Coffee On-the-Go

Coffee On-the-Go

Well hey there, everybody!

My sincerest apologies for the hiatus, but we’ve got big news to share: Kayla and I bought a house!!! This being our first home, we spent a great deal of time navigating the buying process, but are happy to have finally landed on a place that feels like home. Er, I guess to be more precise, it will look like home, once we’ve finished giving it the TLC it desperately needs. As of late, much of our time has been spent behind the drill/hammer, hence the regretful hiatus from Whink’s blogging (don’t worry though, good coffee was still had!). If you’re at all interested in following along with the renovation progress, Kayla is documenting on instagram @thehinkshaus! Neither of us has a background in home renovation/building/flipping, so it’s been an entertaining learning process to say the least. In any case, on to the coffee…

These past few months in transition got me thinking: when your “go-to” coffee gear is in storage, what can you do to ensure the quality keeps flowing? I think this is a particularly important question to answer for a number of people, not just those in the throes of a home renovation. As I’ve said before, Kayla and I both make a point to travel as often as possible, whether that’s just a few hours away in a nearby town, or across the globe! So, adapting our coffee routine was relatively easy, because we had the luxury of practicing this “on-the-go” routine many, many times before. All that to say, the suggestions here can be applied to anyone who finds themselves removed from their typical coffee preparation routine, from the world traveler to the on-the-go professional.

Travel planning is hard. Coffee planning shouldn’t be

Given that this is (largely) a coffee gear post, I’m going to break it up into a few categories, and give some recommendations from each that I have either used or closely researched (admittedly, with the intent to buy). When we think about coffee preparation generally, we can break the necessary tools into just three categories: Grinder (assuming whole bean coffee it used, to preserve freshness), Water Heating Device, and Brewing Device. Of course, there are the nth number of tools out there that coffee enthusiasts use in their day-to-day preparation, but that’s for another post. We’re talking bare-bones here…

Grinder.

I won’t waste your time spelling out the subtle differences between each of our suggestions, but rest assured that each offers a solid, consistent, and adjustable grind. Personally, my go-to is the Porlex Mini. It’s affordable, resilient, and fits perfectly inside of my Aeropress, saving me valuable pack and suitcase space on backpacking or travel trips! At ~$70USD, it’s not the cheapest on the market, but the materials are hefty and the grind is consistent. The Hario Slim is lighter and leaves a bit to be desired in grind consistency, but the price still makes it an attractive option! The Commandante is a bit newer on the market, but has some tremendous feedback among coffee professionals and enthusiasts! Each of these are small, packable, and lightweight, making them perfect for on-the-go coffee enthusiasts!

Water Heating Device.

This is always a tough one, and a hurdle that I struggle with on almost every trip I take. When I go backpacking, the solution is pretty simple: a Camping Stove to heat the water up and pour it into my brewing device. Sure, I won’t have the luxury of a gooseneck, but hey, at least I’m not sinking to instant coffee or worse, no coffee *shudder*. I own a Jetboil camp stove for a number of reasons unrelated to coffee, but there are a number of lightweight options on the market that will do the trick! Full disclosure, I’ll often take my camping stove with me on non-camping trips. It’s just an easy solution to an often complicated problem.

Another option is the Electric Heating Wand, which is surprisingly inexpensive and highly effective. The only kick is that you’ll need something in which to heat the water, and you can very, very easily ruin the device with improper use. The function is simple enough, pop the wand in your water, plug it in, and wait for boil! If you’re traveling internationally, be mindful of the voltage and bring along the appropriate converter!

Lastly, we’ve got the Collapsible Gooseneck Kettle. Collapsible kettles have been on the market for a while now, but this is the first I’ve seen marketed specifically for the coffee community. The kettle functions similarly to most variable temperature kettles on the market, but folds almost completely flat for easy storage in suitcaes/backpacks/etc.

Brewing Device.

This last one is almost entirely a point of personal preference. What kind of coffee do you prefer? Do you value convenience more than anything? For me, it’s the latter. When I’m on-the-go, convenience is what I’m after. I’m hitting the trail or seeing the sites, I don’t have time to fumble through my brew process. For that reason, I move to the Aeropress. As I mentioned above, my grinder fits perfectly inside of the device, making it the ideal option for pack space. It’s also the easiest to use. Because it is an immersion brewer, you don’t need a precise pour, making it ideal if your water situation doesn’t lend itself to gooseneck. Filters are small and generally more manageable than other options. Another option would be a Collapsible Pourover Device. There are a number on the market, but this one from Snowpeak has seen some really positive reviews from the camping community. It is a super lightweight option that packs almost entirely flat, making it great option for the regular traveler. My last suggestion is the Portable Espresso Machine. I got this one from Wacaco as a gift a few years ago and have been pleasantly surprised with the quality of the espresso you can pull! Don’t expect it to measure up to your favorite coffee shop or a prosumer machine, but its still a great option for the espresso-lover. There aren’t too many individual pieces, but luckily they all pack up into a nice, portable pod.

A simple setup for on-the-go coffee

These suggestions are by no means exhaustive, and new products are constantly being introduced into the specialty coffee community, but hopefully they can get you pointed in the right direction for your next trip! We’re always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to brew coffee at home and on-the-go. Did we miss a critical piece of travel coffee gear? What does your coffee routine look like when you’re on-the-go? Let us know in the comments or send an email to whinkscoffee@gmail.com

Until next time!

Cheers,

Michael

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