We trialled six coffee makers and found some simple and others a hassle.
Want a decent coffee at work, on your travels or at the summit of your hike or bike ride? Need to keep your coffee hot so you can drink it on the go?
We trialled six portable coffee makers from five brands. We assessed how easy and satisfying they are to use, the quality of brew produced, and how easy they are to clean.
The team loved the simplicity of some and considered others too complicated. Here’s what we found.
Price: $16–$20 (plastic) / $37–$40 (ceramic)
We trialled the plastic model. Larger sizes are available in both types.
Best for hiking (tramping) and bike trips where low weight is important, and for anyone who wants the simplest process and clean-up without sacrificing flavour.
The original AeroPress ($60) is very similar to use.
Best for people who want a good brew with super easy clean-up.
Best for people who want a good brew with easy clean-up, but who might find the AeroPress too hard to plunge.
Best for keeping your coffee hot on the go.
Price: $57 (3-cup) / $80 (6-cup)
We trialled the 6-cup version. There are many other brands of stovetop devices that work in the same way (such as Bialetti).
Best for making coffee on a stovetop if you want an espresso style brew and you’re not in a rush.
Wacaco also makes the Minipresso NS ($90), which requires capsules.
Best for those who just want a single shot of the best tasting coffee and don’t mind it requiring a bit more effort to make and clean up.
We explain how to get the best out of your beans.
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I recently bought one of these Japanese porous ceramic filters in a Kickstarter campaign.
It has no moving parts, it will last indefinitely, it makes good coffee and it is supremely portable. The only con is the need to clean it by boiling in a baking soda solution it every few brews - or parking it on a heat source to burn it out (which is an interesting piece of theatre).
"Requires filters" shouldn't really be listed as a con - all coffee needs a filter unless it's instant! If the device's default setting of paper filters is putting you off, please consider reusable filters. There are metal filters readily available for aeropress, and metal or cloth filters available for drip. I also recommend doing some research on washing and reusing the aeropress paper filters.
Simple to use...ok, so it does take a bit of pressure to push the plunger down...and you do need a filter. However it makes an awesome cup of Joe in fairly quick time, and the cleanup is soooo simple. Pop the used coffee 'slug' straight into your compost container - or rubbish bin if you're in the caravan or motorhome. No more chasing those pesky loose grounds down the plug hole!
I love my Hario. Been using for years. Clean coffee and tip the paper filter and used grinds straight into the compost bin. I also use my Bialetti espresso pots (varying sizes) as well if I feel like using them.
Been using the AeroPress at home for a couple of years, the coffee is amazing and it is so simple to clean compared to anything else I've used. The amount of pressure you need depends on the grind. I bought a grinder (the Consumer recommended one) to get the size that works best for me, and have fresher coffee. There is also some technique to it to make it easy to press if your coffee grind is a little too fine. For me, the filter paper is critical to the taste as it removes the heavy oils which give coffee it's bitter characteristics and contain cholesterol.
I used this whilst in MIQ (having purchased prior in UK), it did a pretty good job and saved me from caffeine withdrawal!!
I plan on taking it on the Keppler!
I have had an earlier version (without the cup) for about a year now. I really like it for what it is. I roast my own beans and mostly use a $3000 coffee machine (I like coffee) however whenever I use the AeroPress with the same grind as the espresso machine, I get a surprisingly nice cup of black coffee. It is quick and easy and I have always thought the bit of extra force needed to push the brew through is a nod to the 9 bar the coffee machine uses. The curious thing for me is, occasionally I will over-roast a batch and I genuinely believe I get a smoother tasting result with the AeroPress. The other things are, it seems to be nigh-on indestructible and you get a very generous supply of filters in the original package.
A standard coffee plunger is very portable. And because the grind size is larger, the ground beans stay fresh for longer. Just get a stainless steel version so there's no glass to break.
Hand-powered milk frothers are also available, which look like a coffee plunger.
Aeropress has been our only coffee machine for years - home, travel, camping, etc.
Friends can't believe we make them such nice coffee without some shiny expensive piece of machinery on the bench.
Get an Able Brewing fine metal filter, no more paper filters needed.
I highly recommend Laughing Pug's pour-over drip coffee bags. Perfect for travelling/hiking. No extra equipment needed, and the coffee is utterly delicious.
Great article! One tip with the Aeropress is to not force it. It takes a good 20 seconds to do, but it's not so hard. Check out James Hoffman's videos on the Aeropress and the V60, and you'll see you never have to spend money on pods again!
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