electricity entirely and go manual. Personally, I would say this is a non-negotiable when it comes to travel grinders.
(Hey, we're giving away our #1 rated burr grinder for FREE when you try JavaPresse Coffee. Get yours right here.)
Sure, manual grinders take a bit of elbow grease, but they don’t require a plug or batteries and can be used anywhere in the world. This makes them completely portable! They also put you right in the action and bring you close to the coffee beans you love, which offers a moment for focus, peace, and familiarity (things that are easy to lose sight of while traveling).
So many people give into the temptation of a cheap blade grinder. Don’t be one of those people.
Firstly, blade grinders don’t really grind - they chop. There’s no precision, no control. They are dud grinders that are notorious for terrible uniformity and consistency. If you care about your coffee, you won’t grind it using a blade grinder.
Secondly, blade grinders aren’t portable. They need an outlet and are usually a bit bigger than most manual burr grinders.
Take than $20-30 and put it towards a manual grinder in the same price range. That manual grinder will give you control over your grind size, the ability to grind your coffee immediately before you brew (to preserve flavor and freshness), and is as portable as you can imagine.
Go manual and go for burrs. You’ll have powerful and portable grinding at your fingertips.
The best coffee grinders for travel are light, small, and slim. They are made of durable materials and don’t feature easily breakable parts. They don’t rely on any electricity and are built with quality burrs.
We realize the hunt for the perfect travel coffee grinder can be stressful, so we made our own. The JavaPresse Manual Burr Coffee Grinder is designed to perform well at home, atop grand mountains, and within serene valleys. It’s a solid grinder that will faithfully grind your coffee wherever you go.
You shouldn’t have to sacrifice the coffee you love on your journeys. With our grinder, you won’t have to.