Travel Coffee Kits for true hipster baristas
We see a lot of interesting and quirky ways to make coffee. But at the end of the day, our main focus is discovering the best coffee, and finding the best ways to make that coffee wherever we are.
If you're looking for a travel coffee maker, first consider a complete kit. Coffee travel kits have become a hot topic and sought after item. But with so much available, how can you decide what’s best for you? If you are like us and want to find the best travel coffee kit, then, this is for you! We’ll tell you what to look for and how to choose the best coffee travel kit to suit your own needs.
The Rambler from Stumptown Coffee
This coffee travel kit contains everything you need including the excellent AeroPress. The Rambler coffee travel kit is easily our favourite kit for brewing coffee under pressure whilst we’re on the road.
The Basics: What and Why
Coffee travel kits are the best way to enjoy your coffee on the go, and as long as you have access to hot water you’ll have no need to find a power source to make your delicious brew.
If you want to avoid stale truck-stop coffee and overpriced espresso, coffee travel kits are your best option.
And if you enjoy getting back to nature without leaving all of your creature comforts behind, this is exactly what you need. Depending on your budget and your personal preferences you’ll be able to choose from a basic set up to a comprehensive travel kit.
What’s Included in a Coffee Travel Kit?
Coffee travel kits include some, or all, of the following:
- A storage container
- A hand grinder
- Travel mugs
- A travel kettle
- A coffee thermos
- A coffee maker
- A carry case
You can assemble your own kit from scratch, but in our experience we’ve found that buying a purpose made travel kit is the best option. Why? Not only is everything you need included, but the various components are all thoughtfully designed to work together and come neatly packaged in their own purpose-built carry bag or case. Perfect for saving space on your travels!
Do You Need a Coffee Travel Kit?
If you have a lack of respect for coffee, or if you’re a fan of instant coffee – NO. In fact, how the heck did you end up here in the first place? You must be lost. If you’re like us and consider quality tasting coffee a must have wherever and whenever you want it – YES, you absolutely, without a doubt, need a coffee travel kit.
Owning your own travel kit ensures that you’re drinking the best coffee the way you want it, whenever you want it.
Once you find your perfect travel kit, you'll want to know how to use it. So, watch our fun video on making coffee on the road:
How to Choose the right Coffee Travel Kit
travel items -binocular, map, coffee, camera and phone
Great quality coffee is all about consistency (1). And guaranteeing consistency means using good quality gear. Whether it’s a kit for your own use or a gift for the coffee lover in your life, it’s important to know how to make the right choice.
Nothing beats the feeling of visiting a new place for the first time—but nothing’s worse than forgoing good coffee for days on end.
If you have been making your own coffee for awhile, you’ll already know that there’s several methods and techniques- from roasting and grinding your own beans, to the various brewing methods. Whilst you’re not going to be able to produce a run of silky smooth cappuccinos out in the wilderness, it is important to know which style of coffee you prefer and choose your coffee travel kit accordingly.
Not sure which method you prefer? We’ve included our personal favourite towards the end of this article to simplify your decision. However, you should start by looking and considering each and every brew method.
The freshest coffee isn’t always the best coffee (i.e. there are many other variables) but the best coffee always uses the freshest ingredients (2). Beans rapidly lose their flavour as soon as they are ground. Therefore, we strongly recommend you choose a kit that includes a good quality hand burr grinder (3).
The Airtight Storage Container
The freshest coffee is the best coffee. Whole beans or pre-ground both require an airtight storage container. Make sure that your coffee travel kit includes a good quality, durable and airtight storage container with the capacity to store as much coffee as you think you’ll need.
Surprisingly, many coffee travel kits don’t include a storage container, so for this reason we’d recommend something like the TightVac portable vacuum sealed storage container to solve this conundrum.
A good mug is one with a sturdy design, one that won’t fall over, and one that keeps your coffee hot even on cold nights. Stainless steel mugs are a good and inexpensive lightweight option but aren’t practical to hold in your hands for a long time without some insulation to avoid burnt fingers.
Handles will obviously help to solve this particular problem, but a handle takes up more space in your luggage and they aren’t suited for those of us with excessively large paws.
You may want to consider a thermos design for keeping your brew warmer for longer and for avoiding burnt hands. Ensure that the mug you choose will work with your brewing method. Many methods will brew the coffee straight into your mug, so you’ll need to ensure everything works together. This is another reason why we strongly recommend purchasing a purpose-made coffee travel kit.
