AeroPress: The Best Travel Coffee Maker

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My life changed when I first discovered the AeroPress. I liked coffee before, but the AeroPress is what made me really love it. Getting hold of decent coffee that isn’t roasted to oblivion is an important part, but there’s also some magic that happens in the total immersion pressing method that makes the coffee smoother and richer and lets the subtle coffee flavours shine through.

Whenever I had the choice, I would choose AeroPress. I even bought the coffee maker for our friend Jason, ostensibly so that he, too, could experience the awesomeness but also so I could drink it while we stayed with him.

I never intended to travel with a coffee maker—it seemed like way too much of an extravagance for someone who travels with just a carry-on backpack. But after being unable to find a regular coffee maker in Ubud, Bali, I got a visiting friend to bring me my own.

I planned to leave it behind when we left after five months, but it was so compact that I decided to give travelling with it a try.

Preparing the AeroPress for Travel

AeroPress components - what parts do you really need for travel?
1) Plunger 2) Chamber 3) Seal 4) Filter Cap 5) Funnel 6) Filter Holder 7) Scoop 8) Stirrer. I got rid of 5, 6 and 8.

The AeroPress is basically a plastic tube with a rubber plunger. There are a few unnecessary accessories that I got rid of to save space—the funnel, stirrer, and filter holder—and haven’t missed them. I could probably get rid of the scoop too, but it doesn’t weigh much and making a decent coffee is a science and an art.

I later replaced the paper filters with a reusable metal filter. This saves space and I don’t have to find replacements for the paper filters when I run out (which would, inevitably, happen in some remote town, probably in a country that has outlawed coffee). Some people say there’s a difference in taste between the metal and the paper, but I’m no coffee sommelier.

The main AeroPress components (plunger, chamber, seal, and filter cap), scoop, and metal filter weigh 200g (7 ounces) and easily fit in my Outbreaker backpack. I occasionally travel with coffee if I’m going somewhere it might be hard to find the good stuff (like when we were island hopping in the Maldives), but usually I just buy it wherever we land.

Luckily, the exact grind of coffee isn’t as important for the AeroPress as it is for an espresso maker, and you can get away with a coarser grind. Where possible, I buy coffee from serious coffee shops who are usually happy to freshly grind beans to my specifications, but otherwise I buy espresso grind from supermarkets.

Some serious coffee lovers even travel with portable hand grinders so they can grind their own beans, and to those ladies and gentlemen I nod my head respectfully, but it was either that or an iPad Pro so pre-ground it is!

UPDATE: I have upgraded my coffee stack and now travel with a Porlex mini coffee grinder. This is a solid little stainless steel grinder with ceramic burrs that make a nice even grind and I love it!

Travelling with the AeroPress

AeroPress for travel reviewThis whole thing was a short-term experiment to see if the AeroPress could earn its place, but ten months later it’s still in my backpack. I’ve used it to make coffee in apartments without coffee makers in Bali, Vietnam, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Turin, and more. It has saved me from the steaming horse diarrhea that is instant “coffee” in hotels and guesthouses in Saigon, the Maldives, and all over Europe.

Most places we’ve stayed provide at least a kettle (or a saucepan in apartments), but in a pinch, you can always ask for hot water.

It’s reassuring to know that however remote we are I can always have a good morning brew. Which, yeah, sounds like an addiction, but it’s only a problem if you can’t reliably get a fix and now I can!

I also don’t have to go out to cafes as much, which I prefer because then you have to put on pants and a t-shirt and flatten down your hair and it’s a whole big thing. My wallet prefers it too and with the money I save on breakfast I can buy games, like Euro Truck Simulator 2 (Seriously. 10/10 on Steam.). I also don’t have to buy a new coffee maker every time we settle somewhere for a few months (I’ve bought quite a few over the years).

The AeroPress is made of rugged plastic, so it has stood up well to the rigours of the road. I don’t bother with a case for it.

How to Brew AeroPress Coffee

Brewing AeroPress coffee is quick, easy, and makes minimal mess—perfect for travel. It only makes enough coffee for two or three cups at a time, but unless you’re making a round for the entire hostel, it’ll probably be fine.

1) Heat some water in a kettle or saucepan to just below boiling. Don’t you boil it. Don’t.

2) Put the filter into the cap and twist onto the chamber.

3) Stand the chamber over a mug and add one measured scoop of coffee per cup. Remember, science.

AeroPress for travel review4) Add the hot water to the chamber and stir. I usually count ten elephants. I love my coffee elephants and my coffee elephants love me.

