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Everything the Traveling Coffee Lover Needs – 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

Books, grinders, machines, and drinkware - this is everything the traveling coffee lover needs to brew a great cup every morning on the road.

By Jason Barnette | Travel writer and photographer with 15+ years of road tripping experience

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Affiliate Disclosure here.

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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.

2021 Holiday Gift Guides

Before you can buy the perfect Christmas gift, you have to find it. Each year, I publish a series of Holiday Gift Guides to help you find fantastic travel gear, accessories, unique gifts, and awesome items to put under the tree.

Books

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 are they 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.

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Grinders

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.

National Park Week 2024

Learn about the annual celebration of the National Park System and read my travel guides to national park units across the country.

Accessories

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.

Bodum Bistro Electric Water Kettle

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 two sizes: 17-ounce and 34-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.

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Coffee Machines

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 Plusthe “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 GRis 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 Makeris 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 Makeris 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.

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.

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Drinkware

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.

Ember Travel Mug 2

A good travel mug for coffee will keep the contents hot – for awhile. But eventually, even the best mugs lose their heat. The Ember Travel Mug 2 not only keeps contents hot, it allows you to fine-tune the temperature to your preference.

With a three-hour battery life, you can set the temperature to 120-145 degrees using the built-in touch display or an app on your smartphone. When the battery dies, simply plug it into the base for a quick recharge – and you’re ready to use it again the next morning.

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!

Yeti Rambler 14oz Mug

Yeti’s well-insulated cups not only keep contents chilled – it will keep them hot as well. The Yeti Rambler 14oz Mug is an excellent coffee mug for use on the go to keep your morning brew nice and hot.

The insulated mug won’t fit into the cup holders of a vehicle, but it’s perfect for use around the hotel before you hit the road. The MagSafe Lid has a magnetically catching slider to keep the contents from accidentally spilling.

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Do you have a question about travel or road trips? Are you a CVB or DMO interested in working with me? I typically respond to emails within 24 hours. Quicker if you include a good riddle.
Do you have a question about travel or road trips? Are you a CVB or DMO interested in working with me? I typically respond to emails within 24 hours. Quicker if you include a good riddle.
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