The Best Travel Coffee Maker for 2018
Kick crappy hotel coffee to the curb with one of these convenient portable coffee makers
Life without coffee is miserable. That’s a scientifically proven fact that’s not up for debate. When you’re at your home base - the coffee flows plentifully (or it should!). But when you’re off traveling, it can be tough to keep the spigot running.
Trust me - as someone who is location independent, I know the struggle of relying on hotel coffee makers. That’s why, instead of spinning the roulette wheel on whatever crappy coffee maker your hotel maybe has, you should just get your own portable coffee maker so that you can brew some mud on-the-go.
In that spirit, I decided to collect some of the best travel coffee makers. Because you shouldn’t need to be without the elixir of life just because you’re on the road.
Summary: In my opinion, the AeroPress is the best travel coffee maker for most situations. Here’s why it’s what I pack in my bag when I need coffee while traveling:
But while I think the AeroPress is the best travel coffee maker in most situations (it’s what I use in real life!), it’s definitely not your only option. You can also find coffee makers that are even more portable (or offer more advanced options).
The Types Of Travel Coffee Makers I’ll Look At
Look - if you’re a coffee lover, you don’t need me to tell you that there’s more than one way to brew a cup o’ joe. So it makes sense that there’s more than one type of coffee maker you can bring with you on your travels.
For this post, I specifically looked at 3 types of travel coffee makers:
Pour over coffee makers are basically a "cone" and a filter that you pour water into. As the coffee brews, it drips down into the cup below.
If you're looking for the most compact travel coffee maker possible, pour over coffee makers usually offer the smallest dimensions. Many even fold down to be even more portable.
Total immersion is a method of brewing coffee where you completely submerge the ground coffee in hot water. French press is the most well-known example of total immersion, but it's not the only method.
Total immersion coffee makers are usually a little bigger than pour over, but still plenty portable.
Espresso is brewed by forcing a small amount of very hot water through through finely ground coffee. As a result, it needs a slightly different approach than the other two methods.
While it's possible to find a travel espresso maker, your options are going to be a bit more limited and expensive than the other methods.
Summary Of All Options On This List
Not sure which is right for you? Here's a summary of all the portable coffee makers I looked at:
Skip straight to what you're interested in...
Travel Pour Over Coffee Makers
Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy
If you want the absolute smallest travel coffee maker, this is it. In all my searches, I couldn't find anything that beat it in terms of size and portability (though the next one on this list comes close).
Seriously - this thing weighs just 45g (0.08 lbs) and only has a diameter of 4.2 inches.
Best of all, it has its own nylon mesh filter so that you don't need to worry about keeping a stash of paper filters to go along with it.
Check out this video to see how it works!
- It's tiny. Seriously, so small and portable
- You don't need your own filters, which is handy for traveling in remote areas
- Weighs just 45g/0.08lb
- You have to be careful about your coffee grind. Too small and the mesh filter will let through some silt.
Kuke Reusable Silicone Coffee Dripper
The Kuke Reusable Silicone Coffee Dripper is an absolutely tiny coffee maker that you can fit in your bag, pocket, or even clip to your belt!
Seriously - this one might not be the most flexible or luxurious coffee making experience. But in terms of portability? It's one of the best.
When you're not using it, it folds down to a tiny format and it weighs just 90g. For Americans like me, that's only 0.19lbs!
The only downside is that you'll need to bring your own paper filters along. You can see just how small it is in the video below:
- One of the smallest travel coffee makers that you will find
- Weighs just 90g/0.19lb
- Super affordable
- Uses #2 filters, which can be hard to get in some countries
- Because it's so small, it doesn't make a lot of coffee
If you don't like the plastic/silicon designs of the previous two pour over options, the Kalita Wave offers a stainless steel option in a similar design style (there's also glass and ceramic versions if those are more your speed).
As a result, it doesn't fold down like the Kuke filter above - but it's still pretty portable and has a small size.
Honestly - unless you absolutely want to avoid plastic, the previous two options are probably better.
