Alex has never been professionally involved into the world of coffee, however he knows much more than any average barista. Being an avid coffee lover, Alex is constantly searching for new tips, tools, and techniques to make his morning cup of java even more perfect.
Dominic has been dealing with coffee almost all his life long: in his teenage years he worked as a barista in a number of well-known coffeehouses, later developing his knowledge and skills while studying at the university as well. Several years after the graduation, he managed to open his own small coffee bar, which turned into a chain spread all over the state.
Last updated: December 07, 2020
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If you are an avid traveler, then you know the importance of traveling light. This can be pretty tricky if you are also an avid coffee drinker who likes brewing their own cup of coffee each morning. Thankfully, if you have the best travel coffee maker in tow, you can easily make a great cup of coffee without using up too much space in your bag or storage area.
We have taken the time to put together a comprehensive list of the seven best travel coffee makers on the market today. After all of our careful research, we have come to the conclusion that the WACACO Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker is the best model you can buy. This amazing device doesn’t even need any electricity in order to operate, which makes it especially versatile for anyone that likes to rough it during their travels. This device is also incredibly lightweight and can be used with an adapter for Nespresso pods, which allow you to make the perfect cup of coffee each and every time.
In order to find the best travel coffee makers, we have spent tens of hours reading through hundreds of user reviews. We first looked at the different types on the market, as well as the kind of coffee that they use. Next, we looked at the capacity of each model, as well as their overall dimensions. This careful research not only allowed us to find the best models on the market but also made it possible for us to put together comprehensive reviews of each unit. We have also taken the time to lay out a detailed buying guide, which will give you everything you need to know to find the best coffee maker for your travels.
If you are in the market for the absolute best travel coffee maker, then you should definitely check this model out. For starters, it is one of the most compact, sleek, and easy to pack away makers on the market, which is why it is so perfect for travel. This model is also very easy to use, so much so that pretty much anyone that has ever made a standard cup of coffee shouldn’t have any issue with its innovative design.
Something else that makes this such an excellent choice for anyone that is traveling is that it does not require any electricity whatsoever. Instead, this model utilizes a manual pumping system that creates a surprising amount of pressure. In fact, this model can easily push the pressure all the way up to 18 bar, which is more than enough to make an extremely strong cup of espresso.
While this model is set up to utilize ground coffee, it can also be used with Nespresso capsules. Of course, if you do want to use these convenient capsules, you will need to buy an extra adapter. While this might add a bit to the purchase price, it will be well worth it in the amount of time that you save brewing your favorite cup of espresso.
The only real issue with this otherwise wonderful model is that it has a very limited capacity. Of course, since this is an espresso brewer, this shouldn’t be too big of a deal, as long as you aren’t looking for a large cup of coffee in the morning, that is.
What we liked:
Easy to use
Can be used with Nespresso capsules with an adaptor
Another good option for brewing, especially strong coffee or espresso, is this offering from AeroPress. As the name would suggest, this model is a French press style coffee maker. If you are someone that craves an extremely strong cup of coffee in the morning while you are traveling, then this is going to be the maker for you. Its patented design creates tons of pressure that forces the heated water over the beans very slowly, which helps to extract as much bold flavor as possible from the ground beans.
The only issue with this type of brewing system is that it has a lot of different pieces that you need to use each time that you are making your coffee. Thankfully, this model does come with a tote to keep it all in, which makes bringing it along on a road trip or vacation that much easier. Even though it has a lot of pieces to keep track of, this unit is still quite compact, which makes packing it that much easier.
This is an extremely well-made product. Even though it is primarily made out of plastics, you shouldn’t have to worry about it breaking down on you when you are traveling, when you are using it, or when you are cleaning it. The plastic is nice and thick, which gives it a much heftier feel than some other models. The provided tote also gives it a bit more protection from being broken when you are traveling as well.
