If you love coffee as much as I do, you don’t want to be left without your daily cup. But what if you’re travelling or going camping? Does this mean you have to give up your good coffee and settle for instant? Not at all! Simply get yourself a portable coffee machine or portable espresso machine, and take your coffee wherever you go. Read on for recommendations and learn how to pick the right portable brewer for you.
What To Look for in a Portable Coffee Machine
Portable coffee machines are a great investment for frequent travellers and campers who don’t want to leave their coffee behind. When looking for the right portable espresso machine for you, you need to consider the following:
Weight and size are easily one of the top concerns for travellers. If you travel frequently or prefer to travel light, you must carefully consider how much weight you can dedicate to your portable coffee machine. While all of the machines recommended in this article are portable, they vary in weight and size. Portable espresso machines can range from ultra-light (less than 350g) to light (350-500g) to simply portable (500g and above).
If you hike a lot or are planning on changing location daily, then an ultra-light coffee machine would suit you best. Light coffee machines are good for most travellers and easy to carry around. Portable machines above 500g are best for road trips, campers, and for taking to a vacation home.
Just like how you have many options for brewing coffee at home, you also have a range of choices regarding how to brew coffee when travelling. You can brew with a French Press, an AeroPress, a portable espresso maker, a Moka pot, or even a portable pour-over. The brewing method you pick will determine what kind of portable coffee machine you need to get, as well as the type of coffee beans and brewing time. You can also consider a portable Nespresso pod machine for the most convenient brewing experience on the go.
Portable machines can be manual or electric. If you need a coffee machine for camping or hiking, then an electric coffee machine won’t work for you and you will need something manual or battery-operated. Also consider the heat source- some portable coffee machines like the Moka pot need a flame and won’t work with microwaves or induction cooktops. Every other portable machine will still need you to heat water to brew, so consider if you’re carrying a camping stove or other heat source.
Maintenance and cleaning may be the last thing you think about when buying a portable espresso machine or any other brewer, but you really don’t want to be stuck travelling with a machine that can’t be cleaned easily. No one wants coffee brewed in an unclean machine, so make sure you check out the cleaning and maintenance instructions for any machine you buy.
If you’re taking your portable espresso machine into the wilderness, you need to consider how you will deal with coffee waste. Coffee grounds are compostable but most Nespresso and other pods are not. Remember to be considerate of your surroundings and try to limit your coffee waste as much as possible.
Best Portable Coffee Machines for Espresso
1.Wacaco Minipresso Espresso Maker
The Wacaco Minipresso is one of the most popular portable espresso machines on the market. Coming in at about 360g, this portable espresso maker is easy to carry and convenient to use. Its compact design makes it perfect for camping and trekking. To brew, simply add coffee grounds and hot water, pump, and voila! Your espresso is done. The Minipresso is also easy to clean since it can be disassembled.
2.AeroPress Go Travel Coffee Maker
We can’t talk about portable coffee machines without the AeroPress. The AeroPress Go in particular is well-suited for travel thanks to its in-built mug, compact design, and lightweight (317g). It also comes with a pack of disposable filters but if you travel with your coffee often, then invest in a metal filter to reduce your coffee waste. The AeroPress produces a clean and smooth coffee, and the machine itself brews quickly and can be cleaned easily.
This portable coffee machine is a true gem for espresso lovers on the go. Weighing 640g, the OutIn Mini does what many other portable machines don’t do- it can heat your water. It heats up the water as part of the extraction process and this gives you a rich and deep crema. The machine is electric and rechargeable via USB. It can brew with either coffee grounds or with pods, so you’re sorted either way.
4.Litchi Handheld Portable Espresso Maker
For coffee lovers on a budget, the manual Litchi Portable Espresso Maker is a great choice. It comes with a carrying bag and a second filter basket (which many machines don’t have). The build is sturdy but you may need to be careful with how you pack it. Since it’s manually operated, you don’t need a plug point or batteries to use this machine. Simply pump it a few times, and you’ll have two shots of espresso ready to drink.
5.Flair Manual-Press Portable Espresso Maker
One of the most elegant designs on this list, the Flair Portable Espresso Maker has a portable frame with a detachable brewing head. Most of the parts in this brewer are made of stainless steel or aluminium, making it easy to maintain and very durable. When dismantled, it’s roughly the size of a standard laptop which makes it a bit larger than the others on this list. The design is beautiful but not always the most practical, and it can take some getting used to before you get a good cup.
6.Bialetti Moka Express
The Moka Express from Bialetti produces an intense espresso while also being very hardy in the outdoors. However, you will need direct heat (such as from a camping stove) to brew with this Moka pot. This particular model is slightly smaller than the standard Moka pot and can brew 3 shots of espresso at a time. Brewing and cleaning are both very simple with this portable brewer.
7.Conqueco Portable Espresso machine
The heaviest espresso maker on this list, The Conqueco portable Espresso machine weighs 880g and comes with an in-built heater, a 15-bar pressure pump, an internal self-cleaning function, and is compatible with Nespresso pods. The machine is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can be plugged into a wall socket or a car charger. A single charge produces 3-4 shots of espresso when you use cold water and more if you use hot water and skip the self-heating function. While heavy, this machine is the height of convenience since it brews at the push of a button and has a self-cleaning option.
How To Make Great Espresso with a Travel Coffee Machine
As with any brewing method, a good espresso begins with good coffee beans. High-quality, fresh beans give you excellent coffee no matter which brewing method you go for. Either buy your coffee freshly ground from a local café or roaster, or go for whole beans and a portable grinder to keep your coffee fresh during your travels.
Make sure you are familiar with your portable espresso machine before you take it with you on the road. Practice at home and learn the intricacies of your machine so that you avoid any snags while travelling. After all, you don’t want to end up taking the machine with you and being unable to use it. Pack your portable coffee machine carefully, and handle it with care to ensure it makes it through your trip.
Most importantly, have fun and experiment with your portable brewer! The joy of both brewing and travelling is in discovery and trying new things, so enjoy brewing and make some great memories along the way.