If you’re an inveterate traveller or adventurer, you probably like to take your coffee with you. Or at least, not rely on searching or a coffee shop anywhere to enjoy your favourite beverage. The solution is to buy a travel coffee maker, but many users are not familiar with the concept of travel coffee makers, nor do they know how they differ from domestic coffee makers.
In this article, we are going to review the best ideas if you need a coffee maker for excursions, a coffee maker for camping or simply a coffee machine that you can take with you and use at any time.
What is a travel coffee maker
Let’s start at the beginning. If you’re going to buy a coffee maker to go on a camping trip, you need to meet a number of basic premises. In the coffee maker industry, there is no specific segment for travel coffee makers, but there are some types of coffee makers that gather interesting qualities for this purpose. For example:
- They do not require electricity.
- They should be small or light (or both).
- That they work with ESE pads or coffee pods of some kind.
With these premises, we find various kinds of coffee makers that meet the necessary requirements to be considered portable coffee makers for travel. They are these:
Car coffee makers
They are also known as 12v coffee makers. They are characterized in that they plug into the car’s cigarette lighter socket (which is 12 volts, hence the name), and so can prepare a hot espresso coffee on the spot. They have the advantage that they do not need to boil or heat the water beforehand.
There are also the 24v coffee makers, which work exactly the same but with the 24-volt sockets, which are not present in cars but are present in other larger vehicles such as motor homes and trucks. If you are looking to buy a truck coffee maker, you will need one of this type.
And if you are looking for a coffee maker for camping, it may also be a good idea to opt for a 12v coffee maker that you can plug into your motorhome (or whatever voltage the vehicle in question has).
You can read more about them and learn about many of the models available on the market here: a buying guide for car coffee makers.
Portable coffee makers
The operation and the way in which they prepare coffee is similar to the previous ones, but portable coffee makers differ from car coffee makers in two fundamental details:
- They are not connected to any electrical outlet (they prepare the coffee cold, or hot but you boil the water beforehand).
- They usually have an integrated thermal cup so that you can take your coffee with you or drink it on the street as soon as you prepare it. For this reason they are also called individual coffee makers. You can read more about them here: buying guide for portable coffee makers.
It should be made clear that all car coffee makers are portable, but not all portable coffee makers are for the car.
USB coffee makers
As the name suggests, these are portable coffee makers that do not have a conventional power outlet but plug directly into any USB port.
Read here a post dedicated to these kinds of coffee machines: Coffee Machines with USB: The Latest Trend.
Small moka pots
Another type of coffee maker that can be used as a travel coffee maker is the typical Italian coffee maker or Moka, but only small Moka coffee makers (for 1 or 2 cups maximum) because otherwise, they would take up too much space for them to be comfortable.
More than travel coffee makers per se, the small Italian coffee makers are valid as coffee makers for camping or hiking (which are scenarios where we can find a small stove or even make a campfire to serve as a source of heat).
The smaller French presses are also a good alternative as a coffee maker for travelling. Not so much for excursions, because carrying them in a backpack can be risky (they are somewhat fragile), but as coffee pots for camping or coffee pots to take on a car trip.
We must insist that, as with the Moka, the plunger coffee pots suitable for travel must always be the smallest. A 1-litre capacity piece would be too bulky to carry comfortably. Lightness and size are two of the basic requirements for a coffee maker to be considered “travel-suitable”.
For this reason, we do not include “Cold Brew” coffee makers in our selection. They are very simple; they do not need electricity, just water and coffee… but they are usually larger than recommended to be considered travel coffee makers in the strict sense of the word.
It should also be noted that many of these machines, although they do not run on electricity, do require you to prepare the coffee with hot water… so you either have to heat the water yourself first or have a kettle on hand, which in the end doesn’t stop being another dependency factor.
The 2 best coffee makers for travel in 2022
And having made the introductions, it’s time to get down to business. Taking into account everything that has been exposed so far, these are, in our opinion, the 2 best travel coffee makers of 2022.
Handpresso Auto travel coffee maker
If we are talking about a travel coffee maker, this is an essential reference. We can define it as a pioneer in its sector, and it has been a leader for many years. It has been the best coffee maker for the car for a long time, and it looks set to remain so for a long time to come.
Among its many virtues, we can highlight the possibility of making various sizes of espresso and the possibility of using any type of capsule compatible with Nespresso (not only the typical ESE pods).
The Handpresso Auto has 19 bars of pressure and also works as a 12v coffee maker and as a 24v coffee maker indistinctly. It is difficult to find a downside, apart from the price – higher than other similar car coffeemakers.
NOTE: We enclose the complete kit, which comes with several accessories and a carrying case, but of course, you can also purchase the Handpresso car coffee maker separately.
An economical alternative when it comes to travel coffee makers is the Staresso SP-200. It is a portable coffee maker that does not require electricity, batteries or energy of any kind. It is not, therefore, a coffee maker for the car because it does not plug into any electrical outlet.
Apart from its design and the fact that it is a travel coffee maker with an excellent quality-price ratio, what we like most about the Staresso SP200 is that it can prepare different types of coffee and not just a traditional espresso. And on top of that, it is available in several colours, so… it is a perfect travel coffee maker to give as a gift!