What Is a Travel Coffee Maker
As the name suggests, a car coffee maker is a coffee-making machine, which you can use in your car. By investing in this coffee maker, you are giving yourself the chance to enjoy your favorite coffee even while on the road.
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This means you do not have to spend money buying premium black coffee, or any other type of coffee you want, from a fancy coffee shop. As this coffee making machine is meant for traveling, you should be able to plug it into your car. It is also often portable that you will not have problems setting it up in your vehicle.
Benefits of Using a Travel Coffee Maker
So why should you consider investing in the best travel/car coffee makers? Here are some advantages of having this machine in your vehicle:
Having a coffee making machine specifically designed for cars and those who love traveling is surely a cost-effective decision. It allows you to save money. You can even save as much as two to three dollars daily, or probably more if you drink more than a cup of coffee every day.
Saves Gas and Time
With this machine around, you do not have to spend a lot of time preparing your coffee. It will be ready within just a few minutes. You do not also have to waste time and gas since you no longer have to go to the closest coffee shop to get your coffee fix.
Provides Several Choices for Coffee
You can make any type of coffee you want. For instance, Costa Rican coffee is bright and delicious, and you can make a cup of it on the road with your trusty travel coffee maker. It also lets you prepare normal coffee or any other variation, like cappuccino. You can even bring your hot chocolate K-cups when traveling since you can also make use of them with the machine around.
How Does a Travel Coffee Maker Work
The way a car coffee maker works usually differs depending on the type of machine you decided to invest in. Some of these machines work manually or by hand. Others, on the other hand, function with the help of solar power, electric outlets, and batteries.
You can also find coffee making machines that function with the aid of your car’s 12V plug. One way to do it is to use a small machine, which boils water. You can then prepare coffee with the aid of a K-cup or pod. Another way is to have an electric kettle and use it for boiling water. You can then use your pour-over coffee making machine for brewing.
Another way for a travel coffee maker to work is with the help of a battery. This type of coffee maker functions conveniently as you just have to charge its battery while you are driving in your car. You can use it anytime you want to make your own coffee. You can also prepare coffee in advance and just put your mug on a warmer so you can enjoy coffee anytime.
Pros and Cons of a Travel Coffee Maker
- Saves time and money since you don’t have to buy expensive coffee in coffee shops while on the road.
- Provides a convenient way to prepare coffee.
- Guarantees quick and easy access to your desired cup of coffee.
- Portable and compact, ensuring that it will not take too much space inside your vehicle.
- Lightweight and easy to carry.
- Allows you to make your own coffee, which is environmentally friendly.
- Some coffee machines for travel are expensive.
It is worth spending money on initially, though, especially if you think about the amount you can save once you start bringing the machine in your travels. Just make sure that you also invest in a high-quality mug, one that you will enjoy using on the road. A stainless-steel mug is resistant to rust, making it a perfect pair to your coffee-making machine.
Types of Travel Coffee Makers
One thing that you will surely enjoy once you start shopping for high-quality travel or car coffee maker is that you have several options. In this section, you will learn the most commonly used types of coffee makers for cars or travel. Here they are:
One popular type of coffee maker is the French press. It is a good choice for you if you prefer a more traditional means of preparing your favorite coffee. The mechanism is easy to use and simple. It is not also advanced as far as technology is concerned. It functions once you put coffee grounds in it together with hot water.
Press the lid on top to let the coffee grounds go down to the base. This means you just have to let the coffee grounds immerse in hot water for a while. This is enough to capture its natural flavor, leading to a cup of strong and rich coffee.
Some say that the French press produces better coffee than other machines. The problem is that cleaning it up is more challenging. It also takes a bit longer compared to the others. If you are interested in this type of coffee maker, then you may also want to have the world’s best French press travel mug. That way, you will enjoy using your French press even more.
Pour-Over Coffee Maker
You may also want to check out any of the pour-over coffee devices currently available in the market. It is a lightweight and compact machine, which is the main reason why it is ideal for long-term trips or travels. The only thing you have to do is to add coffee grounds into the machine’s filter.
Pour water, then allow the coffee to drip into your cup or mug. The problem is that the quality of coffee it produces is not that good compared to other machines. Also, the preparation takes more time than usual since you will do some stuff like pouring water and more.
You can also go for an espresso coffee maker if you prefer dark coffee. It allows you to prepare a cup of espresso with the strong flavors you want. You can brew the espresso upon forcing a bit of hot water through fine coffee grounds. It actually works by applying pressure to the coffee beans, allowing their oils and flavors to spill.
A portable coffee maker is nice to own, but be prepared to spend more as it is one of the most expensive types of coffee makers.
How to Choose the Best Travel Coffee Maker
There are several types and brands of car coffee makers in the market today, so finding the most appropriate one for you can be confusing. Shop with ease while increasing your chance of picking the right car coffee maker by considering these important factors:
One key factor to consider when shopping for a car coffee maker is your intended brewing method. Note that there are various ways for you to brew coffee. Among them are French Press, drip or filter coffee, pour-over, espresso, and Turkish style. Find out what specific brewing method you want your coffee maker to do.
