Portable Coffee Maker: A Guide for the Caffeinated TravelerCLICK HERE to subscribe to our weekly emails on finding and brewing amazing coffee!
Some coffee lovers may find it difficult to get their perfect caffeine fix while they are traveling. However, we’re here to save the day by helping you find the best portable coffee maker for your life and travel style. From a simple filtered coffee all the way to a real espresso shot, we have it here in a travel-friendly package.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Portable Coffee Maker
Quick Summary: The Best Portable Coffee Maker
|AeroPress||Check on Amazon →|
|OXO Travel French Press||Check on Amazon →|
|Bodum Travel Press||Check on Amazon →|
|Wolecok Silicone Collapsible Pour Over||Check on Amazon →|
|Soma Brew Bottle Coffee||Check on Amazon →|
|Wacaco Minipresso GR||Check on Amazon →|
|Bialetti Moka Express||Check on Amazon →|
|Presto Myjo Single Cup Coffee Maker||Check on Amazon →|
|Primula Coffee Brew Buddy||Check on Amazon →|
|Ball Wide Mouth Mason Jar||Check on Amazon →|
Best Portable Coffee Makers
For this. buying guide, we’re doing something a little different. Because every coffee-loving traveller has different needs and preferences, we’ve given helpful labels for each of our recommendations. That why, if you already know you only do cold brew or know you are brewing for two, you can skip right to the options that are best-suited for your needs.
Best Overall: AeroPress
If you’re only going to read one suggestion on this list, it may as well be this one. It ticks a lot of boxes for the traveling coffee lover. Relatively compact and typically sold with a useful travel case, this nifty tool works well both in the home and on the road. Overall, it measures 4.8×126.96.36.199″ and weighs 6.4 ounces.
It makes great, clean-tasting coffee and espresso. After just one or two uses, the methods are easy to pick up and clean-up is super easy. Plus, it’s pretty affordable. On the flip side, you do have to make sure you pack enough filters or invest in a reusable metal one, which is still reasonably priced.
Brew For Two: OXO Travel French Press
If you’re more of a French press person than an Aeropress, one of the next two suggestions is probably going to work better for you. The OXO Travel French press measures 7x7x9″ and weighs 1.2 lbs, making it a bit bunker than the last option. However, it does brew significantly more coffee at one time.
This tool is shatter resistant and has an 8 cup capacity. It’s also pretty easy to clean and is even dishwasher safe! So you may have to sacrifice a little extra space in your bag, but you do get more brew and you don’t really have to pack anything extra to make it work.
French for One: Bodum Travel Press
If you like the taste and mouthfeel of French press coffee but need the size and convenience of an Aeropress, the Bodum Travel Press is for you! It measures 3.5×3.5×9.1″ and weighs 14.4 ounces, so it’s reasonably compact. It’s made with a double-walled, insulated stainless steel. So you you can count on both hot coffee and a durable container.
This is a great option if you enjoy French press or cold brew coffee and tend to drink your coffee pretty fast. If you’re a slow sipper, this may not work for you as the grounds can get over-extracted in the cup. And the lid can be a little leaky, so you shouldn’t be sticking it in you bag if there’s. still coffee in it.
Utilitarian Pour Over: Wolecok Silicone Collapsible Pour Over
This is the second smallest, lightest option on the list. Measuring just 4x.5×4″ when collapsed and weighing only 4 ounces, this is the best tool for those who prefer to travel light. It’s also one of the most affordable options we have here and still manages to produce a pretty good cup of pour over coffee.
On the down side, this isn’t the best option if you are brewing for your whole crew and it isn’t exactly the most stylish option. Additionally, you do have to remember to pack some paper filters. However, even with the extras, this is still the lightest, most space efficient option.
Extra Convenient Pour-Over: Soma Brew Bottle Coffee
If you aren’t interested in fiddling with paper filters while you are on the road, try the Soma Brew Bottle. It was even recognized as the best new product at the 2018 Speciality Coffee Expo.It’s seriously as simple as slowly pouring hot water over your grounds, screwing on a lid, and sipping away.
Additionally, this bottle is fairly easy to clean from filter to casing. Note that you will probably need to use a slightly coarser grind than you would normally for a pour over tool. The main drawback is the price; this is one of the most expensive tools on the list. However, if you’re looking for pure convenience during your travels and even a little versatility (you can make cold brew and tea), it’s worth the investment.
