Coffee is one of the most compelling reasons to get out of bed every morning. But how do you get that first coffee in the morning when you’re traveling? For those who need that first cup of coffee first, this holiday gift guide is for you.
Yes, there are books written about coffee. Lots of books. These books will entertain about the world of coffee, ways to make fantastic coffee, and entertain for hours.
The World Atlas of Coffee
Have you ever wondered where your coffee beans are grown? How they are grown? The geography that makes each flavor so very specific? The World Atlas of Coffee is a 272-page hardcover book that covers the world’s coffee regions and answer all these questions. It’s the perfect addition to a coffee lover’s home library.
Craft Coffee: A Manual to Brewing a Better Cup at Home
If you know someone who might be getting tired of standard K-pods in a brewing machine you might want to get them this book. Craft Coffee is indeed a manual discussing the pros and cons of various methods of making fantastic coffee at home. The book is just as relevant for home users as it is for travelers.
The first step to a great cup of coffee is grinding fresh beans every day. Some of these grinders are manual – the best for traveling – while others require batteries or outlets. But they all get the job done.
JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
The JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder is about as simple as they come, but with a few features it’s also one of the best coffee grinders for travel. The hand crank operates the grinder, but it also makes it slightly difficult to easily pack. The built-in adjustable grind selector allows 18 different settings so you can dial in the perfect size for grinding the coffee beans. The grounds fall into a chamber at the bottom – one quick twist and the chamber is free to pour into your favorite coffee machine.
KRUPS Vortex Electric Grinder
If you would rather have an electric grinder for your coffee beans, the KRUPS Vortex Electric Grinder is a great option. The compact size makes it ideal for travel, although the 15-inch cord is not retractable and has to be wrapped around the grinder when traveling. The stainless steel blades are not adjustable, so I wouldn’t recommend this for espresso beans, but for regular coffee it works rather well.
READ MORE: Travel Guide to Christmas in Columbia, SC
Sometimes, it’s the little things that make life the best. When it comes to coffee, accessories are a dime a dozen, and most are mere trinkets. But some accessories really do make a difference. These are the ones I recommend.
Bonavita 0.5L Mini Kettle
If you want to make coffee on the road using a pour over or French press, you will need boiling water. Although hotel rooms usually have a microwave, it would still be difficult to get boiling water heated and into a coffee machine. That’s where the Bonavita 0.5L Mini Kettle comes into play.
The mini kettle plugs into a standard household outlet with a two-foot cord. It takes about 5-10 minutes for the 900-watt heater to boil half a liter of water – about 17 ounces. With a sturdy handle and easy pour spout, it’s easy to get the boiled water into your favorite coffee machine.
The only drawback to this kettle is the cord. It’s not retractable or detachable, and the only way to store it is the wrap the cord around the kettle. Not the prettiest thing once you start traveling with it, but it’s still great for boiling water on the road.
Bodum Bistro Electric Water Kettle
Along the Bonavita Mini Kettle works fine for boiling water, the Bodum Bistro Electric Water Kettle has a few extra features and options you might find appealing. First starters, the Bodum Kettle has a detachable base that plugs into a standard household outlet – when you’re done boiling water, simply detach from the base and it’s easier to pour.
The kettle also comes in three sizes: 17 ounce, 34 ounce, and 37 ounce. The average coffee drinker will find the 17 ounce kettle to be plenty, but if you want to take extra coffee to go or if you’re brewing for more than one, a larger kettle might come in handy.
Freehand Luggage Travel Cup Holder
At first, I thought this accessory was entirely silly. But then I found myself in a situation rolling luggage through a train station and realized I could have used this handy little accessory. The Freehand Luggage Travel Cup Holder is designed to attach to the extension handle of rolling luggage and provides a secure place to put a bottle of water or, of course, coffee travel mug.
Coffeevac Coffee Container
The best way to store coffee beans before grinding is an airtight, opaque container. The Coffeevac Coffee Container is exactly that: a solid black container with a vacuum sealed lid that can hold up to 16 ounces of beans. The sleek round design with no external handles or levers makes it perfect for packing in your luggage for the next travel destination.
Stainless Steel Coffee Scoop
Grinding your own beans fresh every morning is a best way to a great cup of coffee, but how do you measure how much coffee you need? It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s entirely possible to get the measurement wrong without these Stainless Steel Coffee Scoops. The set of three 15ml scoops has a long handle for reaching down into the coffee grinder and will help you get a consistent amount of coffee grounds for each serving.
READ MORE: Travel Guide to Christmas in Knoxville, TN
Plan a Road Trip with Google Maps
Use this step-by-step guide to create a custom map, add stops and a route, and upload to your mobile device.
From fully manual to all electric, these coffee machines will help you get a fresh cup of coffee every morning while you travel. All of these are portable versions that I think would work well while traveling. Which way do you prefer making coffee in the morning?
