Why Brew Coffee Whilst Travelling?
It’s difficult at the best of times to find quality coffee whilst travelling and when you do you can easily rack up a fortune grabbing a cup at each amazing cafe you visit. That’s why I always bring along my travel coffee brewing kit. If you’re on a budget but still want to taste speciality coffee around the world, buying local beans and brewing it yourself is the best way to go.
Apart from being a more budget friendly option, having your own brewing kit with you allows you to make coffee whenever you like. I love the ability to have a cup freshly brewed in the morning and it generally only costs me around $1 to $1.50 – Also I opt for premium beans considering I’m brewing it myself.
There is something calming about brewing coffee yourself; especially in a place where others would be forced to opt for instant coffee. Imagine bottling up some boiled water in a thermos and heading up a mountain to watch the sun rise. When you arrive you set up your kit, grind your beans, take out your mug and carefully pour the water over the ground beans. As the sun rises you sip your delicious locally roasted speciality coffee from a mountain peak. It is a simple peaceful exercise that affords you enjoyment and contentment.
I hope by sharing my experience of how easy it is to brew coffee while travelling it will inspire others. If you’d like to hear more about what I’m brewing, where and what I use to brew please leave a comment and subscribe. Let me know in the comments below what you use to brew coffee while travelling 🙂
Note: I receive no commission from the links below. The links are for illustrative purposes, only used to show the product.
Okay thats that, so lets jump right in.
Travel Coffee Brewing Kit Summary
Total Number of Items = 6 including coffee
Total Weight = 414Grams or 14.6 Ounces – that is less than a Starbucks Grande! (excluding coffee and thermos)
Total Cost = $113AUD or roughly $85USD (you should be able to pick up everything excluding the coffee and thermos for under this amount)
List of Tools
A very important element to brewing good coffee on the road. Any coffee lover worth his salt knows that the best flavours come from freshly ground beans.
Sidenote: I recently found a potential alternative for ultralight travellers that don’t want to bring a coffee kit with them. It was while in Asia that I discovered 1 cup ready ground paper brewers (*see below for more info*).
I still maintain the best way to brew is using ceramic ground fresh whole beans. The Mini Porlex Mill has an adjustable setting which allows for grinding for almost all filter brew methods including: Aeropress, Hand Drip/Pour Over, Chemex, cold drip and a variety of others. It is simple to adjust, comes apart easily for cleaning and is (perhaps most importantly) lightweight.
At 237.5 grams I’m not aware of a viable alternative to this grinder when it comes to usability for travel.
You can pick one up for roughly $85AUD.
I recently purchased this little collapsible filter in Kyoto Japan. I waited all throughout China and South Korea as I knew I’d be travelling to Kyoto in the not to distant future and there was my favourite online coffee supplies shop Karasu. This filter was found in store at a very reasonable price and although I had expected it to be made of metal (it is plastic) I’m actually glad it is not metal now; it bends slightly to the curves in my backpack but retains its form when I go to use it.
The collapsibility of this device makes it the best I’ve seen on the market for travel brewing. It is aesthetically pleasing and very sturdy.
Weighing in at only 10.5 grams this brewer is not only the lightest filter it is also the flattest – absolutely perfect for travel.
You can pick one up for around $22AUD, however if in Japan be sure to stop by the Kurasu coffee shop in Kyoto, they have them there for around $13AUD.
These are easily purchased at almost any supermarket in Asia and in my experience most speciality cafes. I’d say the same would hold true for other places around the world in that speciality cafes generally stock some items for purchase such as filter papers for home brewing. I use the 1 cup filters as they work very well with the Tetra.
A pack of 40 filters weighs roughly 50grams.
These are highly cost effective at $9AUD per pack of 100, 9 cents per coffee! If in Japan or Korea you can pick these up super cheap. Note: Make sure to get unbleached ones, they are called ‘natural’.
I bought these on eBay a long while ago. They are ‘precious minerals’, gold etc, weighing scales and go from .1g through to 1kg. They are absolutely perfect for weighing coffee and take 2 AAA batteries. I’ve never had an issue with them and they were very cheap. Though my particular scale it seems no longer available there are new versions that look identical and after some research I’ve linked the most similar and appropriate option here.
This little guy weighs 116grams.
Roughly $16AUD on Amazon.
The world is changing fast. I was recently in China and even there (a massively tea drinking nation) quality coffee has spread from Japan and Korea and is taking up roots with the younger generations. You can find good quality speciality coffee all around the world, a good way to research is using Google to search ‘speciality coffee [name of location]’, this will often render good results in locating quality cafes to find beans and a quality cup of coffee.
I generally opt for 100g -150g if possible, however in Melbourne, Australia the minimum is 250g.
#Mini Rant – This drives me insane. There was a fantastic roaster in Melbourne that offered 150g bags and I found that to be absolutely perfect for me, 1 cup a day max and I’d use it all over a couple of weeks – they followed the crowd unfortunately and now only offer 250g. With 250g you have at 14g per cup roughly 17 days worth of coffee. Sometimes for various reasons I wouldn’t have a cup of coffee that day and thus with 250g I had the situation where the coffee would start to oxidise and taste far less appealing after a couple of weeks. I would love to see Melbourne cafes offer 150g bags again and I hope that Europe hasn’t followed suit.
As I’ve only been in Asia thus far I’ve not yet bought more than 100g of coffee at a time. In Japan you can choose the amount you want from 50g up to 1kg.
The cost varies place to place however on average for quality speciality coffee expect to pay roughly $10-15AUD per 100grams.
I travel with a Miniso thermos as I also drink quite a lot of tea and it is perfect for brewing some tea and packing in the backpack for later in the day. It also comes in handy if we are heading out early and going for a walk/hike – I can take some boiling water and then brew a coffee wherever we are with the rest of my coffee kit.
NOTE: If travelling China, do as the locals do, get yourself a little cheap thermos and brew tea when you head out for the day.
This unit weighs in at roughly 280grams.
This one my girlfriend and I bought in China for about $8AUD from Miniso.
Things I Borrow Where I’m Staying
As I travel out of a carry-on backpack (see my post here for what I carry with me) it is not viable to carry a mini kettle. Even the best, smallest ones I’ve seen exceed what is viable for me to carry and as such I make do with the kettle in the hotel/airbnb/other we stay at. As noted above, I also use my thermos if heading out for the day.
With the exception of one or two places, every place I’ve ever stayed at has had a mug or appropriate cup for brewing coffee. Sometimes I will borrow it if going out for the day, otherwise I brew in the room.
*Pre-Ground Paper Single Serve Brewers
These little paper pour over units contain pre-ground coffee and a moisture evaporator. They are cleverly made to fold out over your cup into a pour over shape allowing you to more or less brew as you would with a pourer, except all that is needed is a kettle and a cup. I’ve tried a number of these from different roasters and they’ve been awesome! You can even buy them without any coffee in them so you can make your own requiring no pour over device! An interesting alternative to bringing a pour over unit with you.
There you go. That’s my coffee brewing kit while on the road. If you haven’t yet subscribed and would like to you can do so here. Also please share and comment if you found it interesting or would like to hear more about coffee around the world. I’m always keen to hear feedback or have a chat. Have a great day!