I hate to tell you this, but if you're looking to make coffee on the go, instant coffee is not the answer. I have only one exception to this rule: people on extended backcountry trips where carrying out a week's worth of coffee grounds isn't really reasonable. Other than that, there's no reason that you shouldn't be making fresh, tasty coffee even when you're away from home.
But making good coffee on the go doesn't just happen magically; it means being equipped for making good coffee on the go.
I find that my favorite part about making coffee on the go isn't just that it gets you out of your usual morning kitchen coffee routine, it's that you have a newfound sense of purpose wherever you go: you must find locally roasted beans to try. That's reason enough to bring your coffee tools along.
If you want to make coffee on the go, there are a lot of tools to choose from, and it all depends on what kind of coffee you're wanting to make. I've seen people camping with Bialettis, and beachgoers on a picnic doing an Aeropress. Really it's about figuring out a coffee set up that works for you. And bringing your good coffee beans along of course.
The Essentials You Need to Brew Good Coffee on the Go
The basic essentials of coffee tools on the go are:
- Something to grind your coffee with
- Something to boil water in (depending on whether you're going somewhere that will have a water boiling device or not)
- Something to make the coffee with and something to drink your coffee out of
There are plenty of great tools out there, and it all depends on what you're looking for and what you're price budget is. I've rounded up a few of my personal favorites.
1. Grind Your Beans: Porlex Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder
You didn't think you were going to get away with pre-ground coffee while traveling did you? Oh yes, yes, you can have a burr grinder on the go. Small and light, this grinder works well for travel.
2. Press Your Coffee: Snow Peak Titanium French Press
Honestly this one is as functional as it is beautiful, and if you want to make your coffee friends jealous, this French press will do the trick. Snow Peak also makes a collapsible filter setup, which if you're looking to save space is also an excellent option.
3. Brew Your Coffee: MSR Mug Mate
Another option for brewing coffee is to do it directly into your mug. If this is the route you want to go, look no further than the MSR Mug Mate. It's easy to clean, and means no coffee filter waste.
4. Drink Your Coffee: Innate Gear Doppio Tumblers
You want something small and portable to drink your coffee out of, and for this I love the Innate Gear Doppio. Yes, it's called a "doppio" because it does in fact fit a double espresso shot, which is great if you're checking out the local coffee shop and don't want to get a disposable cup. Pairs well with a good thermos of course, to keep that rest of your brewed coffee nice and hot.
5. Store Your Coffee Beans: Airscape Container
While you can always store your beans in the bag you bought them in, sometimes you may want something that can handle the wear and tear of travel a little better. For this you want an airtight container. The Airscape container by Planetary Design is nice as its inner lid and valve allows you to get the air out, ensuring a truly airtight lock, which will keep those beans nice and fresh.
(Image credits: Anna Brones; Stumptown Coffee; Snow Peak; Cascade Designs; Innate Gear; Planetary Design)