Keurig K-Mini Plus
I call the Keurig K-Mini Plus the “Keurig Travel” because I take it with me everywhere I go. In fact, this is my #1 recommendation for making coffee on the road. The Keurig K-Mini Plus uses coffee pods or the reusable coffee filter to brew a single cup of coffee at a time. Insert the coffee, fill the removable water reservoir – only available on the plus model – and you’ll have fresh coffee in about five minutes.
The removable spill tray allows a travel mug up to a maximum 8.1” to be inserted. Otherwise, you’ll have to brew into a separate cup before pouring into a travel mug. The “plus” model also includes a removable storage container that holds 12 pods for easy access. My favorite feature, though, is the retractable cord that tucks neatly into the back of the K-Mini Plus.
Wacaco Minipresso GR
Coffee is all about the caffeine, and espresso coffee has more caffeine by volume than anything else on the planet. The Wacaco Minpresso GR is the perfect way to make that morning espresso while traveling. It’s a manual espresso machine that requires hot water – there are no batteries or cords with this machine – and produces a 50ml shot of espresso.
Operating the Minipresso GR is simple: used the integrated measuring spoon to add freshly ground coffee to the filter basket, pour hot water into the reservoir, and use the manual pump to create the espresso. Coffee!
Bonus: Add the Wacaco Minipresso Case to your shopping cart for the perfect stocking stuffer or additional gift.
Café du Chateau Cold Brew Coffee Maker
As cold brew coffee continues to increase in popularity – something I still have not really enjoyed – the need for great cold brew coffee makers has increased. The Café du Chateau Cold Brew Coffee Maker is one of the more portable versions on the market and can easily be packed into your luggage for travel.
The cold brew coffee maker has a 34-ounce capacity, stainless steel and glass construction, and works as easily as pouring coffee and water into the chamber.
AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
As far as making coffee while traveling goes, the AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker is about as easy and packable as it gets. The simplistic plastic coffee press can make 1-3 cups of coffee or a shot of espresso in a matter of minutes. Add your freshly ground coffee, pour boiling water into the AeroPress, and press the coffee directly into your favorite coffee mug.
JavaPresse Pour Over Coffee Maker
When it comes to the pour over coffee lovers, the JavaPresse Pour Over Coffee Maker is the easiest to use while traveling. The metal mesh cone doesn’t need a paper filter, instead the fine mesh keeps the coffee grinds out of your coffee on its own. The attached stand allows you to easily place the cone over your favorite mug and within minutes you’ll have a fresh cup of coffee.
Cafflano Klassic All-In-One Coffee Maker
If you really want an easy-to-use pour over coffee maker, the Cafflano Klassic All-in-One Coffee Maker has everything you need in a compact travel size. Drip kettle, ceramic burr grinder with a foldable handle, stainless steel cone filter, and a 450ml (15.2 oz) tumbler screw together for travel and easily unpack when you want a pour over coffee.
The best thing about the Cafflano Klassic is that it is an almost all-in-one – it only lacks a way to make boiling water. Otherwise, everything from grinding coffee beans to the pour over and even a coffee mug is built into the compact system.
What happens after the coffee is ground and brewed? You drink it, of course! While it’s entirely possible to brew a fantastic coffee into a plastic cup – after all, that’s what I had to do in hotels before building my own coffee travel kit – there are many better ways to keep a coffee warm and fresh while you enjoy it.
When I saw the Ember smart mug for the first time at Starbucks I laughed. What exactly could make a smart coffee mug? Since then I have learned their appeal: the mugs include a built-in lithium battery that can keep the contents warmed to a specific temperature for hours.
The Ember Smart Mug 10oz and Ember Smart Mug 14oz come with a charging coaster – plug the coaster into an outlet and it charges the battery in the mug to keep your coffee warm. Take the mug off the coaster and the internal battery can keep the contents warm for about an hour. The temperature is controlled via the Ember app – available for iPhone and Android – allowing users to specify the perfect temperature.
The Ember Travel Mug 12oz has a bigger battery and ability to keep the contents warm for about three hours.
Bonus: The Ember Smart Mugs and Ember Travel Mug comes with the charging coaster, but if you need an additional for another room or workplace you can order the Ember Smart Mug Charging Coaster or Ember Travel Mug Charging Coaster separately.
Thermos Stainless Steel Travel Mug
I went through several travel mugs before finding one that kept my coffee warm for at least three hours and didn’t leak around the lid if I hit a bump in the road. The Thermos Stainless Steel Travel Mug 18oz is the best travel mug I have ever used!
The 18-ounce mug features a stainless steel exterior with nice handle, a watertight seal on the screwable lid, and a push button to open the pour spout. The insulated travel mug keeps fresh brewed coffee hot for about an hour, warm for about three hours, and drinkable for up to five hours!