The Travel Coffee MAKER
Pour-over, pump, or press. These are your three main methods for brewing coffee on the go. Which one is best? That’s a matter of personal preference but if you ask us, nothing beats a good quality coffee brewed under pressure. When you’re out on the road or in the outback, you will want something that is both easy to use and easy to clean. You’ll find out which machines tick all the right boxes in our reviews below.
The 5 Best Travel Coffee Kits, Reviewed
Every kit on our list includes the minimum required for brewing coffee on the go. However, not all of these will be suited to meet your specific needs. Make sure to consider where and when you’ll be using your coffee travel kit to choose what’s right for you.
1 – Handpresso Outdoor Espresso Set
- 16 bar espresso
- Four cups included
- Requires regular oiling of all moving parts to remain functional
Brewing method: Pressure
A quirky and portable design with 16 bar pressure ensuring good results.
This kit includes:
- Four ‘unbreakable’ cups
- An insulated flask to keep hot water by your side.
- 1 (small) napkin
- The quirky bicycle pump style Handpresso brew machine.
But, we are frustrated and let down by the lack of a coffee grinder and the regular maintenance you’ll need to perform.
This machine also takes longer to clean than others. These factors may be enough reason for you to start looking elsewhere. We recommend the Handpresso Outdoor Espresso set if you need a portable high pressure espresso machine, but that’s where we leave it.
2 – Prima Coffee Travel Kit
- High quality and durable design
- Coffee grinder and AeoroPress for great tasting coffee
- Not suitable for adventurous travellers
- No carry bag for easy transportation
Brewing method: Pressure
Prima Coffee have assembled this kit themselves from various items they keep in stock. Buying this kit means a saving of roughly $10 compared to purchasing each item separately from Prima Coffee.
This kit includes:
- 16.9 ounce (0.5 liter) Bonavita BonaVoyage Electric Travel Kettle
- The Hario Mini Mill Slim Hand Grinder
- Aerobie AeroPress Coffee Maker
We’re excited to see these three high quality items included. The AeroPress is highly lauded as one of the best coffee makers ever. And the Hario slim grinder is one of the most popular of its kind on Amazon. However, we feel that Prima Coffee are stretching the definition of a coffee travel kit a bit too far.
The included kettle, whilst good quality and small enough to transport easily, requires a standard power outlet to make use of. It would make more sense if this could be powered from a standard 12V car’s cigarette lighter. Consider as well that there’s no travel bag or mugs included deeming this kit less than useful for many situations.
We can recommend purchasing this kit if you’re staying in hotel rooms or at a friend’s place, but this kit has no use if you plan on heading away from civilization.
3 – Timbuk2 X Blue Bottle Travel Kit – Weekender Kit
- High quality design
- Custom handmade carry bag
- We can’t fault Blue Bottle’s Weekender kit, except to say that the $170 price increase for their Sabbatical kit is simply not worth it
Brewing method: Drip
Blue Bottle have teamed up with Timbuk2 to bring you this fantastic comprehensive travel kit. In addition to the weekender kit we’re reviewing today, they also offer their limited edition Sabbatical Kit for an additional $170, which, along with everything else, will provide you with the elegant Tsuki Usagi Kettle and the questionably useful Hario digital coffee scales.
We love the Weekender Travel Kit and can do without the extras in the Sabbatical Travel Kit. You could also save yourself roughly $70 and buy these extra items separately if your heart is set on them. Just remember that they may not fit in the Weekender’s bag.
This kit includes:
- Custom Timbuk2 Waxed Canvas and Leather Trimmed Bag
- Blue Bottle Bonmac Travel Dripper
- Blue Bottle Coffee: Three Africans
- Two Falcon Enamelware Tumblers
- Two Felt Zarfs
- Porlex Mini Hand Grinder
- Bonmac #1 Filters
- Brew Guide
We’ve said it before – unlike this kit, we do prefer the taste of coffee brewed under pressure. But if drip coffee is your thing, then don’t look anywhere else. This travel kit has all of the premium quality equipment that you’ll need to get great drip coffee on the go.
4 – Rambler From Stumptown Coffee
- High quality gear
- Beautiful custom made waterproof canvas carry bag
- Enamel mugs with handles
Brewing method: Pressure
Stumptown Coffee have assembled this kit based on their ‘dream travel set-up’. They’ve teamed up with bag makers Wood & Faulk to package everything in a beautiful waterproof canvas bag, and the result is: ‘The Rambler'.
This kit includes:
- Wood & Faulk bag made of water repellent canvas, bridle leather and brass zipper.
