flygrl Senior Member Joined: 6 Feb 2013 Posts: 7 Location: Long Beach Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:09pm Subject: Need suggestions for a travel kit
Hi, I am a total newbie when it comes to coffee but I am learning. I am a flight attendant and have been stuck drinking airplane, hotel and starbucks coffee and I'm at my limit. Its so awful I can't stand it any longer. I am rarely home but when I am, I usually go to the coffee shop by my house that has great coffee. I have short layovers so I don't have much time to explore the city and find a good cup of coffee. I am looking to put together a kit that I can bring with me. I have nothing and will be starting from scratch. I have been researching online different options but its all a bit overwhelming. I just need simple and the least amount of items to carry as possible. The hotels I stay in don't usually have a microwave or any way to heat water so I will need something for that. I know I need a grinder but with my salary the Lido and Porlex are not an option unless maybe I can find a used one? I am trying to decide between the aeropress, a small french press or using the pour over method, which would you recommend? I am looking to just brew 10oz at a time which is what fits in my travel mug and leaves room for cream if I decide to use it. I don't want to waste money on cheap stuff, I am looking to spend around $100 total, but am flexible if I can get a better products. I appreciate any advice you can offer..I figure no matter what I end up with it can't be worse then what I've been drinking. LOL...Thanks in advance Tina
emradguy Senior Member Joined: 31 Mar 2011 Posts: 1,725 Location: Houston Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto II Grinder: MacapM4T, Macap M4, OE Lido,... Drip: Espro press; Aeropress Roaster: internet
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:19pm Subject: Re: Need suggestions for a travel kit
You can pick up an Aeropress and a Hario Skerton or Slim for under budget. They're portable and will give you what you're looking for.
Here's a little story, for example...
I was in New Orleans last Fall for a conference. I tried to recon cafes ahead of time though the good 'ol www and found my options were dismal (confirmed in a thread here on CG where I looked to locals for help). I brought an Aeropress, an OE Lido and some good quality fresh beans. My hotel room had a lousy drip machine in it, so I used it to heat water for the press while I was grinding. I poured bottled water into the reservoir, put the carafe under the basket and turned it on. While the unhindered water was heating and dispensing into the carafe, I ground my beans and put them in the Aeropress. As it turned out, the water was ready at about the same time as I needed it. The coffee I made that week was great!
Posted Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:42pm Subject: Re: Need suggestions for a travel kit
+1 to the Aeropress. I use mine with a Porlex Tall grinder. The Porlex Tall or Mini will slip inside the plunger of the Aeropress to pack down pretty small - about the same size as a bag of coffee.
The cheap drip machines in hotel rooms can heat the water adequately for use with an Aeropress, although you at the lower end of the temperature range that's best for brewing by the time the water has got into the carafe. I fortunate in that much of my travel is to Asia where there tends to be electric kettles in rooms for making tea, and which obviously do well for coffee brewing as well.
The one other thing to beware of is that carrying coffee beans through security checks can sometimes cause hold ups as for some reason there's an urban myth that the smell of coffee beans can put sniffer dogs off the scent of drugs. Expect to be searched more often. My bag is often checked by the TSA for this reason - I'm thinking of leaving a note for the agents next time ;)
scjavadr Senior Member Joined: 14 Feb 2010 Posts: 44 Location: SC Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Thu Feb 7, 2013, 2:17pm Subject: Re: Need suggestions for a travel kit
Agreed with the others. I use an Aeropress + Hario Skerton + fresh beans. I have a travel kettle for the US, and in Europe the hotels usually have the kettles in the rooms (or at least so far). I've also used the immersion heaters when necessary. The last week I was in Germany, having my homeroast brewed to my liking got me through the week. :-)
calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 5,685 Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A. Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: ECM Veneziano A1 Grinder: Many different commercial Vac Pot: 40s era Silex Drip: Milita, Bunn&Curtis... Roaster: Cast iron pan, gas burner
Posted Thu Feb 7, 2013, 2:39pm Subject: Re: Need suggestions for a travel kit
It is darn hard to not agree with the Aeropress! My travel kit has a small electric grinder (solis 166) and aeropress. To that a my pressi twist. For espresso, I use the pressurized insert in the twist so that the grinder can feed it.
