I don’t know about you, but I have been a bit spoilt when it comes to drinking good coffee – so much so that now I demand good coffee wherever I am and as such I have a great need for a good quality, portable coffee maker to keep me topped up on the move.
Over the last 10 years or so, there has been a coffee revolution, with wave after wave of new and exciting coffee shops and cafes opening, making delicious fresh coffee more and more accessible.
The natural progression from this was to bring these coffees into our own kitchens, with filter coffee machines, espresso machines and then pod coffee machines all becoming much more advanced and affordable, meaning now we can make those very same coffees in the comfort of our own home.
It’s great – I haven’t had to resort to an instant coffee in years.
But what happens when you go away? Whether it’s for business or leisure, you could argue that it’s more important than ever to keep up standards that you’re used to at home. What’s the point in spending all that time and money going away if you end up living a lower standard of living than when you’re at home?
If only there was a way to take the ability to make great coffee with you, wherever you go.
As you may have guessed from the title of this article – there is. The best portable coffee makers will ensure that you never have to go without one of the finer things in life – a great coffee.
Our Top 8 Portable Coffee Makers
To help you know which one to add to your coffee arsenal, we have hand-picked some of the absolute best travel friendly coffee makers on the market. Find out which ones made our list below.
WACACO Minipresso: Portable Espresso Machine
Perfect for: The on-the-go outdoorsy type that wants great coffee wherever they are
Picture the scene – you’ve spent the morning on a walk. Maybe up a mountain, maybe just along a picturesque part of the countryside. You’re a little tired, but you feel good – like you’ve accomplished something. There’s an incredibly inviting bench just over there, overlooking the type of scenery you normally only see on wildlife documentaries.
You take a seat, pull out the WACACO Minipresso and pour yourself a delicious coffee to slowly sip as you revel in nature and take stock of everything. A few moments of utter calm and tranquility.
That’s the thing about this coffee maker – you can enjoy a really good coffee in the most remote of locations – miles away from home and a high street.
At just 175mm long, and weighing 350g, it is the smallest and lightest portable handheld espresso machine – you really can take it with you anywhere. You’ll need a flask of hot water with you as well, but that’s the case with almost any hot drink that you’ll have in these situations.
It is so easy to operate – all you need to do is unscrew the compartment in the top and insert a Nespresso pod. When the lid is screwed back on, the pod will be pierced. Then you just add the hot water to the compartment at the bottom, before unlocking the semi-automatic piston, and then you start pumping. You can operate it with one hand, and hold a cup underneath to catch your coffee.
You can make up to a double-espresso, but if you want a longer drink like an americano, you can simply add more hot water to it.
As it uses Nespresso pods, you know what you are going to get – a good coffee with minimal fuss. To be able to get this wherever you are is just brilliant. For the money, a high-mid price range for a portable coffee maker, this should definitely be in your shortlist and for those that love an espresso we would rank it firmly at the top the list.back to menu ↑
AeroPress 82R08 Coffee Maker
Perfect for: Filter coffee lovers that are often on the go
I love strong black coffee. When I first bought a filter coffee machine, I thought all of my Christmasses had come at once – and the novelty hasn’t worn off at all – I love having a great filter coffee every single morning.
My life as a writer generally means that I am usually at home or even occasionally working in a coffee shop, so I am never far away from a good coffee – so when I went camping with my family, it was a bit of a shock to not have a machine nearby to make a decent coffee.
(I’m not sure if you’ve ever spent a night in a tent with two small children before, but I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that the next morning you often really need a strong black coffee.)
You only make that mistake once though. On our next trip, I went armed with an AeroPress 82R08 and it was fantastic.
Again, no need for electricity or batteries, just some hot water. It comes with some little paper filters, which are cheap to replace, and then all you need is some coffee. It’s a really simple process, just fill your coffee onto the filter and pour over your water. After leaving it a few moments to brew, you then press down on the large plunger, for 20 seconds, over a cup to pour your coffee.
They even provide a little tote bag to keep it in, just to make it all the more portable. As it only weighs 454g, there is no excuse not to take the Aeropress with you, wherever you’re going – from a week-long camping trip, to just a normal day in the office.
