Whether for business or pleasure, being outside of my usual surroundings and interacting with completely different folks always promises adventure and education. Something I have learned is that in order to maximize these benefits, I need certain ‘anchors’ of familiar comfort in my journeys. In my world, the number one anchor is my coffee each morning.
Assuming coffee is also one of your anchors, you might consider bringing it with you. For me, coffee is way too important a part of my day to let someone else make it. I have to bring some equipment and some of my favorite beans with me. In fact, some of the most memorable coffee experiences in my life have been the cups I have made myself while away from home.
I have tried a few different things—depending on how I am traveling, how much personal space I will have, and whatever other amenities may be awaiting me. Of all the different combinations of gear, I prefer to break them down into two categories: minimalism and comfort.
If I am backpacking or traveling by airplane, I will always rely on the Aeropress as my brewing device. It is lightweight, compact, virtually indestructible, simple to clean, and it makes a great cup of coffee. Paired with a decent manual burr grinder and a way to heat water, I will be able to produce coffee in the 99th percentile of deliciousness, guaranteed.
I like to pre-dose my beans into small zip-lock bags to save weight. I will sometimes bring one or two extra doses, just in case. As for water, I will measure with my kitchen gram scale and make a line with a sharpie on my Nalgene water bottle. I can simply use this to measure my water and leave my scale at home.
When I am camping, I use a stove to heat my water. When I am staying somewhere I know will have electricity, I use a five-dollar submersible heating element carefully suspended in a disposable paper (not plastic!) cup filled with water. As a bonus, this amazing little device wraps up small enough to store inside my Aeropress.
The sky is really the limit here. If traveling by car, I will bring my favorite Chemex, my favorite grinder, an electric kettle, more than enough beans, a scale, and even a favorite mug. In fact, the only way I limit myself here is sticking to a single brewing device from my cupboard.
This may sound over-the-top, but I am almost always disappointed by the alternative. I may want to explore some shops, depending on where I find myself, but I always anchor myself with what I bring with me. I am never disappointed by what I know will be delicious.
Don’t Waste An Opportunity
If life hands you lemons, make lemonade. If life hands you travel, make coffee. You can turn an irritating business trip into an adventure by bringing the quality and comfort of your coffee with you. You can make your vacation memories even more complete by taking time to craft your perfect cup each morning.