Portable Espresso Machine: Wacaco Minipresso GR
Really can’t go without getting your morning shot of espresso? Try the MiniPresso GR. This little hand-operated machine brews one shot at a time with 8 bars of pressure. Measuring 6.89×2.75×2.36″ with a weight of .8lbs, this sleek machine is compact and light.
Furthermore, there are different water tank capacities so you can go from ristretto to lungo without a hitch. However, this machine isn’t great for rough treks or super heavy usage. As a precaution, we recommend handling it with some care and go gentle on the tamping. Nonetheless, this is one of the best true espresso options for the on-the-go coffee fanatic.
Espresso Tool for a Crew: Bialetti Moka Express
If you need something that can put up with a little wear and tear. but can still give you the rich intensity of espresso, go for this Moka Pot. It’s a bit bigger than the MiniPresso, measuring 4.3×3.7x 5.8 inches and weighing 1.1 lbs. This brewer needs direct heat or a stovetop to work, so it’s great for camping as long as you also bring a grill or hotplate.
It’s easy to use as long as you can keep an eye on it and clean-up is equally simple. It can make about 3 double shots at a time, but if you want more, you’ll unfortunately have to let the pot cool down first.
Capsule Brewing: Presto Myjo Single Cup Coffee Maker
If you use a pod brewer at home, you may not have loose beans or ground available when you go traveling. For Keurig users, the Rest Myjo is the solution. Designed for use with k-cups, this is a great option if your coffee supply is already entirely composed of coffee pods.
Easy to use and affordable, this is a great option for die-hard pod-ers. However, it’s not great for most other people. You might be able to get away with using loose grounds, but it’s messy. So if you aren’t already pod brewing or don’t specifically want to use pods while traveling, look elsewhere.
The Quick and Dirty: Primula Coffee Brew Buddy
If you are just here for something speedy and potable that’s going to get the job done quick and in a hurry, go for the single-serve Primula Coffee Brew Buddy. This bad boy can give you coffee in about 30 seconds, and it’s THE smallest, lightest option on the list. It has a diameter of 4.2 inches and weighs only 1.15 ounces, so you could even stash it in your back pocket if you wanted to.
All you have to do to use it is set the Buddy on your mug, put ground in the mesh and pour water over them. Clean-up is super easy, and it’s even dishwasher safe. So while it’s not the most stylish, versatile option, it’ll give you coffee just about whenever or wherever you need it.
Best For Cold Brew: Ball Wide Mouth Mason Jar
Stay with us here. We know a mason jar isn’t exactly the most traditional recommendation to find on a coffee maker list. But it actually the perfect tool if you’re a fan of cold brew. While a couple of the other options here can also do cold brew (including either of the French Presses or the Soma Bottle), this may be the best choice for the cold-brew purist.
The 64 ounce jar we included above is great if you just want to brew a whole batch and leave it in the hotel fridge. However, you can grab just about any size that works for your needs and space. These jars are reasonably sturdy, inexpensive, easy to clean, and simple to use. Simply make your cold brew as you usually would and strain the grounds out using a cheesecloth.
What To Look For
Pack- and Portability
Clearly, if you’re here, you care about how portable your new coffee tool is. So some of the most important things to look at are not only the dimensions but also the weight of your coffee maker. Many people are quick to assume that compact=lightweight, which is not always the case.
If the only time you are actually carrying your tool is in the airport, you can get away with something a little heftier. However, if you are hiking and camping, look for lightweight materials like silicone and tools that don’t require accessories.
Durability is a big deal for travelling. Even if you know you’ll be gentle with your belongings, the bums of the road or employees at the airport might not be. So avoid delicate glass contraptions and opt for with some reinforcement or with plastic, silicon, or aluminum components.
If you are bringing something on the delicate side, make sure it has ample padding using a sweater, a scarf, a couple t-shirts, or even some CLEAN socks.
If you typically travel alone in a pair, having something that can only brew one cup at a time isn’t going to be a big deal. However, if you are more of a pack traveller you either need to tell everyone to bring their own brewer, get something that brews a lot at once, or get a tool that can quickly brew cups back to back. Otherwise, you might end up with a group of caffeine-craving, cranky campers.
Things to Consider
How are you heating?
A hotel-hopper, Jack Kerouac wannabe, and an avid camper are going to have completely different sets of amenities during their travels. So, one of the first things you need to consider before you buy a portable coffee maker is how exactly you are getting that hot water.