As one of the cheapest options that we’ll be looking at on our list, I’m struggling to think of a reason not to buy one – even if you just keep it at home for emergencies.back to menu ↑
CONQUECO Travel Espresso Machine
Perfect for: the hotel-hopping coffee lover that wants a great coffee at their fingertips, no matter where they’re staying
How many times have you finally made it to the hotel that you’ve booked for the night, dumped all your luggage in the corner and turned to the sideboard to make a drink. Next to the kettle is a little bowl of the most uninspiring instant coffee sachets you’ve ever seen – all you want is a decent drink!
This is exactly the scenario CONQUECO are solving with this impressive little gadget. Measuring 15.5 x 12 x 30 cm and weighing 880g, this isn’t the most portable of machines that we’ll be looking at, but it is certainly one of the most impressive.
With a fully rechargeable lithium battery, you can make your Nespresso coffee at the touch of a button – simply insert water and your pod and you’re good to go. With a 15 bar high-pressure pump, it will pour your coffee without any ‘pumping’, with an impressive crema.
It can heat your water, if you are inserting cold water, but it does take a little while (8 to 12 minutes). That’s great if you’re up a mountain somewhere, but in a hotel room, it makes much more sense to use hot water from a kettle instead – it saves a lot of the battery life too.
Equipped with a car charger and an AC adapter, you will have plenty of chances to ensure it is fully charged, so you really can experience the luxury of your Nespresso machine wherever you are.
Obviously, this comes at a cost, and this is one of the most expensive portable machines available – but what a great gadget.back to menu ↑
Pukkr Portable Espresso Maker
Perfect for: the traveller that wants options for their on-the-go coffee
In my kitchen I have, amongst others, a pod coffee machine and an espresso machine. Circumstances often dictate which one I use – usually how late I am, or which one my wife is using – but sometimes I’ll just fancy one of them over the other.
Of course, having this level of choice is just not very likely when you’re away from home, you’re not going to lug around two separate machines just in case you fancy a different sort of coffee from one day to the next.
Or is it? With the Pukkr Portable Espresso Maker, you do have the option as you can use either coffee grounds to make an espresso, or a Nespresso pod. It’s unlike pretty much every other coffee maker I’ve ever used.
All you need to do is change the filter that the coffee is extracted through, both are included in the box, and it’s incredibly easy to do – you just need to add hot water and operate manually.
Measuring at 21.5cm long, it is small enough to throw into your bag if you’re off out on a long walk or day trip, or even staying away, and with the option of just popping a Nespresso pod in with it, or a little bag of coffee, there’s no excuse not to have great coffee with you wherever you are.
If you run out of pods (easily done on a trip away), no problem! Just switch the filter over to the espresso, and use your ground coffee.
You would be forgiven for thinking that this increased versatility would come at a much higher cost, but you would be wrong. This is one of the cheapest products on our list.back to menu ↑
STARESSO MINI Handheld Coffee Maker
Perfect for: people that want really good coffee on the go
I know what you may have been thinking while you’ve been reading this article – ‘yeah, that’s great that you can make all these drinks on the go, but are they really comparable to the £400 machines that we have in our kitchens?’
And I take your point. In truth, they are, generally speaking, a very good alternative for when these machines aren’t accessible. It would be foolish to think that they were as good – why would people have the machines if that was the case?
Well, the Staresso Mini runs a lot of machines very close, in terms of performance.
They put it down to the ‘Golden Extraction Ratio’ – the perfect extraction rate of between 18 and 22%, all made possible thanks to their ‘advanced hydraulic system’. Basically, they have two valves; one for building up pressure (20 bar) and one for discharging the coffee (15 bar).
To be honest, even with that explanation, I don’t really understand exactly why it tastes so good, but I’m here to tell you that it does – it’s great in fact. You get incredible results with fresh coffee grounds and with Nespresso pods – yes it’s another one that can do both!
You need to add your own hot water, which is pretty standard for a portable device like this, and the pump action is manually operated which does take a little bit of effort, but is surprisingly satisfying as well! I like the way the cup is held in place as well as it really minimises the risk of spills.
