I’m a bit manic when it comes to coffee. So much so that my first app on the App Store was a timer that helps people make coffee. Exploring coffee shops, during my travels, is one of my favorite things to do. However, part of my morning routine involves drinking a cup of coffee before my family gets out of bed. And, let’s face it, that packet of instant coffee the Airbnb hosts, while generous, isn’t the most appealing way to start the day.
Since I’ve gotten serious about making good coffee at home, I have honed my travel coffee setup down to a few items of gear than can easily be packed up into a backpack or small carry on.
The way I make coffee while away from home is quick, easy, and you only need two pieces of equipment. It’s an incredibly forgiving method (especially if you typically use something like the Hario V60) and it only takes about two minutes once you have water heated up.
This little gizmo is at the heart of my travel coffee setup. If you’re not familiar with the Aeropress, it’s sort of like the bastard child of espresso brewed and filtered coffee. To make coffee, you let the coffee grounds steep in hot water for a short time, and then you force the water through a filter with the device’s plunger.
First and foremost, I love the Aeropress because it makes great tasting coffee. But, since we’re talking about making coffee while traveling I’ll elaborate on a few other things that I love about the Aeropress.
No Gooseneck Required
A lot of the other ways you can make fussy coffee at home require a controlled stream of water to get the best results. A water kettle with a gooseneck spout (if you’ve been a coffee shop and ordered a pourover then you’ve seen the water kettles they use with the long, curved necks) is the best way to control and evenly distribute water over the coffee. But who wants to bring a kettle with them on their travels?
Since you can stir the water to bloom the coffee, there is no need for such precision. This means that you can use the electric water kettle that’s in your Airbnb, the coffee pot in your hotel room, or water from a pot that was heated up on the stove of the apartment you’ve rented.
My method of brewing with the Aeropress only takes two minutes. I usually grind the coffee (more on that below) while the water is heating up. The Aeropress itself does all of the work of extracting the flavor from the coffee.
Clean Up is Easy
When you’re done making coffee with the Aeropress, you simply pop the coffee and the filter directly into the garbage can and then rinse off the device in the sink. I’ll let Aeropress continue draining in the kitchen the sink for a few minutes to help prevent any excess drips from dirtying up the kitchen, especially if I’m staying in an Airbnb and I’m trying to keep things clean. You can even run the thing through the dishwasher if the place you’re staying at includes that luxury.
It’s Durable and Lightweight
The Aeropress is constructed out of durable plastic. I’ve only bought one, ever, It’s traveled to Ireland with me a few times, Paris, Italy, and all over the United States. It’s still as good as new. It only weighs 8 ounces (230 grams), and it is a little bit smaller than a bottle of shampoo.
Porlex Mini Grinder
If you’re fussy about good coffee, then you know how important it is to have freshly ground beans. Not only that, the quality of the grind can have an enormous impact on your brew too, especially when brewing with pressure (like the Aeropress and espresso). Here’s why I think the Porlex is worth packing for your next trip:
It Fits Inside the Aeropress
Seriously. This thing is impossibly tiny. Remove the crank handle from the side of the grinder it will slip right inside of the plunger of the Aeropress, making an excellent, compact coffee set up.
A grinder is only as good as its burrs, and this one comes with high-quality, ceramic ones—just like the expensive grinders behind the bar in coffee shops. What does this mean to you? It means consistency in your grind which means better and more predictable coffee.
If you usually use one of the blade grinder (which are choppers, really), then this will be a huge upgrade for you coffee set up, even at home.
Stainless steel walls can take a beating. I used to use the larger Hario Mini Mill Slim until it broke on a trip leaving sharp plastic bits in my backpack. My Porlex is going on its fourth year now without even a dent.
Whether you’re in a place that doesn’t have great coffee shops or you’re like me and like to start your day early with a cup, making great coffee on the go is probably easier than you thought that it was. I’ll be posting my recipe for making good coffee with this set up so be sure to subscribe below, so you know when it hits the internet.