Coffee Maker That Travels Well
Q: In mid February I'll be on the road again for a few days. The horror is having to drink dreadful coffee from whatever beverage I can find in the town I'm in. I'd like to bring my own coffee maker so I can make a good cup of coffee while I'm out of town. Has anyone got any recommendations for a small coffee maker that will travel well? It only has to make one or two mugs of decent coffee. All I can guarantee in my hotel room is an electrical outlet. So, I won't have boiling hot water available for a french press style coffee maker. I would consider a mini autodrip style coffee maker if desperate!
A: I have to travel a lot for my job, and what I've found works the best for me is to tale along one of those little pots that makes hot water and a small french press pot. That way, the water gets hot enough & you don't have to face the horror of instant. If this takes up too much room in your suitcase, Folgers singles or other brand's equivalent aren't quite as good, but are certainly better than instant (or hotel-lobby coffee, which is almost always _very_ weak). You just have to be careful with the grounds - I've found that a small tupperware works a lot better than a ziplock bag for this purpose, because every time I've used a ziplock, something punctures it. You might try one of those small immersion heaters. It's basically a metal coil on the end of an electrical plug that you stick down in your water. It takes a bit for the water to get up to the right temp, but it does get there. From there you can either use a press or an over-the-cup cone filter thingy. If you don't absolutely need the french press, there are a few other options... Several companies make a portable drip coffeemaker, Gevalia markets one in their catalogue, breaks down into its own case and all that. Most decent hotels will provide a small drip coffee-maker, but bring your own coffee, theirs is mediocre at best. Lastly, you can do the hot-plate trick and get a filter cone that fits on a mug, or whatever receptacle you care to bring. Those work fairly well, although if you're a fan of the french press above all else, it wouldn't be much more trouble to bring along a smaller sized french press. I had a hotel stayover a couple of weeks ago. My room had one of those little drip coffee makers and two sealed coffee packets, each supposed to make a "4 cup" carafe. I threw both of them in the filter basket and brewed one carafe. The coffee was *still* insipid. I wound up throwing it out. Good luck to you.