Over the last few years, we’ve worked towards learning how to make the best coffee we can at home. Because we travel so much, though, we often find ourselves needing a portable travel coffee maker. In this post, we share our ideas on how to find the best coffee maker for travel.
Why Buy A Coffee Maker For Travel
We spend a lot of time traveling around Italy and Spain, two countries with a rich coffee tradition. But, even the best espresso in the morning in Italy is often not enough to cut it for a coffee addict.
First, we work on the road. This means neither of us can function without our morning cup of joe. And, oftentimes, we don’t want to leave the hotel or the apartment rental to get our fix.
Problems Making Coffee While Traveling
We’ve also stopped relying on our rental apartments to have a decent coffee maker. Recently, we stayed at a reputable hotel with a coffee pod machine, which was filthy.
Once, Eric left the hotel room for the free coffee on the hotel breakfast buffet (which was garbage) and he got caught in the elevator for over 30 minutes! There has to be a better way to make coffee while traveling.
I love visiting cafes while traveling to learn about the local coffee culture, like Lisbon’s cool cafe scene. But having that as your only option can lead to a large chunk of budget going to coffee. I
n some countries, it’s worth it. In other countries, I would prefer not paying an arm and a leg for mediocre coffee.
What’s the solution? Over the years, we’ve traveled with a stovetop coffee maker, a pour-over coffee maker, and have learned of other ways to make good coffee while traveling.
*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMER. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.See the Best Coffee Maker For Travel On Amazon
The Best Travel Coffee Maker For 2020
Most of our recommendations for the best coffee maker for travel can be purchased on Amazon. We like using Amazon for a few reasons. First, they have an amazing selection of coffee products and accessories all in one spot.
I include all of our full reviews below, but if you are short on time, feel free to use the table below to find what you are looking for.
How To Choose A Coffee Maker For Travel
In this post, it is hard for us to save one portable coffee maker is the absolute, 100% best one. In the end, you will want to purchase the best travel coffee maker based on your style of travel.
For us, we don’t need a camping coffee maker. Nor are we backpackers. For us, we generally end up staying somewhere that has access to hot, filtered water. We are never far from a supermarket for supplies.
For your travel needs, you might need something more. That’s why I will walk through various styles of travel coffee pots, presses, and devices, so you can choose which one is right for you.
Some of the options are portable filters, small one-cup coffee machines, handheld espresso makers, french presses, and more. We will cover them all! And, a travel coffee maker makes a great gift for the traveling coffee lover in your life.
Travel Coffee Machine Pro Tip
It’s great to have consistently good coffee on the road and it can help save money. It can also reduce plastic consumption from purchasing takeaway coffee with plastic lids. This is a big problem in many Asian countries. No matter how many times you try to say no plastic, there is often some hidden in your order.
Types Of Coffee Makers For Travel
There are a variety of ways to brew coffee on the go. Here are some of the most popular. And I am including some of the things to consider when deciding if that type of coffee maker is best for you. Later, we include recommendations and reviews for specific types of coffee makers for travel.
Pour-Over Coffee Makers
Our American friend living in Malaysia first introduced us to pour over coffee years ago. It’s one of the easiest options for a small travel coffee maker. It is also one of the cheapest.
We’ve traveled with a pour-over coffee maker. It requires hot water, filters, and a coffee cup. It also can be a little messy when you try to make it while super tired or jet-lagged. Trust me, Eric found that out the hard way.
Even on our recent trip to Asia, none of our apartment rentals had a coffee maker so we found ourselves in a department store in Bangkok, once again looking for a pour-over. That means we now own several of these.
Espresso Travel Makers
To make espresso, hot water is forced through finely-ground coffee beans. Only a small amount of water is needed. There are options for a portable espresso maker, but they do tend to be more expensive than some of the other options.
Immersion Coffee Makers
In an immersion coffee maker, ground coffee is submerged in hot water. This is the type of coffee making process used by a French press or an Aeropress. This can also be pretty economically. This type of coffee maker can end up with coffee grinds or grit in bottom of the cup.
Stovetop Italian Coffee Makers
Stovetop coffee makers are easy to use, make great espresso-style coffee, and last for a really long time. It is common to find these nifty, traditional coffee makers in most kitchens in Italy. But because they are pretty compact they make great travel coffee makers when staying at a rental apartment or holiday home.
See our reviews of the Best Italian Stovetop Coffee Makers.
Other Travel Coffee Maker Accessories
So far this list includes what you need at the bare minimum to make coffee. Obviously you need quality coffee beans. Some of these coffee makers require a paper filter. For die-hard coffee addicts, perhaps you want to travel with a manual coffee grinder to fresh grind your coffee or espresso beans.
