If you’re a coffee lover and a frequent traveler, it may be time for you to ditch the takeout coffee and invest in a good travel coffee maker.
So, why should you be avoiding that takeout coffee and instead be investing in a travel coffee maker? Well, when it comes to takeout coffee your experience is usually going to fall into one of two categories – it is either going to leave a bad taste in your mouth or it is going to be overpriced (sometimes even both!). Getting your hands on a good travel coffee maker is an investment that will not only save you money in the long run, it also puts you in direct control of your coffee drinking experience while you are away from home.
However, all travel coffee makers are not equal. Some of them are too bulky, some of them make coffee that tastes bad, some of them are way overpriced, and some of them simply can’t stand up to the rigors of frequent travel. That being said, here are our 5 top picks for travel coffee makers that are great for whenever you’re away from home and want to brew your own coffee.
Editors Pick for Best Travel Coffee Maker: The AeroPress
Quality – 5/5
Portability – 4.5/5
Ease Of Use – 4/5
Design – 4/5
Not only does the AeroPress excel at being a great travel coffee maker, but it is also well suited for brewing a great-tasting cup of coffee at home as well.
Our 5 Best Travel Coffee Makers At A Glance
|Travel Coffee Maker||Features & Caffeine Fiend Award|
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+ Made from materials that are both lightweight and durable
+ Extremely easy to clean
+ Incredibly versatile
+ Affordable compared to the competition
+ The parts pack together nicely to save space when traveling
– Special filters are needed for use
Bodum Travel Press
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|Best ForFrench Press|
+ Very easy to clean
+ The double-walled, insulated stainless steel keeps your coffee warm for hours
+ Produces a smooth cup of French press coffee
+ It has an ergonomic design
– Over extraction can occur if you wait too long to drink the coffee
– The seal on the lid is satisfactory but it could be better
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|Best For Espresso|
+ Brews with 16 bar pressure
+ Maintenance and clean up are extremely easy
+ Made from aluminum and is fairly durable
+ Brews a high-quality cup of great-tasting espresso
– It is relatively expensive
– It can be tiring on your muscles, especially if you’re making espresso for several people
Primula Brew Buddy
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|Best For Pour Over|
+ One of the most affordable travel coffee makers on the market
+ It is extremely lightweight
+ Simple design makes it very easy to use
– The flavor will be consistent but not the best that you could get out of your beans
– Cleaning the mesh filter can be somewhat annoying if you don’t have access to running water
Bialetti Moka Express
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|Best For Traditional Campers|
+ Extremely easy to use
+ Great build quality and it is crafted from high-quality materials
+ Cleaning and maintenance are relatively easy
+ Has a capacity of up to 6 cups
– It is not the most portable coffee maker
– It needs fire or stovetop to function
A Detailed Look At The Best Travel Coffee Makers
Bodum Travel Press — Best For French Press
If you’re one of the many coffee drinkers that are in love with French press coffee – and doesn’t want to have to go a day without it – the Bodum Travel Press just might be the travel coffee maker that you’re looking for.
As its name suggests, the main appeal of the Bodum Travel Press is its portability. While it obviously isn’t the smallest travel coffee maker that you will find on the market, it is still a reasonable enough size that it won’t be taking up too much space in your backpack or your suitcase. In addition to this, the Bodum Travel Press also has a sleek and ergonomic design that makes it easy to carry as well.
If build quality and durability are two of your primary concerns, the Bodum Travel Press is definitely a travel coffee maker that should be considering. This is because the body of the Bodum Travel Press is made of double-walled, insulated stainless steel. What this means is that this travel coffee maker can take a beating and it can handle even the most rigorous hiking trips. However, in addition to this, the double-walled, insulated stainless steel construction means that the Bodum Travel Press is also great when it comes to insulation – a factor that is often overlooked by people who drink coffee on the go. This insulation means that the Bodum Travel Press is also a good choice if you want to brew cold brew coffee on the go.
Still, the Bodum Travel Press does have a few issues, the first of which is the seal on its lid. This seal is not bad by any means but you may see minor leaking at times, especially after extended use. Another thing that you will need to keep in mind is the possibility of over-extraction if you don’t make the extra effort to separate the brewed coffee from the grounds.
AeroPress — Best Overall & French Press Runner-Up
You’re probably tired of hearing this from us but we have to say it yet again, we absolutely love the AeroPress. In fact, the AeroPress is not just a great travel coffee maker, it is also an excellent general-purpose coffee maker in its own right.
Now we already know what you’re probably thinking: “I thought AeroPress and French press coffee were two different things. Yes, this is technically correct, the AeroPress and French press are two different brewing methods; however, they do share a lot of similarities. In fact, it is these similarities that make the AeroPress the go-to choice for French press lovers that want a great travel coffee maker. In addition to this, with some tweaking and a bit of know-how, you can easily create a pseudo-espresso with your AeroPress.
The only noticeable drawback of the AeroPress is that it is designed to work with the AeroPress microfilters. However, that being said, these microfilters are extremely affordable and you can either buy them directly from the company’s website or at most coffee shops.
Last but not least, it is also worth mentioning that the company has also released a new AeroPress model – the AeroPress Go. While the original AeroPress was already a great travel coffee maker, the AeroPress Go is specifically targeted towards frequent travelers. The main appeal of this variant is that it is an all-in-one travel coffee maker that has its own personalized travel mug.