If you have ever made a standard cup of coffee with an old drip-coffee machine, then you are fully prepared to make coffee with this model. It works in much the same way, though you will need to do the pouring yourself. Basically, the way that it works is you fill the provided filter with the coffee grounds of your choice and then pour the boiled water over it. This is a quick and easy process that doesn’t require a ton of work on your part and won’t take all that much time. The filter is also very easy to clean and reuse, which will save you a bit of money over the years.
Perhaps the best feature for this coffee maker is the mug that it comes with. The thermos and filter fit together perfectly, which will help to eliminate any worries about drips, which is essential when you are on the go.
Another great feature of this thermos is that it is completely cool to the touch. This is very important since you have to use boiling water to brew coffee with this model. The last thing that you want is to have a super-hot cup of coffee in a thermos that is not insulated correctly. That is a recipe to get a burn while you are driving. This thermos helps to prevent this thanks to the fact that it is completely cool to the touch. It also comes in a wide variety of colors, which is not essential, but certainly a nice touch.
If you are looking to save as much space as possible with your travel coffee maker, then this just might be the right option for you. Even though it comes with its own travel mug, this is an exceptionally compact and highly portable model that should fit into pretty much any small space you have leftover in your bag. The press actually fits into the thermos when you aren’t using it, which is a great space-saving feature.
This model is also really good for brewing stronger coffee. This, of course, shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise, since this is a French press style coffee maker. This model creates tons of pressure during the brewing process. This is a very easy process to follow, making this a great option for anyone looking for a quick and easy method for making delicious coffee on the go.
The thermos for this brewer is one of the best on the market as well. In fact, not only is it completely leak-proof, but it also boasts one of the longest heat retention times available. This mug will keep your coffee nice and hot for an amazing 24 hours. Even though your coffee probably won’t take you that long to drink, it is nice to know that you don’t need to worry about it going cold on you if you don’t drink it quickly.
One thing that you will need to keep in mind with this model is that it actually has a lower capacity than advertised. This occurs during the brewing process. Some of the water that seems like it will fit into the thermos will be retained in the press, which will lower the overall capacity that you can brew, though only slightly.
When looking for a good travel coffee maker, you might be tempted to think that the more expensive a model is, the better it is going to work. While this might be true for in-home brewing systems, it is not always the case when it comes to travel brewers. In fact, this model from Presto is both high-quality and budget-friendly. It is relatively small, which makes it easy to stow away when you are not using it, yet it is still large enough to make a nice sized cup of coffee.
Something that might come as a bit of surprise with such a budget-conscious model is that this maker doesn’t use ground coffee. Instead, this unit utilizes K-cups, which helps to make the brewing process a whole lot easier. Since you won’t have to measure any coffee out when you are going to brew a cup, this maker is also a good way to save time in the morning, which is always helpful when you are traveling.
This brewer is also quite durable and easy to keep clean. Since it is made with both durable plastic and easy-to-clean silicone, this isn’t too big of a surprise. These materials will also allow you to heat up your water or coffee in a microwave, which is a big help if you don’t have a kettle to heat water in when you are traveling.
One thing to keep in mind with this model is that it is tricky at first to fully assemble it once you have added hot water to the system. The pump lid is especially hard to get into place, though it does get much easier with a bit of practice.
One of the biggest trends in the brewing world right now is cold brew coffee. This coffee is much stronger than hot coffee and is much easier to drink since it isn’t hot at all. The big issue with buying it, however, is that it can get extremely expensive. Thankfully, if you choose to purchase this model for your travels, you can make your own cold brew coffee at a fraction of the cost without trading any taste away.
Of course, it must be said that this is not a quick brewing system. Cold brew takes a much longer time to make because the water and coffee grounds need to be mixed for at least 12 hours before you can drink it. While this might sound like a huge disadvantage, it shouldn’t be too big of a deal, since this maker has a very large capacity.
Unlike many of the other models out there, this brewer has a very large capacity of 40 ounces that will allow you to make more than one cup of cold brew at a time. The great thing about this is that, as long as you keep it cold, cold brew coffee can last up to a week without losing its flavor. With this in mind, it is possible that you could brew just once and have enough cold brew to last you for at least five days. The included mug is large enough to accommodate all of this coffee at once, which makes traveling with it very easy.