Most of the other products on this list have special features, or little gimmicks, to separate it from the crowd. The Staresso Mini just does everything well. As a high-mid range offering, it is an incredibly attractive option.back to menu ↑
WACACO Pipamoka Portable Coffee Maker
Perfect for: people that want to travel light, and have a great coffee while out and about.
I never cease to be amazed at the constant innovation in the domestic coffee industry, and the WACACO Pipamoka is another example of how these companies keep finding new and ingenious ways to make the same drink.
It’s actually quite a simple theory, but delivered with incredible engineering.
Basically, everything you’ll need is contained within the cup that you’ll end up drinking out of. You take out the coffee chamber and fill it with fresh, ground coffee. Then fill the main chamber up with boiling water, and drop the basket in, so that it sinks to the bottom (about 40 seconds).
Then you replace the lid and twist the ring near the top of the cup, while turning the cup in the opposite direction. This creates a vacuum effect which will draw the water through the coffee in the basket. The chamber will rise out from the cup, and when it has fully risen, simply remove it from the cup – your coffee is ready to drink!
The whole process takes around two minutes, and then you’ll have a really good fresh coffee, similar to one made out of a filter coffee machine.
This is one of the most portable of all the makers we’re looking at, measuring just 8x8x20cm and weighing 425g. It is basically a travel cup, but with the ability to make the coffee all in one.
It’s clever, small and makes great coffee. For a travel coffee maker, I’d say that it ticks all of the boxes. For a product right in the middle of the price range for these coffee makers, I’d say that you should use this as a good base point in your search.back to menu ↑
ALLOMN French Press Travel Coffee Maker
Perfect for: dashing out the house with a great coffee brewing as you go.
We’ve looked at many different clever and ingenious gadgets on this list – from having integrated rechargeable batteries to the patented double-valve engineering. It is quite refreshing, therefore, to give you a quite simple design here.
The ALLOMN French Press Travel Coffee Maker is exactly what the name suggests – a travel version of a french press. It’s there, self contained within the cup – if you like a french press – this could be the portable machine for you.
It’s simple to use, of course – you just load in your coffee, and add hot water. The plunger is twisted out after 3-4 minutes brewing time, and then slowly pushed down. Your drink is ready – it really is as simple as that, and is just like using a ‘normal’ french press.
It weighs just 200g, which is incredibly light – it really is just a cup with a plunger in terms of what you’re carrying around. No little parts or filters to worry about, just coffee, water and the cup. Sometimes it works to not overcomplicate things.
As the cheapest product that I’ve looked at for this list, I think this is a great product to have in the house. You don’t just need it for trips away, but if you’re leaving the house in a rush and just want a good coffee to take with you – you can prepare this to take with you in the time it takes to boil the kettle.back to menu ↑
WACACO Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker
Perfect for: Those who want top quality fresh coffee (from grounds) on the go
We end this list as we began it – with a WACACO espresso maker.
The main difference between the Nanopresso and the Minipresso above is that this contraption uses fresh coffee grounds to make the coffee, as opposed to the Nespresso pods that the Minipresso uses.
The rest is quite similar; to operate you just unscrew the compartment in the top and insert your fresh coffee. Then you just add hot water to the compartment at the bottom, before unlocking the semi-automatic piston, and then you start pumping. Hold a cup underneath to collect all of your coffee and you have your drink!
It does give great results, and you get a great crema on top of your espresso. There is something about a truly fresh coffee that I just find irresistible, so the ability to make one wherever you are is incredibly appealing.
Just like its sister product, it is incredibly small and compact, with very little that can go wrong. You put in coffee and hot water at one end, and you get a great espresso out the other end. It’s incredibly easy to use, just be careful with getting a cup ready to catch all of the drink.
You can also buy a small adapter to give you the option of making it compatible with pod coffees, which could be good if you have both in your kitchen.
It’s one of the more expensive items we’ve looked at today, but the WACACO Nanopresso is a really good product – if you want a great espresso on the move, this is one to seriously consider.