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For serious java junkies, the ritual of making coffee can be just as important as savoring it. If that sounds like you, chances are you’re equally particular about the coffee you drink when you’re away from home, be it while camping or traveling. The best travel coffee makers will guarantee that you can brew a cup of joe exactly to your liking, no matter where you are.
Instead of having to make your coffee at home and then packing it to go, the top travel coffee makers let you make a fresh cup of Joe on the spot — no matter where in the wild you are. All you need is water and grinds.
Whether you prefer espresso or you’ve only got tastebuds for French press coffee, don’t forget to pack some of these other barista essentials before your next outdoor getaway.
Coffee mug or insulated cup: Some travel coffee makers are quite minimalist and don’t include a vessel. If that’s the option that you’re going with, then you’ll want to bring something that’s easy to pack, like a collapsible coffee cup, or a double-walled insulated mug (we’re partial to this one by Yeti) if you’re seeking something sturdier.
Airtight container: If you’re not buying ground coffee at your destination (or if you’re camping), you’re likely bringing your own ground beans from home since bringing a burr grinder is impractical and only adds extra weight to your baggage. A small airtight canister is a good idea for ensuring your coffee stays fresh while you’re traveling.
Handheld frother: Committed to whipping up lattes and other drinks that require a frothy topping of milk? If that’s the case (kudos!), you’ll want to bring along a handheld battery-operated milk frother.
Extra filters: Some travel coffee makers include reusable stainless steel filters, while others require proprietary paper ones. Make sure you stock up on any disposable filters needed, and check that they’re the right size for your gadget.
Milk and sugar: For those who don’t take their coffee black, don’t forget your favorite milk (whether it’s dairy or plant-based), assuming you’ll have the means to chill it. Same goes for your preferred type of sweetener, whether it’s agave syrup or your standard white or brown sugar cubes.
What are the Best Travel Coffee Makers?
No matter your favorite roast or type of drink, there’s a travel coffee maker to suit your tastes. We’ve hand-picked the best gadgets for making everything from espresso to drip coffee on-the-go — keep reading for our top picks.
1. Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker
A favorite among outdoorsy and on-the-go coffee snobs, Wacaco’s lightweight and ergonomic Nanopresso features a newly patented pumping system that allows you to extract the best espresso (sans the fancy at-home machine) using your bare hands, and with 15% less force than the brand’s other portable models. You’ll need to use finely ground beans and tamp them down firmly, but the result will be the perfect shot with the right amount of crema.
We like that the machine weighs less than a pound and measures just over six inches long, so it’s great for backpacking and won’t take up much space in your luggage. You can also buy an adapter that allows you to use Nespresso Original capsules.
2. ESPRO P1 Travel Coffee French Press
Eco-minded travelers who prefer French press or tea will find a worthy option in ESPRO’s P1 all-in-one mug. It’s designed to press 10 ounces of coffee or tea directly into the double-walled, stainless steel cup, which has a 14-ounce capacity (so it can be used with other drinks) and keeps liquids hot for four to six hours.
The double micro-filter prevents any over-extracting, meaning you’ll press out bold-flavored coffee without any bitterness. If you’re more of a pour-over type, the company makes a paper filter that’s inserted between the two micro-filters.
3. AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
This AeroPress can make up to three cups of regular coffee in about one minute as well as espressos and cold-brew style coffee, which is why it’s often a go-to among campers and in-home kitchens alike.
The portable coffee maker’s pressurized system and quick process mean that you won’t get that highly acidic and bitter taste that comes with long steep times. It comes with 350 paper microfilters (which make it easy to clean up) as well as a filter holder, funnel, scoop, stirrer, and a convenient zippered nylon tote bag. Just note that it doesn’t include a cup, so make sure you have one handy.
4. Coffee Gator Pour Over Coffee Travel Mug
If you’re traveling to a place where you’ll have access to a regular or pour over kettle (say, a hotel or a decently-stocked vacation rental), then this two-in-one travel mug by Coffee Gator will save you some packing space. The double-walled cup includes a reusable stainless steel filter (no paper filters needed) that fits right on top, allowing you to make your pour-over coffee exactly how you want.
The BPA-free cup has a 20-ounce capacity and keeps drinks hot for six hours or more, and cold for 20 or more hours. It includes tight-sealing lid with a handy sipping spout.