If you want a coffee making machine that can prepare different types of coffee, then consider going for espresso. The reason is that most espresso coffee makers are versatile in the sense that you can use them in preparing different coffee drinks, such as lattes, cappuccinos, and Americanos.
The good thing about this machine is that you can also use them in preparing coffee with additional ingredients, such as steamed milk.
Type of Coffee
The type of coffee you intend to prepare can also give you an idea of the specific coffee maker that is appropriate for you. For instance, if you plan to make espresso, then you may need coffee machines that are higher in terms of quality. They should be heavy-duty, too.
The reason is that espresso is slightly more challenging to prepare, requiring it to push hot water through fine coffee beans using around seven to ten bars of pressure. If you want a more versatile machine, consider going for a percolator. A percolator can be used anywhere and for any type of coffee. It also works well for those who are always on the road.
Dimensions and Weight
It is also necessary to check out the dimensions and weight of the coffee making machine you intend to buy. Check the exact size of your luggage first. After that, determine the specific amount of space you can comfortably allot to the coffee maker. The good news is that most car or travel coffee makers today are truly portable. You can even find lightweight and foldable ones, as well as those that you can easily squeeze on a corner.
Volume of Coffee it Makes
Another key factor to keep in mind is the amount of coffee the machine can make. Note that some coffee makers can only produce just a cup or two of coffee, making it enough for just one or two people. Others, on the other hand, have a bigger capacity, allowing them to make up to ten cups of coffee at a time.
You have to determine the exact capacity or volume of coffee the machine can make as it will let you know right away if it can meet what you need. It means you have to find out which coffee maker can give you enough coffee for your travels. In other words, if you often drink coffee from a 16-oz. mug, then investing in and using a siphon coffee maker which can produce significantly less than that quantity is not a good idea.
Note that just like other devices and appliances that you can bring on your trip, your travel or car coffee maker also needs a source of power to function. You may need to charge it or plug it into something that can power it up. With that said, determine how you can power up a specific coffee making machine that you can use in your car before buying it.
If you plan to book accommodations that have plugs, then choose an electric-powered coffee maker or one that you can charge, so you can use it later. If your machine requires plugging in, ensure that it operates in all countries you intend to visit. For instance, the UK often provides a 240v supply while the US provides a 110v supply.
Time to Brew Coffee
It is also important to be aware of the specific time it takes for a certain coffee maker to brew coffee. Note that there will be several instances on your trip when you would want to prepare coffee quickly. This will be those times when you don’t want to spend time waiting. You just want to have a smooth and rich coffee anytime you want.
In that case, you have to decide on the specific amount of time you are willing to spend waiting for your coffee. Compare it to the actual brewing time per cup or pot promised by the car coffee maker you are planning to buy. Note that a timer is an essential part of the coffee scale, so it is crucial to study the brewing time of a particular machine.
Also, think about the actual time per cup every time you compute the length of time needed for brewing. If you want a truly fast machine, then choose one that can brew coffee in just around thirty seconds to five minutes.
Ease of Cleaning
As someone who is always on the road and needs coffee every time you go on a trip, you would never want to use a car coffee maker that is difficult, complicated, and time-consuming to clean. It is the reason why you have to determine how easy it is to clean a specific coffee making machine before you buy it. If possible, look for one that you can clean up completely by simply rinsing it. If you can access a dishwasher most of the time, then look for a dishwasher-friendly machine, too.
It also helps to invest in a travel coffee maker proven to be environmentally friendly. Go for one that mainly processes compostable coffee grinds. Your goal should be to find a high-quality coffee machine under the compostable or recyclable category. It can surely make you feel good, especially if you want to contribute to saving the environment.
How versatile is the travel coffee maker you are planning to buy? This is an important question during the selection process. Go for a highly versatile coffee-making machine, one that can create different kinds of coffee. This means it should be able to let you use various kinds of coffee, including fine grounds and whole beans. It should be made in a way that it can produce different types of coffee, like Americano and espresso.
The versatility of the machine should also be in a way that you can use it for other purposes and beverages. For instance, it should also work as a coffee mug and hold different beverages aside from coffee, like smoothies, hot chocolate, and tea. Some coffee makers can even hold noodles and hot soup. Furthermore, the machine also needs to be versatile enough that you can use it in various situations – at home, in the workplace, in a local park, or when hiking.
Spend time examining the entire structure of the coffee maker you intend to invest in, so you can also assess its additional features. Choose one with additional features that you can often use, especially when you are on the road.
Some useful extra features that the machine should have are a milk frother and whole coffee bean grinder. As much as possible, go for a coffee maker with all these extra features built-in, so you can take advantage of them anytime.
Ensure that the coffee-making machine you buy is highly durable. Note that being on the road frequently can cause your possessions to handle a lot of abuse. With that in mind, look for a coffee maker capable of withstanding the elements.
If possible, do not buy any of those made of delicate glass. A wise tip is to choose a car coffee maker constructed from reinforced materials, like silicone, plastic, and aluminum. These materials are so durable that you are sure of their ability to resist heavy use and abuse.