If you are in a hotel, you may have access anything from a microwave to a stovetop or even a drip brewer. However, someone on the road may be primarily relying on gas station hot water spouts and a camper may simply have a fire or a hot plate.
Where are you headed?
This goes hand in hand with the heating consideration, some options are simply better for some environments than others. Here are our recommendations:
For Wilderness Chaser
If your travels mostly involve the great outdoors, you are probably going to need something simple, small and durable. For that, we recommend checking out the Primula Coffee Brew Buddy or the Wolecok Silicone Collapsible Pour Over.
To learn more on this particular subset of travel, check out our article on How to Brew Coffee While Camping.
For the Hotel Regular
If your brewing kit is mostly going to hang out in a hotel room or Airbnb kitchen, both the Ball Wide Mouth Mason Jar and OXO Travel French Press options would be excellent choices.
For the Road-Tripper
For those who spend most of their time hopping in and out of cars and gas stations, the Wacaco Minipresso GR or Bodum Travel press are both small, cupholder-friendly options.
Lastly, many of our recommended portable coffee makers work well in a variety of travel situations. Including the Presto Myjo, Soma Brew Bottle, and Bialetti Moka Express.
Our top pick overall, the Aeropress, also fits into this category. The travel case plus the durable, lightweight materials make this a dream to tote around or just leave at home. So if you’re looking for something that can do it all whether you’re traveling or not, this is the tool for you.
What is your budget?
While most portable coffee makers are relatively affordable, we have included a pretty broad range of prices within that bracket. Ranging from less than $10 to nearly $50, it’s unlikely that you won’t be able to find something that you can fit into your budget.
However, you should keep in mind that there may be some additional costs to your tool of choice. Some require special filters and you may also need specific coffee or a portable grinder. Make sure to account for these costs as well when you are budgeting for your new travel companion.
Make the Most of Your Travel Brewer
Things to Do Before You Go
Before you go traveling with your new brewer, there are a few things you should take care of first. The main one is you must learn how to use your coffee maker BEFORE you hit the road. Seriously, this is essential, even if you think the tool is super straightforward.
It might take a few tried to get used to an AeroPress, you may realize you would prefer a different filter your Pour over or that the mug you were going to bring is too small, or something may even be defective. Trust us, you don’t want to encounter these hurdles when you’re already dealing with day one travel stress.
Additionally, you need to decide whether you are pre-grinding, bringing a grinder, packing some pods, or buying coffee on the road. If you are pre-grinding beans before you leave, make sure you bring enough and that you have the grounds in an air tight container. For purists who only grind as they brew, you’ll have to make sure to pack a durable, portable grinder as well as your sealed-up beans. These are the two most likely situations.
If you are using a portable pod brewer, make sure to bring enough pods for the whole trip unless you are positive you can get some along the way. We also recommend storing them in a rigid container so they don’t get crushed or ripped. Speaking of getting coffee along the way (such as Colombia, Sumatra, or Costa Rica), if you are visiting a great coffee destination, you can skip the home beans and just bring a grinder!
If you are going to be brewing on the go, you need to make sure you have your expectations straight. While plenty of the suggestions here can brew some pretty top notch coffee, you probably aren’t going to be able to fancy things up very much. So if you exclusively drink lattes and other specialty drinks that require more than some sugar and milk, you might be better off swinging by a coffee shop or chain.
However, do keep in mind that brewing. your own coffee while you are traveling tends to save you some money. Thus, if your goal is to be frugal with your coffee habit so you can get more miles for your dollar, try investing in one of the tools mentioned here for a more humble caffeine fix.
While You Are There
As far as what to do while you are traveling, our biggest tip is to avoid skipping out on cleaning. While it may seem like an a annoyance to fully rinse and dry your coffee maker after use, it’s worth it. Keeping your brewer clean will help it last longer and ensure that you don’t get coffee stains all over the rest of your stuff.
There you have it! Whether you are hitting the road or tearing through the sky, this list should. help you find a way to make sure your coffee is right alongside you. Our overall recommendation would be the AeroPress because it can function not only in your home but also in a variety of travel situations. Additionally, it can handle both espresso-like shots and more “traditional,” American-style brews.
Our favorite pick for those of you on an extra-tight budget is the Primula Brew Buddy because it’s just super easy and simple. Plus, even though it’s truly the perfect tool for camping, it’ll work no matter where you are.
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