While all of the other coffee makers on our list are manual models, this unit is battery operated. If you are someone that doesn’t like to leave their cup of coffee in the morning to chance or risk human error, then this is a great model for you. Not only is it fully automated, but this model also uses K-cups, which will save you the hassle of having to measure out your coffee each morning.
Since this model is an electric coffee maker, you won’t need to worry about pumping the coffee yourself. What you will need to keep in mind is that this unit will not work at all if you don’t keep it charged. While this maker doesn’t need to be plugged in to work, you will need to keep the battery full of power for it to operate correctly. Thankfully, the battery lasts for about ten cups of coffee before it needs to be recharged. It also comes with two different chargers that will allow you to plug into a standard wall outlet or the DC port in your car.
One thing to keep in mind with this coffee maker is that the instructions are not particularly clear. While the brewer is relatively straightforward, it might take a bit of practice to use it correctly and get high-quality cups of coffee each and every time.
What we liked:
What could be better:
Instructions are unclear
Things to Сonsider
In this section, we will go through everything that you need to know to find the best travel coffee maker possible. We have also taken the time to answer several frequently asked questions, so be sure to read through those as well if you have any further questions.
Features to consider while choosing a travel coffee maker
As you can imagine, there are plenty of different features that you need to take into account when you are looking for the best one cup travel coffee maker. In this section, we will go through everything you need to know in-depth so that you can buy your new coffee maker with confidence.
When it comes to finding a travel coffee maker, you have just as many options as you do when you are selecting a standard model to use in your home. You have two basic choices to select from in this case, which include electric or manual models. Each of these two types then has a variety of different types you can choose from.
Electric – As you can imagine, electric models are extremely easy to use, since they do all of the hard work for you. All you need to do is load them up properly and let then press the start button. Of course, with this type of coffee maker, you will need to make sure that you have an outlet handy or, at the very least, make sure you charge the maker before you head out on your trip.
Manual – As long as you don’t mind doing a bit more work on your own, then a manual coffee maker just might be the right choice for you when you are on the road. Manual makers utilize different systems to brew coffee. These systems include presses, pumps, and drip and steep systems. Even though they all work differently, they all will give you a quality cup each and every morning.
The next thing that you will want to take into account for your new coffee maker is the overall capacity. When you are trying to determine the capacity of your new maker, you should think about how many cups of coffee you are going to need to make at one time. If you are a solo traveler, then you can probably get by with a much smaller model, like the WACACO Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker. Not only will this save you a bit of money on the upfront purchase price, but it will also take up less room, which is key for any traveler looking to keep their gear nice and light.
On the other hand, if you are someone that travels with lots of friends, or just someone that likes more than one coffee a day, then you should probably get a model with a higher capacity. Of course, while a model like the Asobu Coldbrew Portable Cold Brew Coffee Maker will give you the ability to make more coffee at once, it will take up more space in your bag.
If there’s a mug/thermos and how long will it keep your coffee hot
Something else that you might want to keep in mind when you are looking for your travel coffee maker is whether or not it comes with its own thermos. While this is certainly not an essential feature, it can help to save a bit more space so that you can travel lighter. It will also make keeping your coffee from spilling that much easier since a thermos that is designed to be used with a coffee maker is going to be much more compatible than one that you purchase separately.
Since you are going to be using this coffee maker for traveling, you are going to want to look for a maker that is made with durable materials. That way, you won’t need to worry about it breaking down on you on your travels. One of the most common materials that you see with a travel coffee system is plastic. This makes a lot of sense since plastic is easy to clean and shouldn’t break down through repeated uses. Of course, you want to make sure that you get a model with thicker plastic, like the AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker, which will prevent it from cracking.