Reviews Of The Best Coffee Makers For Travel
Here I share our recommendations for the best coffee makers for travelers while taking into consideration all of the issues above.
AeroPress Travel Coffee Maker
The AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker is one of the most popular portable coffee maker options. This type of coffee maker works when renting an apartment or house, camping, or backpacking, or in a hotel room. Many people even make coffee at home using an AeropPess too. It’s best for making one cup at a time, two tops.
The AeroPress is made from durable plastic so it is lightweight. It’s easy to use, only requiring a couple of steps to make a cup of coffee while traveling. It’s very easy to clean – just rinse off and move on. This version comes with a tote bag making it the best AeroPress coffee maker for travel.
How Does The AeroPress Work?
The AeroPress uses immersion brewing, sort of like an air press coffee maker. You can control how hot the water is, how long the grinds steep for, and how much water you use for the amount of ground coffee. Unlike other immersion brewing methods, you can use fine paper filters in an AeroPress to eliminate the excess grinds that result from other immersion coffee makers.
As an alternative to paper filters, you can also find reusable metal filters too. This makes traveling with an AeroPress even easier. The only thing needed in addition to this kit is the coffee mug and paper filters.
- Brews one to three cups
- Brew time is one minute
- Includes travel bag, AeroPress (plunger, chamber, seal, filter cap, funnel, filter holder, scoop, and stirrer)
Learn more about how the AeroPress Works here:
The Best Portable Coffee Press
There are a few options when it comes to coffee presses. Although people rave about the AeroPress there are other options that might be better for people depending on their travel needs. These coffee makers work for folks who might normally use a class French Press, which is a little too big to travel with. Here are a few recommendations for some of the best travel coffee press products on the market.
KOHIPRESS French Press
The KOHIPRESS Portable French Press Coffee Maker uses a full immersion steeping process, just like an AeroPress, with a pressurized plunger press.
Even better for travel, the KOHIPRESS uses a fine stainless steel mesh filter, which means no need to travel with paper filters. Unlike the AeroPress, the KOHIPRESS makes coffee into an insulated mug that keeps drinks both hot and cold. This eliminates the need to find a coffee mug when traveling, making it a great option for camping and outdoor use. It’s easy to clean, just rinse and go.
The Best Portable Espresso Maker – Bialetti
The Bialetti Moka Express is the most classic Italian coffee maker out there and it has been since 1933. It comes in many size options but we recommend nothing larger than the 3 cup for travel.
It works on both gas and electric stoves and its unique octagon shape means heat distributes evenly. They are easy to clean, just rinse and dry. This is the best small travel coffee maker if you are staying in an apartment or holiday rental or hotel with kitchenette. It’s our recommendation for one of the best manual travel espresso makers.
Bialetti Moka Express
- Available in one cup, three cup, and larger
- Brew time is less than five minutes
- Easy to clean and travel with
- Doesn’t require filters, but does need a stove top
The Best Pour Over Coffee Makers For Travel
There are a few ways to make coffee portable by using some sort of pour over method. At its most basic, coffee is placed inside the coffee maker or a filter within the coffee maker.
Hot water is poured over and drips into a container or a coffee mug underneath. It reminds me of how to Vietnamese make coffee. It takes patience to wait for the coffee to drip and brew, but it can be worth it.
It really is one of the most simple ways to make coffee while traveling. There are a variety of ways to do this, though. Here are a few of our recommendations.
Kuissential Collapsible Coffee Dripper
The Kuissential SlickDrip is one of the easiest ways to travel and make coffee. This silicone pour over coffee filter collapses to be less than one inch thick. Because it is made of silicone, and not plastic, it doesn’t pass on the plastic taste to the coffee. It is easily cleaned and is dishwasher safe. You must purchase #2 or #4 paper coffee filters separately, but otherwise it’s a breeze to use. It only makes one cup at a time. It only weighs 4.8 ounces.
Coffee Gator Mug
The Coffee Gator On The Go Coffee Maker And Mug is a travel coffee brewer system. Just add the stainless steel mesh filter on top of the mug. Add ground coffee, and pour the hot water over the brewer. The coffee drips into the travel mug. The travel mug is also insulated so it keeps the coffee hot longer.
It also comes in a variety of colors including silver, orange, and even pink. This makes it a great coffee gift too!
Our Top Pick For The Best Travel Coffee Maker because it is easy to use, compact, and doesn’t need paper filters. It keeps coffee hot too!
Melitta Travel Coffee Maker
The Melitta Ready Set Joe Portable Coffee Maker And Mug is a little larger than the other options, but is made by Melitta, one of the top coffee accessory producers. This takes the classic pour-over travel coffee filter and combines it with an insulated travel mug for an all-in-one system.