- Some people say the coffee tastes better with stainless steel
- You'll need your own filters
- Stainless steel design means it doesn't fold down
Travel Total Immersion Coffee Makers
AeroPress is my personal recommendation for a versatile travel coffee maker. It's essentially two plastic cylinders that nest together to brew coffee via the total immersion method (like a french press). You pour coffee and water in the cylinder - let it percolate for a minute or so, and then use the plunger to push it out.
You can make both regular or espresso style coffee, and it can make up to 1-3 cups at a time, which is enough for one or two people.
And when you're finished, cleaning is a breeze because the plunger actually pushes out the used coffee grounds.
Because of how compact it is, it's super easy to travel with. If you're curious how you can actually use the AeroPress to make coffee on the go, check out this great video from Sump Coffee
- It's very compact.
- It uses total immersion, which makes for delicious coffee in my opinion.
- Cleaning it is super easy because the plunger pushes all the coffee out.
- It's not that I don't like this. But you can find even smaller coffee makers if you're really strapped for space.
Bodom Travel Coffee Press
If you love coffee, I can almost guarantee that you've heard of Bodom. Bodom is popular for their french presses. And while most of their products are built for the home, their Travel Coffee Press is designed to go on the road with you.
It's basically a travel mug with a french press inside - so when you're ready to drink your coffee, you just push the filter down and start drinking.
The only downside is that if you're a slow drinker, you might end up overbrewing because you're drinking from the same place where the coffee grounds are.
- It's both a travel mug and coffee maker in one
- It uses the traditional french press style
- Includes a normal lid so it can double as a standalone mug.
- Clean up is a bit annoying
- It's not very compact
- Might end up overbrewing because the beans stay in the coffee.
Espro Travel Coffee Press
The Espro Travel Coffee Press is probably the sleekest looking coffee maker on this list. Just look it at! So chic.
But chic doesn't always mean practical. It's basically a full-size coffee mug with a special french press inside. If you're cool to carry around something this size with you everywhere, it's convenient because it's an all-in-one solution.
What's especially unique about the Espro is that the filter inside includes two filters, rather than one like you'd get with a normal french press. This helps eliminate the coffee "grit"
- The design is great
- The two filter system is a pretty unique approach and eliminates an annoying part of travel french press coffee makers
- It's both a mug and a coffee maker
- It will keep your coffee hot for hours
- It weighs 12.2 ounces, which is heavier than a lot of the alternatives
- Like the Bodom travel press, clean up will be a bit annoying if you're on the move
Portable Espresso Makers
Winner of the Reddot award, STARESSO is a beautifully designed portable espresso maker. No batteries or electricity needed - everything is handpumped.
It operates like any other espresso maker - that is, it forces hot water through a tightly packed "pucked" of coffee. Only this time, you use your own force to push the water through.
If you like to travel but don't want to give up Espresso, this is probably your best option. You can see how it works in the video below:
- It has a really smart design
- No power needed - you do everything manually
- It's pretty easy to clean for an espresso maker
- It's heavier than pour over and immersion coffee makers, though that's hard to avoid
- Some people complain that it's a lot of work for a small amount of coffee
MiniPresso GR Espresso Maker
Compared to STARESSO, MiniPresso is a slightly smaller and lighter portable espresso maker. It also includes a neat design that allows you to apply pressure from the side, which makes it very easy to hold.
Like STARESSO, you don't need any electricity or compressed air to use MiniPresso - just hot water!
If you want your espresso but need something lighter than STARESSO, MiniPresso is a good middle ground. You can see the cool side press action in the video below:
- It's smaller and lighter than STARESSO
- The side press action makes it a convenient hand held option
- It doesn't require any electricity or batteries
- People with grip strength problems (e.g. arthritis) might struggle because you have to pump a lot to get espresso
Go Get Caffeinated, You Coffee Fiend!
For now, that wraps up my list of the best travel coffee makers! I hope you enjoyed and found a coffee maker that will work for you.
As I said, my tool of choice is the AeroPress - at this point, I use it both at home and on the road. But if you think you know a better solution, I'd love if you told me about it in the comments!