As anyone who loves a cup of fresh coffee any time of the day can tell you, there’s nothing like having your very own brew station you can carry along with you. If you are like so many of us who always seem to have a cup of coffee in one hand no matter what you are doing with the other, perhaps it is time to explore the amazing advantages of owning your very own travel cafetiere. Literally translated, this means you’d be walking around with a travel coffee maker.
As odd as that may sound, it really only refers to a French press travel mug with everything you need, except for piping hot water that is. Even so, that’s easy to come by as well. We’ll explain a bit more later. For now, let’s look at the whole concept of French press coffee so that you’ll understand just how delightful this elixir of the gods can be – especially when you need it most!
An Introduction to French Press Coffee
If you’ve never experienced the superior taste of a cup of French pressed coffee, you are in for a real treat. The ‘secret’ lies in the fact that this method of brewing coffee, uses a coarser ground bean, which literally has hot water pressed through it. You will find that the result is a cup of coffee with more of the natural oils preserved, significantly enhancing its flavor. Unlike other methods of brewing coffee, the ground beans are exposed to boiling water for a much lesser time, leaving those natural oils intact. In other words, they are not boiled away.
While many coffee aficionados use this method of brewing coffee at home, they also keep at least one coffee press travel mug on hand for those times when they need to grab and go. Office workers especially like the robust flavor of coffee produced with a French press mug because they can simply walk over to their hot and cold-water dispensers and press hot water through those ground beans on the way over to their desks. While the other workers are struggling to drink a watered-down excuse for coffee produced by those popular but expensive pods, you will be delighting in a coffee on par with what you would find in the best coffee shops throughout Paris’ 7th Arrondissement.
Features to Look for in a Coffee Press Mug
There are several features you may wish to explore when trying to choose the best French press travel mug. Most people prefer those that are constructed from stainless steel with a double wall for optimum insulation. While there are travel mugs made from plastic, they are not typically recommended because even though manufactured with BPA-free plastic, somehow plastic always alters the taste of hot foods and beverages. You’ve chosen to go with a French press travel mug primarily because of the enhanced aroma and flavor, so why would you let that suffer for a cheaply made plastic mug? It wouldn’t make much sense.
Another feature to look for is a mug with dual compartments. On the bottom, you can store your freshly ground beans and the top compartment is the French press mug. The bottom chamber can hold enough grounds for several cups of coffee so that you can enjoy freshly pressed coffee throughout the entire day. Some of the better mugs come with two caps so that you can have one for traveling on the road and another for drinking from your mug when you arrive at your location. There are single chamber mugs as well, so you would be limited to one cup of coffee at a time unless you carried beans in another container. How inconvenient would that be?
How to Choose the Best Beans for French Press Coffee
Before going any further, it is recommended that you buy only whole bean coffee no matter what type of bean or roast you prefer. As a coffee lover, you know that this will preserve all those subtle nuances in flavor that are lost once coffee is pre-ground and packaged. No matter how tightly it is vacuum packed, there is still a substantial loss of flavor, and those natural oils dry out quickly as well. Bear in mind what we mentioned above about those natural oils being responsible for much of the exceptional flavor produced by French pressing coffee. Why would you want to start with a ground coffee that probably has little of those natural oils left?
As for the type of coffee you prefer, that really is dependent upon whether you prefer an Arabica bean or Robusta. Most French roast coffees are made from Robusta beans, but some are from the Arabica variety as well. Although you might think that coffee that is French pressed demands a French roast, that is far from the truth. Here’s why. Having stated that many of the French roast coffees on the market are made from Robusta beans, it should almost disqualify them automatically. Robusta coffee is more acidic and harsher on the taste buds and stomach as well.
If you are looking for a travel French press mug, then you are seeking that exceptional flavor perfectly embodied in a higher quality bean. That would automatically lean towards one of the beans within the Arabica species. With all of that in mind, it’s time to move onto the roast that would serve you best.
The Best Roasts for a Travel French Press Mug
Let’s step back a moment to the misconception that the best roast for French pressing coffee would be the traditional dark French roast. This is not the case at all! Any coffee afficionado will tell you that much of the flavor is lost in roasting, as is the caffeine. So then, if you are looking for the best roast for a coffee with the most flavor, and truer to its natural profile, you will choose the lightest roast possible. Once again, we reiterate that exposure to heat destroys flavor, so you would obviously want a lighter roast for maximum flavor, and of course, that necessary caffeine.
To start with, choose an Arabica bean from one of your favorite coffee producing regions of the world. You will want beans grown and harvested from a single grower to ensure that all your beans have exactly the same profile, which is largely the result of where they were grown. Factors like climate, soil, elevation, and so forth, affect the flavor profile of the bean, so keep that in mind.
Where You Will Be Using Your Cafetiere Travel Mug
This is something else we touched upon above. Referring back to the translation of cafetiere, a cafetiere travel mug would quite literally be a travel coffee maker in the size and features of a mug. The type and size of the mug you prefer would depend largely on where you intend to use it. Are you simply in the market for a French press travel mug you can take with you to the office day after day, so you don’t need to suffer through a disgustingly weak and flavorless cup of coffee in the morning upon arrival?
Or, maybe you are looking for a larger, insulated stainless steel mug you can carry with you on your next shopping expedition. If you are like so many of us, that can turn into an all-day affair. Will you be going camping in a primitive campground where you will need to boil water over an open flame, or maybe on a lengthy road trip. French press travel mugs come in a variety of sizes so that you can ensure having enough aromatic coffee kept at a nice warm temperature for as long as you would be out and about.
Summing It Up
In the end, choosing the best travel French press mug depends on a number of factors. The first would be the materials from which it is constructed. It is without a doubt that you will want to avoid any mug constructed from plastic, even certified BPA plastic because plastic is not at all suitable for hot drinks. Plastic will almost certainly alter the flavor, and not appreciably either. Secondly, you will want to know if you will need to press more than one cup in an outing because you can get French press travel mugs with a bottom section that allows you to carry enough freshly ground beans for several cups. As long as you have access to hot water, you are good to go.
That brings us to one more little point we forgot to mention and that is the availability of those water heaters that plug into the cigarette lighter outlet in the car. If you carry water with you, you can heat enough for a cup with those little heater coils plugged into your cigarette lighter outlet. In the end, the best travel French press mug is the size and construction that best suits your personal needs. Are you ready to take the best cup of coffee with you on the go? You know what you need now, so the rest is up to you.