A small electric kettle can be purchased for under $20 at places like Wallmart, that will take care of hot water for you. The Aeropress is very forgiving as to water temp so it makes a very good travel brewer, along with it being plastic and very tough.
In real life, my name is Wayne P.
Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
Posted Thu Feb 7, 2013, 3:01pm Subject: Re: Need suggestions for a travel kit
Dear Tina, I use the Hario mini grinder. I have traveled with both the Aeropress and the Hario pourover V60 (with cloth filters). I like pourover brew better than the aeropress for any given roast of bean. Since you are used to brew-style coffees, you might want to stick to brew (pourover) initially and later buy an aeropress to try at home when you find one on sale. Several months to years 'down the road' as your tastes for good coffee mature, you might want to consider a Mypressi handheld espresso maker. I have been using one for 1-1/2 years now, and I love the convenience of it. I am still using my Hario v60 but the aeropress is in storage; it makes a moka, not a brew and not an espresso. The electric kettle was the sticking point for me. We used to be able to buy teeny, cheap boiling kettles made out of tin, on the order of 500-600 watts. Now the only products that get shipped to the U.S.A. are ginormous 1300 watt boiling kettles with fancy plastic outers. These are too big for what I want, they are too expensive and they will blow the circuits at some rural monasteries where I often stay. Its one thing to have a nice bonavita on the kitchen counter, it is quite another to pack and travel with it. If you are assigned to an overseas flight, then you can look for a more reasonably-sized cheapy boiling kettle. I found mine at a Laotian market. Cost me all of 4 bucks. The voltage transformer from 220 to 110v was more expensive (5 bucks). It works quickly and cleanly, but I do not expect it to last. I am looking for the backup purchase now. I use a paper or styrofoam cup from the hotel lobby and make a small pencil- or pen-punched hole in the bottom for a controllable pourover stream when I am traveling. I just fill the cup with water off the boil and hold it over the grounds. It is not possible to get good pourover control using a cheapy water kettle and all of the other boiling kettles available. And as for a dedicated pourover kettle, I would not pack one; the slender gooseneck spout would break off after being packed a few times.
Best of luck to you, and safe travels. Buckley P.S. Immersion water boiling coils are out of the question. Their lives are measured in days to weeks.
Posted Thu Feb 7, 2013, 7:08pm Subject: Re: Need suggestions for a travel kit
Aeropress, skerton, Bonavita Bon Voyage kettle, pocket scale, and thermometer. That gives you ALL of the tools necessary to monitor variables, if that is what you want, and in an easy to use and space friendly package.
I use my aeropress when I travel and love it. I use a slightly larger kettle, but really love the coffee I make with the aeropress.
flygrl Senior Member Joined: 6 Feb 2013 Posts: 7 Location: Long Beach Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013, 1:48am Subject: Re: Need suggestions for a travel kit
Thanks everyone for your suggestions!! I bought the aeropress and I'm still trying to get the right water measurement to coffee grinds ratio for my tastes. I haven't got my grinder or kettle yet, gotta wait for payday. I do have a question as to which grinder I should get. I only make one to two cups of coffee a day at once. So a small one would be fine. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you :)
jpender Senior Member Joined: 11 Jul 2011 Posts: 404 Location: California Expertise: I like coffee
Grinder: Kyocera CM-50 Vac Pot: S/S Moka Pot Drip: Aeropress
Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013, 8:16am Subject: Re: Need suggestions for a travel kit
I think the least expensive choice for you would be the Hario Mini Slim which can be purchased from Amazon for $33. The stainless steel Porlex Mini is $13 more and it looks and feels nicer but I believe it has the same burrs and so probably won't grind any better. Using an Aeropress you don't really need a kettle, just some way to heat up a cup of water. A plastic cup and a microwave oven is one way to do it. What is useful is a decent thermometer to figure out how hot the water is before you pour it, something like this: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=17953265
Also, a pocket scale that weighs to 0.1g resolution is worth carrying. You can get one for under $10.
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