- AeroPress kit with filters
- Two Stumptown enamel mugs
- Porlex Mini grinder
- 12 oz bag of Hair Bender coffee
- Brew guide
With everything you need including the excellent AeroPress, the Rambler coffee travel kit is easily our favourite kit for brewing coffee under pressure whilst we’re on the road. You’ll fall in love with the gorgeous custom designed canvas and leather carry bag.
The only thing we don’t like is the enamel mugs. We have big hands so we prefer something that can be comfortably held without using a handle that won’t burn our hands. And handles take up additional valuable luggage space. If you’re like us and you prefer some pressure to your coffee brew, the Rambler will become the most valued item in your suitcase.
5 – Cafflano Klassic Portable Coffee Make
- Unique all-in-one design for the smallest travel kit
- Simple to use with coffee beans ground straight into the filter
- Small design means only one cup of coffee per brew
Brewing method: Drip
We needed something completely unique on our list of the best coffee travel kits, and this is it. The one of a kind, all-in-one Cafflano Klassic Portable Coffee Maker is an insulated thermos, bean storage container, coffee bean grinder, and coffee drip machine.
This impressive little device is the smallest kit on our list. But it does sacrifice space saving convenience for the convenience of a larger brew. We’re impressed by its thoughtful and intuitive design and the grinder even allows you to adjust your grind’s coarseness to suit your beans and preference.
It’s an all-in-one device which includes:
- Drip coffee maker
- Hand mill grinder
- Insulated thermos
If you have the luggage space, we’d recommend something a little larger like the Weekender Kit from earlier in this article. The Cafflano Klassic will still allow you to create a great tasting drip brew in the most remote of places, but it’s tiny design means you’ll only be able to make one cup of coffee at a time.
But Can’t I Just Make My Own Kit?
There’s one option that we haven’t covered in this article, and that’s making your own custom coffee travel kit. If the above options don’t meet all of your needs, you might find that assembling your own kit is the way to go.
You’re likely to save a bit of money in the process but you’ll need to carefully consider each and every component, ensuring everything works together when you’re a million miles away from civilization. Without planning, your DIY coffee travel kit could be a messy fail.
From the five coffee travel kits that we’ve reviewed, we do have a favorite! If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll already be able to guess which one it is:
The Rambler from Stumptown Coffee takes the cake for a top quality travel kit that brews coffee under pressure, and is stylish as F**k.
Whilst you may have your own coffee brewing preferences and specific needs that potentially see you preferring a different kit, we strongly recommend the Rambler either for yourself or as an awesome gift for the coffee guru in your life.
Everything else we’ve reviewed is still a great option and you’ll only have to decide which one suits your specific needs. Nothing beats brewing your own coffee to dust off the cobwebs and revitalize the spirit. So whether you’re living out of hotel rooms, heading to a sporting event, or getting back in touch with nature, your coffee travel kit will become your new best travelling companion.
You can travel with coffee by setting yourself up with a complete coffee travel kit. You can personally assemble your travel kit or purchase a full set readily available online. The ideal kit includes a hand grinder, coffee maker, coffee mug, storage container, coffee thermos, travel kettle and a case to carry all these. It's important that you choose a set that suits your personal coffee drinking needs and brewing habits.
You can brew coffee on the go by taking your coffee travel kit with you. The most basic set – hand grinder, coffee maker, a mug, and of course, your coffee beans – means that you can enjoy a freshly brewed coffee wherever you are – as long as you got hot water handy.
You can store coffee beans for up to one month depending on your storing method – the basic rule is to keep your beans away from air (oxygen), light and moisture to preserve their flavourness. Although, to get the most of its quality, it's recommended to consume a freshly-roasted batch within a week or so.
You can make coffee on a road trip with the right brewing equipment suited for traveling. All you need is access to hot water and your coffee travel kit- obviously. Now that the coffee industry has picked up on the need for travel-friendly coffee equipment there's no shortage of good quality gear to choose from.
- Koh, S. (2018, April 05). A Guide to Coffee Grind Size, Consistency, & Flavor. Retrieved July 2, 2019, from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/12/a-guide-to-coffee-grind-size-consistency-flavor/
- National Coffee Association. (n.d.). How to Brew Coffee – The NCA Guide to Brewing Essentials. Retrieved July 2, 2019, from https://www.ncausa.org/About-Coffee/How-to-Brew-Coffee
- Sarley, J. (2017, October 05). A Morning Cup by Jason Sarley. Retrieved July 2, 2019, from https://www.coffeereview.com/coffee-brewing/