Compare different travel or car coffee makers based on how much they cost, too. Note that the cost of this machine ranges from five to more than a hundred dollars. Set a budget first before shopping, so you can narrow down your options and find a machine with the kind of functionality and sturdiness you want at a price you can afford.
How to Use a Travel Coffee Maker
The way you use a car coffee maker for preparing coffee actually differs based on the type of machine you have. If you own a drip coffee maker, for instance, then you should take the following steps to use it:
Step 1 – Pour water into the coffee maker
Most drip coffee makers come equipped with a reservoir capable of holding sufficient amounts of water for brewing two up to a dozen cups of coffee every cycle. Add the required amount of water. You are allowed to use any fresh water, provided it is clean, to make your own coffee. However, it would be best to go for a filtered one to prevent the buildup of minerals in the water lines of coffee.
Step 2 – Install the filters
You can choose to use a reusable one or a disposable paper filter. Just make sure to look for a filter with a shape and size appropriate for your coffee maker. However, it is still better to choose cloth-like or cloth and paper filters. It is because these filters do not only hold coffee grounds but also catch the volatile oils of coffee. With that, expect your coffee to be more flavorful.
Step 3 – Put coffee grounds
Now is the right time to put the coffee grounds you decided to use. You can use pre-ground coffee, which is inexpensive and easy to use. However, it is still highly recommended to use freshly ground whole beans for the purpose of creating a flavorful cup of coffee. In case you are incapable of grinding coffee at the comforts of your home, then look for a nearby store with a grinder that you can use for your purchased whole beans.
Step 4 – Start brewing
Now it is time for the most important step – brewing. Note that you will be prone to over-extracting and under-extracting coffee, which may affect the taste. With that said, avoid playing around or experimenting regarding the ratio when using this type of machine. Measuring a coffee has many benefits, especially if you are using a drip coffee maker.
How to Clean a Travel Coffee Maker
Cleaning up most car coffee makers today is not that complicated. If you are using an auto-drip coffee maker, then these steps for cleaning may help you out.
Step 1 – Remove the coffee grounds from the coffee maker
You may throw them out or use them for other purposes, like in your garden once you get home.
Step 2 – Disassemble the removable parts or components
This is necessary so you can start washing the carafe as well as the machine’s other removable parts, like the filter basket and lid. You can do the washing in your dishwasher, provided the machine is a proven dishwasher-safe. You may also wash it with warm and soapy water.
Step 3 – Rinse it and dry with a towel
It is also advisable to set aside the machine for air-drying purposes. Use a damp towel to wipe and clean your coffee maker even better.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
No, spending a huge sum of money for a travel or car coffee maker does not immediately mean that you are getting a machine with a quality that is superior compared to the others. Yes, costly machines are often proven functional and high-quality. However, this does not mean you should ignore low-priced ones. Note that with proper and extensive research, you will find a car coffee maker that works well while being available at a reasonable price.
Do’s and Don’ts With a Travel Coffee Maker
- Read instructions before using it for the first time. That way, you won’t end up making a lot of mistakes when preparing your coffee for the first time while on the road.
- Remove unused water. Leave the lid of the reservoir open, too, so it can air-dry in between each use. By doing this tip, you can prevent yeast, bacteria, and mold from growing.
- Take out the water tank when filling it with fresh water to prevent possible damage.
- Empty the container with the coffee grounds all the time. Do this when the coffee maker is on, so you can easily reset the counter for coffee grounds.
- Do not use coffee beans with additives. Stay away from caramelized ones, too. Go for untreated and roasted coffee beans.
FAQ About Car Coffee Makers
Am I allowed to bring my travel coffee maker in my carry-on luggage?
Yes, you can. A car or travel coffee maker is so portable and compact that you are allowed to pack it in your carry-on luggage. However, remember this important rule – do not put any liquid inside the machine.
Can I use my coffee making machine without electricity?
It depends on the kind of coffee maker you own. Note that several portable coffee makers today can operate without batteries or electricity. Some operate on just elbow grease. You may want to consider buying this type if you think you won’t have easy access to electricity all the time.
Can I find coffee makers operated by battery?
Yes, you can. There are several battery-operated coffee-making machines out there. However, most of them come equipped with a rechargeable battery. You can also find those you can operate by hand.
How can I make coffee while on a trip?
The answer depends on what type of coffee maker you decided to invest in. The types you can choose from include the French press and espresso machine. Basically, though, the whole coffee-making process involves adding the whole beans or ground coffee into the machine. Just make sure that your chosen coffee maker is indeed portable, so you will find it convenient to bring on your trip.
How can I travel with coffee?
Full preparation is the key to traveling with coffee easily. Prepare your portable and compact coffee maker – one that operates without electricity. Other things you have to prepare include a container for storing your coffee, a filter, which depends on the kind of coffee-making machine you have, and a method of boiling water.
Being on the road does not necessarily mean giving up the perfect cup of coffee you enjoy every day. All you have to do to have this kind of coffee even when traveling is to invest in a good car coffee maker. Make sure it suits the type of coffee you want, the effort and time you are willing to spend for the coffee preparation, and your preferred manner of traveling.
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