Aside from the durability level of the materials used in your new coffee maker, you also want to get a maker that is easy to clean. Nothing will ruin your favorite coffee faster than a dirty maker. Food-safe silicone is very easy to clean and durable material that some makers, like the Presto MyJo Single Cup Coffee Maker, have started using. These silicone parts are very easy to keep nice and clean, which, in turn, will help to keep your coffee tasting as good as possible.
Which coffee to use
When it comes to choosing the type of coffee you can use, you have two different options. You can either go with a model that uses pods, such as Nespresso pods or K-cups, or you can get a model that uses ground coffee. Both of these different types of coffee offer you different advantages and disadvantages that you need to take into account before you make your final decision.
Pods – Coffee makers that utilize pods or k-cups, such as the AICOK Travel Coffee Maker, are extremely easy to use. There is no measuring necessary, and it is completely impossible to spill any coffee grounds since they are sealed up. These pods can get quite expensive, however, and you might have a tougher time finding them than you would with coffee grounds.
Ground – While coffee grounds might be a bit tougher to transport, they are much easier to find and cheaper to buy. They also offer you a lot more variety and versatility when it comes to the flavors you can brew.
Another big factor that you will want to keep in mind when before you make your final decision is the overall dimensions for your new coffee maker. Since you are going to be using this when you are traveling, space is most likely going to be a bit tight. As such, you should try to find the smallest model that you can. In that case, the WACACO Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker is a wonderful option. It is especially compact, making it a great option for anyone looking to save a bit of space.
When it comes time to buy any new appliance, no matter if you are going to use it in your home or on the road, it is always a good idea to look very carefully for a good warranty. That way, should anything fail on your coffee maker, you will be able to get it repaired or replaced without having to pay anything, or at least not very much, out of pocket.
Of course, you need to make sure that you look very carefully at each and every warranty. Many companies will claim to offer an extended warranty, but will only cover a small number of parts. You need to be certain that you understand the warranty agreement so that you aren’t surprised later on if something should happen to your coffee maker.
Since most of these coffee makers are very simplistic in their design, it isn’t that surprising that there aren’t a ton of extra features like you would see on a coffee maker for your home. That doesn’t, however, mean that there aren’t any features out there that you might want to look for. For instance, it might not be a bad idea to look for a maker that comes with everything that you need, such as filters, measuring cups, and stirrers. This accessory package will make your brewing a whole lot easier since it will start you off on the right foot.
Something else to keep an eye out for is, as we mentioned previously, coffee makers that come with their own cups. Not only will these cups work best with their brewing system, but they will also save you from having to pack something else on your travels.
The most important thing to remember when you are trying to make iced coffee is that you need to allow it to steep (brew coldly) for about 12 hours before you can drink it. As such, not very many models are set up for this brewing process. The Asobu Coldbrew Portable Cold Brew Coffee Maker, thankfully, is set up for this method of brewing. It has a built-in steeping chamber that will allow you to easily cold brew your iced coffee.
The length of time that coffee can be stored and still remain fresh in a travel mug is completely dependent on the quality of the travel mug. If you don’t have a good mug, then the coffee will probably only last about an hour or so before it starts to lose its freshness. On the other hand, if you have a mug like the one that comes with the KOHIPRESS The Original Portable French Press Coffee Maker, your coffee should last for at least a day and still be nice and fresh.
If you are in the market for the best overall travel coffee maker, then the WACACO Nonpresso Portable Espresso Maker is going to be your best bet. This amazing compact brewing system is very easy to use and can create high levels of pressure to brew incredibly strong cups of espresso that are the perfect pick-me-up for a busy traveler. Plain and simple, we highly recommend that you check this model out for your next vacation.
The AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker is a great option for anyone looking for especially strong cups of coffee or espresso. This French press style coffee maker is highly durable and comes with everything you need to make a great cup of coffee.
The best travel coffee maker, surprisingly, doesn’t need to be anything fancy. In fact, it could easily be something very straightforward and easy to use, much like the Coffee Gator Pour Over Brewer Mug. This unit is almost the same as a drip coffee maker for your home, which makes it very easy to use and exceptionally reliable when you are traveling.