Handpresso — Best For Espresso
At first glance the Handpresso may look like some sort of weird miniature bicycle pump; however, as the name would suggest, this small device is actually an espresso maker that you operate with your hands. The comparison to a bicycle pump isn’t too far off though because the Handpresso uses a similar type of mechanism to create high-quality espresso – it just needs your muscles to work. In addition to this, the Handpresso is capable of brewing up to 16 bars of pressure, which is more than enough for a great-tasting cup of espresso. In terms of construction, this travel coffee maker is made for high-quality aluminum, making it one of the most durable options on our list.
The Handpresso does however have its drawbacks. For starters, when it comes to travel coffee makers, the Handpresso definitely falls on the more expensive side of the spectrum – however, the argument could be made that you’re paying for quality. Another extremely obvious factor that you will need to consider is that you’re going to have to physically pump the espresso yourself. You obviously don’t need to be a bodybuilder to accomplish this but it is still a factor that you should keep in mind.
Primula Brew Buddy — Best For Pour Over
The Primula Brew Buddy is our choice for the best pour over travel coffee maker; however, it does have a lot more than that going for it.
For starters, the Primula Brew Buddy is the smallest travel coffee maker on our list, having a diameter of just over 4 inches and weighing less than 2 ounces. This means that the Primula Brew Buddy is also the champion when it comes to portability as well – so if you’re strapped for space, it should definitely be a strong contender.
Another area where the Primula Brew Buddy excels is its price since it manages to also be one of the most affordable travel coffee makers on the market. This affordability is also accentuated by the fact that it comes with its own built-in reusable filter.
However, one of the main downsides of the Primula Brew Buddy is that if you’re using it you will have to be satisfied with the knowledge that you’re not going to be getting the best quality flavors out of your beans. That being said, the flavor of your brew will still be consistent, just like the pour-over brewer that you have at home. Lastly, while the Primula Brew Buddy’s mesh filter is very convenient (and eco-friendly) it can be somewhat annoying to get perfectly clean – especially if you don’t have access to running water
Bialetti Moka Express — Best For Traditional Campers
Even if you don’t need a travel coffee maker, the Bialetti Moka Express is a great coffee maker that is definitely worth considering for your everyday needs.
Compared to the rest of the travel coffee makers that we’ve reviewed, the Bialetti Moka Express is definitely an outlier when it comes to portability. This is because it is first and foremost considered to be a stovetop coffee maker. That being said, for decades, countless coffee-loving campers have been using coffee makers like this while they are out in the wilderness. The Bialetti Moka Express is also the most durable of the travel coffee makers on our list and it is crafted from highly resistant, polished aluminum.
In terms of the type of brew that you’re going to be getting from the Bialetti Moka Express, it lies somewhere between regular drip coffee and espresso. What we mean by this is that while an espresso generally requires 9 or more bars of pressure, a Moka pot (such as the Bialetti Moka Express) will only build up around 1.5 bars of pressure. However, this is still enough pressure to create a relatively strong brew, especially when compared to a pour-over coffee maker or a French press.
All in all, the Bialetti Moka Express is a great choice for travelers that don’t mind sacrificing portability and convenience for an exquisite tasting cup of coffee.
How To Choose The Best Travel Coffee Maker: A Buyer’s Guide
Buying a travel coffee maker is noticeably different than buying a regular coffee maker for your home. This is because when it comes to travel coffee makers, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask yourself.
Do I Need An Electric Travel Coffee Maker?
Generally speaking, we find that the best travel coffee makers are the ones that don’t need electricity to operate. There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, while electric travel coffee makers will often be more convenient (press a few buttons and wait) powerless travel coffee makers give you more control over the brew that you’re getting.
Another important factor to consider is that electric travel coffee makers are either going to need to be plugged in or they will need batteries to operate. This is more things that you will need to pack in your bag and for batteries, an additional cost to consider as well. Something else that you should keep in mind is that electric travel coffee makers will, more often than not, be pricer than their powerless counterparts.
Last but not least, while you can easily find a powerless travel coffee maker that is smaller than your coffee mug, you aren’t going to be as lucky when it comes to electric travel coffee makers. Which leads us to our next point.
Do I Have Enough Space For This Travel Coffee Maker?
Whether you’re traveling, camping, or hiking, one of the most vital resources that you will need to manage – right up there with food and money – is the space that you have available. For many of us, every square inch of our backpack or our suitcase is important and so when it comes to travel coffee makers, we need to choose one that fits our space requirements.
Generally speaking, if your free space is extremely limited, you are going to want to go for a pour-over travel coffee maker, as these are usually some of the smallest options that are available. However, if you have some extra space available, you will have more options available to you, so you can consider getting something bigger like an AeroPress.
Keep in mind that the travel coffee maker is not going to be the only thing that you have to carry with you. You are obviously going to need to pack your favorite coffee beans but you may also need to carry a travel mug, a grinder, and other accessories.
What Type Of Coffee Do I Want To Drink?
No matter if you’re buying a travel coffee maker or a coffee maker for your home, this is a question that you are going to need to ask yourself. However, if you’re shopping for a coffee maker for your home, you can easily find a device that can brew several different types of coffee. Likewise, you may also simply have enough space on your kitchen counter for several different types of coffee makers, so you can be as indecisive as you want.
In most cases, the travel coffee maker that you choose will be suited for brewing a specific type of coffee. However, there are some travel coffee makers out there that can be used to brew more than one type of coffee; for example, the AeroPress can technically be used to make a pseudo-espresso.