Travel Brewing

Last week, I took my first stab at brewing decent coffee while traveling. Here’s what I packed:

  • AeroPress, plus:
    • scoop
    • stirring paddle
    • several paper filters
    • Prismo accessory with metal filter
  • 1Zpresso JX hand grinder
  • Zeke’s Snow Day Blend beans (in a mason jar)

I put all of this into my checked bag. TBD is whether I’ll be able to fit all of this into carry-on bags. Glaringly absent: a scale, a mug, and a way to heat water. I measured beans by volume using the scoop. To heat the water, I used drip coffee machines at three different hotels, and a Keurig at the house where I stayed the final two nights. I used bottled water in the hotel rooms, and tap water with the Keurig. I was a little bit worried that the typical paper hotel room coffee cups wouldn’t hold up to brewing with the AeroPress, but they worked just fine (granted, I didn’t press very hard).

Figuring that the coffee machines wouldn’t get the water quite up to full boil, I went with a medium roast. I could probably have used a darker roast as well. For a light roast, I’d probably want access to a stove or microwave to bring the water to full boil.

To brew, I used a medium/fine setting of 15 on the JX, which is 1.5 turns. I used 1 heaping scoop of beans plus “a little more”, depending on how strong I wanted the coffee. I used a paper filter in addition to the metal Prismo filter. I then added the grounds, heated 1 paper coffee cup full of water in the machine, and filled the AeroPress up enough to cover the beans, stirred, and bloomed for 45 seconds. I then filled the AP up to near the top. No need to use two cups for this, as the Prismo keeps the water from leaking out (lacking a Prismo, I could probably also have inverted the AP). Then I stirred back-to-front a few times, steeped until around 3:00 (using my phone as a timer), stirred again, and pressed slowly. The resulting coffee was not bad. It was not quite as good as a perfect pour-over cup, but it was well-flavored and well-bodied, and fairly consistent from day to day. I’ll likely try this again the next time I travel.