AeroPress for travel review5) Insert the plunger, press gently, and wait for the satisfying steamy noise.

AeroPress for travel reviewYour mug is now full of delicious coffee!

AeroPress makes a concentrated espresso-style cup of coffee, so I usually add more hot water to make an Americano. When I’m making enough for other people, I mix the coffee with additional hot water in a jug.

Clean up is very easy. Just remove the cap, push the plunger to eject the used coffee (it pops out easily in a neat puck), and rinse the rubber seal.

If you love good coffee, I definitely recommend travelling with an AeroPress. It’s light, compact, durable, easy to use, and makes the best coffee you’ve ever tasted. Save yourself from the tongue torture that is instant!

Where to Buy the AeroPress

The AeroPress costs $29.95/ £24. It’s available on Amazon USAmazon UK or from some specialist coffee shops.

I also recommend buying a metal filter like the Able Brewing Disk (Amazon US) or KOFFI Disk Filter (Amazon UK).

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The AeroPress is the best travel coffee maker. It's light, compact, durable, easy to use, and makes the best coffee you've ever tasted.

We do receive a small commission if you buy through the links above, but my AeroPress evangelism is genuine. We only recommend gear that we love and use ourselves.

22 Comments

  1. Awesome read on the Aeropress! I’ve also been travelling with one for about 18 months and it’s still going strong (after much abuse). It’s one of my more proud travel investments and I love showing it off to friends haha.

    Not sure if you mentioned it (it’s probably mentioned in the comments already) but it’s designed by the same person who created the Aerobie Frisbee. I thought that was pretty cool.

    Space saving tip:: If you get the right hand grinder it actually packs perfectly inside the hollow part of the plunger!

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  2. I got an Aeropress as a Christmas present a few years ago, and have since retired all my other coffee-making gear. I think two main advantages over a cafetière/French press is that it is easier to clean and (in my experience) you get more consistent results from the Aeropress.

    A slimline manual burr grinder is worth trying out on your travels – you see the same affordable model under many brand names on Amazon – it’s the one with the little vertical windows in the lower chamber.

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    • Don’t tempt Simon with a hand grinder! He’s already carrying too much :)

      Definitely agree that the ease of cleaning the AeroPress is a huge advantage.

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  3. Love your spot on description of instant coffee…
    I don’t know how I can get my hands on an aeropress in Bolivia, but will have a try.
    Fab blog!
    Lisa

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    • That might be tough but we have seen them sold in trendy coffee shops in some surprising places around the world. Good luck in finding one!

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  4. Hi Simon!

    Let me just say Yes!! All of the Yesses! lol. I use mine every day, and it’s especially great for camping because it holds up to the rigors of travel and being outdoors. Before I set out I weigh out my beans into small airtight containers, and then grind them fresh with a little Hario manual grinder. It’s a perfect solution for the traveler who demands great coffee!

    Thanks for sharing Simon and safe travels!

    Carrick

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  5. Love my Aeropress, 6 months travel this year, Bali, Sri Lanka, France, Italy and England. Carried it everywhere in our carryon, yes with a hand burr grinder (Simon, I don`t have a tablet). Even cycle toured 2500 km with it in the pannier bag. I have used it exclusively at home as well for the past 3 years, brilliant piece of kit.

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  6. This was great fun to read!! You’ve got me curious about the Aeropress. I currently use a stainless steel French press at home (I previously used the glass models, but kept breaking them), and don’t travel with any personal coffee making apparatus, though, I’m now reconsidering that… ;-)

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  7. Nice post. I love my Aeropress; it turns out a couple of bit of plastic make a coffee as good as or better than a fancy machine! Try the inverted method if you’ve not already. Lovely stuff!

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  8. Happy you love your aeropress, it was invented in Palo Alto, California, my home town. My son who was born there told me about it when it first came out – he lives in Nepal and has an aeropress there. Love it!

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  9. Great call. We have two of em. Perfect at home, even better for travel. For anyone reading this, you’ve got to try one. Wonderful coffee in a minute. In fact, I’ve been to some indie coffee shops where AeroPress coffee is now on the menu. BTW, read the fascinating story of the guy who invented it and all the versions he went through before putting it on the market. Cheers!

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    • Glad to hear you’re a convert too, Andy! And yes, Simon has found AeroPress in coffee shops in Mexico, Vietnam, Finland and beyond.

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  10. Glad you’ve found something that works for you, Rae. That French press does look very stylish! We really don’t mind that the AeroPress is plastic as it’s quite thick and durable, and so many of the parts aren’t essential.

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