The Best Battery Operated Coffee Maker For Travel
This is yet another option for how to travel with coffee. Most of the options we’ve included in our list are relatively manual coffee makers, using either gravity or a little elbow grease to brew a pot.
Here, I include a couple of options for electric coffee makers that work with battery power. These battery powered coffee makers are great not only for travel but for camping and other outdoor activities too because you don’t need electricity.
MOSFiATA Battery Operated Machine
The MOSFiATA Portable Coffee Maker fits in the palm of the hand, is lightweight, and easy to use. It works with ground coffee as well as K-cup capsules. This means that if you have a pod machine at your hotel or rental apartment but don’t trust the cleanliness, you can use their pods with this machine.
Add boiling water to the tank and then press the start button to brew the coffee. It makes about 150 milliliters of coffee each time. It weighs less than one pound.
Mounchain Battery Powered Coffee MAker
The Mounchain Portable Electric Travel Coffee Maker is another option for a battery powered electric coffee maker for travel. Add hot water to the tank and use either ground coffee or a K-cup coffee pod. It’s easy to clean, lightweight, and portable weighing in at less than a pound. It’s a little more narrow than the Mosfiata, which means it might be easier to fit into a cup holder in a car if that is a concern.
Cold Brew Coffee Maker – Portable Cold Brew
This is a portable coffee machine for the real die-hard cold brew coffee drinkers. Just fill the mesh filter, add water, and leave it to steep for 12 hours. It uses a built-in fine mesh filter so you don’t have grinds in your cup of coffee. And it does all of this while being entirely portable. It comes with a coffee on the go spill-proof mug. The insulated coffee mug keeps the coffee cold for hours.
Asobu Coldbrew Coffee Maker
- Brew time is 12 hours, which is a long time of course, but for coffee drinkers who love cold brew, it can be set at night and be waiting in the morning.
- Can add ice or milk directly to the carafe once ready
- Comes in black, silver, white, and copper colors
Things To Consider Before Purchasing A Mobile Coffee Maker
There are a handful of things to consider when determining which is the best travel coffee maker for you.
First, consider brew time. We often aren’t in too much of a rush, so this isn’t much of an issue. The coffee makers on this list can take as little as 30 seconds or as much as five minutes.
Think about the size of the coffee maker. Is a single cup enough? A single shot of espresso? Or, would you be lost (and asleep) without a full cup of coffee? That said, anything that makes a lot of coffee will also be bigger and harder to travel with.
Think about how easy it is to clean up. Is it enough to just toss the used grinds, rinse everything off in water, and move on? Is it okay to place it in the dishwasher or is it hand wash only, like a stove-top coffee maker.
Does the coffee maker come with a case or bag to place everything in for ease? This is less of an issue when you are traveling versus hiking or camping, but even in hotel rooms it might be difficult to fully wash. A rinse should be sufficient.
Power Or Manual
The last thing is to consider whether the coffee maker is battery powered, electric, manual, or stovetop. If it is electric, consider whether you need a travel coffee maker that is dual voltage for international travel.
Simply using a travel adapter isn’t sufficient here. Minimally, a converter is needed, but a dual voltage coffee maker is better. We love traveling with our stovetop coffee maker, but obviously this only works when we are renting an apartment with a kitchen.
Honestly, this is why it might be necessary to have a few different options for travel coffee makers at home. Then, you can switch it up based on the trip you are taking.
For campers or backpackers, it’s often a struggle to find the one thing that is required for quality coffee making on the road – hot water. This can bring its own difficulties.
For us, particularly when traveling in Europe or Asia, hot water is always readily available. This more often than not comes from a hot water kettle in the hotel room or apartment. Depending on where we are, we might just use tap water, but I try to use filtered water whenever possible.
Many hotels today have Keurig or pod-style machines. I know there is a way to make hot water this way, but it is really not all that practical. In this case, I often have no problem having hot water brought to the room or asking for it at the bar.
Another option is to use a small immersion heater. These are essentially like a heat stick that you put into regular water to warm it. It uses less space than a travel kettle.
Looking for the perfect kettle for home? Check out our reviews of the Best Gooseneck Kettles.
FAQs – How To Make Coffee When Traveling
The best way to guarantee great coffee when on the road is to make it yourself. Yes, it requires planning ahead, but there are a lot of options for different types of coffee brewing systems perfect for the road. It’s also important to have good quality hot water to use in any coffee maker you take with you.
Some people have come up with creative ways to make coffee in a hotel room with a Keurig system, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The absolute easiest way is to use a pour over system. That way you only need to rely on using the hotel room’s kettle.
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The Best Portable Coffee Makers For Travel
We are always on the lookout for new ways to make coffee while traveling. Save this post to your favorite travel-related Pinterest board to keep it handy.
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