Coffee To Go - How to get your perfect coffee no matter where in the world you are!
“The most dangerous drinking game is seeing how long I can go without coffee.” – Unknown
I love coffee… it is not exactly a secret. One of my biggest headaches when travelling is finding a decent coffee. If you have ever been to Melbourne, Australia you would probably understand. Coffee is almost a religion here!
From choices of milk (everything from dairy, soy, almond, macadamia, oat and hemp to pea protein milk) to multiple types of beans and roasts, nearly every cafe has more choices than you can drink in a month. We are very spoiled for choice! I have a favourite cafe near home, work, my parents home, local market, high street and so on. But when we travel, the likelihood of finding a good coffee shrinks dramatically.
The first time I went to Europe was a surprise, I honestly thought coffees were the same or at least would be better. Instead coffee in Paris was overwhelmingly bitter or burnt. Being lactose intolerant, I also can’t have dairy milk, that just adds another complication. I could only find soy milk in Australian run cafes, and even that tasted completely different to what is available back home.
I learnt very quickly to adapt to espressos… The habit of popping into a café to quickly sip at a short black for €1 (the price for drinking at the bar compared to nearly €4 to sit at a table) meant I lost track of how many I had and ended up with a serious case of the jitters and more then a few sleepless nights!
Which brings me to my favourite travel gadget of all time… the portable French coffee press.
What is a French Coffee Press?
A French Coffee press is a manual device that brews coffee without being plugged into anything or put on a stove top.
You’ve probably seen one in cafes and not known what it is called.
Basically you pour coffee grounds into the base of the jug and top with boiling hot water. Let it steep for a few minutes then slowly push the plunger down. The plunger will stop the grounds pouring out when you pour the coffee into a cup.
The benefits to making coffee this way is you can decide on how strong you want it to be (the longer it steeps the stronger it will be), and how much to make (amount of coffee and water is up to you).
While more hands on, it is much more enjoyable. I find that because it slows down the process, I savour it more.
What is the difference between a portable and a standard French coffee press?
A standard French coffee press looks similar to a teapot, and is typically made from glass and plastic. It is not waterproof and definitely not ideal for travelling. But when at home, it is quick and easy to rinse after each use. They also come in multiple sizes.
A portable one looks very similar to a thermos, albeit much narrower (perfect for on the go). You can even buy mini portable grinders if you love super fresh coffee grounds (I love this just for the smell of freshly ground coffee in the morning!)
Both versions also allow you to brew tea as well… if you are a fan of loose leaf tea then simply replace the coffee grounds with tea leaves and voilà.
But what about coffee and milk?
Depending on where you are travelling from, there is a good chance you may not be able to bring your own grounds. I just beeline for a grocery store and buy once I land, and pick up some snacks and fruits as well. Just keep the bag or grounds in a plastic sturdy plastic container to prevent spillage. Milk just goes in a stainless steel water bottle or thermos.
Bonus here for non dairy drinkers – you can actually try different brands and pick the one you like without spending a horrendous amount of money at multiple cafes!
How do you use a portable French coffee press?
Fairly similar to a standard press:
- Pour in fresh (or pre-prepared coffee grounds)
- Fill with hot water
- Let sit for a couple of minutes
- Slowly push the plunger down until it reaches the bottom
- Pour into a cup and enjoy
- or seal the lid and take it on the go with you!
No matter the size or shape, the process is the same. You can even use loose tea leaves. Though I find that it can affect the flavour long term if you use both tea leaves and coffee in the same press.
Should you buy a French coffee press?
Whether you are a tea or coffee drinker, there is no denying that the portable version is extremely sleek and well designed. You can make it at home and pop it into your bag for the road. I even sometimes add milk & sugar in there as well so I’m not carrying two bottles. Pre-made latte for the road!
Besides, the one universal truth I have found no matter where I stay. You are never guaranteed a stove – but without fail I have always had a kettle.
The portable french press I recommend is the AeroPress Go Portable Coffee Maker. You can buy it is easily on Amazon through this link AeroPress Go Portable Travel Coffee Press.
It is very sleek, fits in my handbag without taking up much room, works both hot & cold and is super easy to clean. Bonus is you get a portable coffee grinder, so you grind your own coffee grounds! Plus it makes a great cup of coffee.
Have you ever used a French press? Would you use a portable one?