Are you the type of person who needs to start every day with a coffee? While that may be easy to achieve while at home, what happens if you’re on the road, traveling, on vacation, at your cottage or vacation home, camping, or any other adventure that has taken you out of the house? Are you suddenly left to fend for yourself in a coffee-less manner? Maybe you don’t want to tempt the odds and see what happens if you don’t get that steaming cup of Joe in the morning. This is exactly why portable coffee makers have become so popular.
Portable coffee makers allow you to enjoy coffee whenever you want but compactly and simply. Manufacturers have realized just what a lucrative market this is and now consumers are flooded with options, which can make the shopping experience a bit overwhelming. So before you purchase your first portable coffee maker, we’ve got some tips and advice that you’ll want to consider. This information will ensure that you find the best portable coffee maker for your specific needs.
What Is a Portable or Travel Coffee Machine?
An all in one portable coffee maker may just be the best thing that has happened to coffee lovers in the past decade, and that’s not an overstatement. It’s all about making coffee accessible and simple no matter where you are and what you’re doing. These are machines that can be used on the go, simply plug in and use. They aren’t big, bulky oversized appliances like the coffee machines of the past. They take up very little counter space and often hold enough water in the reservoir for just a couple of cups at once.
Besides being portable, the single cup travel coffee maker also makes sense for those in small spaces. Think apartment living where you don’t have a lot of counter space or storage space. These machines take up very little in terms of real estate, so you can easily find room for them.
What Differs Between the Portable Coffee Machine and the Traditional Machine?
Digging a little deeper, there are some differences between a portable coffee machine and the traditional machine. Knowing what they are will help you to decide which makes the most sense for your lifestyle.
Some of the notable features for a portable coffee machine include:
- You can quickly “brew” a single cup of coffee
- These are ideal for small spaces
- These are ideal for people who want to take a coffee on the go (many accommodate larger travel-sized mugs)
- You can use a K-cup or a refillable coffee filter that you use coffee grinds in
- While the results are instant it is much tastier than instant coffee
- The water reservoir is available in different sizes, which alters how big the coffee maker is
- These can easily be packed up to take on the go
- K-cups are easily accessible and come in a wide variety of types and flavors
- You can also make tea, hot chocolate, latte, cappuccino, iced coffee, iced tea, lemonade, and more in a portable coffee machine
- Each person can choose a different flavor or type of coffee, unlike a pot that is all the same
- These machines are relatively inexpensive
- There is no learning curve to these machines, they are fool-proof
- These machines have some handy features such as an auto on and off
Some of the notable features for a traditional coffee machine include:
- These are larger machines that need to sit out on the countertop and aren’t usually moved around.
- They have a coffee pot, so you brew an entire pot at once
- Clean up involves washing the pot after each emptying (usually daily).
- The coffee pot is glass, which means if you drop it – it breaks
- The machine requires single-use paper filters, or it may be one with a reusable filter that you just need to wash
- This one is not travel-friendly and can’t easily be packed up to take on the go
- This one isn’t ideal for single-person households, as you will have to brew a full pot at once
- You need to have fresh coffee grinds on hand
- They can be pricey depending on the features you want
- They take longer to brew coffee since it is doing a full pot at a time
How to Choose the Best Mobile Coffee Machine
While these portable coffee machines are easy to find and a fabulous option for many, it doesn’t mean they are all made equal. As you start to look at the available options, you’ll quickly find many features that set them apart. To make an informed purchase decision, there are some factors you’ll want to consider.
- The first thing to think about is how much water you want to be able to hold in the reservoir at once. The more water it holds in the tank, the larger the machine will be. On the flip side, the more water it holds, the more cups of coffee you can enjoy before having to refill it. So it’s a space and convenience consideration.
- Do you want added bells and whistles? Some of the features these machines may offer include being able to choose your water temperature, choosing the size of cup you will brew (the larger the machine, the more cup sizes you can choose from), an on/off timer feature, a digital clock on the panel and the ability to use cold water or just hot water. The hot water feature is perfect for tea or even a shot of hot water to make instant oatmeal, for example.
- Do you want to be able to use a refillable coffee filter? This gives you the option of grinding your coffee at home and then using those fresh grinds. It’s not as convenient as a k-cup, but it can taste fresher and give you more variety.
- What’s your budget? The cost typically factors into most decisions and if you want something inexpensive then it’s best to look at the entry-level models.
- Do you plan on taking it with you on the go? The entry-level small models will be ideal if you want to travel with your machine.
- Do you want to be able to choose the color/finish of the machine? Sometimes the smaller machines don’t offer as much variety.
On top of these considerations, it’s also helpful to read customer reviews. This gives insight into how the portable machine works over time. Is it durable, is it fast, is the coffee hot enough, is it lightweight and easy to pack? Reviews can answer all these questions in an unbiased manner. A portable K cup coffee maker is meant to make your life easier, so doing some comparison shopping is wise.
Take Advantage of Seasonal Sales and Packages
If you do want to purchase one of these machines another tip is to wait for a sale or a package/promotion. These coffee machines are notorious for being discounted at certain times of the year. With Black Friday just around the corner and the holiday season upon us, this is usually a great time for finding a deal. It may be that the machine is marked down, or it could be a package offering that includes such things as k-cups, a stand, a reusable filter, and so forth.
The manufacturers are also releasing new models on a fairly consistent basis, so you can save money by purchasing the “old” model. Just because it is last year’s model doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with it, and it can result in significant savings.
Many Accessories to Also Look Into
As you become hooked on your new portable coffee maker, there are some accessories you may also want to pick up. These can enhance the coffee-making process as well as the flavor and enjoyment level.
Some of the accessories you may want to pick up include:
- A milk frother
- A stand or rack to hold your K-cups and keep them organized
- A couple of refillable coffee filters
- Replacement water filter cartridges (if applicable), will help to ensure the tank stays clean
- Insulated travel mugs to take your coffee on the go (if the machine can brew this sized coffee)
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone Where Flavor Is Concerned
Another tip is to step outside your comfort zone where the flavor is concerned. Brewing a cup of coffee couldn’t be easier or faster thanks to these portable machines, so why not use this opportunity to try some new-to-your options. You can try flavored coffee, sample different roasts (light, medium, dark, and extra dark), add flavored syrup, top your coffee with frothed milk, sprinkle cinnamon on top, add a shot of alcohol for that after-dinner treat, there is no end to the possibilities.
Find a Machine That Meets All Your Needs and Expectations
By using all of these considerations and tips, you’ll be able to wade through the options and find the portable coffee machine that meets your needs and expectations. This means a fabulous cup of coffee will soon be yours.