Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Travel Coffee

Making Good Coffee When You Travel

If you like good coffee, you know it can be hard to find when you're traveling. Everyone has their morning routines and making the coffee is one of them. 

When staying in a hotel in the US, you are usually left with one of two options for in-room coffee.

1. A dried out disc or packet of coffee of unknown age in a filter . Following the instructions for making usually results in the "Brown Crayon in Water" style of coffee popular with Americans in decades past.

2. If you double the packets to strengthen the coffee or if you venture down to the breakfast room you often end up with the ├╝ber dark roast with a burned taste.

Going out to find the good stuff can be time-consuming and frustrating. I've got a routine that allows me to have pretty good coffee in the room.

This is my mini coffee grinder. It is a manual burr grinder with an adjustable grind. The coffee is poured into the top chamber and the grounds drop into the clear receptacle below. The capacity is small; you can make one or two cups of coffee at a time. The grind is pretty accurate considering the low cost of this cute little grinder.

The handle detaches for safe packing.

The grinder is made to be paired with the equipment needed for pour-over, single cup style coffee making. Along with a grinder like this, you'll need a ceramic cone for extraction. Plastic cones are fine, but a ceramic cone, if heated first, retains the heat necessary for better coffee brewing.

Some hotel rooms have a hot pot. Use this or, in lieu of one, use the hot water run through the coffee maker for pouring.

You can bring your own roasted coffee or buy some beans in a store in the town you're visiting. I pack mine in a Mason jar for freshness.

Hario, the maker of the ceramic cone, sells the filter paper that fits in this cone, but you can fold a Melitta filter (#4 or #2) to fit in the cone. They are easier to find.

Pouring the water at the rate necessary for a good extraction is difficult if you don't have a dripper, so I bring this along, too.

The spout is narrow and angled just right for aiming the stream and controlling the rate at which the water hits the grounds. There is a certain amount of technique involved in a good pour over, but just using this dripper will greatly improve your coffee!

Remember to keep everything hot! Boil extra water in the hot pot or pour some hot tap water from the hotel room bathroom tap into the dripper while you're setting everything up and grinding. Heat your cup with hot tap water as well as the cone.

Here's an instructional video for getting a great pour over:

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